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Pro-Composites -  News

 

Archives:Pre-2008

 

 

April 2013 - Wow! How time flies. See the new Pro-Composites Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pro-Composites-Inc/443301559088749

 

Check out the Personal Cruiser demo video on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCgRXR_u-sc

 

The next EAA SportAir Workshop is in Denver, Co April 20-21, 2013.

I'll be teaching composite construction - so you'll be sure to get the latest tips and practices.

Check EAA SportAir Workshops for details.

 

 

 

September 2012 - Vision Lycomming conical mount complete, this is for conventional landing gear.

 

 

 

 

 

August 2012 - Progress continues on the Vision Kit. There are many aspects of homebuilding an aircraft that can slow you down or bring your project to a screeching halt. For me it has been engine mounts and other welded parts. Below are a few CAD drawings I made which were used in developement of the Vision Engine mount.

 

If you are considering building a Vision there are fewer obstacles to completing one than when the aircraft was originally designed in 1996, such as a molding cowling, laser cut parts and now various weldments. All these save time and and some save money.

 

Many continue to ask about the kit. The FAP Vision kit is still in developement though I am considering a beta program of 5 builders. The plan would be to get a least one aircraft flying and then make the kit available to the general public. Someone considering the option must be able to work from the ordiginal plans and understand composite construction.

 

 

 

 

Here is the jig to assist in welding an engine mount for the Lycoming O-320 conical style. It has a 1.25 degree right offset. The jig will easily allow for a dynafocal mount or alternative engines like the Corvair.

 

 

And the completed Jig.

 

 

An actual mount to follow.

 

July 2012 - Had a great time at AirVenture. No planes there this year, the Personal Cruiser is undergoing many upgrades. Just got a new 5th bearing installed and it now has the WW reverse gold oil system, electronic ignition. A carbon fiber plenum is in the works along with a new canopy.

 

One of the hightlights at AirVenture was presenting Hotwire CNC cutting. I'll add a hotwire CNC section soon. Home building is becoming more automated and experimenting with DIY CNC is almost as fun as building an aircraft.

 

June 2012 - Cruiser Kit 15 out the door.

 

 

December 2011 - Vision Aircraft Parts Catalog ready to download

(Hint: Print it and leave it near loved ones for gift ideas!)

Just click image to download, 5 pages, 165K file.

 

Vision Parts Catalog 2011

 

 

Personal Cruiser VW mount in the works

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November 2011 - Re-designed Vision Elevator weldment now in stock for Vision Builders. Precision Manufactured. Saves a lot time, meticulous alignment and welding.

See on-line catalog to order.

 

 

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CAD model

 

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Actual part.

 

October 2011 - Manufactured and Shipped Kit A - 0014 ! on to 15. Perfected the canopies.

 

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Back to Birmingham for an assist visit. 3 piece CF spar installed

 

Vision FAP kit with 3pc spar.

 

September 2011 - Builder assist with 007 Bruce Sturgill. Taught Composite Construct at EAA's Sport Airworkshop - Prineville, OR.

 

August 2011 - Built a Kit B spar and wing.

 

July 2011 – Off for the month.  Riding out the Chicago heat wave.  Taking this year off from Airventure.    

 

June 2011 – worked on blowing and perfecting the canopies –getting close.

 

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May 2011  - Personal Cruiser Kit #13 was manufactured and shipped.
On to #14?

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April 2011

Engine mounts for the Personal Cruiser were delivered this month. From CAD to CNC profiled tubing and professional welding.  All completed and delivered.  Very satisfied with the process and quality of workmanship.

 

Personal Cruiser Corvair engine mount CAD design

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Finished engine mount

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Example of welds

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Many of them delivered a few left in stock.

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January 2011 -

Put a 8'x5' CNC router table on line.

 

 

November 2010

Canopy oven complete. Learning how not to blow a canopy!

 

 

10/12/2010

Bench testing the new electric trim for the Cruiser:

 

 

 

 

9/16/2010

Just shipped Personal Cruiser Kit #12.   It is so light,  the crated Fold-a-plane panels weighed about 100 lbs and V-tail cores were 10 lbs.  It could almost be strapped to the bottom of the Cruiser.   For anyone considering the next Kit - If you are superstitious we can skip to #14. 

 

Here is a nice video of Tyler Munson's Personal Cruiser #11 coming together:

http://www.youtube.com/user/PCBuilder011#p/a/u/1/RSGbUzkv0HQ

 

In the cradles: 

http://www.youtube.com/user/PCBuilder011

 

 

Personal Cruiser C #12 Fuselage kit "A" ready for shipment.

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The V-tail cores are now CNC hotwire foam cut.  As shown below are cut from one block and shipped with the block for protection.

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8/4/2010

Just spent a week at AirVenture 2010.  We shared the www.flycorvair.com booth, as it became the CorvAircraft Headquarters.  The Personal Cruiser was looking good and many people stopped by to check it out.  The booth was also the meeting place for numerous Vision builders.  We had the first official annual Vision gathering at Oshkosh.  Pizza and refreshments were provided by Joel Walworth, Vision #9 of Applied Vehicle Technologies http://www.avtcomposites.com/.  Both Karl Szczypta, Jim Wickert did an excellent job manning the booth and presenting the Vision and Personal Cruiser to everyone interested.

 

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AirVenture's Workshop classroom 2 was used to demonstrate moldless composites techniques daily.  I covered the basic frustrations in getting started with composites and the use of Aeropoxy in creating a large composite panel with Last-a-Foam.  Additionally the class included the laying out of templates to create ribs and demonstrated cutting techniques.

 

In all it was a lot of fun though what was missing was a flying Vision.  Who knows - maybe next year.

 

 

5/16/2010 

Spent last week with Mike Gossett working on his Vision #316 located in Birmingham, AL.  We spent the week finishing up the elevator and rudder by filling pin holes and priming including adding the lead for counter balancing.   Put in two bulkheads at sta. 110 and the sta. 60 roll over bulkhead.  They both were a bit challenging as they were put in with a fold-a-plane turtle deck.  This required shimmying my large frame into the tail cone and bonding in sta. 110 bulkhead. Also finalized and installed the final hardware for the rudder and control stick.  Formed and installed the vertical fin and strakes. A very productive visit. 

 

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4/19/2010

The trip to Sun-N-Fun 2010 was a rewarding adventure.  The converted Corvair engine performed flawlessly though the winds were not as favorable.  I departed Waukegan Regional airport just after sunrise and and made two stops in route to Lakeland, FL.  Throughout the event numerous people asked about the Personal Cruiser.  I was even able to spend a couple days with an Vision aircraft builder in Largo, FL.  Below are some photos of the trip.

 

 

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Ready for departure.

 

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Approaching the Chicago lake front in the early morning,

 

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The sun poking though over lake Michigan.

 

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Passing by Sears Tower as renamed to Willis Tower

 

 

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First stop Bowling Green, KY. Co-Mar Aviation.  Sorry - I only needed 12.5 gals for the 340nm leg.

 

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Looking good on the ramp.

 

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Made it to Lakeland and parked next to Mr. Thatcher's CX4.

 

During SNF I had the privilege to help a new builder with his Vision aircraft located in Largo, FL

The work we accomplished can be seen at this link.  Assist Visit

 

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I spent the week at SNF and headed over to Deland airport (KDED) and visited Steve Rahm. I departed early in the morn for the trip back to Chicago.  Steve is not only a great designer of aircraft but has great eye for photography and took the following series of photos.

 

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Performs as well as it looks.

 

 

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Oh boy!

 

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Split flaps seen here.

 

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Lining up for a low pass at 160+mph.

Ye ha.

 

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Look closely and you can make out the message on the underside of the wing.

 

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After a long day and 850 miles Chicago is coming in to view.

 

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The grass strip in the center of the photo is location of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair/Columbia Exposition.

The location is also known as the Midway Plaisance.

 

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Back home and ready for another adventure.

When most of your flying is done solo - consider a Personal Cruiser.

The large cockpit and seating position makes for comfortable cross country flying.

 

 

 

3/23/2010 - Flight Report:

 

I flew the Personal Cruiser last night before sunset after being hangered over the winter.  1800 ft/min initial in the climb ingesting the cool air off Lake Michigan.   Buzzed around the local area for about 20 minutes,  went WOT and saw 165-170 mph indicated for a minute or so,  then set up for approach.  Was high and fast so I slipped it, (Yes - a V-tail can slip) for about 1000 ft and greased the landing.  Had a small vibration throughout the flight,  most likely from a sticky lifter that was replaced last fall - will check that before next flight.  3200 rpm max at WOT and should be 3350 rpm.  Ample carb heat, and cabin heat - aaah.  Nice flight.  - Scott V.

 

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3/20/2010 - The Personal Cruiser Kit continues to mature.  With the spar cove cut out areas, and electrical routing all pre-cut, including scoring of the hinge line - it is estimated to save 15-20 hours of build time from using the original cores. 

 

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2/20/2010 - New CNC foam cutter for the shop -  details here.

 

1/31/2010 -  Personal Cruiser Kit #11 is out the door!

 

12/9/2009 - Personal Cruiser Info pack now available.  See the online Catalog section.

 

10/18/2009 - Check the Personal Cruiser section for photos of our active builders.  Order Kit A and become one!

 

8/19/2009 - Check the Vision section for the June 1998 Kitplanes Article or HERE - available by permission of the editor of Kitplanes.

 

8/15/2009 - What's going on with the Vision website and the plans to the aircraft? Pro-Composites under agreement sells and distributes the Vision plans and support for American Affordable Aircraft.  The Vision dream is still available to all who want to take on the challenge and build this "Big Bang for the Buck" aircraft.  The Vision section of this website includes all of the original Vision website content.  Peruse at will.

 

8/7/2009 - Can you really make a strong composite structure?  The plans for the Vision show you how.  A test as shown below was conducted this week by the CAA in S. Africa on Pieter Botha's Vision 342, .  This was a 6 g load test at 1250 gross.  The load distribution in not typical which added even more stress to the wings.  Additionally, 200kg was added (440lbs) beyond the 6g load test.  The ailerons were able to move freely throughout the test.   Order a set plans and get started today HERE

 

 

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8/2/2009 - AirVenture 2009 was a blast!  We met with hundreds of people.  Karl Szczypta, Jim Wickert and Joel Walworth - all Vision plans holders fielded thousands of questions on the Personal Cruiser and Vision.  We were co-located in the Aviation Learning Center with many of the new electric powered aircraft.  

 

From Waukegan, IL the flight in the Cruiser lasted only an hour to get up to Osh.  Probably one of the nicest morning flights I have had in a while.  The early morning smooth air was a delight. 

 

Here are a few photos from the Affordable Aircraft Center.  There was a huge amount of interest in both the Personal Cruiser and Vision.  This was the first time a Vision has been at Oshkosh.  The Vision fuselage pictured below and to the right was built by the late Ken Ulrick.  His craftsmanship was very inspiring.

 

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Karl tirelessly answered questions all day

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Jim explains the benefits of FoldaPlane.

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Jim just getting started.

 

 

At Osh we introduced a full kit for the Vision in Fast build form.  Get the Osh 2009 Vision Handout here.  The Personal Cruiser Osh 2009 handout is located here.

 

We enjoyed the event and are making plans for next year.  Join the growing family of builders today and build your dream.

 

Scott VanderVeen

Pro-Composites, Inc.

 

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7/23/2009 - We're packed up and leaving for Osh Friday morning.   Will be setting up in the Affordable Aircraft Center.  This is the first time a Vision will be at Osh - complete or otherwise.  See you there.  The Cruiser is sporting a new prop from Sensenich - An absolute work of art. It's a 64x47 giving better climb and yet to be determined top end.  It was installed yesterday and flight tested.  Wx only allowed pattern work but tomorrow looks like the Wx will be perfect in the morning for the quick flight to Airventure.

 

7/7/2009 - We're planning for AirVenture 2009.  See us at the Affordable Aircraft Center near the homebuilt line up  Hope to have an "in progress" Vision fuselage and the Personal Cruiser there.

 

4/29/2009 - EAA photo coverage, photo #18: http://www.eaa.org/apps/galleries/gallery.aspx?ID=165

 

 

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4/27/2009 -  

The Personal Cruiser made it to Sun-n-Fun this year!  Over 2000 miles round trip and just 60 gals of fuel.  The tent, sleeping bag and clothes, literature etc. fit and was in still in CG.  There was a window of VFR flying on Monday afternoon so I launched before the forecasted IMC and made it around the occasional light rain and landed in southern Indiana later that afternoon.

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I took off the next morning with another stop in Thomaston-Upson County Airport, GA to take on 12 gallons of fuel and continued to Lakeland, FL.  Most of the flight was in light to moderate turbulence.  I am glad I was not flying in the LSA weight parameters as the Cruiser handled more like a Cherokee - bouncy but tolerable.  When the gusts finally subsided near the Georgia/Florida border - the ride was a smooth airline quality ride, almost surreal.  Typical fuel burn was 3.5 gallons per hour.   The prop, according to the Sensenich rep is a hi-rpm prop - so when approaching 2900 rpm it seemed the speed went up and fuel burn went down so I am slowly dialing in the optimum cruise efficiency for the 2700cc converted Corvair engine. 
 
While at SNF an EAA reporter interviewed me about the Cruiser and I also flew with the Cruiser with EAA's photo plane/photographer.  I think they liked the new paint scheme!  Who knows maybe we'll get some publicity from it.

 

Fellow Vision builder Terry Peterson stopped by and checked out the Cruiser.

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Upgrades - The next round of improvement will be with the instrument panel.  The Edo-Aire transponder works but the old LED's are barely readable.  This was fine for basic test flying, but with eventual light IFR or even VFR flight following, it proved to be a challenge getting the correct squawk codes set.  An EFIS and moving mapping coming too.  The kneeboard worked fine with my GPS/Control Vision equipped Dell Axim X51v.  Never needed a chart - though they were in the plane.

 
I met with a few more vendors and will be coming up with 3 panel options for builders who do not want to build that portion.  Also received discounted pricing from UMA instruments incase you want to do it yourself.  This will be available for Personal Cruiser and Vision Builders.
 
Saturday I flew over to Daytona to meet up with Steve Rahm.  On Sunday morning the return was a blast.  With a tailwind the ground speed was 155-160 knots (178-184mph). This made for return time of about 7 hours from Florida to Waukegan, IL (North of Chicago).
 
I look forward to having a few more Personal Cruisers and Visions in the air.  If anyone wants to check out the Cruiser or a 60% complete Vision, or the 90% complete 4 place come by for a visit at the new hanger located on Waukegan Regional Airport (KUGN).
 
Happy building,
Scott VanderVeen

 

 

 

3/2/2009 - Personal Cruiser Kit #0010 "A" goes out the door. Kit's  B, C and D to follow.

 

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It is amazing that from the 76" x 4" x 47" 94 lb box shown above the airframe below is produced.  $139 in shipping from Chicago to California.  

 

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12/7/2008 - Personal Cruiser is back together.  Nav lighting installed and a landing light.  New radios installed.  Waiting for good weather for flying.  Cabin heat, wheel pants and additional fairings next.

This is not the LSA version - as we should get close to 170 mph when all the fairings are installed.

 

 

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8/9/2008 - The Personal Cruiser is undergoing final painting. Hope to back in the air in 2-3 weeks.

 

 

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It should look like this when complete

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From the builders -

 

Bruce Sturgill builder 007- is working on his canopy:

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Our new builder in Canada - going gang busters on PC #009 - fuselage together in a couple weeks

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Of all the new V-tails - which one can you afford?

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Personal Cruiser Kit's are $9,300 - in the air for $18,500  - the kit requires 800 hours to assemble - but stay tuned for a super fast build.

 

 

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7/16/2008 -   The Personal Cruiser is undergoing many systems changes in order to support our kit builders and to improve its all around utility. Increased Fuel load, improved brakes, Nav lighting, new radios and control stick are just to name a few. On top of that the plane is undergoing a complete paint job. I haven't ruled out Osh this year but with all the work to remain - it is doubtful.  We should be back in the air by mid-August if we don't make it to Osh.  Stay tuned.

Anyone interested in the Personal Cruiser, Vision or Freedom is welcome to stop in at KUGN if you are on the way to Osh.  A new addition is a 75% complete Vision (2-place) in our new hanger - waiting to be completed.

 

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4/11/2008 - Sun-n-fun 2008 Update (From Chicago).  The Personal Cruiser was ready to go on Wednesday this past week to make the trip from Chicago to Lakeland, FL.  I departed in the afternoon hoping to get into northern Georgia by sunset and about 100 miles into the trip, the integrated handheld radio decided not to continue charging and went dead.  I headed back to the home airport at Waukegan.  I used my cell phone to pick up a clearance to land from the tower which made for an uneventful return.

 

The weather for the week provided for one decent day of flying and Wednesday was it.  The trip would have been nice all though the deluge of rain and the unofficial renaming of the event to Mud-n-Fun eased the pain of missing it.  

 

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The Plus side

 

- new fuel cell worked great - now with nearly 16 gallons available - 500 mile legs are possible. 

 

- Weight and Balanced worked as planned including a heavy pilot (250lbs, its been a long winter!) and 25 lbs in the baggage area plus 15.5 gals of fuel.  The wt. and Bal. was verified with digital scales and was still at 34% and 36% is max.  The new conformed fuel tank moves the fuel forward and also the CG was helped with relocating the battery and ELT to the front of the plane. 

 

- New exhaust system with a more effective carb heat worked perfectly providing a good 20-25c increase from ambient temperature.  This will most likely improve when the bottom cowling is faired in. Currently the heat muff pulls in some of the outside air.  With bottom faired in, warmed air from the engine compartment will feed the heat muff.

 

William Wynne presented the idea of using the standard factory Corvair exhaust logs for an internal exhaust.  I used two "shortys" which just fit in the cowling.  A small bump will be added soon to enclose them completely into the cowling. I had the 2 to 1 exhaust fabricated by Jim Quinn's Cassis Service Unlimited - located right next to airport, his work is typically highlighted in the drag racing world and most recently by creating the worlds fast Kirkland Cobra.  Needless to say the work is professional and well thought out. The mild steel will be ceramic coated after a few more hours of flight. So far it has three successful hours on it.

 

The idea to use a "pull-off" muffler from a sport bike came from our lead builder David Voit.  These are plentiful and fairly light weight.  The ID is 2" and easily provides a free flowing exhaust. It is has greatly reduced the sound inflight - though bystanders will miss the music of the open stacks.

 

- With the new internal exhaust came the installation of a Bosch O2 sensor and an indicator from SDS. It worked great and ensured the perfect stoichiometry.

 

The next planned upgrades -

- A pair of dash mounted radios

-CABIN Heat!

-Modify the cowling for Ram air induction to pressurize the carb box and close up old exhaust stack holes.

-Install new spinner as the current 64x52 Sensenich prop is a keeper.

-Nav and Landing lights. (LED Nav's and strobes with a single HID landing light coming)

-Wheel pants

- Finish Paint! - yes the current is still a white epoxy primer.

 

If you want to join the fun order a Kit today!

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3/11/2008 - Vision-4/Freedom progress webpage completely updated.  New exhaust being finished this week. 

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2/29/2008 - Added Forum links to Vision and Cruiser information pages. New tail wheel spring added to Vision parts catalog. 

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2/28/2008 - Updated the site to reflect the aircraft and available parts