Archive | November, 2010

The Speed Week was started!

29 Nov

Hello, I am writing from Confins Int’ Airport, where I am waiting Mr. Brian Utley to arrive on the AA991. Brian, as a member of NAA (National Aeronautical Association) records committee  is coming here invited by myself and by CAB in order to help us to measure our records tries. I was following Brian job since 2005, when I received a NAA magazine describing a new GPS technique to measure speed records. At that time Mr. John Parker was set a world record with his Thunder Mustang using this new GPS system under the supervision of Brian. When we decide to make these tries I started to use my network contacts in order to know how to measure it. After few e-mails between South Africa, USA and England, we converge on Mr. A.W. Greenfield from NAA that indicate us Brian. After my first invitation he accept to come to Brazil! Welcome Brian! Enjoy a non-commercial part of Brazil, the Minas Gerais Mountains!

Why do you design and build airplanes?

28 Nov

When I was involved with rock climb it was very common to hear the question: – Why do you climb? Before that I was addicted to ride road bicycles and on one Saturday morning I was able to ride more than 100km and the question still on: Why do you spend so many time suffering on a bike? So, now my life is, more than normal, based on design and build airplanes, and in my case as much performance as much better. And the question still on: – Why do you design and build these kinds of machines… I must confess, as in the previous cases, I don’t know. Maybe I am addicted, maybe I am crazy, maybe… In this particular case, design and build airplane inside a university environment has a special propose in the quality of academical life of our students, but if this is the only reason for that, I must confess, it is not enough. It is easy to infer that just few universities around the world has this kind of treatment to their students, and must be have another reason to do it in such way.

Backing on my memory I can remember when I was an young boy and my father was always putting me closing to airplanes and specially with air models. I still can remember some mornings at Jardim Canada field, where my dad was playing with his models (with our friend “Biscoito”) and I was playing with that red dirt (iron mineral). I still can remember of few models, a big white Styrofoam glider and one elastic prop model made with steel wires that my dad bring me from Germany. But this is only my memories and until few years ago I can’t explain why to do this… Today I had a experience, just before one “crux” of my career, that give me an insight of why I do it! Take a look on this picture. While I was build an omniglider for my son (and myself) he was paying attention, careful, on my hands…Yes, the same that I did with my father! And I can remember this! I can remember his using cianoacrilate for this first time, I remember “Biscoito” cutting his finger on a running propeller, I remember details of the construction of a Stevens Akro Model (painted in blue – you can ask my dad if it is true!). So this is the explanation! It is, at least, one part of the explanation. For my son, I hope, it will be an inspiration for his life. He don’t need to became an airplane designer or builder, but I hope that he can remember good times that we will spend together between the airplanes and the airmodels, in a same way that I remember my time with my dad. For my students, as adopted sons, I hope that they remember about our dedication, our success, our difficulties, and our obstinacy! In both cases I hope that I can do the best type of education, where the best class is my example. The airplane design, build and operation, in both cases, are just one excuse to try to educate, it is just one “lovely” reason to be together, to exchange experiences and to, I hope, influence lifes…


Early bird gets the worm..

27 Nov

Today CEA-308 traveled trough Minas Gerais mountains…But not flying! As he is an athlete, we can’t subject him to normal life stress, we must give him special treatment, trying to avoid usual jobs! So, instead of doing a cross-country flight from Divinópolis to the Zona da Mata Regional Airport (near Juiz de Fora), we put him on a trailer and drove more than 500km (Divinópolis-BH-SDZY) trough Minas Gerais Mountains. It is a very tiring job, but it is a pleasure. I woke up at 05:30AM and after a faster shower I went to CEA in order to fill my car with tools and hitch the trailer. At 06:30 I got my helper (I will preserver his name, you will see why) and took the way to SDZY airport. Almost one hour after he asked my to stop in order to use a restroom… We stop and after 15 minutes wainting I decide to go inside  to check what is happing. He was the only one inside the restroom and when I asked why he is too late he said me that he was sick. – “Hey, come on, we are not flying or sailing, we are riding a car, slowly!” – “Yes, but last night I drank a little bit too much and I went to sleep at 03:00AM…” Then I realize that he was a dead weight for this travel and that I had to find a way to travel alone, unload the airplane and assembly it, ALONE. I decide to ask him to get in the car to drive more 10km and left him at university’s hangar at Conselheiro Lafaiete airport. After that the travel start to became an adventure, but,”Early bird gets the worm” and I had no more surprises up to SDZY. There all the guards were very kind and helped me to unload the airplane. After four hours of work I was ready to drive all the way back and get my “helper” to bring him back home! No problem, but many of our records tries would be done just after sun rise, and I don’t know if our “helper” will be able to see this airplane flying, without change his habits!

Last flight before record attempt

23 Nov

Today we performed the last flight before the record attempt. We left Belo Horizonte under a dark gray sky, and arrived at Divinopolis with rain. But after one hour to prepare the airplane the sky started to appear to us. At 5:26PM local time Gunar took-off CEA-308 for a new mission! Discovery if we can try another world record… Which one?!? Sorry, I will tell next week. But what I can tell you now? Yes, we can do it, and believe, easily. The airplane flew very well, without surprises to us. Oh, just one surprise! It’s astonishing performance. CEA-308 seems to be a very impressive airplane not only to fly fast leveled but also to climb fast, to climb high and to be economic. Today we flew in a more economic regime and it burned 14 liters per hour. In maximum leveled speed it burns 20 liter per hour, flying near 310km/h. This gives us a consumption better than 15 km per liter, which is even better than my economy car but more than three times faster! CEA-308 isn’t a finish product at all, and we are still having a lot of small things to improve. There are modifications that will increase its performance, but there are also modifications that will improve its flight qualities. What we can say now? It is an amazing machine and we all are proud to work with it!


Yes, we can do it!

18 Nov

These last three days has been chaotic for me! Too much work! But I must confess: “I can get satisfaction”. Yesterday we flew CEA-308 again, at Divinopolis Airport. We left Belo Horizonte at 6AM in order to arrive there before 8AM. The weather was heavy, but without rain, giving us a good condition of turbulence and air density. After few adjustments on the airplane, and install our new Catto’s propeller, we were ready to take-off. Gunar get in the airplane and move it to the runway 35 in order to take-off. After the usual “slow-motion” acceleration, the new propeller started to show its benefits… more than 1200fpm! This allowed Gunar to reach the clouds base (almost 1000ft AGL) in less than 1 minute, just above the opposite runway… Now it is time to see how fast it is, and try to find our 3kts again! And? Here they are, with more 5kts of bonus! Yes, 165kts IAS leveled at 4000ft ASL! This means that we are almost 15km/h faster than our previous test. We flew by 12 minutes and after a perfect landing, using just half runway, it was time to put the airplane inside the hangar and wait for the approaching rain to stop! After the rain, two more flights, one to prove that we are fast also in vertical direction and to dream with different record types, and other to simulate the FAI procedure for 15km speed record, in order to verify if we can do it, and believe me, we can! I will not tell you our speed, but thrust me, it is fast! In this flight we realize that it is important to use the benefits of higher air density and that we still having how to get more from our engine. So, now it is time to work more on the engine and finish the preparation for the record!

Motor e Hélice, e pessoas que fazem a diferença

15 Nov

É fato que uma aeroanve para recorde mundial de velocidade e possui vários aspectos a serem estudados e otimizados. Aerodinâmica e peso são fatores importantes e costuma gastar grande parte de nossa atenção. Nas semanas que se passaram gastamos muito tempo polido o CEA-308, modificando pequenos detalhes para fazê-lo mais liso. Tivemos que comprar um novo jogo de balanças, e melhorar alguns componentes do avião para podermos ficar dentro do limite de peso imposto pela nossa categoria. Entretento, existem dois aspectos de extrema importância para um recorde mundial que temos deixa “de lado”… Motor e hélice… Mas espere! Preciso explicar o que é este “de lado”. Desde o início deste projeto decidimos que fariamos tudo com um motor “standard”, sem modificações e sem “veneno”. Foi assim na fase do motor ROTAX e tem sido assim com o motor Jabiru. Não temos seguer um cavalo a mais devido a modificações no motor que poderiam trazer riscos e incertezas na operação do avião. Por outro lado, não queremos ter sequer 0.5 cavalos a menos… e por isso nossa manutenção deve ser super cuidadosa! Para alcançarmos qualidade extrema na manutenção de nosso motor, buscamos ajuda em profissionais externos a UFMG que possuem reconhecida capacidade. No caso do motor, Robson Antunes é a pessoa que nos ajuda a deixar o pequeno Jabiru sempre pronto para nos dar 80hp! O Robson trabalha em Belo Horizonte em sua oficina própria, extremamente limpa e arrumada, com máquinas operatrizes extremamente bem cuidadas e sempre prontas para fazer o melhor possível. O que seria deste projeto sem o Robson??? Com certeza, mais de 3kts a menos na nossa velocidade!

Outro aspecto muito importante para o nosso desempenho é o projeto e a fabricação das hélices! Na época do motor ROTAX arriscamos projetar e construir a nossa própria hélice, mas o resultado não chegou nem perto do que precisavamos. Foi nesta época que pedimos “socorro” ao Sr. Orley Chelusniak, de Ponta GRossa, PR, que nos construiu uma linda hélice tripá com passo ajustável no solo. Na fase do motor Jabiru, pedimos ajuda novamente ao Sr. Orley, que fabricou um hélice bipá, de acordo com nossas especificações. Com esta hélice fizemos vários vôo e confirmamos a possibilidade de quebrar 3 recordes mundiais! Buscando ganhar um pouco mais resolvi contactar um fabricante americano de hélices, bem famoso nas corridas de Reno. Craig Catto, fabricante das hélices Catto havia construído a hélice do AR-5, recordista mundial na nossa mesma categoria. Escrevi um e-mail, despretensioso, pedindo orçamento para uma hélice para nosso avião de corrida. O Sr. Catto logo respondeu nosso e-mail, pedindo uma foto do avião. Respondi novamente e logo veio a resposta – This seems a lot of fun! You’ll have the prop for free! É isto mesmo! Ganhamos um patrocinador em quatro e-mails e uma foto! O Sr. Craig no início deste ano nos enviou a primeira hélice que foi inaugurada nos ultimos vôos em juiz de Fora, e logo após receber nossos dados de vôo, partiu para o projeto e construção de uma nova hélice que chega ao Brasil amanhã! ‘

Bem, este post é importante para contarmos um pouco a história destes componentes do CEA-308, mas é muito mais importante para dizermos obrigado a estes profissionais, Robson, Orley e Craig, que não têm medido esforços para nos ajudar neste recorde mundial de velocidade!

Data confirmada

14 Nov

Ola! Muito tempo sem escrever aqui, mas é que o tempo está cada vez mais curto.  O problema é que agora temos uma data confirmada para a tentativa oficial do recorde mundial de velocidade na reta de 15km. Na realidade, temos uma semana para fazer as tentativas necessárias. TRata-se da semana entre os dias 29 de novembro e 04 de dezembro. Nesta semana vamos receber o Sr. Brian Utley, representante da NAA (National Aeronautical Association – USA) que é representate FAI nos EUA e que possui larga experiência na medição e homologação deste tipo de recorde. Junto com o Sr. Utley, estará presente também o Sr. Flavio Oliva, vice-presidente da CAB (Comissão Aerodesportiva Brasileira) e vice-presidente FAI no Brasil. Eles serão os “olhos” da FAI na nossa atividade! Será uma semana de muito trabalho, mas também uma semana muito especial para a aviação brasileira. Além de estarmos tentando o primeiro recorde mundial de aviação motorizada (Classe C) no Brasil, estaremos tentando oficializar o primeiro sistema para medição de recordes de velocidade desenvolvido no Brasil. Por isso a presença do Sr. Utley será tão importante, pois poderemos comparar os resultados do sistema usado nos EUA com os resultados do sistema que desenvolvemos, baseado no sistema que usamos este ano na Red Bull Air Race com o Team Bonhomme. É por estas razões que o tempo para manter as notícias atualizadas está tão curto. Para resumir, nas duas ultimas semanas o CEA-308 passou seus dias no CEA, recebendo um novo sistema de descargas, novas saidas de ar, fazendo um grande retoque na fixação do capô do motor na fuselagem (o que reduziu a zero as frestas), além de um novo polimento! Ontem levamos ele para Divinópolis, onde devemos voar ainda esta semana com uma nova hélice que acabou deficar pronta nos EUA, feita pelo Sr. Craig Catto, famoso produtor de hélices para as aeronaves de Reno, e que está, de uma maneira incrível, patrocinando nosso projeto! Podem parecer poucas tarefas, mas em meio a todas as atividades da universidade e a construção da nova asa do CEA-309 Mehari… Ufa, não está dando tempo de fazer nada. Espero trazer mais notícias para vocês em breve! No mais, aceitamos a torcida de todos!

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