Hammerhead is the third in a series of designs intended
to be scale-like sport aircraft. My intent was to capture the flavor of a
scale aircraft in a sport design. Unfortunately, Hammerhead never flew. The
completed airframe was tragically destroyed prior to covering.
The first in the series was based upon well-established
Ugly Stik type
parameters. The aircraft had it is outlines enhanced and more "body"
added to the fuselage. Although it flew well, but it wasn't the model
that I really wanted. I wanted something that looked "real."
The second model was closer to what I wanted and flew better than the
previous model. This one had flaps that allowed the airplane to land at
what seemed like a walking pace. I flew this model for a few months and
even built a set of
floats for it. It never made it to the water, but I
still have the floats.
The model is long gone though. One day I got
out of bed and said to myself, "I haven't done anything incredibly stupid lately
and today I am going to do something about it." With that thought in mind,
I set off to the flying field.
A little while into the second or third flight of the day, I deliberately put
the model in a straight-down, full-power dive to see what would happen. A few seconds later
I found out. The
fluttering and a half-second after that the
and jammed the
elevator into a slightly down position.
Because the model
when lowered caused a the nose to pitch up, I probably could have returned the
model to almost level flight. The model was far enough away that it never
could have made it back to where the pilots were.
Unfortunately, lowering the flaps never entered my mind. I killed the
engine, but at the speed it was going (terminal velocity), the impending crash
turned the model into splinters - the combination of any five of which could not
a single toothpick.
That model had a Fox Eagle III .61 engine which was
way more than it needed. A good .45 would have been plenty. I fully
expected the head to be ripped from the crankcase or at the least, the
crankshaft to be bent. In fact, the only damage to the engine was a broken
needle valve. That still impresses me to this day.
On the positive side of things, I had enough flight hours with that model to
get some useful information in designing the next model. The flying
qualities of this model were fine, but it still did not look "real" enough for me.
I also felt it was too light.
I wanted something a little more solid in
the air - substantial enough that she wouldn't be a floater and have a solid
feel when coming in for landing. After
a few more months of sketching, drafting and erasing, I finally had a design that embodied the aircraft I
wanted to build.
I wasn't trying to engineer a precision
aerobatic aircraft with this design.
However, I did want her to be able to perform any standard maneuver gracefully.
At the same time I was also trying to create an airframe that had a lot of
so it would fly at a more constant speed without gaining a lot of airspeed in a
What was clear to me from the beginning was it should look like it came
straight out of the Golden Era of aviation, but more toward the end of that
time period - the last of the fabric-covered aircraft.
The thought I kept in my mind was 'What would Bücker have built as a monoplane
in the Jungmann series?'