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View Poll Results: Do you think it might work?
You're crazy! 23 41.07%
Can't be done! 1 1.79%
Dumb idea! 8 14.29%
Might just work. 26 46.43%
No comment. 4 7.14%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-23-2013, 10:51 AM   #41
HarveyH
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

Here are the poll results as of Monday morning...

Of the 40 total pollers, half thought my idea might just work. I appreciate your optimism.

Another 14 thought that I'm crazy and 7 thought my idea is dumb. There is a distinct possibility that these guys are right but in my mind, the DUMBEST thing for me to do would be to launch into such a project WITHOUT asking other's opinions.

It's nice to note that not a single person (so far) said that my idea can't be done. While there is also the possibility that this will turn out to be the correct answer after all is said and done, it's nice to know that there are no know-it-alls forcing their opinion on us (unlike most other internet forums!)

However, the 2 who chose "no comment" are probably the smartest of the lot.

Thanks for all of your inputs so far. Keep 'em coming!

Harvey
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:05 AM   #42
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

My credetials don't overlap the airplane world as much since I'm mostly involved with the rotorcraft section of the aerospace pie. In my many years of experience I have had the horible task of spooning up remains from ill faited attempts in the experimental aviation world. I guess this is part of what makes it exciting for some but for me not so much. The last two were enough for me. It can be exhilarating enough to fly in type certificated aircraft with genuine aircraft engines.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:08 AM   #43
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

The Model B engine was rated at 50 HP, but I suspect its torque curve was better suited for aircraft than the V8 would be?
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:19 AM   #44
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

Try to get one of Mark Kirby's (@ Shadow Rods) aluminum block FH engines. Probably one of the best HP to weight ratio FH engines you could find. The question might be does he actually have one he would sell?.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:20 AM   #45
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

Most of the V-8 conversions for V-8 in in the Experimental world use a RPM reducer (most seem to use a planetary unit) with a viscous drive between crank and planetary to achieve proper prop speed at the engine RPM which yields the proper HP and torque to achieve the overall power needed. The ford made 85 HP at high rpm. You will need to cam the engine to lower that.

There are gear reduction axial units made by others that you should look into purchasing, unless you want to completely re-invent the V-8-in-an-airplane scenario. There are also units using cogged belts as well.

They also use as much aluminum accessories, heads, etc in attempts to lighten the power plant.

I would guess the Pietenpol , being rag and tube, would require significant rear off-setting weight to get a balance point within limits. This is going to put more stress on the tail end when landing and in rough field strips. Also, more stress on the front wheels due to engine weight.

I know you are wanting to do something different from what others have done; that's the whole idea of the experimental world. But by virtue of placing that big block of weight into that plane, just be aware that you are introducing the need for modifications elsewhere in the frame of the airplane.

That all said, I'd look into the later flatheads (24 stud versions) for two reasons. They are better manufactured, and there is way more speed parts available for them which will allow you to get a much better HP/Weight factor out of the deal.
you will still likely need to do a reduction gear of some type to keep the blade tips from going supersonic at the engine RPM that delivers proper power.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:23 AM   #46
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
The Model B engine was rated at 50 HP, but I suspect its torque curve was better suited for aircraft than the V8 would be?
Thanks, Jim, for your input. I value your opinion as I know you to be a respected leader on the subject of Ford 4-bangers! (Not to discredit any of the others who've contributed to this thread.)

Harvey
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:32 AM   #47
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

Sorry, forgot to add this to my other post.

An airplane application has another aspect those who don't fly don't often think of and that is the fact that when you are tooling along on the road trip in a car, if the engine quits, you just pull over to the curb and check it out.

I'd look at dual ignition system made of a magneto and a normal ignition system (like the old Republic Seabees had for instance) and I'd use a modern hall effect system rather than the Ford breaker points style.

And I'd also look at your oiling system as applicable to use in flight where roll and climb is more than what is experienced in a car application.

A lot of folks aren't aware that generally a water cooled engine is lighter than an air cooled version, and shock cooling is a real engine killer which is avoided in a water cooled unit. So it has it's merits OK.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:33 AM   #48
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbroke View Post
Most of the V-8 conversions for V-8 in in the Experimental world use a RPM reducer... you will still likely need to do a reduction gear of some type to keep the blade tips from going supersonic at the engine RPM that delivers proper power.
Yeah, there is a possibility that a PRU (prop reduction unit) may end up being the only way to make the high-revving V8 work but to be honest with you, such a requirement would kill this project. A PRU would add more weight forward of the firewall where it's not wanted and PRUs generally have failure rates higher than their engines.

I DO appreciate the points that you brought up in your subsequent post. I already plan to go with the dual ignition option regardless whether I install a V8 or the as-designed Model A engine. The oiling system of either engine would also have to be altered for the reasons that you pointed out as well.

Thanks for your insights!

Harvey
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Last edited by HarveyH; 09-23-2013 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:40 AM   #49
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

I just don't get it? Sorry! The flatties made / make great harbor motors for sail boats and great power any sort of roadster ever built. It's sacrilege to put a SBC in a roadster but semi reasonable. However, a flattie in an airplane is just "plane" stupid. Obviously it can be done but what's the point?
A very good friend of mine made a great gear reduction device for automotive engines in airplanes. He may still have a website.His name was Buddy Warren, you may have known him...
He died when his SBC powered homebuilt crashed on the way to an airshow. g
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:53 AM   #50
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

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I just don't get it? Sorry! Obviously it can be done but what's the point? g
El Rat, point taken.

Guys, let me be perfectly clear here in that I've never considered the early Ford V8 to be the ideal motor for an airplane. Same for the Model T and A engines that the Pietenpol and a few others were designed around. The Pietenpol is not an airplane to load up the family and fly cross-country for Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's. It is a very-limited puddle jumper with an enormous vintage appeal due, almost entirely, to its archaic engine installation.

I am NOT considering this plane as viable transportation, an aerobat, and definitely not cutting edge design. This plane will have one distinct purpose: To get attention at the gas pump.

Now, what old car nut cannot understand THAT concept???

Harvey
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Last edited by HarveyH; 09-23-2013 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:54 AM   #51
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

A word of caution here. The 239 ci 100 hp engine actually only produces about 80 hP. John Lawson wrote a book called "Flathead facts" This is an engineering white paper on the mdifications done to this engine and the testing of every modification. Aircraft engines produce approximately .5 hp per cubic inch our Cessna 182 had a 470 ci engine rated at 230 hp. very few flatheads will make that kind of power, so the weight factor is not the only problem. I do think a 150 p Flathead can be built with a reasonable amount of reliability under 450 lbs. I have a 294 coming into the shop in a few days and I'll weight it.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:08 PM   #52
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

I can understand that concept perfectly!
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:18 PM   #53
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

Now, what old car nut cannot understand THAT concept???
Ok I guess I kinda get it. It's just that if you said you were going to put it in upside down and backwards, mount it in the middle and run the prop with a chromoly driveshaft between your legs I would say, WOW far out that will really be kwel! Enough said, be safe. I for one would like an update as this progresses. g
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:50 PM   #54
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Default Re: I'm considering powering a homebuilt airplane with a Ford V-8 Flathead

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Originally Posted by El Rat View Post
Now, what old car nut cannot understand THAT concept???
Ok I guess I kinda get it. g
You had everyone worried there for a minute!

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