Page 23: Taxi testing completed Nieuport 11s
Ray is the first completion. This page shows his beginning flight testing, starting with slow taxi work. This will work out any bugs, such as in the tail wheel, engine cooling and landing gear.
Ray is ready for taxi testing.
Torn up cheapie tail wheel
Ray ready for some taxi work on 10/07/02. He started on 10/05/02 and has tested about 1-1/2 hours so far. Note that he is not wearing the prescribed Nieuport gear (goggles, leather helmet and white scarf).

To recap: The engine is a two cylinder 900 cc BMW R90/6 (1974) motorcycle engine with a Rotax "C" redrive. The taxiing engine RPM is about 3000-3500. 

His Nieuport (empty) weighs about 465 pounds. With pilot and full fuel tanks -- 13 gallons -- the aircraft weighs about 700 pounds.


The original cheapie scooter tailwheel from Walmart tore up in about 1-1/2 hours. He was on grass about 90% of the time going no faster than 20 mph. He put on a more expensive tailwheel and no damage after 1/2 hour.

The weight on the tailwheel is 65 pounds empty and 123 pounds with Ray inside and about two gallons of fuel. Ray weighs around 170 pounds.


Ray slow taxi testing
Ray slow taxi testing
One view of the taxi testing on 10/07/02.
Another view of the taxi testing.
Ray's Nieuport in flight, though not on the first day he flew it. -- no camera available then!
Ray's mishap 12/28/02 -- only damage is to landing gear -- prop had been taken off before photo was taken.
Ray flew his Nieuport around the pattern at the Wrens airport on 12/26/02 for its first flight. He was still having some difficulty cooling the BMW engine and was going to build a pressure baffling system around the engine.

According to witness Ralph Powell (another Escadrille of Wrens Nieuport builder) Ray did a faster than usual taxi to the end of the grass runway, turned around, started moving, engine revved up to flight speed, and he just flew off the runway, went around the pattern at about 500 feet and made a fine landing.

CHT, EGT and oil temperature were all in the red so Ray had to land quickly on 12/28/02. Unfortunately he landed a bit hard and bent the main gear. No damage to fuselage or wings (or him!) except for a bent wingtip. The motorcycle wheels were not damaged either. His tailwheel and tailwheel assembly (described earlier) came through unscathed. The aluminum landing gear spacer bent up so he's going to put in a chromolly one. Also he's putting on a chromolly double axle since the aluminum double axle broke at the left wheel - it's sticking up to the left of the aircraft in the photo. The cost of all the repair parts was around $50!
In "defense" of Ray:
Note that even the Dawn Patrol folks have had some landing gear problems. Besides those mentioned in the KitPlanes articles, on 08/22/02 Dick Lemons wrote about an incident this summer "The almost -a- ground loop I had a few weeks ago pretty much proved the worth of these [Workman wheels]. Completely moving sideways on the runway, entire weight "+" on the right wheel and tail wheel. Bent the chromoly axle, peeled the tire from the Wicks tailwheel . . ."

Side note: There's no snow on the ground and the grass is still somewhat green and it's two days after Christmas! Too bad our Northern Nieuport Cousins can't be here.

Ray replaced the cross-brace with chromolly tubing
Ray's finished repairs
Above we see the repairs that Ray made to the landing gear using chromolly rather than aluminum for the cross-brace spacer and the axle. Repairs were finished the second week of January, 2003. 
Ray's modified cowling so the BMW engine will cool
Ray had a cooling problem with his BMW engine -- everything was redline after a couple of minutes of flight. So, after experimenting with EVERYTHING he enlarged the cowl opening to an oval shape and then painted the front so it looked like it should (more or less). Engine temperatures dropped by 100 degrees. Also note that he has a use a three-bladed prop with the redrive. Not noticeable unless the engine is not running. 

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