ISON Tandem AirBike Builder's Log

July, 2001
ISON Aircraft news, aluminum work, and diversions.


ISON Aircraft takes flight

On 6/21/01, Wayne Ison published the following statement:

This is to all our good friends and devoted builders of our line of aircraft. As part of our ongoing legal hassle, we have transferred all our original drawings, etc. of the line of AirBike designs, including the name TEAM, or TEAM Aircraft, or Tennessee Engineering & Mfg., Inc. to the litigant in Florida. We understand he will make kits available, but we have no details as to when or how much. If we may be of any help to any of you, who already have our products, please contact us as Ison Aircraft, same address, same phone. Thank you. Wayne Ison

Wayne Ison and TEAM never lost a court case, and the "litigant in Florida" never won a case against them. Wayne could not afford to put up an appropriate defense against the ridiculous suits filed by this AirBike builder/flyer, and had little choice but to rely on a "shallow pockets" type of defense (or, to put it more accurately, lack of a defense). Now it has come to this, where he was left with no choice but surrender the rights to not only the AirBike designs, but also the name of his distinguished company as well. This is truly a tragedy for the ultralight/homebuilt light aircraft community, and sadly, it may not even be over yet.

A strong and unanimous cry has arisen from the builders, pilots and supporter's of Mr. Ison's designs, to recognize all of Wayne's designs as "ISON Aircraft" designs from now on, and to vow to NEVER support the new "owner" of the TEAM Aircraft name in any manner. In fact, this is the last time I will even mention the words "TEAM Aircraft" in these pages. That company name is, unfortunately, dead and gone, and from its ashes we must all do what we can to promote the ISON Aircraft Company. Wayne is hanging tough in the midst of very trying times, and I wish him and his other company members the very best. You can learn more about this sordid debacle in this article and in the ETLB BBS.

Nov. '02 update: If you are interested in plans or kits for an AirBike-type airplane, please contact Ison Aircraft directly at (615)765-5397


With a little help from my friends...

Roger, Robert and Mike answered my pleas for help on a phase of building the Zenith flaperons that I didn't have enough hands for. We figured out exactly where the spar/rib skeletons wanted to live on the lower portion of the outer skins, and drilled and clecoed them into place. Now it will be a (relatively) simple matter for me to rivet the skeletons onto the lower skins, fold the top skins down onto the ribs and rivet the tops down. But first...


Roger thought I should treat the flaperon ribs with alodine before I assemble them, like he is doing with his RV-6 parts. Since he offered to bring the materials over and help me do it, how could I refuse? Here he is dipping batches of ribs -- wrapped in fiberglass screen material -- into the acid wash. After the parts were dried, he dipped them into the alodine solution in a similar manner.


After the parts have soaked in the alodine for the prescribed amount of time, they are hosed off with water. Robert does the honors, while the rest of the crew beats them to the fried chicken.


Once the parts are dried again, they're ready for assembly. The microscopic layer of alodine will guard the parts against corrosion for many years to come.


This is "sardine can" metalworking at its finest! I had to make these L-shaped holes for the flaperon hinge brackets to protrude through on the bottom, and my new nibbler turned out to be too big for the job. So I had to get creative. I drilled three 1/4" holes with a brad-point bit (generally for woodworking), which made very crisp holes. Then I scored the lines between the holes, on both sides of the material, with a less-than-sharp X-acto blade. Then, as shown above, I simply rolled the excess material off the part with needle-nose pliers, kinda like how a sardine tin is opened. Worked great.


Here's the finished opening, and the angle bracket which will rivet to the adjacent spar and rib and protrude through the opening. Zenith says to just make the opening triangular-shaped, but that seems like a welcome mat for wasps to me. Now I can commence with riveting the skeletons onto the skins.


New Tandem Completion

Bill Bailey has completed and flown his beautiful 582-powered Tandem. It looks like his work is as good as it is fast. Regarding aileron stick forces, Bill writes: "I don't get the whole aileron thing, this one is not much harder than my single place, I'm not going to touch them, I like them the way they are..." Later Bill continued: "I was able to fly tandem this week, 220 lb passenger, 931 lb gross, the 582 still gave me 600 fpm climb at 50 mph. Cruise at 5500 rpm, 60 mph. On the first solo flight tests, the tach was off and I was running too much pitch. I checked the prop with a hand held tach and was able to take out 3 degrees of pitch which ended up with 900 fpm climb at 50 mph, I later replaced the tach and every thing is fine now. The ailerons are a little heavier with a passenger but nothing for me to worry about. I am well pleased with the performance of the 582."

So, while we scratch our heads about why Richard's ailerons are so heavy --and why three other Tandem owners report heavy ailerons -- yet Bill's are OK, other builders seem to be proceeding with the stock flaperons as Bill did. It will be nice to have more data to compare in the future. I'm still happy with my decision to incorporate the Junkers flaperons, though, as I wouldn't want to try using the Tandem as a hang glider tug without them.

Congratulations on the beautiful new bird, Bill.


Keep up thy airspeed, lest the ground rise up and smite thee .