There are two kinds of people who may be interested in knowing about the plane that David flies: aviation aficionados and aerobatic fans. The problem is, they speak two different languages. Our solution? A bilingual description in tech talk and plain English.
Aircraft: Zivko Edge 540
Engine: Custom built project engine of Penn Yan Aero, Designed by Bill Middlebrook
Thrust to weight ratio: over 1:1
Translation: This is one cool airplane. David Windmiller says "Zivko is the master of composites, the best in the world." His fans think it is positively awesome.
Maximum aerobatic weight: 1550 lbs.
Climb rate: 3,700 feet per minute.
Roll rate: 420 degrees per minute.
Translation: What a great performance plane. So light and agile it moves with a grace and ease that can make spectators feel like they are watching a ballet in the sky. Able to be maneuvered quickly and nimbly, it lets highly proficient pilots like David execute gyroscopic tumbles, spins, aerial cartwheels, torque rolls and soaring feats of precision that look for all the world like gymnastics in the sky.
The fuselage: 4130 steel tube, powder coated, oiled inside. Designed and fatigue analyzed on a computer. The lower aft fuselage is fabric covered for minimum fuselage weight. The empennage is a unique airfoil, all composite with carbon spars and carbon skins. It has been static flight tested and had ground vibration analysis. Stiffness driven, its strength far exceeds what is required. The ultimate load is +/-15 Gs.
Translation: A beauty of an airplane in form and function, with great stability in action. In the words of Todd Morse, project engineer who assisted in the design, "The aircraft can withstand a lot more than the pilot." A comforting thought for pilots.
The wing: Stiffness driven. Able to sustain 10 Gs with less than two inch wing tip deflection. Strong enough to withstand 27 Gs. A unique airfoil, all composite with carbon spars. Static tested to 20 Gs. Had ground vibration analysis. Flight tested with over 2500 hours of unlimited aerobatic flying. Carbon fiber fairings with large windows and panels for easy removal for inspection. The cowl is carbon fiber for low internal cooling drag. The canopy has a carbon fiber frame with Hartwell latch and positive locking system for emergency release. The control system has an aileron and elevator push pull system, while the rudder has a cable system. All systems are ball bearings with nylon bearings or ball bearing rod ends for ease of maintenance and smooth control response.
Translation: Whew! Clearly, this aircraft has been engineered and designed and detailed by and for people who know what they are doing. As David says, "The vertical penetration goes way beyond any other piston powered aircraft in the world. Judges at the WAC (World Aerobatics Championships) really like that. Where it used to be essential to plan freestyle programs that started at the top of the aerobatic box and finished at the bottom, it's now possible to start at the bottom and end up at the top. Energy management is a thing of the past. Now the key is keeping up with the airplane. The Edge 540 makes that easy."
The Penn Yan Aero Engine: The 345 horsepower experimental engine was designed by Bill Middlebrook and produced by the team at Penn Yan Aero. They started with a Lycoming AEIO-540-D4A5 and redesigned and modified key components to be lighter and stronger. They dynamically balanced the core rotating mass components, used Hi-Lift rocker arms, and high compression pistons in special ported, polished, and flow matched cylinders. The modified fuel delivery system includes a polished cold air induction system. The fuel is ignited by a special electronic ignition system. The engine safely delivers 345 horsepower at 2750 RPMs.
Translation: This engine performs beautifully and dependably, and even wows David. He says, “This is the best engine I’ve ever flown. From the time I first start it, through all of the aerobatic routines, it runs smoothly and delivers everything that I ask. The people at Penn Yan Aero are not kidding about delivering the best engines in the world. I recommend Penn Yan Aero without hesitation or qualification.”
Enough said—in any language.