RE: WingSpan Retracts into a Hangar 9 P-40
It appears that we both followed the same path as far as the CG goes. I remember starting out the 18.5 ounces of lead attached to my firewall to get the CG in the middle of the recommended range. To give some perspective, thats 1 1/2 cans of Pepsi (I dont drink) bolted to the nose. Not only was the ground handleing terrible, but inverted flight was aweful, and took entirely to much up-stick. After each flying day, I would loosen the cowl and remove the lead, one ounce at a time. Since I never did fly the P40 on a regular basis, I would write myself a note concerning the CG change and place the note inside the fuse where I was sure to see it again while mounting the wing the next time she flew. Each time, the plane flew and taxied better. That all worked fine until a few months ago. After takeing off, I noticed something fall from the plane. I could'nt figure out what it was. I still had landing gear, the engine was still running, and the plane was still flying. Atfer a few seconds, I begin to wonder if I was mistaken about seeing something fall. I didnt worry about it. It was one of the best flying days for the warbird. It had great climb, pretty good inverted with little push on the stick, and slowed down without tipping and noseing over. I didnt realize till after I got home that my entire lead system is what had fallen off. I attached my lead to a seperate small piece of ply, and used blind nuts through the fire wall to attach it. I did use locktight on the screws, but that was years ago. I guess being in such close proxemity to the hot engine eventually loosened the mounting screws to the lead weight. When checking the CG, I was a good two inches behind what Horizon recommended. That is where I've keep it, even today. Now Im not recommending that anybody not follow the manufacturers recommended CG point, but the P40 (and maybe the other H9 warbirds) all seem to fly very nose heavy with the recommended CG. In all, my P40 has encountered no real damage since it was new. The cowl bottom has a couple of very minor scratches, with no cracks. Both wing tips are scuff free, and I have never had a complete summersult where the rudder top ended up on the ground. Although my plane is around 6 years old, it still looks new, and I enjoy flying it. I too couldnt understand why manufactures would not develop a retract with more than 90 degrees. When these WingSpans came out, I thought they may be just the thing I was looking for, as any forward rake at all would only help improve the ground handleing. Please keep me posted on your install, and give us a flight report. You may get yours in the air before mine is done. These last few weeks of nursing school is taking most of my time.
I think that in designing a retract, or just about anything for that matter, building things straight (90 degrees) is a much simpler process than is designing something beyond straight (100 degrees). No longer are you working with parallel lines. I think that is what kept us from having anything for the past 50 years from anything more than 90 degrees.