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.