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View Full Version : I saw a Starship today!!



winchman
10-23-2011, 06:50 PM
A Beechcraft Starship like this one:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rUHyHq68ak0/SRSKn6qFSFI/AAAAAAAAVaw/IgNyKTg4M04/s400/starship2000-5a.jpg

It was landing at the airport in Moultrie, GA, as my friend and were driving by, so we stopped to take a closer look. I'd seen one back in 1998 in Greenville, SC, so I had an idea what it was.

They are really rare these days, and it was nice to get to see one before they're all retired from service.

Grind Hard
10-23-2011, 07:13 PM
If I had an excessive amount of money... After taking care of all my family members and Other People... I would buy two of those.

One to display on my (expansive multi-acre self-mowing) lawn and one to commute the 1.5 miles to work in.

See I wouldn't fly it just taxi it down Elmwood, turn right on Hertel and then turn up the street where I work. It'd be a blast! :cool:

Jim Caudill
10-23-2011, 08:29 PM
Retired Nothing!

There's an interesting story to those airplanes. Beech got all of them back (I think they were always leased) except for one, very determined, lease holder. He used all sorts of persuasion to convince Beech to let him keep the airplane. What you saw is the only one still flying - they destroyed all the rest (may be one around for static display or something).

I'm speaking from fuzzy memory, so don't hold me to an absolute standard of accuracy here. You may want to do some research on the subject. Beech's concern had to do with the composite manufacturing process and future liability. I think it was the right way to go, as evidenced by Boeing's new Dreamliner, but Beech's new CEO wanted to stick with the old-fashioned rivets and aluminum skin. Burt Rutan was married (?) or connected to the daughter of then President or CEO of Beechcraft (someting like that). The manufacturing and curing process was just too expensive, and the long term issues unknown.

sansbury
10-23-2011, 08:36 PM
Wow, that is a rare bird. I thought Beech had them all scrapped so they didn't have to support them. Guess a few snuck past the boneyard. I've seen a Piaggio Avanti every so often. Ironic that the Starship was designed to replace the King Air, and thirty years later the King Air is still chugging along.

loose nut
10-23-2011, 10:04 PM
Rutan just retired this year and moved away from Mojave.

Thruthefence
10-23-2011, 10:16 PM
It's my understanding, that although the aircraft itself was not a success, not meeting it's design goals for speed, payload, or economy; the manufacturing techniques developed & used to build the project live on, and are currently used by Hawker-Beech in current production, and profitably licensed to other manufacturers. Apparently the program paid off in the end.

From talking to various Beech tech reps over the years, their opinion was the reason performance goals were NOT met, was due to the FAA's overly cautious approach to certification of a "new" technology; ie Add weight for "strength" where they weren't sure about something.

Regarding aircraft currently registered, (from wiki):

"Survivors

As of January 2010, nine Starships hold an active registration with the FAA. Three Starships are registered in Oklahoma (NC-29, NC-35 & NC-45), one in Washington (NC-50), one in Colorado (NC-51), and four are registered to Hawker Beechcraft in Wichita, Kansas (NC-2, NC-8, NC-19 & NC-24).[31] NC-51 was used as a chase plane during the re-entry phase of Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne.[32] In October 2008 NC-29 was the first of the five remaining privately-owned airworthy Starships to complete RVSM certification, returning the aircraft's service ceiling to the original FL410 limit.[33]

Evergreen Air Center sold 24 Starships back to private owners for $50,000 each. Most are being used for parts; however, one of these aircraft has since been made airworthy again.[17] Some former Starship parts have been used on the Epic turboprop kitplane.[34]"

Years ago, one of the local operators (SHV) demoed one, so I got a chance to poke my nose around it for a half hour or so.

Frank46
10-24-2011, 01:17 AM
I think there was a story of the history channel some years back about these planes. One gent who had one started stockpiling parts that would be needed to keep his aircraft flying. He was getting parts from all over and actually had a warehouse full of parts. He also kept pretty close track of how many were still air worthy and when one was about to be sold for parts he'd either buy the plane outright or just buy the parts he needed. Supposedly he was well off to have that much money to do all of this. Frank

Evan
10-24-2011, 11:23 AM
I'm not very keen on composite materials in structural applications in aircraft. They still aren't fully understood, especially the failure modes. The materials are very nonlinear under increasing stress and tend to fail suddenly and catastrophically when maximum loading is exceeded.

Fatigue mechanisms are very difficult to quantify and fatigue damage is nearly impossible to detect. From my own experience with pulltruded carbon/fibre epoxy rods in stunt kites the fatigue seems to be in the form of anisotropic micro delaminations that are hidden in the bulk material. This has no apparent impact on the strength in the axial direction but results in a decrease in maximum torque resistance.

Airbus has had a series of problems over the years with sudden structural failure of rudders. I am waiting to see what turns up with the A 380 and the Dreamliner.

Airbus rudder failure:

http://ixian.ca/pics9/rudder.jpg

rbertalotto
10-24-2011, 01:18 PM
There is a small executive airport outside of Atlanta. I think it might be called Fulton?

A few years ago I was involved in building a warehouse at the Atlanta Industrial Park which is near this airport.

Being a fan of Burt Rutan, I heard this strange airplane noise and ran outside to se a Starship landing. I jumped in my car and went to the airport and there were three of them on the tarmack!

I talked a bit with the pilot of the one that landed and he said it was the best airplane he'd ever flown, bar none! But he didn't invite me for a ride..........:(

Guido
10-24-2011, 02:07 PM
About 1983, or so, we bid a storage project for the Mojave Airport. Expansion plans were on hold because of a lack of stored water required for fire fighting.

While visiting airport manager Dan Sabovitch, we were told to follow him and his yellow Cadillac which had the large, international orange/white flag flying from a staff off the rear bumper. Through a gate, around a corner and down a row of old hangers, the first Starship had just been rolled out. Sabodan drove us slowly by the plane and told us we could look but whatever we do, don't pull out a camera.

It was a rollout for the media and first phototaking.

Next?--------G

Rustybolt
10-24-2011, 02:58 PM
I'm not very keen on composite materials in structural applications in aircraft. They still aren't fully understood, especially the failure modes. The materials are very nonlinear under increasing stress and tend to fail suddenly and catastrophically when maximum loading is exceeded.

Fatigue mechanisms are very difficult to quantify and fatigue damage is nearly impossible to detect. From my own experience with pulltruded carbon/fibre epoxy rods in stunt kites the fatigue seems to be in the form of anisotropic micro delaminations that are hidden in the bulk material. This has no apparent impact on the strength in the axial direction but results in a decrease in maximum torque resistance.

Airbus has had a series of problems over the years with sudden structural failure of rudders. I am waiting to see what turns up with the A 380 and the Dreamliner.

Airbus rudder failure:

http://ixian.ca/pics9/rudder.jpg


Weren't the airbus VS problems due to overtravel? Not so much the was the AS stressed , but the hinge pins, or the hinge composite connection. I know my brother got a directive about it from the FAA and the NTSB even though his company does not fly airbus.

Evan
10-24-2011, 03:24 PM
My understanding was that due to tiny fatigue cracks in the composite material rain water entered and then froze at altitude. This extended the damage each time it happened until the rudder fell off, sometime without any awareness on the part of the crew. In the incident shown above the rudder parted company somewhere over the water, the flight control system automatically compensated for it and it wasn't discovered until after landing.

The incident you mention was related to the cause of the flight 587 accident and is not related to the other rudder loss events. Flight 587 was due in large part to pilot error and exacerbated by the flight control system which resulted in large rudder deflections after hitting wake turbulence. The rudder was overstressed and broke off.

tdmidget
10-24-2011, 06:21 PM
Retired Nothing!

There's an interesting story to those airplanes. Beech got all of them back (I think they were always leased) except for one, very determined, lease holder. He used all sorts of persuasion to convince Beech to let him keep the airplane. What you saw is the only one still flying - they destroyed all the rest (may be one around for static display or something).

I'm speaking from fuzzy memory, so don't hold me to an absolute standard of accuracy here. You may want to do some research on the subject. Beech's concern had to do with the composite manufacturing process and future liability. I think it was the right way to go, as evidenced by Boeing's new Dreamliner, but Beech's new CEO wanted to stick with the old-fashioned rivets and aluminum skin. Burt Rutan was married (?) or connected to the daughter of then President or CEO of Beechcraft (someting like that). The manufacturing and curing process was just too expensive, and the long term issues unknown.

They are all stored at Pinal Air Park by Evergreen Air Service, not destroyed.

halac
10-24-2011, 09:16 PM
There's one here in Tullahoma, TN at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum. It no longer has "N" number registration, an "X" for experimental aircraft.

They bring it out about once or twice a year to stretch it's wings. It has that sound that no other aircraft has. Definitely different.

BudB
10-24-2011, 11:19 PM
While not a Starship I got a tour of a Piagio P180 last year while I was waiting at ORD. SImilar design but definitely executed for the business executive. Pilots seemed to really like flying it.

saltmine
10-24-2011, 11:53 PM
I saw a Starship last night.


http://i643.photobucket.com/albums/uu155/saltmine_album/buck.jpg

winchman
10-25-2011, 01:15 AM
The one we saw had an N-number. I wish I had taken the time to write it down and to take some pictures of the plane. I'm guessing the owners were going to one of the plantations in the area for dove hunting. There's a lot of that going on now.

winchman
10-25-2011, 02:38 AM
There's a list of all the Starships here:
http://www.airport-data.com/search/search2.html?field=model&search=Search&code=Beech+2000

You can click on the N-number is the first column to see the registration status and if the number has been assigned to another aircraft.

I just went through the whole list. It shows the current status as valid for the following five N-numbers:

N45FL for Renaissance Energy in Tulsa OK

N514RS for an individual in CA

N8149S for ICU.net in Tulsa, OK

N8244L for Radio Flyer Corporation in Oklahoma City

N8285Q for Starship Holdings in Walla Walla, WA

I'm pretty sure the one I saw was N514RS.

A.K. Boomer
10-25-2011, 07:47 AM
It's a small world -- seeing that canard starship made me think of the "quickie"

the quickie was a fixed canard that was rated basically stall-proof due to the front canard having a slightly higher stall speed than the rear wing - what this did was change the angle of attack so that the craft would drop it's nose slightly and immediately pick up enough speed for almost instant recovery, you could only partially stall it - and because it was not "dropping out of the sky" ---- even when the front canard stalled the plane was effectively still half flying - and also controllable I might add...

Here's the small world part --- it was a small homebuilt kit plane and guess who designed the original single seater? none other than Burt Rutan...

The quickie was one of the most efficient little kit planes out there --- the original actually used a little 18 hp opposed onan - with bigger ponnies the things were downright fast and still very efficient due to them being extremely slippery...

Evan
10-25-2011, 08:21 AM
"Stallproof" isn't such a big deal. When I recovered the wings on my C-140 I put in 2 degrees of washout in the wings. That means the wing is twisted so the wing tip has 2 degrees less angle of attack than the wing root. It's easy to do on the 140 when it is recovered because it's a two strut wing and the outer attach points of the struts are adjustable to align the wings. Without covering the entire wing structure is flexible. When the covering is applied and heat shrunk then it becomes rigid.

The result was that the takeoff speed increased by two knots or so and the same with the landing speed. The cruise speed increased by about 3 knots.

The stall speed became irrelevant as it wasn't possible to create a stall with a sharp break. The wing roots would stall first with a slight loss of lift but the aircraft was still entirely controllable since the tips and ailerons were still unstalled. As you kept pulling the yoke back the aircraft would just mush straight ahead and develop a slightly greater sink rate. With the stick all the way back with power off it would sink at a forward speed of about 28 knots and a downward velocity of about 12 knots. With full power it would hang on the prop with a forward velocity of about 20 knots. I could land it in under 200 feet.

The aircraft was also unspinnable. No matter how hard you tried the most it would do was a wide spiral dive with full control at all times.

Thruthefence
10-25-2011, 09:33 AM
What works with your Cessna 140 won't work for an aircraft designed to fly fast & carry a payload a long distance.

The devil is in the "induced drag details".

The Starship's canard was variable, the sweep changing the center of lift across the span of the canard depending on AOA & airspeed. A clever way of trimming the aircraft without much induced drag.

Frankly, all the hoopla about being stall resistant is silly, because no airplane in this class, flown by a trained professional, should EVER approach the stall regime.

And while I mean no disrespect to Rutan, a wonderful "out-of-the-box' thinker, this has ALL been done before.

Westland built a bunch in the 30's (as well as other manufacturers)

here's a few:

http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/magazine/2006/06/stuff_eng_hrubisko_tailless.htm

And here is an article from "Air & Space" :

http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/starship.html?c=y&page=1

A.K. Boomer
10-25-2011, 09:59 AM
Frankly, all the hoopla about being stall resistant is silly, because no airplane in this class, flown by a trained professional, should EVER approach the stall regime.




Nobody's talking about stall resistance with an airplane in "that" class,
The reason stall speed came up was due to the quickie - and the reason I brought up the quickie is due to it being the same builder of the starship - so no-one was talking stall proof when it came to the starship and in fact due to the starships canard being variable it may very well be a lethal combination in the wrong hands esp. with a rear engine/prop layout,

So the topic of stall proof isn't "silly" -- in the world of homebuilt kit planes with guys who are just learning the basics it can be an outright lifesaver,
and it wasn't some mild effect - from what I remember about the plane is you could literally try your damndest to stall it and all it would do is mildly porpoise its way back down to the ground.

Thruthefence
10-25-2011, 11:17 AM
Sorry if I offended the Quickie lobby;

I was, for several years a DAR (Designated Airworthiness Representative) tasked by the area FSDO (Flight service district office) to do Airworthiness inspections on homebuilt aircraft, as the "build" progressed towards completion. I was to offer advice, and expertise, to the builder as needed, and inspect the aircraft before the experimental airworthiness certificate was issued. You would be surprised, and horrified, at some of the things people are willing to do build into an aircraft, and then "slip the surly bonds of earth, to dance the sky on laughter-silvered winds" (at least for awhile).

I was attempting to address the compromises, aerodynamically, between benign stall performance, and flight in other regimes.

I wasn't addressing Evan (he already knows this stuff) or you, but the group at large, who may not understand.

A.K. Boomer
10-25-2011, 02:47 PM
No offense taken - I had a brother that was very interested in building one for awhile and just remember some of the sales pitches for the plane - Heck - you doing what you did in the past I bet youv even inspected a few as they were kinda popular for a little while.


you know - if it wasn't for some hillbilly falling out of the sky and killing someone else I think homebrew rules should remain kinda lax - but that's a big "if":p I guess what im trying to say is there's a heck of allot of people out there that the planet wouldn't miss much...

lynnl
10-25-2011, 02:50 PM
..."slip the surly bonds of earth, to dance the sky on laughter-silvered winds" ...

That's laughter-silvered WINGS... :)

At one place I lived, one of the local TV stations, at the end of each broadcast day, always showed a clip of an F104 in flight, while a voice recited that poem. ...by John Gillespie McGee. (committed that name to memory)

Very stirring and emotional. I always enjoyed that. Would stay tuned just to watch it.

paulsv
10-25-2011, 04:33 PM
The configuration of the Starship is very similar to the currently manufactured Piaggio Avanti, Pictures of which can be seen here:

http://www.piaggioaero.com/#/en/gallery/photogallery/p-180-avanti-ii

Just happened to see an ad for time shares of that aircraft in the Wall Street Journal today. I know next to nothing about aviation, but I know "cool looking" when I see it.

Evan
10-25-2011, 06:38 PM
You would be surprised, and horrified, at some of the things people are willing to do build into an aircraft

I have been both when working on homebuilts for people, most of which were supposedly designed by an aeronautical engineer. I have also seen some pretty poor engineering on type certified aircraft. Aircraft designs are full of single point failure opportunities that cannot be eliminated mainly for weight considerations. There is no room for sloppy engineering or workmanship.

There are also aircraft built for general aviation that have very unforgiving flight characteristics. One is the Grumman America Yankee. It has a laminar flow airfoil that will stall violently at any speed if the angle of attack is just a touch too high. I had a stall warning once at nearly 100 knots in a steep turn even though I was well within the certified flight envelope. Once stalled that wing loses lift all at once and the aircraft often enters an unrecoverable flat spin. It is placarded against intentional spins but that doesn't help in an unintentional spin.

The Artful Bodger
10-25-2011, 08:00 PM
I was working on an aircraft in our little museum today, fitting the fertilizer spreader under a retired Zlin Z37. The job required drilling four holes in the attachment ring. The first three were really hard going but when it came to the last one my centre punch went almost through the metal hardly requiring any drilling at all!

Guano is corrosive stuff!

Thruthefence
10-27-2011, 07:21 AM
This happened to come in today, thought you may be interested;

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11849.pdf

Evan
10-27-2011, 02:08 PM
That document doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence in the use of composites in heavy aircraft.



On the basis of expert interviews and a review of literature, GAO identified four key safety-related concerns with the repair and maintenance of composites in commercial airplanesó
(1) limited information on the behavior of airplane composite structures,
(2) technical issues related to the unique properties of composite materials, (3) standardization of repair materials and techniques, and
(4) training and awareness.
None of the experts believed these concerns posed extraordinary safety risks or were insurmountable. FAA is taking action to help address these concerns identified by GAO related to the repair and maintenance of composite airplane structures. However, until these composite airplanes enter service, it is unclear if these actions will be sufficient.

There is often a large gap between reality and belief. Belief isn't the same as knowledge.

Looks like those flying on the Dreamliner are basically guinea pigs. Another reason to be happy that I no longer need to fly as often as I once did.

Thruthefence
10-29-2011, 05:46 PM
If I may beat this old horse yet a bit more:

http://www.ainonline.com/?q=aviation-news/blogs/ain-blog-gambling-away-heritage

There's nothing like a good old mechanical fastener!