Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flyin High Pt. 1

When Mike Arnold designed and built his one off AR-5 the only real goals he had in mind were to build a light, cheap, composite fighter plane that he could use to slice holes in the sky. What he came up with has set 2 records of note The first is in FAI Class C1.A/O for fastest aircraft weighing less than 661 pounds at takeoff at 213.18 mph.The second is the fact that the aircraft breaks an aerodynamic rule that some thought would never be broken, the 1sq ft aerodynamic flat plate rule. If you calculate the drag of the entire whetted area of the aircraft the sum of the drag of the surfaces would be equivalent to pushing one flat plate 1 square foot in area through the air. While this doesn't really sound impressive, when you consider that no aircraft ever constructed before this had achieved the same specs, things start to come into perspective. Throw on top of that the fact that Mike is a self taught amateur aircraft enthusiast and pilot, and not a member of Lockheed's famed "skunkworks", or NASA, and things start to become very interesting indeed. Mike served an apprenticeship building sailplanes with acclaimed designer Fred Jiran where he learned his skills in composite building. He then took those skills and created an aircraft that is in a class of its own in more ways than one. One last thing that will make all of this even more impressive. Mike accomplished all this and a record breaking speed of over 200 mph on a power plant capable of producing an ESTIMATED 65hp MAX. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Mike's Rotax 582 was producing more like 55-60 HP as we all know manufacturers like to fudge production numbers a bit.

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