Wheels & Brakes
I decided on the Matco tripple puck wheels, brakes, parking brake and Michlin tires from Infinity Aerospace. They have almost double the stopping power. There have been many arguments about brakes in the mail list. Some, including Nat, say the plans Clevelands are just fine and you don't need anything more. My thoughts are that I probably don't need that additional stopping power 99.9% of the time. However, if I can have the insurance and save a few dollars as well. Why not do it?
I originally planned to get the one piece turtleback from AeroCad. I wanted the smooth finish and the larger windows in the AeroCanard. You can see the difference in these pictures. The Cozy rear window is much higher because of the urathane fairing between the strake and the fuselage. You loose quite a bit of the lower front side window also. Jeff's Aerocanard turtleback & cowling comes in one piece from F0 to and including the engine cowling. It's a little wider at the back but it will fit a Cozy IV tub. The pictures are of a plans built Cozy (Dave Higgins) and Jeff's Aerocanard. Jeff's turtleback on a plans Cozy tub gives you a bit of a
window sill at the back, but I've seen it and it looks fine. The other advantage is that in one fell swoop
the top of the fuselage is perfectly contoured and in primer. Most plan's built canards I've seen have
a few wiggles and bumps in the complex curves of these parts.
Unfortunately, cash flow didn't allow purchase of a prefab TB from Jeff, so I built my own. However. I didn't give up on having larger windows. I made my own oversize windows from flat acrylic supplied by Airplane Plastics when I bought the canopy. See Chapter 18
Headrests and TB1 bulkhead
I don't like the closed in feeling in the back, and I don't like not being able to reach into the back seat during flight. I've dispensed with the trianglular bars that come down when the canopy is closed and will be using much smaller headrests. I don't plan to land it while inverted, but I added a 1/4 semicircle of spar cap glass for structural support. I removed a 2 inch wide strip of foam so the bulkhead is completely invisible.
I finally found the perfect solution for my headrests. I'd been to the junkyard and picked up two headrests out of a Jaguar. When I came to put them in the plane I decided they were too tall and entirely the wrong shape. I want something that will support the back of the neck, not just the head. The perfect answer had been riding around behind me in my own car. The rear headrests from my SAAB 9000 Turbo are curved at the front and extend down the seat to fill the V at the back of your neck. They're very comfortable. I ripped one out of the car, cut a slit in the top of the seat back, bent the headrest supporting bar a little and installed it temporarily. The angle of the bar (now I've bent it a bit) is just right to go down the inside of the seatback without protruding out of the back of the seat. I can make a BID / Flox reinforcement to hold the headrest support bar and permit removal as needed. The height of the headrest above the seatback is only about 3 inches, and it supports my neck perfectly. Now I know it fits, I'll get a couple of these from a junked Saab - if I can find one. Saabs are tough to break!
I wasn't happy with the quality of the parts I received from Ken Brock. I sent a letter to Ken personally telling him about the problems I had and didn't get a reply. So I got most of my hardware from another builder who has a machine shop and is making his own hardware.
I've spent a while trying to decide on which electric nose lift to get. They are now available from three sources - Steve Wright, AeroCad and Jack Wilhelmson. I hear there's another one also, but I forget the name. The electric lift only costs a few hundred more when you deduct the parts you'd have to buy from Brock, and I really like the way it works. Cranking a handle at the two most dangerous points in a flight doesn't seem like a good idea. Jack WIlhelmson's lift is smaller than the other two and doesn't get in the way of the instruments. I ended up getting Jack's unit. He also makes an auto retract unit which I'll probably get later.
Electric Landing Brake
The electric actuator approach seems much neater and simpler, and again - it saves me buying expensive, dubious quality hardware and makes the center armrest smaller.
I got my rudder pedals from Dennis Oelmann. His sets sell for $350.00 including shipping in the U.S. They are very sturdy and adjustable on both sides.
Wayne Hick's did a nice job with hanging velocity pedals, but I'm very happy with my semi standard set up. Apparantly Wayne has very big feet and didn't like having the rudder bars on the floor. They don't get in the way of my size 8s at all. I was very pleased when my pedals arrived. What a beautiful piece of work! I was expecting welded steel, or maybe powder coated. What I got was white enamel with all the rods and sliders needed. My compliments to Dennis. I just hope the outside of the plane looks as good when it's painted.
I planned to follow Marc Zeitlin and Brian DeFord's example and put landing lights in the nose. I changed my mind and ended up with two lights under the fuselage (which I may remove) and one small but powerful light in the tip of the nose. See my neverending landing light saga in Chapter 13 and Chapter 17. (Note - in case you hadn't noticed, the fuselage is upside down in the above picture).
Hidden Canopy hinges
I didnt like the canopy hinges sticking out in the breeze, so
I modified the canopy top to cover them. I can only open my canopy to about 60 degrees before the canopy hits the fuselage, but that doesnt seem to be much of a problem. Details of how I did this are in Chapter 18.
I didn't like the ugly Whelan lights, and I particularly didnt like the price. Almost $800 for a few bulbs and fittings! I decided to make my own wingtip fairings and fit lights into it. First I carved a piece of blue foam to a "pleasing shape" covering the end of the wingtip and curving onto the winglet. I made the curvature to match the wing. I covered the foam with duct tape, duct taped it place, then glassed it with 2 ply BID. I carried the glass onto the wing and winglet to give me a 1/2 inch lip. Next I fitted 4 nut plates along the edge of the wing, 2 top and 2 bottom, taped the cover for release and screwed it in place. I needed a way to hold the back of the cover in place against the winglet, so I glassed a lip onto the winglet. The edge of the cover is a push fit between this lip and the winglet. All I have to do now is fit green, red and white lenses. I have some small automotive type strobes which "seem" very bright. We'll see.
Charmaine has made only one request concerning the plane.... it must have A/C. I know, I know, "if you throw it up and it comes back down; it can't go in the plane". Well, I'm sorry, but the lady wants A/C, the lady gets A/C. My own perspective on this is that flying without A/C in S. Florida can be an important safety issue. I've had many experiences in Cessnas and my Piper Cherookee where the heat and humidity have been such that the sweat is rolling off my head and stinging my eyes. Take, for example, the mid air between a Lear and an Extra aerobatic plane over Boca Raton in mid 1999. Apart from all the other issues, the Extra had taken off a few minutes earlier after being parked on the ramp for hours. It was around noon on a very hot summer day. I'd be willing to bet that the pilot of the Extra was VERY hot and uncomfortable. Perhaps he had sweat in his eyes. We'll never know. Perhaps the heat in his cockpit contributed in some way to the accident, perhaps not. Personally, I like to be cool calm and collected when flying. A temperature of 100F or more in the cockpit sure doesn't help you're concentration.
Yes, I know you don't need AC once you get to 10,000 feet, and I know the Cozy can get there quickly. There are also plenty of times where you have to cope with the humidity while puttering around at 1000 feet.
Finally, my logic for adding air is overall comfort. I understand the rational that a light plane flys better. Some prefer to have a spartan, utilitarian plane for the ultimate in performance. I lan to use this plane for lots of long trips with two on board. If I can get a reasonable gross weight with 400lbs of passengers and full fuel and still have my comfort I'll be happy.
I'm planning on getting a full A/C system (compressor, condenser, evaporator, pipes) from a Honda Civic or similar and adding an extra pully to drive it. Hopefully this will add around 35lb. With a bit of luck, I'll save that much using the Mazda 13B. If adding the AC means we can only have light people in the back, so be it.
Details of the AC installation.
I'll be using a Mazda 13B rotary engine instead of the recommended Lycoming. I like the idea of very having few moving parts and less chance of a stopped prop caused by catastrophic failure. Of all the alternative engines I've looked into, the Mazda seems to be by far the best option. See Chapter 23 for details.
Because I'll be running Electronic Fuel Injection for the Mazda engine I've reengineered the fuel system considerably. One of the changes is relevant whatever engine you're installing - I used aluminum flanges for the fuel outlets rather than floxing the pipes through the tank wall. See Chapter 21 for details.