June 18, 2013

The radiator ducting and sizing was worked out this last week, along with the ordering of a V-4 engine. We will use this initial 1.7L engine to work out any harmonic problems on the ground prior to engaging in the extensive work of installation in the flying prototype. If we opt for the larger 1.9L engine in the future, our radiator duct should allow this without modification except in the outlet side of the duct, and the thickness of the radiator. Both are manageable to change without too much difficulty, so we feel comfortable going ahead.

The ducting is arranged so that when the top hatch is removed for engine access, the outlet duct is removed with the hatch, uncovering the radiators for service at the same time. The engine and transmission is fairly buried behind the cockpit, so access remains a topic for the engineers and design team. We want to make engine maintenance as easy as possible. Side access hatches for simple maintenance such as checking oil are being worked out in addition to the top access for eventual overhaul and replacement. This is all part of the structural engineering that we are engaged in. A view from the top left side is shown below, which is just above and at the ducted fan inlet near the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle is ghosted light grey with blue being the radiator duct inlet and outlet and a thin dark grey rectangle shows the radiator location (in the middle portion of the duct).

We also found that the front spindle and wheel carrier, while of racing quality and very stoutly built, would not allow us to use the same wheels as would be used on the rear of the vehicle. While a small point, and mostly cosmetic, we don’t think people will appreciate having different wheels front and rear, so we are re-doing the front with a custom spindle that will allow the use of similar wheels. At the same time, we are ordering parts that will also allow users to customize their wheel choice much more easily than earlier options allowed. The same company will supply all parts, making this a one-stop solution allowing multiple wheel options that are readily available. It was a step back, but then two great strides forward, so we don’t feel too badly other than the time lost. While not the most fun part of this project, catching mistakes and correcting them is what will make the vehicle first class when ready. I know we are all looking forward to that.

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