Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By johncondor
While there appears to be a gathering of Condor fans here I wondered if anyone can help to solve a mystery on our Condor G AXGS. This is the machine which Norman Jones entered in the London to Sidney air race in 1969. It has the facility for an auxiliary fuel tank which bolts underneath but, as far as I can see from the original paperwork, that was not fitted for the actual race. It has been used for fairly extended periods since then.

However, the mystery is that it has a small, fixed trim tab on the elevator and I cannot find out why and when that was fitted. From the few photographs I have, it wasn't fitted before 1992 and, in 1994, the auxiliary tank was refitted following a lot of correspondence with the PFA. No mention of trim tabs though although the owner at the time appeared to be very thorough about everything else he did.

I have met many people who have flown this Condor while it was at Rochester but, although the log book shoes that the auxiliary tank was fitted for some of that time, I haven't met anyone who admits to flying with it attached.
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By Paul_Sengupta
johncondor wrote:I have met many people who have flown this Condor while it was at Rochester but, although the log book shoes that the auxiliary tank was fitted for some of that time, I haven't met anyone who admits to flying with it attached.

I can put you in touch with some. From what I understand from them, the aux tank made it a bit of a ground hugger, the theory being that it had some sort of aerodynamic effect which caused some issues. I don't think there was anything wrong once in the air though. It sounds a bit like an excuse to me as the old engine on that aeroplane was never a sterling performer! I understand the engine's since been swapped.
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By johncondor
Thanks Paul. I would love to hear from someone who has flown GS with the aux. tank fitted. I think that the engine has been swapped twice since the Rochester days. We fitted a zero timed unit about 300 hours ago and it goes really well, at least without the aux. tank. I don't think that this will help to solve the fitting of the fixed trim tab because I am pretty sure that it was fitted well after the Rochester days. Almost certainly it was fitted when it was up in Scotland, based in Aberdeen where it did about 250 hours. As far as I can tell, the aux. tank was fitted for most of that time and the aircraft was stripped and repainted.
By Stampe
Did my first solo on GS on 22/9/74 turns out it was not insured for an initio instruction having been hurriedly flown in from the Tiger Club at Redhill as all the club condors had writs imposed on them.It was then in beautiful as new condition.I flew it quite a bit onwards last flight being 10/03/77.On no occasion do I remember it having the belly tank installed though we were aware of the capability and the stories of Norman Jones abandoned Australia attempt.If my memory serves me correctly this is the airframe that was hit by an over zealous police panda car driver during an exercise at Rochester airfield.The fuselage carried a large scarfed in plywood panel on its rear right fuselage.I imagine it’s still there?I owned 2 Condors over 30 years until my finanances enabled me to own the ultimate light aircraft the Robin Regent!
Regards Stampe
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By johncondor
Thanks Stampe. Yes your memory serves you correctly and the repair is still just visible and the static vents on each side are now different sizes. I have wondered if that accident left a problem which ultimately led to the fitting of the fixed trim tab. We do tend to run out of forward trim with low fuel loads and two heavy pilots. This is why I am trying to discover what led to it. At the moment we have established that it is necessary.
By Stampe
I would be interested to know your empty weight.My original Condor VXW left the factory at 917 lbs yet my final Condor AXGZ at its last weighing was 1000 lbs.The Planewighs technician told me that was a typical weight for elderly Condors.As a consumer of pies such an empty weight reduced the utility of the aircraft and I moved on to a more capable aircraft.I question whether the original factory weights were accurate I,m told a great deal of games/salesmanship went on over factory declared empty weights at that time.I have recently been flying an immaculately restored early series Piel Emeraude.In some ways it is even nicer than the Condor handling wise but nowhere near as robust indeed quite delicate and with far less crosswind capability.That generation of French designed wooden aeroplanes have certainly served us well and continue to do so!Regards Stampe.
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By PeteM
I delivered the aircraft to Scotland from Yorkshire and then later toured in company with it. As bought it was pretty rough and preferred to taxi in circles! Once the belly tank was fitted, the performance dropped off. Initially there was a real issue with very high oil temperatures after the major refit. Fitting a cooler barely helped and so the exit from the cowling on the firewall was rounded and a small airdam on the lower cowling was fitted which largely addressed the high temperatures. If those features are still there (along with the cooler) the temps should be ok. Once refitted it was a pretty presentable aircraft but rarely visited our strip - which was short..... And this was after a new Evra prop was fitted, which helped the performance a bit.

With two pie eaters onboard, the performance was less than stellar and the owner was pretty careful with the quantity of fuel in the belly tank. The payload / performance issues lead him to selling the aircraft and buying something rather bigger.
By johncondor
Wow! Thanks for a lot of helpful and interesting information. GS had a factory weight of 926 lbs and we have just had her weighed. The empty weight was 982 lbs. This was consistent with the last trustworthy weight of 1016 lb. We have since reduced the front end weight by fitting a lightweight starter, an alternator instead of the old dynamo, and we removed the cooler. All this means that we are more CG limited than total weight limited and we do tend to run out of forward trim with low fuel levels. This is certainly why the fixed trim tab was fitted but we would like to improve the trim and it has been suggested by an LAA Inspector/Concorde owner that we increase the tailplane incidence. Also, the fixed tab obviously tends to limit the effectiveness of aft trim although this has never seemed to be a problem. Presumably the belly tank would make it even more tail heavy.

With the cooler removed and a new engine we have no temperature problems even in the hottest weather and the oil pressure never drops below 40 psi
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By MichaelP

The first thing to check is whether the gap seal between the tailplane and elevator has been correctly fitted.
When I flew a Condor with the gap seal removed it felt tail heavy.
I removed it as it had been incorrectly fitted and the gap seal had ballooned up into the airflow over the top of the tailplane and elevator, I looked back saw fabric above the tailplane and did a precautionary landing immediately. Was worried about structural failure... First (CofA test flight) flight after CxA renewal work had been done. It happened during the Vne dive.
I cut the tape off, flew back to Chessington, and did the job properly. Tape top of tailplane trailing edge to bottom of elevator leading edge.

The second thing to look at is the rig.
If the tailplane was removed was it refitted at the correct angle of incidence?
Level the aeroplane and check the tailplane incidence.

The tailplane’s surface area is such that simply missing a couple of washers will have an effect on the trim.

Third thing.
The aeroplane was not designed to have this extra tab fitted.
Such a thing needs to be carefully tested to ensure you do not get flutter within the certified speed range of the aeroplane.

I once had the choice of three Condors: XGS, WAT, and WEI.
WAT looked the best, but it’s engine didn’t last long.
XGS had had too much messing about with, and I didn’t feel good about it.
I bought WEI, recovered the wings in DTD575A cotton, and I was very very happy with this one.
By johncondor
Lots of good things there, thank you.
1. Gap Seal GS has a shaped leading edge on the elevator which almost fills the gap. It does not have a gap seal. We are going to try adding a seal before we do anything else.

2. Rig We suspect that this might be the problem. This Winter we are going to renew the tailplane bolts and bobbins so will look at incidence at the same time. I wonder if it changed when rammed by the police car at Rochester.

Flutter GS has done at least 1000 hours with this trim tab and gone through countless Permit flight tests with no problems. I have done 9 of them myself.

Another feature of GS which may have some effect on pitch up at speed and that is the two venturis, one an each side of the cockpit. This is different from most Condors and Jodels which have one venturi underneath where the drag moment will be nose down. I have no idea when these were fitted but I have photographs taken in Scotland and they were not there.
By condor17
John , brilliant idea to ask here , with lots of good replies . John and the GS group are sister ship , and hangar mates with our DM .
They've helped us out more times than I care to remember ; so it's great that the info will help them out .

The toe-in as explained to me .... If yaw Right starts on landing roll ,
Left hand wheel due to and with extra toe-in gives more drag and thus straightens a/c . Right hand wheel has less drag , runs free/straight and thus helps a/c straighten up .
And vice versa .
Condors running hot seem to be commonly rumoured . DM runs hot and GS always runs cool . Thanks for explaining the fixed cowl flap moulded into GS . DM is in the process of mimicing GS's bottom cowl to create a venturi like gap .
Gap seals , another rumour . It's great to hear the facts .
OH's document site is a boon as well .

So , thanks to one and all . All info appreciated .
Please keep 'em coming .

rgds condor .
By Andrew b
John its intresting for me you have just mentioned one wheel toeing in more than the other and causing drag. I know they are supposed to toe in but the port wheel on mine seems to toe in alot more than the other no question of it but on the take off roll she just tracks striaght and on the landing roll the same again I think you could just keep your feet on the floor .Maybe someone could confirm what John is saying has anyone else got diffrent toe ins or am I the only one :roll:
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