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Personal Cruiser - Flight Reports



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.






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.  



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.




11/18/2007  More test flights.  Some just for fun :).  Working on the demonstrated cross wind.  So far 11kts, with plenty of rudder authority remaining.  As soon as the conditions are conducive for further testing that number should go up. The Corvair engine is now over 100hrs and has been completely trouble free.   In progress - installing a more robust carb heat.  The current system is fine to about 40F.  Also a heater muff for cabin heat. 

 Internal exhaust, the short stacks have a great sound and looks but an internal system will allow for the possible addition of a muffler and be more stream lined.  Other upgrades coming, wheel pants, larger fuel capacity and internal lighting and navigation lights.  Stay tuned.  Our beta builders are showing great progress and have done a wonderful job proofing the construction manuals.  Order a Personal Cruiser kit now and you could be sitting in your fuselage by Christmas.


9/26/2007 - Another flight today.  At 7,500 ft I set power to find the best economy.  116 mph and 2.5 gph.  That's 46.4 mpg.  No wheel pants or fairings.  50 mpg coming soon!


9/22/2007 - Though Morgan flew the Cruiser from Daytona Beach to Oshkosh, I had not done any distance with the PC.  So over the weekend I did my first long x-country in the Personal Cruiser to go to the annual KR gathering. The PC prototype has a 12 gal tank so I set the cruise at 3.0 gph and made the 290 miles to KMVN. The fuel flow total was 8.9 gallons which makes overall 32.5 mpg at a trip average of 116 mph. I took off just after sunrise and was there in about 2.5 hours. I'll need to start thinking about cabin heat soon as it was 55F when taking off.  It was good to rub elbows with other real home builders.  As soon at our builders finish their PC's we'll have a gathering too!  


9/18/2007 - Installed and tested our new Sensenich 64x52 prop.  A good climb at 1120 lbs gw of 700-1000 fpm and top end was 150mph at 3100 rpm.  That was burning only 4.8gph.   Fairings and wheel pants should add another 10+mph.  This is a good economy prop.


9/13/2007 - Top speed now 156 mph.  We installed a borrowed Sterba 52x56 wood prop to see what changes might come about.   We did get 2900 static, but on the roll it appears that it was partially stalled then finally started to bite.  Climb was unimpressive but top speed finally settled in at 150 mph indicated (156 mph CAS).  We are thinking the prop is too small and has too much pitch.  According to William Wynne at www.flycorvair.com a 64x52 should be more inline for the speed we are looking for.


At 150 mph, the max RPM was about the same as the Warp Drive at 3150 but 15 mph faster.  Fuel burn at 4.8 to 5.0 gph.  Not sure if we are getting full HP from the Corvair.  We're looking into it.


 Economy passed the 40 mpg mark at 41.7 mpg.  125 mph CAS at 3.0 gph.  118 mph indicated and calibrated for OAT.  These are good numbers but there is still room for improvement.


We'll be installing a new Sensenich 64x52 in week or two. A few more mph should be obtained plus the addition of wheel pants and fairings will help.


9/5/2007 - We have finalized the Personal Cruiser LSA configuration.  If you want to build your PC as an LSA - GW is set at 1,050 lbs.  With the Corvair engine you should be a pilot that weighs less than 200lbs.  If you happen to be a larger pilot then lighter power plant will be required - a Jabiru 80, or Rotax 80-100 hp, or VW conversion will provide an adequate useful load for pilots up to 275 lbs.  Also the use of Vortex Generators will be required.  If you have to have the Corvair engine and you weigh more than 200lbs then a leading edge cuff can be installed to bring the stall down a few more mph. 

Still waiting to get in on an affordable LSA?  - it's ready now! We have kit "A" #009 on the shelf and waiting to be turned into YOUR Personal Cruiser!

Also last week a 6' - 3.5" pilot sat in the PC with plenty of room.

What's Next? We are currently installing a new prop and should see some higher top end speeds shortly - stay tuned... testing to begin next week.


8/28/2007 - Tested the stability at 35% - or cg at 32.7.  The PC was still stable but did not converge as quickly as the flight at 32%. 

Also slow flight was tested 55-65 mph then to a full stall (52-53mph).  Was given a noticeable buffet prior to sharp nosing over.  Non event, pulled power, full left rudder and eased back to level.  Lost 1000.   GW was 1106 lbs today and full fuel.   32.7 is set as the aft CG of the PC.  

 Side note greased the landing too!

 Scott VanderVeen


8/25/2007 - New instrument panel installed - more knee room for the current 6' 2" test pilot. 


8/3/2007 - Stability testing went well today.  Tested aft cg is now 31.1".  Next is 32.0.  Great visibility today and clear skies.  85.6 tt.


8/2/2007 -  Another Flight today to 8,500 feet.  Climb at GW of 1140 lbs had between 700 and 1000 fpm climb at 90 -100mph.  Time for a new prop as the current prop does not provide the performance that this engine can supply.  Set a lazy Cruise at 125 mph TAS and 3.4 gph.  Another 1.4 hours, makes 84.8 hours total on the Cruiser.  Stability testing next.



Morgan and I finished up AirVenture 2007 and flew loose formation back to Waukegan on Sunday. 



The Personal Cruiser will be located at Waukegan, IL KUGN for a few weeks as Morgan relocates the composite shop from Daytona Beach to Vero Beach.

Today was my (Scott's) turn to fly the Personal Cruiser.  After the first high-speed taxi we decided to add small aluminum pads on the heal brakes.  The modification gave much better feel and braking pressure.  The next two taxi runs allowed me to get comfortable with the left turning torque of the Corvair engine and by the second run I was able to keep it centered and begin to get the feel of it.   I decided to take her up and after cleared for take-off the Cruiser soon had another pilot.  Just after rotation it took a second to get the feel of the stick pressure for stable flight, as there is not a trim system - yet.   Visual reference and hand eye coordination soon came together and a stable positive rate of climb began.


I climbed out at 100 mph and kept the speed up most of the flight.  This flight had significantly more weight than other flights at 1,112 lbs gross weight.  The ambient air temp was 93 degrees and the Cruiser climbed well, 600-700 fpm.  I leveled off at 3,300 feet, and did some lazy S-turns. The roll rate is very quick.  The plane flies true though needs near continuous left rudder due to the left turning prop and the proto-type engine has no off-set.   Then set it up for cruise and pulled the mixer and throttle back and 110 mph, 3.4 gph.  Approach was at 100 mph and began to bleed off the speed over the numbers.  There was a good float but not excessive and the mains touched smoothly, though I had slight heel pressure on the brake, (Need to  remember to get my heels off them) and the nose came down harder than expected.   Rolled to the taxi way and joined Morgan back at Stick-n-Rudder Flying Club.


This is an event I WILL NEVER FORGET!   - Scott


The Cruiser made the trip from Daytona Beach to Oshkosh for AirVenture 2007.   Morgan and Scott joined up just near Gary, IN (KGYY) and flew together to Waukegan, IL (KUGN).  Then from there to Osh.  Here's a photo take from Scott's Cherokee while passing through Chicago.


The Personal Cruiser's location at Airventure is in front of the AirVenture Arch on the Homebuilt line-up.  It's hard to miss.  We hope to see you there!



 6/9/2007   New Movie!!


We have our VG's installed and have lowered the stall with the Corvair powered Personal Cruiser to 53 mph.  We are currently verifying the actual stall speed and the LSA gross weight will be determined soon.  Picture below test flight at 7000'.


4/23/2007 - Wow  - what a week at Sun N Fun.  Special thanks to all the people who stopped by and checked out the Personal Cruiser.  We were extremely pleased with the interest and feedback about the design.  


We had a mix of pilots -  from retiring airline pilots looking for something fun and affordable to build and fly to aging pilots looking for the same but able to convert to an LSA for medical reasons.  Then there were many interested younger pilots who wanted a good looking plane for building time cheaply while having fun doing it.  A 1000 hours in the Cruiser would cost substantially less than building that time in a rented C-152. 


One of the highlights was flying daily in showcase at Sun N Fun.  The showcase is just before the air show and is reserved for new designs.  Our friend from Contact! Magazine Nick Wood did an excellent job announcing the Personal Cruiser and interviewing Scott about different aspects of the plane.


Also Morgan flew each morning in the circuit around the airport.  On Sunday Morgan flew chase behind Bill Clapp's KR2 and from the ground looked like they were having a blast - good thing the Cruiser wasn't sporting guns!


The sound of the Personal Cruiser, if you have never heard it fly by - it is reminiscent of a WWII fighter - with the open exhaust stacks it is simply music to the ears - we had numerous comments of  "that plane sounds good!" 


On the return flight to Daytona Beach Monday,  Morgan flew next to Gus's Corvair Powered Wag-a-bond - while matching the speed of 110 mph the Cruiser had 3.0 gph vs. 5.5 gph on the Wag-a-Bond- not surprising but does show what a clean airframe can do for efficiency.  



3/26/2007 - We have flown off our 40 hours and now are fine tuning.  The stall testing has confirmed a very predictable mush, observable with wing tufting - Morgan has easily taken it in and out of stall.  Max gross testing is coming soon along with our final specifications.  We have not met the LSA stall criteria as of yet - but we are still working on it.  As best we can tell the stall is at 58 mph.  We will be at Sun-n-Fun! - Yes finally after 2 years, we'll be there.  Morgan and the Personal Cruiser will be in the Automotive Line-up.  Since we are being co-sponsored by Contact! Magazine  - Scott VanderVeen will be manning booth C-63, please stop by and see us!

We are delivering kits now - what are you waiting for?  Get an order in before the SNF rush!


2/6/2007 - A few good numbers! 1800 fpm average to 6000 feet.  420' Takeoff roll,  Economy cruise at 110 mph on 3 gph.  No wheel pants or tweaked prop pitch.  Details Here


11/25/2006  - Test flight Report and progress. Details Here


11/17/2006  - Test flight Report and progress. Details Here


11/9/2006  - Test flight today.   Details HERE