The X Files
Chuck Bodeen’s article on X-Plane [November 2011] was very informative, but somewhat misleading, in that you don’t have to create your own airfoils. X-Plane comes with a selection of airfoils from Clark Y to NACA 64-208 (supersonic). But wait, there’s more: If you go to www.x-plane.org you will find literally thousands of planes of all description that, once you join the “org,” you can download free! Also at the site are links to creators of payware planes, most of them excellent. Currently I am flying a virtual Carenado C152 in the evening in X-Plane and receiving flight instruction in a real C152 in the morning. The simulator time has really helped (get the rudder pedals).
Chuck Bodeen responds: Usually it is not necessary to go to great lengths as I did to create an airfoil. However, X-Plane airfoil properties are only very approximate outside the range of -20 AOA to +20 AOA. The Zenith STOL CH 750 is designed to operate at higher angles of attack, so special methods were used.
Excitingly, the “Alternative Energies” column expands every month. Yes indeed, we are living among the next generation of Thomas Edisons and Wright brothers in this fledgling field. Can you imagine that the kit plane industry, of all things, is on the cutting edge of these developments? What a boost to our industry!
On the horizon is the vision of the oil giants such as Exxon determining that its more profitable to keep the oil in the ground and out of our lungs.
Instead, they can manufacture the new-tech batteries while turning gas stations into a network of charging stations.
A prediction: Whichever country is home to the inventor who discovers that magical breakthrough moment in battery perfection will truly be the next new world power.
Manufacturing and selling that product to an insatiable worldwide demand will be on a level with the light bulb, Model T and iPod. Hopefully it’s the USA. We need it. We can do it.
Thank you for sending another great issue (December 2011)! I especially enjoy Dean Sigler, who writes informative and thought-provoking articles on alternative energies.
His previous article, “Liberté! Egalité! Electricité!” in the November 2011 issue was quite extraordinaire!
I am pleased that KITPLANES® has taken the initiative to introduce readers to the future of aviation through such a learned contributor.
I have flown every one of the aircraft shown in the table on p. 13 [RV-12, December 2011] and enjoyed them all. But I built an RV-9 that has 250 hours on it and find the performance amazing, more so than what is indicated in the article. The engine is a Superior Air Parts IO-320 with a fixed-pitch prop. Here is a data set I recently recorded: Alt 11 Kft, OAT 42° F, 56% hp, 2320 rpm, 18.6 inches MAP, IAS 116 kts (133 nmph), TAS 139 kts (160 nmph), fuel rate 5.2 gph. I get 30.8 statute miles per gallon at 160 mph!