The Viking Dragonfly is an amateur built aircraft made of fiberglass with side by side seating. The aircraft has been designed as a safe, fun, recreational aircraft capable of touring at low cost, but with very good performance (especially given the relatively low HP engines used).
Aircraft History VH LSR
VH-LSR was scratch built in Victoria. Having been completed in 1985, the builder flew the aircraft until about 1995 taking the aircraft to Queensland and Western Australia before selling it to its second owner, also from Victoria. The aircraft was dismantled by the second owner but never placed back in the air.
I am the aircraft's third owner (purchased 1997) and late in 1999 I placed VH-LSR onto the Experimental register. I have also flown the aircraft in Victoria, Queensland and NSW. Trips have included several interstate 'day' trips and lots of local flying.
The aircraft was recently dismantled with a view to refurbishing elements including the engine. Although the engine was rebuilt by Aeropower, no other work has been started due to work commitments. I now plan to purchase a flying aerobatics aircraft and hence have decided to offer the Dragonfly for sale.
The aircraft is easy to fly and very safe. However it requires reasonable tail dragger experience and does not like to be manhandled. Control forces are light with only a small amount of throw required on the centre mounted joy stick. The stick could be compared to that of a computer game.
Seating is semi reclined and comfortable for pilots under six foot one inch. I am six foot two inchs and fit, but only have just enough head room. There is a planned modification to the instrument panel that would enable the pilot to slide further down in the seat and therefore make the fit more comfortable.
The plane has been housed on a grass strip, but it is more comfortable on bitumen or gravel due the fact that it sits on a fiberglass undercarriage that flexs too much if the strip is rough.
Presently VH-LSR is disassembled for maintenance. A new engine 0 hrs (78 HP VW with dual ignition) has been purchased and is to be fitted back onto the aircraft.
Flying the Dragonfly
General: VH-LSR is a tail dragger and as such it demands that the pilot treat the aircraft with respect on the ground. There have been accidents with other DFLY aircraft on the ground (pilot error/inexperience). The biggest factor in this regard is pilot experience and currency with tail dragger aircraft. I don't know of any current and experienced pilots in Australia coming undone with the Dragonfly.
In the air the aircraft is very forgiving and easy to fly. Coordinated rate-one turns can be achieved without use of rudder, although rudder input significantly improves turning performance if desired.
The aircraft is sensitive in pitch but very controllable, but I find this one of the better aspects of flying the Dragonfly. It is heavier in roll, but again a very nice aircraft to fly.
If desired, the Dragonfly can be reconfigured as a tricycle and there are several examples of such in Australia and overseas.
Take Off. Point the aircraft down the strip, hold some forward stick and accelerate. At 40 kts the tail will lift and this is when you need to exercise your tail dragger skills. Once you get some speed up, the aircraft is very stable. At 60 kts, release some of the forward pressure and the aircraft will float away from the field at around 500 ft/min or more. I like to hold it in ground effect until 70 kts is achieved which is then held during the climb. The canard will help ensure that you do not inadvertently stall (50 kts) during any mishandling during take off - a real safety feature of the design.
In Flight. Cruise is achieved in a relatively nose low attitude with the aircraft generally leveling out at around 90 - 120 kts indicated (depending upon conditions and aircraft configuration). Visibility is excellent in the bubble canopy whilst roll-over protection is assured by the rear turtle deck above the pilots head. Tall pilots can slip their feet between the rudder pedals for a comfortable flight.
The Dragonfly is relatively unaffected by turbulence provided that you keep speeds below 90 - 100 kts. I have regularly flown during the heat of a summer day under large fluffy CU when other light aircraft have been on the ground trying to avoid a buffeting.
Wet Weather. One area where the aircraft does not excel is in the wet. The canard is affected by rain leading to reduced lift due to separation of airflow over the canard. If you fly into rain, you will require increased air speed and some back stick to hold straight and level.
If wet, it is not advisable to attempt a take-off unless you have a very long strip, and even then I wouldn't! The 'fix' out of the USA for this are vortex generators on the canard, or a new canard profile (LS1). The problem was also encountered with the Quickie aircraft and there are fixes posted on the Quickie Home Page.
Descent: I like to commence my descent from my cruise altitude (normally about 6500' for long trips) by lowering the nose and reducing power slightly until I achieve about (500 ft/min) and 130+ kts. This provides a nice quick finish to the flight without super cooling the engine. You have to remember to start your descent early to get down to CCT height. The 14.5:1 glide ratio is pretty impressive, but fortunately the DFLY is also easy to side slip.
In the Circuit: I like to slow to 90 kts after putting the propeller back to fine pitch (Hoffman variable in-flight prop has been fitted). At the end of down wind, I throttle back and slow to 70 or 80 kts. If required you can easily do a glide approach from here, although I generally keep on a bit of power to avoid cooling the engine too much.
Landing: Final is established at about 70 kts (recommended). A standard descent is flown with or without the air brake, with the flare depositing the aircraft just off the deck, power off. At this point it is important that the aircraft only be an inch or two off the deck as the Dragonfly SHOULD NOT be stalled onto the deck ala a Cessna. If you try to stall the aircraft on, the canard may drop too suddenly leading to a bounce developing that can then turn into a pilot induced oscillation. Worse case this could lead to a broken canard.
The aircraft is either two pointed and pinned to the deck with forward stick or three pointed (taking care not to stall on from height). Once on the ground with the tail down (< 40 kts), normal braking can be used to slow the aircraft.
Three pointers can be used for short landings as they can significantly reduce the landing roll due to more drag being applied through the air brake and elevators, supported with some disk braking (but note the point in stalling). If the Dragonfly is two pointed, the tail tends to continue flying longer and because of the extra speed, you can't deploy too much elevator, otherwise the Dragonfly will 'fly' again. In this situation, applying the air brake helps drag the tail down.
Using the air-brake on descent generally accelerates all phases of the landing subsequently shortening the landing roll. Landing is by far the hardest aspect of flying the Dragonfly, but by no means difficult. It is worth noting that the Dragonfly also has a good cross wind capability of about 15 kts.
These notes have been developed to provide general information on the Viking Dragonfly but must not be relied upon when making a decision to buy the aircraft. Prospective purchasers are responsible for sourcing independent information as well as satisfying themselves that the aircraft is fit for purpose.