Monday, September 10, 2012

UAV Heli Project

Aero Telemetry designed, integrated, and tested several different engine systems for an unmanned helicopter project. The initial design called for a power plant that could produce about 125 lbs of lift from a custom 4-bladed rotor system. Several different air cooled 2-stroke engines were installed and tested. Most problematic was keeping the air-cooled engines operating within acceptable temperatures during hover and flight. This proved to be a considerable problem with larger displacement, high horsepower 2-stroke engines.

Finally, a water cooled 2-stroke engine was installed.  It produced more horsepower than the air-cooled engines and did so at much lower operating temperatures. However, it operated at a much different RPM band that required we come up with different gearing for the main rotor. Once the new pulleys were made the new combination was tested with excellent results.

Friday, August 31, 2012

H-1 Landing Gear Re-Design saves 6 lbs!

Weight comparison between original lower landing gear section and new rebound damped assembly. A weight savings of more than 1.5 lbs per side.

Parts removed from Rev 1 landing gear...1.25 lbs !

For the Hughes H1 Racer, Aero Telemetry designed new lower landing gear suspension system. Rebound damped with hydraulics, pre-load adjustable, scissor fork anti-rotation, and new 1 inch axle. Weight savings of over 3 lbs plus rebound damped suspension.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Custom UAV Design

This custom UAV  was designed by Aero Telemetry for a customer that required a strong and reliable unmanned air vehicle that could be flown easily from unimproved locations and provide heavy-lift capabilities as a flying test-bed for advanced avionics systems. The fuselage of the UAV breaks down for easy transport.
Aero Telemetry was responsible for the design and integration of the the entire UAV. Details included fabrication of the two-piece fuselage, Y-tail empennage, shock absorbing landing gear, steerable nose-wheel assembly, gear-reduced engine, fuel system integration and finally the electro-mechanical control system and uplink.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Engine Restoration - The Lawrance L-5

The Lawrance L-5, 5-cylinder radial engine. A very rare and relatively unknown radial engine developed by Charles Lawrance, whose company Lawrance Aero Engines Ltd. was purchased by Wright Aeronautical in 1923. Lawrance then went on to develop the extremely successful Wright Whirlwind  for which was used by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart on their record setting long distance flights.

This specific engine is unique in that it was designed to operate mounted vertical as a auxiliary power unit on airplanes designed to operate from remote locations or over the ocean. A  Martin PBM Mariner used during World War Two may have used this engine to provide enough 28VDC power to start one of the main engines while at some remote South Pacific island. Incredibly compact and smooth running, the L-5 produces about 35 HP.

After the War, airplane enthusiasts obtained a few L-5 engines as surplus and attempted to convert them for use on small ultralight airplanes. There were several issues that made the conversion problematic. The oiling system and sump were setup for vertical operation and there was no provision for mounting and driving a propeller (as in thrust bearings or splined prop shaft)

These issues added some complexity to the rebuild, however using a pusher type propeller in an "airplane-style" mount and some modification to the oiling system allowed the Aero Telemetry team to complete this rare radial restoration in less than a is most likely the only reliable running example in the world.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Hughes H-4 Spruce Goose

The Hughes H-4, or Spruce Goose, was test flown by Howard Hughes only once on November 2, 1947. It was the largest seaplane ever built at that time. The H-4 used eight of the largest and most powerful radial seaplane engines in the world. It’s 320-foot wingspan tipped the scales at more than 300,000 lbs. Joseph Bok and his Aero Telemetry team were tasked with designing and building the world’s largest flyable Spruce Goose replica. Bok’s unmanned version would have to be both large and powerful enough to take-off from the water of Long Beach Harbor, Calif. and fly steady.

Aero Telemetry provided the latest technology for the electronics and telemetry (command and control) systems needed on both the seaplane and shipboard control station. For the composite sections of the seaplane, we used carbon fiber and Hex Cell with resin to build and strengthen both the fuselage and wing structure. Our Spruce Goose required 160 Nickel Metal Hydride batteries wired together in packs to power each of the eight electric motors. Once the engines were started and run up to full throttle, they could operate for about 15 minutes of total flight time before we had to land and re-charge them. Each time the H-4 landed in the harbor, a “recovery” barge pulled alongside to swap out the battery packs located in the forward compartment of the seaplane, in addition a bilge pump was utilized to pump out seawater which got into the fuselage during extended periods in the water between flights.

WINGSPAN: approximately 25 feet
LENGTH: approximately 25 feet
WEIGHT: 275 lbs
ENGINE: 8- electric motors with custom gear reduction propeller drive units.

The plane was flown several times at Long Beach Harbor, in Hughes’ original flight test area. The H-4 only flew for a little while back in 1947 but we flew our “unmanned” version (UH-4) for about an hour during all the flights. At times, we piloted the UH-4 from a converted Navy PT boat. The use of the radio controlled Spruce Goose provided The Aviator with exceptional flying sequences. The background at Long Beach Harbor provided a very realistic and historically accurate setting for the flights of the Aero Telemetry Spruce Goose, the world’s largest flyable replica of the Hughes H4 Hercules.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Aviator H-1 Racer

The H-1B Racer

Howard Hughes built the H1-B Racer in 1935 solely to become the fastest airplane in the world. His first attempt resulted in a world record speed of 352 mph.

Originally, “The Aviator” planned on using a full-scale replica of the H-1B. Before it was filmed, however, the pilot and plane were tragically lost while flying back from an air-show. The Aero Telemetry team was already involved with the design of two of the worlds largest flying scale aircraft, the Hughes XF-11 and H-4.

The compressed time schedule necessitated the use of many carbon fiber composite structures and parts for the H-1. In addition, the engine would have to be powerful enough to propel the heavy airplane to speeds fast enough to simulate the world record speed set by the real Hughes H-1 Racer. The airplane required that the team design and manufacture from scratch a miniature high-pressure hydraulic system to actuate the retractable landing gear. In addition, we employed the use of much of our own radio electronics equipment for the command and control systems on the airplane.


WINGSPAN: approximately 16 feet
LENGTH: approximately 16 feet
WEIGHT: approximately 350lbs
ENGINE: 2-cylinder, 2-stroke, modified to 360cc high compression, gear reduction
PROPELLER: 3-blade, carbon fiber adjustable pitch 48 diameter



The H1-B Racer was flown and filmed to simulate the World Speed Record attempt that Howard Hughes had made in 1935 at Santa Ana, California. For the film sequences of Hughes’ record attempt, the Aero Telemetry team tried to recreate something totally amazing.  The Aero Telemetry H1 Racer provided the cameras and all those who witnessed the flights with some very realistic and believable flight sequences. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

C-131 cockpit restoration

One of the more interesting projects we finished was the meticulous restoration of a historically significant C-131 Cockpit for a movie. Every gauge and switch had to be perfect and match the original photos.
This particular C-131 could trace its history back to Dwight Eisenhower who used the airplane as his personal transport aircraft. It was "Air Force One" before that  became the standard for Presidential Air Travel.
The airplane was eventually scrapped by the US Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB, but the forward section of the airplane was saved. Unfortunately, it was left outside in a midwest field for many years. The weather and animals took their toll on the old bird, so what was left was a mess. The teams job was to restore the cockpit to original condition including period correct gauges and instruments.The restoration took about 3 months and the results were amazing.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Hughes XF-11

The XF-11

The Hughes XF-11 used two of the most powerful airplane engines on earth, had a 100 + foot wingspan and weighed nearly 58,000 lbs. It was flown by Howard Hughes in 1946 to try and become the highest flying and fastest reconnaissance airplane in the world. His first test flight resulted in a crash because of a propeller failure and nearly cost Hughes his own life. The flight and crash of the airplane are well documented in The Aviator.  

For the flyable sequences in The Aviator it was required that a very convincing and flyable airplane had to be built. The Aero Telemetry XF-11’s mission was to fly safely at extended ranges such that realistic flight sequences could be viewed and filmed. The mission would require that the airplane fly at speeds in excess of 100 mph and at ranges of up to 5 miles. Flyable scale models lend themselves to production flexibility with respect to filming locations and cost. The models are less expensive and far more believable than CG, plus they can be operated at various areas and altitudes that are not normally available to their full-scale counterparts. 
The fuselage sections were made of fiberglass. The fuselages, center cockpit pod, and many of the other composite parts and components used on the flyable XF-11 were laid up by Aero Telemetry personnel. This process required that the parts were reinforced with carbon fiber and HexCell materials in a manner that was consistent with acceptable Aerospace structural design. Fortunately, this process was well documented.

The airplane required the use of a “one of a kind” high-pressure hydraulic system to actuate the retractable main and nose landing gear. The uplink control system featured many of Aero Telemetry’s own electronics subsystems such as RF Amplifiers and antennas. For the structural pieces of the airplane, we used carbon fiber and 7075 Aluminum reinforced wing structures.  The fuselage sections contained both the fuel tanks and the back-up electrical and hydraulic systems. 


WINGSPAN: approximately 26 feet
LENGTH: approximately 24 feet
WEIGHT: approximately 550 lbs
ENGINE: Two, twin cylinder 2-stroke drone engines modified to 273cc 


The plane was flown several times by the Aero Telemetry team at San Bernardino Airport and Catalina Island Airport in California. For some of the aerial shots, the XF-11 was also filmed while flying in very close proximity to a helicopter.  Due to its size, speed, and excellent flying characteristics, Aero Telemetry’s XF-11 airplane made the flying sequences very believable. The background at Catalina Island provided a historically accurate picture of the way Los Angeles looked in the 1940’s. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shop Cat Series

So we are a little slow on getting the blogs out but we are working on it!

Amid all the airplanes and engines we have a really cool story we wanted to share with you all.  Our shop cat Livi was found at 4 weeks old abandoned outside of our shop.  As you can imagine at only 10 ounces she barely had the strength to cry out and let her presence be known.  We decided to make a series of her story and this is the beginning....

Monday, May 14, 2012

B25 Vintage Footage

So today we're a bit out of order on the posting of things, but no big deal. Here's a short video from our Warbird series. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Beginning

I feel it's only appropriate that the first entry here should rightfully promote the upcoming work to be released. So, here we go! The promo for our build series featuring Howard Hughes' H-1 racer. Enjoy.