Hello! My name is John Roberts, builder of Skyote #88.
I often refer to Skyote #88 as a "Tech-Built" Skyote. Tech-Built refers to the use of modern CAD/CAM technology in the fabrication of all of its components. There are now two flying Tech-Built Skyotes which are almost certainly the most accurate and precisely built Skyotes to date. Skyote#88 received a Bronze Lindy for "2016 Plans Built Champion" at Airventure-Oshkosh 2016. I fondly refer to the great team of craftsmen, shops and vendors and talented friends who helped make this possible as "Team 88." Team88 now offers to fabricate these same precision, waterjet-cut, matched-hole, TIG -welded components to other Skyote plans builders who own a legitimate set of Skyote plans.
I have formed FlyTeam88, LLC as a "not for money" LLC to facilitate the availability of these precision components to other Skyote builders. FlyTeam88 provides the coordination of CAD data to assure that components produced by several individual Team88 members conform to the original design and function as "matched-hole" parts when they are assembled. FlyTeam88 also provides builder's aides in the form of greatly clarified, exploded view supplemental drawings, builder's tips and fitting bending services. In return for these services, FlyTeam88 does not receive payment but asks for direct contributions to Epworth Children's Home of Columbia, SC. www.epworthchildrenshome.org. The actual components are available to Skyote plans builders directly from the individual suppliers as explained below.
As you probably know, the Skyote biplane is a very desirable but challenging project. The Skyote design is optimized for strength and light weight. It was intended for commercial production and was not designed with the homebuilder in mind. Historically, the completion rate of Skyote projects has been dismally low. I knew that if I were to have any chance of completing my Skyote, I would need to employ some basic but modern technology.
For starters, I created 3D CAD models of the hundreds of Skyote fittings, wing spars and other flat components comprising the Skyote design. I found that creating 3-D models of every part provided an excellent understanding of the complex drawings.
I then had the components produced by water jet cutting by Johnathan Pritchard of Pritchard Technologies. I chose water jet cutting for its unique ability to cut all types of metals with no "heat affected zone." This eliminated the tedious hand fabrication of over 700 intricate components while ensuring that they were made to exacting "matched hole" standards not possible when made by hand. Pritchard has been invaluable in his willingness to work through the developmental nature of perfecting these componentsand associated tooling so that they can be used efficiently by builders.
I also arranged to have the entire fuselage, landing gear and empennage 3D CAD modeled and produced as profiled tube sets by Don Vann Ray of VR3 of Canada. The VR3 tubes provide a precise fit of all joints with no hand fitting. In order to properly "proof Test" the first VR3 Skyote tube set, I developed a unique 3-D frame jig system which allows the complete structure to be precisely assembled before welding begins.The accuracy and convenience provided by the VR3 profiled tube kits is outstanding.
Finally, I was fortunate to be able to work with Dale Doane of Doane Precision Frames, LLC to TIG weld my frame/gear/tail using the 3D jigging method. It has resulted in the production of extremely straight and accurate frames that are per the designer's plans. Dale has gone on to perfect the 3D jig method in the form of CNC produced assembly jigs which preserve all of the accuracy of the VR3 tube kits. I believe that Dale produces the highest quality TIG welded fuselages available today. Doane precision Frames, LLC is the exclusive outlet for VR3 tube kits for the Skyote.
Please remember, there is no Skyote "kit" or Skyote kit manufacturer. As a Skyote plans builder you are custom ordering components to be made per the original Skyote plans. The following contacts will lead you to more detailed information about these Skyote Tech-Built components:
- For price and purchase information and for builder's assistance including a 125+ page plans supplement manual with exploded view drawings of complex areas and for fitting bending services email John Roberts at email@example.com.
- For Tech-Built water jet cut spars and fittings email Johnathan Pritchard at firstname.lastname@example.org
- For precision TIG welded Skyote fuselage, landing gear and tail feather assemblies email Dale Doane at email@example.com
- For Skyote plans, ribs and hardware visit www.aircraftspruce.com.
- For information about other VR3 profiled tube kits see www.vr3.ca
Good luck with your Skyote project.