Der Fledermaus - Flugtag 2003

Flugtag 2003 - Der Fledermaus (The Bat)

The WISIL HPVers built a human powered aircraft and entered it in the Red Bull Chicago Flugtag 2003.

Man Powered Primary Glider
Project leader and Instigator Len Brunkalla sent in two entries. The first and most flight-worthy was based on the Primary Glider, a glider design from the late 1920s, with the addition of a pedal powered prop. 

Der Fledermaus
The second entry was Der Fledermaus, and was almost a joke, as we were thinking that maybe both entries would be approved. The idea was to strap some wings on an old prototype fiberglass framed WISIL Missile chassis. As fate would have it, whimsy prevailed over practicality, Der Fledermaus was approved, and the primary glider was not. Out of 420 entries, only 36 were picked, so we are just happy to be able to participate. We will build the Flying Mouse...

Now the job is to see if we can actually make this thing fly. After performing more research, Len decided that we would build a vehicle based on the Fauvel Plank Wing. This is a flying wing design which meets the basic criteria outlined by Len in the entry form.

24 foot wingspan with 5 ft chord, utilizing Fauvels 14% airfoil.
Wingtip vertical stabilizers
RWD dual 20" wheel bike 
A couple of gears
Tip skids for balance
4 man winch

Luan plywood
Construction Foam
6 mil shinkwrap
Bike parts

Yes, that was a winch I listed. As this glider will need to get near to 20MPH to fly, and there is only about a 50 foot takeoff area, plans are to use the winch as sort of a man powered aircraft carrier launch assist.

We get 5 minutes on the platform to set up, perform a skit, and launch the vehicle, so this will have to have a quick setup!

At the June WISIL meeting we decided to use money from the WISIL general fund to build this aircraft. Costs not to exceed $350.

Len Brunkalla, Bill Murphy, and Bob Buerger have been hard at work to create this magnificent flying machine. Unfortunately, there is only a week left to build it! Will they finish in time?

Len and Bill take a break from building to pose by one of the wind sections. The plank wing breaks into 3 8 foot section for transport, and the wing tips can be unbolted.

Many of these pictures can be clicked on for a higher resolution image.

Here's the full wing in Bill's driveway. The basic structure of the wing is complete, and now Bill and Len need to work on attaching the control surfaces and making the control linkages. 
This picture shows the amount of work that went into making the wings. The box spar is luan plywood coated with fiberglass. The spars themselves are luan plywood. wires are used to strengthen the structure.
Designated pilot Bob Buerger has plenty of what this sign refers to. 

The Red Bull people want to pick up every plane that flies off their ramp with a crane, and put them into a giant floating dumpster. We'll need help to save this plane so we can re-use it! 

The Red Bull folks were kind enough to drop off an entire case of their beverage. Urp.

Currently it's not known if there will be time to built the pedal powered catapult, or even to add cranks to the plane, so it may be a hand assisted launch!

Launch date is 8/9/03!

Bob Buerger has been hard at work building the bike portion of Der Fledermaus. This bike features an aluminum frame and steel rear stays. Steering while on the ground will be accomplished through under seat steering, as for safety's sake the Red Bull folks don't want anything to get in the way when the rider hits the water.
In this picture a template shows where the bike will be in relationship to the wing.

It looks like Bob and Bill will get the drivetrain in place in time for the event, so pilot Bob will be able to crank this thing right over the edge. 

An aluminum skin was added to the wings leading edges to provide some rigidity before covering it in shrink wrap.
The wing tip vertical stabilizers have been covered in shrink wrap. Bob is working on obtaining some nice graphics to be placed on the stabilizers

It has been decided to perform a rope launch, using pulleys so that the launchers are pulling in the same direction as the plane, and behind it. 

This picture shows the wing connector being test fit. The wing connector holds the wing sections together, you can see that it places the outer wing segments at a slight angle for added stability.

Len, Bill, and Bob are now building at a frenzied pace. 

The whole team needs to be downtown with the plane on Friday at 2:00pm!

The WISIL flugtag team has covered the two outer wings with marine shrink wrap, and is hard at work on the controls.
Pilot Bob Buerger taps the bracket to hold the bike onto the wing spar.
Backup Pilot Jon Royer gives the wing connector a test fit after sanding. 
The day before the Flugtag all the crews and vehicles were required to be at the event to sign in and show that the vehicle exists. My wife and I got there and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive with the plane.

This picture shows the ramp all the vehicles will be launched from, which was floating on a barge in Monroe Harbor.

Competitors started to arrive and put their crafts together. 

Where is the WISIL crew? true to form, they are still back at Bill's garage working on the plane.

Here's the Pegausus entry. Pretty horsie...

My wife and I go off to register at the hotel (which Red Bull kindly provided) and come back a couple hours later.

Larry the lobster gets a few tweaks 
This entry brought everything but the kitchen sink. Oh wait no there it is!
Here's the "Back to the Flugtag" entry with their custom (cardboard) Delorean.
These guys did a beautiful job of duplicating the Da Vinci flyer.

Eventually the sleep deprived WISIL team did show up, got registered, unloaded the plane parts, and then were off to the hotel to catch some sleep. Red Bull managed to get us shorted on beds, so Len ended up sleeping in a chair.

8/9/03 - Flugtag (Fly Day)
Bill Murphy works to attach the wing in the cramped quarters. The Fledermaus was about twice as wide as the space given for us to set up in.

We were right in front of a speaker and the music was so loud that we could not here each other yelling while putting the plane together.

Omigosh look at all the people. Jon and Bob talk to people about the plane. A huge entry looms in the background
With the wings attached, Bill and Bob start work on the control mechanism. Len holds the wing up.

People keep piling in.

The Fledermaus glider is all put together for the first time ever, barely hours before the scheduled flight time. 

We worked on getting the pulley system together which would be used in conjunction with Bob's pedal power to get the craft up to the required 20MPH take off speed.

This picture shows the launch of a glider with the head and body of coach Ditka being ridden by a Bears quarterback after doing the "Super bowl Shuffle". Picture by Dan Glatch.
This was a beautifully created and  authenic looking reproduction of the DaVinci glider. Look. It flies! (a liitle). Picture by Dan Glatch.
This picture shows an entry that survived it's flight intact. The crew's preflight show was dancing to music as they put the hot dog and toppings on 
the bun. Picture by Dan Glatch.
This picture shows a candy (one of the crew in a colored suit) jumping out of the dispenser after the head (Chicago Bull) was lifted. After all all the candy was dispensed, the dispenser was pushed into the water (went straight down). Picture by Dan Glatch.
Here's the commode - o - dragon. This picture shows the skit done before launch; as the dragon 
belches smoke (fire extinguisher dust) the crew dances around the toilet plane dressed as a toilet paper roll, a plunger, a deodorant tablet, and a maid. Picture by Dan Glatch.
Here's the "Can in the Clouds" entry based on the Simpson's Duff beer can with wings--it went only about 3' out, but had a crowd-pleasing crash. Picture by Dan Glatch.
OK, time for us to fly! Here's Bob being interviewed on the Jumbotron screen with the Chicago skyline in the background. Picture by Dan Glatch.
Here's Bob being interviewed on the Jumbotron screen with Warren holding the CAN FLY sign in the background. Picture by Dan Glatch.
The assembled but never before tested Fledermaus glider is on the ramp, and the launch crew scurries around setting up the pulley system. Warren holds a sign asserting that it can fly...

Contestants were supposed to have a "skit" and a soundtrack. The WISIL team didn't really have time to come up with anything. So we just launched it.

Bob gets up to to speed before before flying off the ramp. It turned out that the CG was too far forward, so not much actual flying occurred. Bob was fine, though was driven about 3 ft under water by the force of the impact. Picture by Dan Glatch.
Here's Bob doing his impression of a dive bomber. Pull up! Pull up! The plane actually did fly a little. Picture by Dan Glatch.
Here's  the Fledermaus on its way down as viewed on the Jumbotron from the front in instant replay. Picture by Dan Glatch.
Bob gets interviewed after being pulled out of the 
How do you feel after going for a swim in the same water that flows by the beaches closed because of high e-coli levels? Picture by Dan Glatch.
This shows the view from the back of the crowd of thousands that  watched. The t-shirt in foreground is from Flugtag, it says "We came, We saw, We sank". Picture by Dan Glatch.
After the "flight", the Fledermaus is towed by a boat to be wrecked or saved. Hey, it still looks great! Picture by Dan Glatch.
We chose to save it, but as seen here, it's about to become fairly wrecked.  It was in pretty good shape until it was lifted out of the water. The wings had filled with water, so it broke apart shortly after this photo was taken. Most of the entries were lifted straight in a huge dumpster. Picture by Dan Glatch.
Here's Bill attending to the bicycle portion of the FM. You can still see a chunk of the wing spar under the seat. Picture by Dan Glatch.
No, we didn't win. Yes, we had a lot of fun anyway. What was left of the plane was disassembled to prepare it for transport back to Bill's garage.
A post mortem was performed while the mass quantities of spectators file by on the bike path.

Will it ever fly again? It would need major repairs, but it's possible...

Web design, commentary and pictures by Warren Beauchamp, unless stated otherwise...

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