Most of you are aware of what is currently happening at eagle R&D, however those who are not may appreciate a brief update:
1. Current production:
We are on time with deliveries on the 2nd production run and are filling the order book for the third run which will start in the August/September time frame. We have just past a major production milestone. The second generation tooling for machining the rotor blade spars worked perfectly and we now have the CNC grinding capability in house for all the cutting tools. It is a long term dream come true for us to be able to produce this quality of rotor and be able to sell it for 1/2 the price others get for their blades. The "figure o merit" (lift efficiency) of these rotors is phenomenal. The actual H.P. to the rotor in hover flight (it's the same at 75MPH) is 51 H.P.. This is 14 lbs of lift per H.P.. If you consider all losses including the tail rotor, it's still way over 11lbs of lift per H.P..
2. Corporate Progress:
Eagle had hired a new engineer who is in training for production manager. Blake graduated with honors from Cal Poly technical School in Pomona, California. This is one of the premier aerospace and engineering schools in California. He is also a highly qualified tool maker and CNC programmer. In the next 60 days he will be completing the balance of the VMC programming for the HELICYCLE. The CNC programming task has been going on now for approximately 3 years. We are delighted to see the completion of this undertaking.
3. Power Plant Development:
Most of you know that we have been struggling for the past 6 months to get out engine dynamometer to work properly. You can easily tell from the video we sent you that we were greatly relieved and pleases to finally solve this difficult problem. It only took 2 weeks for us to make the modifications necessary to the intake, exhaust, and ignition system and collect all the data we needed to freeze the design & install it in the ship. The next step will be to complete the tooling for all of the components we will be supplying for the engine installation kit. We will be calling each builder after the "Sun-n-fun" air show to discuss the engine situation. Please feel free to call us sooner if you care to do so.
We are also very close to an elegant solution (elegant defined as:
simple, effective & low cost) to the main drive belt slippage
problem we encountered when we increased the power available so dramatically
in the production HELICYCLE. This is another thorny problem which
has taken time for us to get our arms around. We praise God these
two problems are finally behind us.
During my tenure as a helicopter designer and test pilot, I must admit that I was never completely satisfied with the flying capabilities or handling qualities of any of my machines. I was happy to give hundreds of rides to folks who may even have been helicopter pilots, however I never wanted any truly qualified rotary wing test pilot to evaluate our equipment. Like my friend Dick Van Grunsven it has taken me many years to get everything just exactly right. Not that the first of the RV series or my first scorpion were no flyable and safe to operate, they just needed fine tuning in a lot of areas. Sometimes this is a point of design, sometimes it requires an "elegant" solution, sometimes it relates to a production process problem, sometimes it's a tolerance problem, sometimes it's a vibration problem and the list goes on. My point here is that the HELICYCLE is very close to being just right in enough ways so that this time around I actually look forward to having some truly qualified test pilots check it out. You are going to have more fun with this machine that you know, so get back in that garage and get busy!!