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Hey, I Think I'm Back!

 
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Tom Wilson



Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 150
Location: Fallbrook, California

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:35 am    Post subject: Hey, I Think I'm Back! Reply with quote

This is a test, and it seems to be working. For the longest time I've been unable to log in to the forum, but after getting off my duff and getting some help from ACS it looks like I'm back in the fold. And it feels good.

In my absence I have managed to get the 540 on my Too rebuilt and upgraded at Ly-Con Aircraft Engines. I went with 10:1 pistons and ported Lycoming cylinders and brother, is it strong! It climbs like a rocket and with the front windshield removed and the front hole covered it tries its best to cruise at Vne at 24 square. Too much is just right and I couldn't be happier with the Ly-Con engine.

I suppose my next trick is to learn how to post some photos. I've got a few from the last Starduster Reunion held a few years back at Flabob that I'd like to put up, so give me a few days to get that figured out.

We sure have a great forum here and it's great to be able to do more than just lurk.

And Bill Lund, maybe now we can finally get together for breakfast now that my bird is flying again.
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Starduster History



Joined: 30 Nov 2006
Posts: 736
Location: St. Helens, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:36 pm    Post subject: I'm Back Reply with quote

Tom glad to hear you are back and that you have finally got your airplane back in the air. Having flown my son Dan's 540 powered Starduster a lot I can attest to the fact that it is a rocket ship if one wants to burn the gas and his engine is only a stock 290 horse one!

Uploading pictures on this site is not user friendly but my son can do it! One of the problems is with J pegs JPG's they must be in lower case jpg otherwise this system will not except the pictures.

Not only Bill Lund is down your was also Robert Marshall he is building an Acroduster Too and works as an A&P IA at Ramona airport and is someone else you might like to visit. I have his phone number and E-Mail, pvt message me and I will give it to you.

We need to have some one or some group down that way host or sponsor another Starduster or Bi plane Open House, Fla Bob would of course be best, if someone has some ideas I am all ears!

There has not been much going on lately on this site and for that matter on other sites, perhaps we can pump it up a bit. Weather here sucks several weeks of cold weather followed by snow, the most I have ever seen here as we are only 58' above sea level! But just south of Portland no snow at all only rain and lots of it with more rain predicted and flooding!

Most of the guys are still here but with little comment are also just lurkers! Dave
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Dave Baxter
Starduster History
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Tom Wilson



Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 150
Location: Fallbrook, California

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,
Thanks for the nice words.

Yes, it takes fuel to make horsepower, and at take off the new 540 really sucks up the 100LL. About 28 gph at full chat. But, with this much power you're hardly at full power for more than a few seconds. I make a power reduction to 24 square and lean to 18 gph after about 15 seconds of climbing.

A minute or two after that I'm at enough altitude to level off and get serious with the power settings. Like any 540 powered airplane you can count on 14 gph or more when cruising at low altitude.

What has been a pleasant surprise to me is the airplane's ability to climb to altitudes I never before considered "normal" cruise altitudes, and once there, I've found surprisingly efficient combinations of fuel burn and speed.

Some of this is forced by terrain. In almost any direction I'm faced with some sort of hill or mountain to go over (save heading to Catalina Island), and there is always the SoCal airspace to contend with. But with the hot 540 up front I find it rather easy to scamper up to 6500 or 10,500 when going somewhere. There's no manifold pressure up there anyway, and at 10,000 ft I see 20 In Hg of manifold pressure and can easily lean to 12 or 11.5 gph while still seeing groundspeeds of 145-150 mph. The thinner air really helps reduce our airplanes tremendous drag and that helps with the air speed.

The secret seems to be the compression. The 10:1 pistons are like poor-man's supercharging and have proven a game-changer at the 10,000 ft. level. I also find the higher altitude comforting from an emergency standpoint and with so much hostile terrain around the height gives me more options.

It can get chilly up there in winter, but in the mild southwest I'm getting by with long johns, a heavy shirt and a leather jacket. A fleece-lined helmet makes all the difference, too. Seems OAT's of 50 to 52 F are common up to 8000 ft, then it drops another 8 to 10 degrees in the 10,000 ft range. And that'll chill you after awhile.

The cold air and low engine output mean engine cooling is easy up high, too. Lean of peak at altitude means CHTs of 320 F and the oil just sits at 190F.

Now that I have built the perfect engine for 15 years ago... I'd say a 540 'duster is a great plane and a ton of fun. I mean, the power is superb. But a 220 hp 4-cylinder would likely be a better all-around combination for most people.

I'll be trying some photo postings when I can (I'm in a busy time right now).

As for another Starduster Reunion, you bet! I'm really missing seeing the gang and Flabob is the place.
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Tom Wilson



Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 150
Location: Fallbrook, California

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill,
Great to hear from you! Ramona would be fine. Let's keep an eye on the weather and first available weekend we can give it a try.

As for keeping up, as I once heard an old motorcycle racer council a youngster, "Now remember son, the throttle works both ways."
tw
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Starduster History



Joined: 30 Nov 2006
Posts: 736
Location: St. Helens, Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:50 pm    Post subject: Flying Together with a 180 & 540 Reply with quote

Tom you will get a kick out of this. The engine on my son Dan's Starduster is A 290 HP 540 with a C/S prop out of an Aero Star. They have a book number (Power Setting) for the Aero Star being in the hold for an IFR approach, that is 18 inches of MP and 2200 RPM! This equates to flight idle, and this is what he use's to fly with me! I usually pump it up to 2500 or 2550 RPM with a fix pitch prop to stay with him. This lets us cruise at around 105 kts or around 120 mph, we to usually go up high, and his fuel burn is around the same as yours 12 to 14 GPH! Dave
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Dave Baxter
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Tom Wilson



Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 150
Location: Fallbrook, California

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, those numbers sound familiar. It takes nothing to maintain 120 mph with the 540, 18-inches and whatever low rpm. But as you bump up the power the speed doesn't quite gain as fast and the fuel burn goes out of sight.

What is Dan's top speed, or speed at 24 square? My ratty old airframe is as poor and draggy as they come, and who knows about airspeed accuracy, but squinting at all the instruments, including the gps, mine seems to darn near hit 170 mph in level flight. This is with the front cockpit covered and the windshield removed; for sure it's 12 mph slower with the front windshield on (not to mention the horrid buffeting).

And what's your fuel burn at 2500 rpm when you Dan go flying together? I'm always curious to compare a big engine running "easy" with a smaller engine running harder when it comes to efficiency.
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rmarshall234



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 23
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi guys,

I've been "off line" for a couple weeks dealing with family stuff but glad to see the chatter on this site. Yes, I am based out of Ramona (thanks for the intro Dave) and would love to connect with a couple of Duster pilots. I'm setting up my parachute rigging loft at the hangar right now, so am there most weekends as well as working as an A&P during the week at Aeromechanix. The Acroduster project is still at the house though.

Would be happy to jump in the Cardinal and meet you guys for breakfast somewhere, or meet at RNM and talk airplanes and hang out. (Sorry, we don't have a cafe there yet.) Either way, let's connect!

Robert Marshall
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Tom Wilson



Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 150
Location: Fallbrook, California

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert,
Thanks for jumping in, and yes, it would be great to get together.

I'll send you and Bill Lund a PM so we don't clutter up the forum with personal chatter.
tw
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rmarshall234



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 23
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom was nice enough to fly his Starduster out to Ramona this weekend and Holy Smoke! What a rocket ship. I haven't seen that kind of climb performance from a biplane, since watching Jimmy Franklin in that jet powered Waco.

He's done an incredible job with the engine installation and is a hell-of-a nice guy. If any of you get the chance, check out Tom and his "rat rod".
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Tom Wilson



Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 150
Location: Fallbrook, California

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert,
Thanks for the kind words--and a fun visit.

That said, the credit for the Too's performance goes 100% to Ly-Con Engine Rebuilders in Visalia. They build fabulous engines (ask Sean Tucker or 1/2 of the Red Bull akro guys).

Installation credit goes to Aberle Custom Aircraft in Fallbrook, CA. Tom Aberle (the biplane Reno multi-champ) and Andy Paterson there did the majority of the work. My contribution was to write checks, get stuff powder coated, work on the exhaust system, some baffle work, battery bracket and other secondary items).
tw
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