Eurofox - Members Questions
What are the aircraft’s limitations to launch the full range of YGC gliders in range of weather conditions on all runways?
Eurofox is equivalent to the YGC Super Cub. The limitations are the same, and the tail wheel version of the Eurofox tug will outperform the nose wheel tug that has been successfully flown from Sutton Bank.
What will be done to test out these limitations before final acquisition?
Eurofox UK have YGC at the top of their list for a visit with the tail wheel tug in October. The dates will be publicised well in advance, so come along for a free (cost of 3 litres of AVGAS) tow and see for yourself.
What will be “acceptable limitations” as far as the club is concerned both from a utilisation and cost/benefit perspective? (i.e. at what point does the aircraft lose its viability?)
From the trial flying already carried out, the Eurofox is a more ‘viable’ tug than an aging Pawnee that is already ‘unviable’, and only survives to tow the heaviest gliders when required (not often).
What additional training will be required?
Maximum 1 hour type conversion, and tail wheel refresher is anticipated (cost for tuggies c10 litres of Avgas).
Given the range of capabilities in the current tuggie team will Eurofox usage be restricted to a subset of the team?
No. Not sure why the question is asked, but no one will be forced to fly the Eurofox if they do not wish to!
Are any special techniques required to avoid overstressing the gearbox (as in other Rotax installations) and if so what are they? If not, why not?
The Eurofox UK Chief Engineer answers this one – the query was about a minimum rpm of 4000 in the descent at high IAS off tow and gear box wear:
It would seem that there is always some ‘expert’ somewhere who picks up a snip of information from who knows where and passes it on as gospel! In all my time working on and flying 912 engines, not once have I heard of this one. Maybe, just maybe this is something peculiar to that engine/prop combination, but I can assure you that in all the applications I know of there is absolutely no problem. To put it in context, my own a/c which is a Pioneer 300 with v/p constant speed propeller has no engine RPM limitations of any sort at any pitch setting-there has been zero issues in just under 800 hrs in 5 years . Quite what one would be doing below 80 kts in course pitch beats me anyway! If this was a generic problem with all 912’s, in all a/c then believe me I’m sure I would have got to hear about it!
Anyway, the Eurofox towing prop can be in no way described as course pitch, it’s very definitely set fine. At 4,000 rpm even with that fine pitch prop and 80 kts, you would never descend but merely keep flying! I’ll try and find out where that piece of ‘info’ re the Ximango may have originated from, just as a matter of interest. Anyway, I will however repeat that you will not have a problem - witness the 2,000 hr tug at Nitra, Aeropro’s base, which has had no problem in all that time.
I often get phone calls from a/c owners, nothing to do with Eurofox, in my capacity as a Rotax approved engineer, asking strange questions about things they have heard on the grapevine and I have to put them right from a position of knowledge.
When I descend off tow after release, I reduce power considerably and speed up, shutting the oil cooler flap after about 10 seconds, purely to conserve heat in the oil-just a personal good practice thing really. I don’t pull fully to idle purely because the sink rate dictates I need to get back to the airfield! I certainly don’t have to ‘manage’ my power setting to conserve cylinder head temperatures as the engine is highly temperature stable.
My apologies for the above ramble, but I hope it will be of help. I just think that a lot of gliding club members, especially those without experience of modern power plants, will need gentle persuasion/education in the huge benefits these power plants have to offer-but then I know you are a convert yourself!!
Very best wishes-Adrian
And from the owner of Eurofox UK’s demonstrator:
I wonder if the minimum rpm limit at coarse prop setting is stated as a minimum in the coarse pitch cruise, so as not to operate the aircraft above max manifold pressure? Just something peculiar for that aircraft type.
I cannot see its relevance to a fine pitched, higher rpm glider towing or heavy circuit work training environments (of which the Rotax 912 has been the standard at many schools for well over 15 years)
How will other members/tug pilots technical concerns be dealt with before final acquisition?
Is the Eurofox sufficiently robust to survive the current hangar packing/unpacking and ground handling approaches used on the current tugs?
Yes, ground and load testing evidence reveal an extremely strong and robust aircraft. The new concrete has been a huge improvement for ground handling and reduction of hangar rash. Eurofox ground handling can be safely accomplished by 2 people without back damage, and without pulling and pushing on struts, fins, tail planes.
Is the attached price list an accurate representation on known costs (i.e. is that what we’re going to pay)?
Yes. Build costs at the Aeropro factory will fall to your Project Manager (holiday). Final assembly will be done in the YGC workshop by a small team of ‘hand-picked experts’ (yet to be notified). 17% of the VAT will be recovered back to YGC in the normal way.
Can we have more detail of the build process – who needs to be involved, when, where, how will it be managed/signed off, and what is the detailed cost breakdown of the build phase?
(Note: these questions are based on members understanding that 350 man hours – 10 man weeks will be needed to complete the build)
Banbury GC is just finishing their build, and working to 250 man hours. The aircraft comes to the UK ready to assemble rather than build, and assembly is in 3 phases; FWF (engine installation, Fire Wall Forward), Instrument panel and avionics, and Controls (stick and rudder pedals + brakes. Rudder, elevator, flaperons, trimmer). Build, certification, and routine maintenance are supervised and ‘signed off’ by LAA Licensed Engineer, and YGC will be enrolled with LAA in the near future by your Project Manager. Only the ‘signing off’ work attracts a charge, we (YGC) do the work.
Why are we spending such a large proportion of our capital when we’re already haemorrhaging money?
Other funding for Eurofox is being sourced. The YGC Board has secured an option now frozen at 2012 prices. At present, YGC would invest around ½ its capital funds in a Eurofox tug. The return on that investment will be at 10% rather than the paltry 2% that the Bank gives us for lending them the money for their bonuses (Sorry I could not help that!).
The YGC Board is not aware of any financial difficulties afflicting YGC apart from loss of income entirely due to the weather. However, at close of play on 29 July 2012 the YGC tug fleet was comprised of 1 x Super Cub u/s with a leaking fuel tank, 1 x Pawnee u/s with an engine oil pressure problem, and 1x Pawnee flying on an hours extension while awaiting 2 new tailplanes. This situation is summed up by the big word beginning with ‘h’ in the question, and is why the Eurofox project is underway.
CFI’s Eurofox Price List
Eurofox Rotax 912ULS 560 kg £37,450 (advertised base price)
Oil inspection hatch £125
Carb Heat £295
Landing light £90
Wingtip strobes £425
Fuel pump £335
Glider tow kit £1950
Tundra tyres £420
Registration letters £100
Canopy and door cover £80
Sub total (VAT ex) £41450
Sub total (VAT inc) £49740
Cabin heat £325
Door vents £75
Sub total (VAT ex) £41,850
Sub total (VAT inc) £50,220
Additional known costs (VAT inc)
Retractable towrope winch £2000
Instrument fit FLARM £600
(Note: may want further instruments - depends what is included as ‘basic engine and flight instruments’)
Grand total (VAT inc) £53,600.
Plus build and transport costs
Project Manager will absorb some expenses by ‘holidaying’ in Slovakia, and the volunteer build team will work for the Club.
LAA Membership, registration and Inspectors’ fees will be approx £1500; a pessimistic guess, because I have not done the accurate sums yet!