Q. What are the aeroplanes made from?
A. They are constructed from aluminium alloy tubes, bolted and pop-riveted together with gusset plates, and with the airframe covered in lightweight doped fabric. There is no woodwork or fibre-glassing needed on either aeroplane.
Q. What do I get in the kit?
A. The kit contents vary slightly, but in the Dream Classic kit you will find pre-bent airframe tubes, pre-cut plates and gussets, all hardware (nuts, bolts, eye-bolts, rod-end bearings, wire rope, swages, thimbles, tube inserts, pop-rivets, hinges, clevis pins), seat, fabric, fabric cement, filler, bungee cord, wheels, tyres, tubes, tailwheel, drawings, and a build DVD. The Eindecker airframe kit has all of this but also includes a metal fuel tank. There are extras available such as a, gun, wheel covers, we can advise and assist with instruments and other hardware.
Q. Your kits seem more expensive than the exchange rate would justify, why is this?
A. Very simply because what you get from us is a whole lot more than we receive in the bare kit from the USA, which is just 500 feet of straight alloy tubing and bags of hardware. So as well as pre-checking your kit for any missing items, we supply all tubes pre-bent, most brackets cut and pre-formed, full size CAD drawings to build from of the major assemblies (except wings, which are to big for printers), a comprehensive inventory list with cross-references, an illustrated Build Manual (as well as the A-A build video), updated and cross-referenced working draings, which are altered (by GSAL) to reflect the changes to the UK version, and of course it includes shipping and import costs. There is a huge time-saving for the customer in having all the parts jig-bent at delivery. Also included in our price is total product support during build from a UK source, and we actively encourage potential customers to visit the works, talk to us and see how the aeroplane goes together.
Q. Can you guarantee that the aeroplanes you offer can be constructed to weigh less than 115kg?
A. Yes, the first aircraft built by a customer and fly weighed in at 114.7kg, using a SOLO V-Twin four stroke 40hp engine, and our UK prototype is 113.8 with the MZ201 2 cylinder 2-stroke. The Dream Classic is a much lighter and simpler aeroplane altogether, and will easily meet the requirements.
Q. You seem to be taking a very long time to complete the prototype, why is it taking so long, is it difficult to build?
A. No, it is in fact very easy to build, but one of the major issues to come out of the first SPLASH show in 2007 was that the UK market expects an airframe kit with all tubes supplied pre-bent. Since the kit arrives at our workshop from the USA as 500 feet of straight tubing, this meant we needed to develop and make production tooling and bending jigs first, and then make the prototype airframe from them to prove that they work. This takes a lot of time to get right, but it does mean that what you see is what you get, it also hugely speeds up customer build time. We are continuously pursuing new ways to reduce weight, as this is of paramount importance.
Q. What is a realistic build time?
A. It depends on your skill and dedication levels, but we reckon about 450 man-hours to complete the basic aircraft ready for flight. Any embellishments (nice instrument panel, fancy colour scheme, fitting a gun, etc.) can add to this. The pre-bent kits are simple to build and need no special tools. One of our customers built his whole aircraft in well under a year and it can be seen flying on our media page.
Q. Are the aircraft capable of being de-rigged easily for storage, transport, etc.?
A. At the moment there is no facility for one person to de-rig the aircraft, however we are well aware that this is a very desirable feature for the UK. GSAL have designed and incorporated an aileron 'quick-disconnect' feature within the 115kg weight constraint, which takes two people about 30 mins. GSAL need to de-rig the demonstrator on a regular basis for shows and the modification makes this much quicker. The sub-115kg rules, of course allow the builder to devise their own de-rigging capability.
Q. Some information I have seen so far on the Eindecker says it has a Rotax 503 in it, so why are you only supplying a Rotax 447 or MZ201 with the kits?
A. Partly due to the weight saving (about 5kg) and partly because in this country you don't need a 503. Much of the American continent is actually a high plateau with some high summer temperatures to go with it, so their density altitude is usually way higher than ours, so they need the power. In this cold and low-lying country, we don't, and the 447 and MZ201 is amply powerful enough.
Q. You are offering an MZ201 with the kits. Can I use a 447 or a 503 if I want to?
A. Yes, but we have concern that using the 503 will take the aircraft over the weight limit and you may also need tail ballast to bring the Centre of Gravity back into the right place. It is your responsibility to ensure that your aircraft remains within the weight limit of 115kg empty, which will be more difficult with the bigger engines.
Q. You mention 'MZ' engines in your sales literature. What are these engines?
A. MZ engines are the 2-stroke range designed by Michael Zanzoterra in Italy, but now in production and marketed by Compact Radial Engines in Canada. They make a 45hp in-line two-stroke (MZ201) which we offer as standard fit in the Eindecker and as an alternative to the Rotax 447/503, and we are now Agents for the MZ range of engines in the UK and Europe.
Q. How do I get in it? I would like one but am not as young or agile as I used to be!
A. More than one of the GSAL Directors has the same problem and we are designing a small folding ladder which will aid entry over the wing trailing edge and which can then be folded up and carried in the cockpit. It will not count as part of the empty weight as it is not permanently attached to the aircraft. They had the same problem in 1915 and entry was generally via a ladder.
Q. Can you supply other aircraft in the Airdrome Airplanes range, for example, the full-size Fokker DR.1 or the Bleriot?
A. As the UK Agent, we can certainly supply you with any aircraft in the Airdrome Aeroplanes range, however anything other than the two we advertise would need to be cleared through the Light Aviation Association (ex-PFA), as standard home-built kits, and be certified to (probably) the CS-VLA code. We currently do not have the resources to undertake this certification work. You would also have to talk to LAA before contemplating purchasing and building such a kit. It is possible that if EASA LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) happens, then an easier path to Certification for the bigger kits might open up.
Q. I see on the Airdrome Aeroplanes website that somebody has made a Morane Parasol. Can I modify an Eindecker kit to make it look like a French Morane G or H ?
A. Yes, under sub-115kg rules you are able to do this, provided you remain within the empty weight and wing loading criteria, but remember that you remain responsible for the Airworthiness of the aircraft, which includes any alterations to the basic design.
Q. Will I have to have my aircraft inspected and weighed after I have built it?
A. In theory no, as we will have supplied a 'standard' weight for each aircraft type to the BMAA, and you are your own inspector. We would always recommend that you have someone with aircraft knowledge to look over your aeroplane before you fly it, but it is not a legal requirement. You must also establish the Centre of Gravity of your aircraft before you fly it.
Q. I have a suitable engine available already. Can I buy a kit without the engine?
Q. The spoked wheels look fantastic and I would like to use them on my own project. Do you sell them separately?
A. Yes, in two sizes, 20" and 25" diameter, but the larger size is to special order only.
Q. Will the Dream Classic modify into a Demoiselle look-alike?
A. Probably. You tell us! Sub-115kg allows you to make major changes (or even design your own aircraft completely) but you must ensure it is safe to fly, and BMAA and LAA recommend ensuring that all these aircraft comply with the major requirements of Section 'S'.
Q. Can I use any other engine if I want to, for instance the SOLO V-Twin or Robin engine?
A. Yes, provided it has sufficient power (around 30hp minimum), and you can keep within the 115kg empty weight limit.
Q. Will anybody check what I have built, like a BMAA inspector or somebody?
A. Not formally, as no checks are required, but Grass Strip Aviation strongly recommends that you have someone qualified to look over your aircraft before you fly it, as does BMAA and LAA. An inspector from either organisation will be pleased to advise you, but his signature is not required on any paperwork.
Q. Do I need to register the aircraft?
A. Yes, the CAA will issue a standard G-xxxx registration mark. An exemption can be requested from the CAA for the Eindecker so that it may show WW1 German markings rather than the UK Civil Registration. In addition, the aircraft must be registered as a sub-115kg aeroplane with the BMAA.
Q. Do I need a pilot's licence to fly it?
A. Yes, the minimum requirement is a UK National Private Pilots Licence
(NPPL) for Microlights.
Q How do I learn to fly a single-seater?
A. This is a difficult question to answer but can best be summed up by saying
"When you are ready". Whilst that doesn't sound very helpful, flying any single-seat aeroplane is a step up in your flying career (Tiger Moth, Miles Master, Spitfire; or Thruster, Eurostar, Eindecker) and you just have to decide mentally that you are ready to take sole responsibility for the flight and go for it. These aeroplanes are very simple and very conventional in terms of their controls, and you should find no difficulty in flying them, other than the fact that they both have tail-wheels.
Q. Can I fly the Company Demonstrator aircraft before I buy one?
A. Regrettably the answer to this is 'NO' partly for the reasons given in the previous FAQ, and partly because our Company Insurance won't allow it. This is a common issue on single-seat aircraft, but it hasn't put anyone off yet.
Q. Can I visit the works and see how the aircraft is built?
A. Yes, we actively encourage potential buyers to visit the works, as we can answer all your questions on how the aircraft is built and you can see what building it entails.
Q. Can I buy one right now?
A. Yes, although we have sold out of our first batch of Eindecker kits, there is a 16 week wait from receipt of your deposit to delivery of your kit, which allows for the kit manufacture, shipping, Customs clearance, delivery to GSAL, inventory checking and pre-bending all the tubes. Due to the rapidly fluctuating dollar exchange rate we would advise you to phone us for a quote before placing an order. The price we give you will then be confirmed as soon as we receive your 50% deposit.
Q. Are the aeroplanes aerobatic?
A. No, definitely not. No UK microlight has aerobatic capability or clearance.