I made an end-of-year visit to PRIVATEERTM at Titusville on December 19, 2014. Although the good guys at CompAir have given it their best shot, PRIVATEERTM will not fly this year. The CompAir crew has started a well-deserved holiday.
PRIVATEERTM has come a long way due to the able efforts of Ron Lueck and his crew. Controls have been completed, which was no small effort in that PRIVATEERTM was originally designed to be fly-by-wire. Ailerons have been redesigned and constructed, and I got to watch the landing gear being actuated.
The panel has been completed and Garmin radios have been procured for the prototype.
PRIVATEERTM will make its first flight without the propeller shroud. Ron has interviewed several engineers toward designing a state-of-the-art assembly for PRIVATEERTM .
Although some work has been done with shrouded propellers, most of the work has been done with lower speed aircraft, such as blimps.
As aircraft speeds increase, the prop/shroud assembly loses efficiency to the point where drag overcomes thrust. The original thinking for PRIVATEERTM was that prop/thrust efficiencies would neutralize somewhere around 200 knots.
It now appears that there will be more drag than thrust at somewhere less than 200 knots, which means that top cruise speeds will be reduced in favor of shorter water takeoff runs.
Because the prop/shroud combination almost doubles effective power starting from a dead stop, PRIVATEERTM will be able to get off the water after 800 feet.
Bill Husa has alluded to this concern, and indicated that the shroud profile might be reduced in order to reduce drag.
Efforts are ongoing to resolve this issue.
Wishing everyone a joyous holiday and a prosperous new year.