I've just returned from another trip down to Tehachapi where most of the work on the HP-24 project is progressing. The purpose of this weekend's trip was to deliver a set of full-size drawings for the fuselage, and also to deliver the female mold that will be used to produce the weel well bulkheads and interstitials.
To recap earlier developments, since the time we completed the forward fuselage molds, I've changed my mind about what the standard fuselage configuration is going to be. Instead of the composite forward/metal aft fuselage like the HP-18s, I've decided that the standard fuselage will be composite from nose to tail. It will be molded in right and left halves, and be bonded together before delivery to the builder.
Here's how we're going to get from where we are to where we're now going: We'll mold a forward fuselage from our current molds, and then use that as part of the plug for developing the aft fuselage shape. That will give us a full-fuselage plug that consists of a molded forward fuselage and a hand-sculpted aft fuselage. We'll use that to make molds for the aft portion, which we'll then attach permanently to the existing forward fuselage molds. And after the molds are completed, we'll cut away the molded forward fuselage section, and use it either as a ground display article, or as part of the development aircraft.
This weekend I also inspected the canopy transparency plug, which is just a couple hours of sanding away from getting sent off to the molding house that will supply the plexiglass transparencies. I'll probably order two transparencies straight off, and then have them stand by for more when kit production starts.
While I was in Southern California, I also dropped in at the California City headquarters of Caracole Soaring. That gave me an opportunity to visit with Cindy Brickner and Martin Eiler. Marty has flown a lot of the kit sailplanes originally manufactured by Advanced Soaring Concepts, so it was interesting and educational to get his perspectives on those ships.
Going forward, our next hurdle is going to be the detail design of the prototype wings. I obviously know what the spar looks like, and I also know the planform and profiles. What I need to do is develop the detail design of the root ribs, lift fittings, and main pins. The challenge there is to arrive at a three-dimension design that easily reconciles with both the prototype moldless wings, and also the molded sandwich wings that will follow. Stay tuned for more.
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page updated 28 October 2002 all text and graphics copyright (c) 2002 HP Aircraft, LLC