I am Matt and I seriously love to fly. Model planes, quad copters, fixed wing drones, full sized planes. If I haven't flown it yet, I'm probably coming up with a solid plan on how to build it so I can give it a whirl. (Because, if someone else builds it, why can't I?)
Spring of 2014, I started working as a UAS operator for a local, up-and-coming company that uses their systems primarily for mapping. I became not only UAS pilot, but also lead troubleshooter and drone repairman. (Needless to say, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.") Since the FAA has been moving toward regulating drone aviation, it seemed wise to begin work on my private pilot's license as a preemptive measure. As you might imagine, I took this news fairly well. I logged my first flight hours in July of 2014 and recently soloed in September 2015.
In July of 2015, I picked up a partially finished KR-2 airframe. The previous owner/builder had begun construction in 1981, not from a kit, but from raw materials. He did a first-rate job, so I elected to leave everything alone that was already permanently affixed.
However, a lot of research and modification has gone on in the past 35 years, so I felt it would be silly not to take advantage of it. The first things I chose to address were the horizontal stabilizer and the landing gear. The fuselage length and horizontal stabilizer size on the original KR-2 plans have caused some pilots to report pitch sensitivity. I decided to extend the width of my horizontal stabilizer by one foot (6 inches per side) while leaving the elevator alone. The landing gear is the original retractable design, which--in my mind, as well as is documented--has two major flaws: it has no suspension, which causes damage to the plane in the event of a hard landing, and there have been reports of the gear folding back into the plane on landing as well. Other cases indicate that fixed gear, when faired properly, can be almost as efficient as retracted gear at reducing drag. These considerations made me decide to swap this landing gear for the gear sold by NVAero.
I'm borrowing heavily from several sources in my designs (in many cases I'm outright copying) and I will try to attribute appropriately - partially giving credit where credit is due, and partially so anyone interested in my techniques or designs can easily find more information.
This blog is a record of my KR-2 building process. It's technical--no bones about it--but I'm hoping it will be of use to someone else tackling a similar project. Feel free to contact me with comments or questions, and stay tuned for further updates.