Bloop 3
May 6, 2015Public
Photo: That's the Pacific Ocean on the far horizon, but I'm not going that far, 
I'll be satisfied with just poking around the lake in my flying scooter.
Photo: All set to go after some recent changes, June 2016 

Bloop 3 usually takes off and lands on an unpaved strip in an open field. 
With 200 square feet of wing and an empty weight of 204 lbs, add the weight of my body plus fuel and this motorfloater still has a radically light wing loading (less than 2 pounds per square foot of wng),
allowing it to fly slow and turn sharply.
Photo: Flying slow provides open air comfort for the pilot. 
The Bloop 3 usually starts and stops with the tail down but can stop with the nose down, using the forward skid for a ground brake.
The emergency parachute, a hand deployed total recovery system, is in the fabric bag below the seat.

The only instruments are gages for engine speed and temperature.
Most of this airplane would have been recognized by the pilots of a hundred years ago, although  they didn't have  inlet and exhaust silencers on the engine nor a total recovery system.
Photo: Turning with just the rudder can be a little strange until you get used to it.
It's like turning a car on a flat road, you feel a side push when starting the turn, but after a while you don't notice it much.
Two axis control, using just the rudder and elevator to control the plane, is not a very popular system for full size airplanes, 
but it has been around for a long time and I find it adequate and fun for motorfloater flying.
Photo: These Bloops are outside, not in a hangar.

 Before starting the Bloop 3 engine I remove the plastic tarps,  undo the tie down chains, and roll the plane out to the flight line.
Photo: From above, much is seen below. A monoplane ultralight has landed for a visit at the local motocross track, down in the valley near sunset.
Photo: The Bloop's paramotor engine has a composite propeller with a reduction drive belt, a tuned exhaust pipe (it looks like a saxophone, for good reason), and mufflers on the inlet and exhaust.
I use about 1-1/4 gallons of aviation gasoline per hour of flight, carried in the 2-1/2 gallon fuel tank. Notice the level of the fuel in the tank, and the small mirror on the strut that allows the pilot to see it.
The numerous cables across the airflow may suggest massive drag, however the small engine means that the drag force in flight must actually be small.
Also, the Bloop is the most fuel efficient plane around, because it has the lowest fuel consumtion per hour (again, because of the small engine).
This is about the right size engine, a larger engine would require more control effort in flight, need a longer runway for landing, and would require more fuel handling.
Photo: An "off the shelf" paramotor engine, the Vittorazi Moster 185,  with a hand pull starter and a 1.3 meter Helix composite propeller,  provides 25 horsepower.
It's a two stroke engine, so it's loud, messy, hot, vibrates a lot, and requires many tricks to keep working. 
It can be fun if you like engines, but sometimes frustrating if you mainly want to fly.

An electric engine might work well on a motorfloater. A plane like the Bloop requires little power (which means more flight time for a given ammount of stored energy) and with some modifications might accomodate extra weight (50 lbs. of batteries)
without exceeding the ultralight weight limits. An electric engine would be quieter, hopefully more reliable, and allows more design flexability because the major weight (batteries) can be placed away from the propeller. Now, perhaps, the plane can be balanced with the pilot at the center of mass, allowing variations in pilot weight without influencing pitch trim.
Photo: Here's the center structure with the mount for the paramotor engine. This Bloop 3 central structure is very useful during construction and maintenance indoors,
it holds things in place and provides an assembly stand for the attached structures, instead of the Bloop 2 situation,
where you have to work on the separate parts which can only be assembled in large work areas.
 Building a Bloop motorfloater requires hand held tools and a table vice, with no welding,  no molds, 
no special machining, no sheet metal, no spray rig, and no precision jigs or fixtures.
The airframe is mostly just tubes bolted together (all 8 feet or less for easy shipping), swaged steel cables, and 
wings covered with a heat shrink fabric process.
Photo: The Bloop can be described as a paramotor without canopy issues...same body position,
 same view, same engine, same two axis (right/left) turn control, and close to the same airspeed.

Relative to a paramotor the Bloop will probably have better crash protection and will feel more massive, perhaps needing more attention to energy management.
There is no direct airspeed reference, nor any need for one, just keeping the nose at a near level attitude is a practical airspeed control method for moderate flying.
The belts are automotive because aircraft belts are usually too easy to release, and thus unsuitable for open air flying.
The parachute handle (red and yellow) is in a poor location, I cannot see it from my normal flying position, so I may try to re-position it sometime.
Photo: Marine synthetic line and pulleys are used for the control rigging. 
All four control lines run through a pulley block under the lower wing, out in the open, near the aircraft center line. 
The structural cables are different, they are braided steel, tensioned by multi lacing with synthetic line.
The propeller in back is safely guarded from accidental approach by pedestrians, it is inside the rear sweep cables.
Photo: The Bloop 3 has a free standing center section with all the controls connected and the engine in place. 
This makes the airframe easy to store or work on, and the polyhedral wing angles can be adjusted,
but it's still not set up for quick or frequent disassembly or transport. 
It was originally designed to roll through an eight foot by eight foot doorway (then the wheels got wider).

Bloop 2 is poking into the picture on the left. That plane does not have a free standing center section, so with the wings off, it's just a pile of parts.
Photo: In the late afternoon I'm cruising over the hills and gazing at the horizon.
Photo: In fall, 2015, I'm ready to fly under a beautiful October sky.
Photo: October 2015, climbing at sunset for a long glide down. 
Looking at this picture, I might as well be in one of the airchair gliders, nothing here shows that I am in a motorfloater!
Photo: The open nose frame modification allows more downward view and seems to make the plane handle a little better.
 While cruising at about 25 mph., air speed effects are seldom noticed. I doubt that I would want to fly very much in a plane with the propeller in front, the blast  of the prop wash would be too disruptive. . [June 2016]
Photo: Oops! Having too much fun can wipe out the landing gear.

 This is not a serious accident at the Bloop's low ground speeds, just minor damage.
The landing gear struts are sacrificial, designed to break without damaging any structure inside the wing,
so I can do a quick repair involving only external tubing.
Photo: The fabric can be cut open for access when secondary structure needs repair.
To seal it back up, it is stitched together, taped over, ironed (heat shrinking to restore the fabric tension), then doped and painted.
Photo: The paramotor engine and propeller come together and are installed in an ordinary way, so no innovation is involved. The propeller is pedestrian safe, enclosed in cables and tubes. 

The rudder trim tab is adjustable on the ground to get directional neutrality in cruising flight. It's not really needed.

Pitch trim (adjustment for the elevator, the nose up and down system)
 is applied by a bungee cord that puts "nose up" pressure on the control stick,
 just enough to balance the weight of the elevator.
Photo: I'm sitting tail down on the ground, ready for a typical take off. Look out, ground squirrels, here I come!
 I need to put away the camera and get my left and on the throttle and my right hand on the stick.
To get going I advance the throttle to full power, holding the elevator control stick a little forward to bring the nose down to level, 
all while steering toward the far end of the strip with the rudder pedals. 

The wheels will roll about 90 feet before a calm air lift off.
 If there is a cross wind the plane will be nudged to the downwind side just as the wheels leave the ground,
 but that doesn't matter much since by then it's up in the air.
Photo: May, 2016. A more compact seat is mounted on an open frame nose section braced by cross over sweep cables. 
The small bicycle wheel up front is installed with a heavy rub for constant braking, it is really a skid to provide a ground brake when needed.
The big low pressure main tires are more commonly used on beach vehicles like boat dollies, but they give the Bloop soft landings and the ability to roll smoothly over rough ground. 
The previous BMX wheels had more stable tracking, rolling with those was like being on rails, whereas landing with the beach tires is like rolling through a swamp.
Photo: May, 2016. The Bloop, in various versions, has been flying for almost five years now,
 demonstrating the benefits of low wing loading when combined with the control and stability of a rigid wing and tail.
 It's still just a flying scooter, going nowhere but always available for a satisfying local flight.
Photo: On a recent flight, this was the last picture I took before the batteries dropped out of the camera.
Photo: Bloop 4 is on final approach to a landing, coming in close to a small hill next to the runway. I call it Bloop 4 now because of all the changes made over the last year. I intend to document the changes by
posting a Bloop 4 drawing set.