from scratch than flat skins and square corners.I feel guilty that I haven't jumped to the Davis' aid before. The first time I saw the Davis wasin Norman, Oklahoma, where I was nursing a sick Cessna 195 back to health. One day Istepped around the usual pool of oil under my airplane's nose, and, to and behold, nestledunder one wing was the cutest, most angular aluminum airplane I had ever seen. Leeon Davishad decided to tie his newly finished DA-2 next door.Davis was an experimental metal worker at Aero Commander's prototype facility, and since hewanted an airplane, but didn't want to sell his wife and kids to get one, he decided to build hisown. He wanted to make it an easy airplane to duplicate, so he had to use his experience tosimplify rather than complicate. He drew up plans for the simplest metal shape that wouldenclose two people and baggage, use a Clark Y airfoil and get lots of lift out of a tiny package.The Davis fuselage is a box with the cockpit section framed by small, square steel tubing. Allformers, frames and other skeletal parts are short pieces bent up on a brake, then rivetedtogether. A form block isn't needed. A fuselage normally has complicated fittings andreinforcements to mount the wings, but the Davis doesn't. The spar runs through the middle,and the fuselage sits on it; the two are joined by simple flat sheet stiffeners.The swept-back main gear is steel tubing, a la Steve Wittman, and the go-cart-wheel nose gear is a cross between a vocational shop project and a Mooney The nose roller is mounted on theend of a piece of tubing that telescopes into another longer piece. The bigger tube is filled withrubber doughnuts that act as shock absorbers. No air, no oil, no springs. Simplicity.The wings are as simple as the gear. Forming ribs, flanging lightening holes and getting rid of distortion are the kinds of tasks that discourage would-be homebuilders, but Leeon has the rib problem knocked. He uses normal sandwich-type form blocks for rib forming but rather thantrying to stretch the metal around the corner, he beats it over with a plastic hammer. Then hegets rid of the distortion-causing excess by pounding the flanges into flutes filed in the form blocks. Result: perfectly straight ribs every time.I don't know how long it took Leeon to make his butterflytail work, but the final solution was incredibly simple. Themixing unit that gives elevator and rudder motions to the twosurfaces consists of a couple of U-shaped steel pieces nestedinside each other, gimbled so that rudder cables work oneand elevators the other. Works like a charm.
2/1/2010Flying the Davis DA-2A Homebuiltairbum.com/pireps/PirepDavisDA2.html2/5