Weedhopper JC-26-A Gypsy
When John Chotia revealed his new Gypsy at Oshkosh '80, it was to provide an easy-to-fly, simple-to-maintain, efficient airplane.
It's an ultralight aircraft that weighs. only 165 pounds, and because it can be footlaunched and recovered, it's in that special -unrecognized" category that the FAA has turned its back on, meaning it can be flown without an airworthiness certificate or a pilot's license.
The Gypsy is a very conventiowl taildragger, with responsive three-axis controls (the aileron, rudder and elevator surfaces are enormous),
Nevertheless, the Gypsy emerged full blown as a pilot's airplane and is intended to be used as a motorized glidder. its huge, high-lift wing gives it liftdrag ratio of 16:1 and a minimum sink rate of 165 fpm. The Chotia 460 engine, which weighs only 32 pounds and develops 25 hp, is ample to get any soaring pilot high into the thermals. Once there, it doesn't take much heat to keep the lightly loaded Gypsy going on up. Ridge soaring offers another good opportunity to lean into the wind for some free flying time. If you like cruising with the engine on, you'll find it takes a mere 2.5 hp to maintain the 35-40 mph cruise.
A high-wing, wire-braced monoplane with “bathtub” type fuselage/cockpit and conventional tail sur-faces. A discreet three-axis control system is operated by stick and rudder pedals. Aluminum tubing and wooden dowels are used in combination with styrofoam for ribs and fuselage pod structure. Wing and tail surfaces are covered with doped fabric. Openings in the floor of the cockpit allow for foot-launching. The engine and tail structure are at-tached to opposite ends of a single aluminum-tube boom. POWERPLANT: Chotia 460 mounted in tractor position ahead of the main wing. The Weedhopper two-blade, wooden propeller is turned by direct drive. Fuel is carried in a polyethylene tank inside the fuselage. The single-cylinder engine is hand-propped for starting and has a compression ratio of 10:1. LANDING GEAR: Conventional taildragger type with a steerable tailwheel attached to the rudder. Main wheels are 20-inch and the tailwheel is 6-inch. There are no brakes, and the main gear are solid mounted.
In 1980 the full kit price was US$2995.
Cockpit space in the Gypsy is generous enough to accommodate a 6-foot-6-inch man with a portly frame. Visibility is incredible. While you're offered good protection from cold winds, the sides of the fuselage hold a low profile. There's also a large hole in the floor (for foot launching) that offers an
The aileron horn is activated by a pushrod that's linked to a bellcrank which is hooked to cables. One cable runs down to the control stick, the other goes across to the other aileron.
The Gypsy, created and sold in kit form by Weedhopper of Ogden, Utah, represents a new, significant break-through in ultralight aircraft design. it utilizes an aluminum frame, styrofoam ribs and fuselage, and the new Chotia 460 engine which develops 25 horsepower and weighs only 32 pounds.
Weedhopper offers the Gypsy as a kit that's complete with everything except glue and dope. It was created for easy construction: all components requiring bending, machining or sewing are treated at the factory. A drill guide is furnished to permit hand drills instead of a drill press.
Seamless, drawn 6061 T-6 aluminum tubing is used to form the basic structure of the Gypsy. Wooden dowels are' set inside the tubes at the attach points, and aircraft bolts are used in the joints. In some cases, premachined brackets, tabs or gussets are attached to accommodate struts, spans, cables, pushrods, etc., Ruggedness has been built into the design.
Making the wings is an agreeable matter of laying out the tubes in a rectangular shape, drilling holes for some pop rivets and bolts, fitting on the precut, extruded styrene foam ribs, and gluing on the capstrips. Then the 1.5 ounce Dacron sailplane cloth is glued on. Butyrate, dope gives color and a smoothness to the flying surfaces. Detailed, large-scale drawings and full instructions reduce the entire process to simply "counting numbers." For the rudder and elevator, you just sand to shape and glue on fiberglass cloth.
The control system follows the tradition for separate aileron, rudder and elevator linkage, Cables run from the control stick and rudder pedals to their respective horns and bell cranks. Everything in the control system is exposed, so you can easily see and closely inspect it. Any wear on the cables or attach points will show up immediately.
Because of the slow stall speed (22 mph), takeoffs and landings in a Gypsy are easy, even for a relatively inexperienced pilot.
Wingspan, 32 ft
Wing area, 144 sq.ft
Aspect ratio, 7.1
Overall length, 18.5 ft
Empty weight, 165 lb
Usable payload (include fuel), 250 lb
Wing loading, 2.31 lbs/sq.ft
L/D power-off glide ratio: 16.1
VNE: 65 kt / 75 mph / 120 kmh
Cruise speed (85% power), 60 mph (redline)
Stall: 22 kt / 25 mph / 41 kmh
Ap-proach speed, 30mph
Flair speed, 22 mph
Liftoff speed, 25 mph
Take-off distance (50ft obstacle): 100 ft / 30 m
Landing distance (50ft obstacle): 35 ft / 11 m
Rate of climb, 400-600 fpm
Fuel capacity, 2.5 Usgal
Range at cruise, 60 mi
Engine displacement, 456cc
Rated HP, 30 hp
Static thrust 140-150 lb
Cockpit width, 24 in