Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kermit's Snipe thoughts

This great account and photo from Kermit Weeks' Facebook timeline.

"Ran the Sopwith Snipe again today and got to taxi it around quite a bit. The Bentley engine is a bit more sensitive to the fuel/air mixture than what I've been used to flying with the Gnomes and LeRhone's. Of course, it's a hundred and fifty horsepower more than an engine in a Sopwith Pup!

While taxiing on the ground . . . it seems to turn reasonably tight to the right with a bit of throttle and forward stick but not as well to the left. A pilot must think ahead when turning around on a narrow runway (125' wide!) with a crosswind to make sure he doesn't go off the side and into a fence or swamp! Remember, there are NO BRAKES!

The Bentley actually has better throttle-ability than other rotaries I've flown and can throttle back to about 500 rpm without having to use the blip switch, which is actually slow enough to stop on the grass. You can't do that with a Sopwith Pup with an 80 hp engine and a minimum idle rpm of 800. You HAVE to use the blip switch to slow down.

At higher power settings and powering up, the Bentley is a lot less forgiving than a LeRhone and is very sensitive to getting the air/fuel mixture just right. It's easy to be either too lean or too rich and let's you know by either banging, backfiring, or just quitting!

On LeRhone Rotaries and this Bentley, the pilot has two levers to control the power - one for air and one for fuel.

Think about that and understand . . . With this set up . . . the PILOT IS THE CARBURETOR!

There were a few things I told the guys to tweak as I ran offsite for an all day appointment.

With any luck . . . I'll fly it tomorrow morning!"

Thanks for the insights, Kermit.

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