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Building the Personal Cruiser

A brief summary of the building process.  The photos below are a combination of our Beta builders and the PC#1.

  1. Introduction
  2. Tools for Setting up Shop
  3. Materials for Kit "A"
  4. Fuselage
  5. Bulkheads and firewall, engine mount
  6. Tail and Rudder-Vators
  7. Center spar and Stub wing
  8. Landing Gear
  9. Outer spars and Wing cores
  10. Controls, Wheels and Brakes
  11. Canopy, Forward deck and Turtle deck
  12. Seat belt and Roll bar
  13. Finishing
  14. Engine and Panel
  15. FAA Inspection
  16. Test flight
  17. Enjoy!!

 

Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place
Introduction - Safety

Building any airplane is a daunting task. The Personal Cruiser has been designed for the first time builder. Simple hand tools are all that are required and a willingness to learn.  The entire aircraft is composite construction and with the benefits of a sleek design and 100% completely compatible structures comes the requirement for safety.  Protection from possible skin and eye irritation from working with epoxy, fiberglass and various fillers is necessary.  Gloves and a comfortable dust mask are recommended during portions of airframe construction. Aeropoxy has been selected for strength and for being non-allergenic.

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Tools for Setting up Shop

After placing your kit order, it would be a good time to set up your shop with some required tools.  Many of the tools can be purchased locally; the list below has been complied for your convenience from online suppliers.

 

Tools List <-- click here

 

 

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b3
Materials for Kit "A"

There are additional materials that are not stocked by Pro-Composites that are available from three recommended suppliers.

Applied Vehicle Technologies

Wicks Aircraft Supply

Aircraft Spruce and Specialty

Below is a link to a list of materials that will be purchased separately.  As these suppliers will carry a fresh inventory to pick from.

Here is a list to get started:

 

Kit "A" Materials List

 

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b4

 

b5

 

b6

Fuselage

A flat box will arrive via UPS or DHL containing flat panels that will eventually form the fuselage, seat, turtle deck and forward deck. It will also include the hot-wired tail cores and firewall blank.  

 

The individual panels are fiberglassed together with bi-directional (BID) cloth strips creating one large panel. The creation of three formers are made from plywood purchased locally.

Next is the simple process of “folding” the plane.   Basically, lifting up the large panel (with a friend) and placing it into plywood formers.  A quick trimming of a seam line and prep and fiberglassing of the small exposed foam core areas lock in the shape.   The seat, turtle deck and forward deck supplied are assembled in similar fashion

 

A video of the process can by clicking here:

 

 Cruiser Kit "A" Assembly Intro Video

 

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place

 

Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane

Bulkheads and firewall, engine mount

The seat is also a structural component and is mounted permanently.  The firewall is installed and engine mount hard points are added. A small bulkhead is made and installed.  The firewall is wood however it is later covered with Fiber-frax and stainless steel sheet metal; which is standard practice on many composite airplanes.

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane
Tail and Rudder-Vators

The construction manual provides the layout for the twin "Y" spars for the tail and how to set the incidence.

The tail cores are attached and fiberglassed.

Rudder-Vators are then cut fro the cores and hinge pads are formed.

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane

 

Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane

Center spar and Stub wing

The supplied center spar is fitted and a lay-up schedule is provided ensure the correct strength.  The rear spar is made and ribs are created from a template. The stub wing will house the landing gear hard point and aileron bellcranks. Eventually split flaps will be formed just behind the aft spar.

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane
Landing Gear

The construction manual includes detail to fabricate the main gear legs, however it is recommended that they be purchased directly from Pro-Composites.  They are a combined lay-up of S-2 glass and BID glass.  They then are attached to the main spar shear web.

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane landing gear
Outer spars and Wing cores

The supplied outer spars attach at the center and end of the center spar.  Supplied Hot-wire foam cores are bonded to the spars and then glassed.  The Ailerons are then cut directly from the wing cores and then reinforced with carbon fiber cloth.   

           

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane
Controls, Wheels and Brakes

A center stick provides input for elevator control to a simply ingenious mixer design and out to the ruddervaters.  The mixer completely isolates the rudder and elevator inputs.  Cables attach the rudder pedals to the mixer.  Ailerons to differential bellcranks to reduce adverse yaw. 

Simple cable actuated heel levers are attached to a mechanical caliper for disc brakes.   Differential braking provides maneuverability to the castering nose wheel.

 

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane mixer V-tail

 

rd

Canopy, Forward deck and Turtle deck

The supplied acrylic windscreen is trimmed and the step by step instructions will guide you to create a flip up canopy.

During this process the turtle deck and forward deck are permanently bonded to the airframe.

Gas charged struts provide the lifting mechanism that support the canopy.

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane+

Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane

Seat belt and Roll bar

The supplied roll bar is added for safety and also provides a convenient location to attach the 4 point safety harness.

 

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane
Finishing

Sanding and filling will take some time but goes by faster with a couple friends for help and support.    After sanding an automotive filler primer is added which fills the sanding marks and then it is taken down with higher grit sand paper.

 

 

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane
Engine and Panel

The Corvair was chosen as the original powerplant because of the base of people interested in the engine. As the plane only requires around 35 hp to fly there are a number of choices which would work fine without as much reserve power.  One consideration is an 1834 cc Volkswagen conversion.  An 80 hp Rotax or Jabiru motors would provide and excess of power and be far lighter than the Corvair.  These engines were anticipated and the design will accommodate the various weights. 

The panel sports two rows of instruments with switches on both sides.  The proto-type was planned for day VFR.    The panel is a personal choice item and can be made from an aluminum sheet or fiberglass or  carbon fiber. 

The entire panel can be removed in 5 minutes as all wiring goes through a large canon plug.

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane Corvair

 

Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane cockpit

FAA Inspection

A special air worthiness is the outcome of a passing inspection by your local DAR.  More information and documentation can be obtained from www.eaa.org

 

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane DAR FAA
Test flight

Morgan Hunter the primary builder did the first flight and initial test flights of the Personal Cruiser.  Stability and successful flutter testing was accomplished later.

The PC has a sporty feel to it, a quick roll rate and very ample buffet before stall.  Lateral stability is good and no noticeable wag as found in other popular V tails.  Slips are easier as there is a slight nose down tendency with full left or right rudder inputs.

 

In all the Cruiser has been an easy flier and new pilots should be able to transition from a primary trainer aircraft without difficulty.

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane
Enjoy!!

We estimate that the Personal Cruiser can be completed in 800 hours or less for a first time builder. 

Our lead "first time" beta builder has approximately 400 hours into his project and his airframe is 80% complete. 

Building a plane is a rewarding process.  Not only is the building enjoyable but the hard work you put into will culminate in an efficient and affordable aircraft that is a blast to fly. 

If you are ready to take up the challenge please give us a call.

 

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Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane Beta Builder

 

Personal Cruiser Composite kit Aircraft Experimental Airplane Single-Place Fold-a-Plane

Scott VanderVeen
Copyright © 2011  Pro-Composites. Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/4/2011