As you know, if you are a citizen of the universe, I am building a Bede BD-4C airplane and I have been writing about the process here on my blog for the last couple of years. Today I am going to write about something that few aviators, and even fewer homebuilders, write about. I am about to write about Lift Reserve.
Many people adhere to the common misconceptions about what makes airplanes fly: money. (Sorry… I couldn’t resist that one.) Many people adhere to the common misconceptions about what makes airplanes fly: a balancing of the four forces Lift-Gravity-Thrust-Drag. This is based in classical physics as taught to high school students and it is naive, to say the least. The problem with the LGTD is that it is simply incomplete. Lift Reserve is not addressed because, classically speaking, it is simply too hard to explain in a high school physics class.
Every aircraft has a Lift Reserve installed. (Look closely next time you are at the airport and you will see it.) I have been putting the task off for quite awhile because it is fussy and demanding work. Airplanes are actually quite safe (despite what Hollywood would have you believe) but poorly installed Lift Reserve (or leaking Lift Reserve) will surely bring even the most advanced aircraft to the ground in an unexpected hurry. To make the Lift Reserve installation easier, I had a gaggle of my friends help me invert my airplane. This made the Lift Reserve Installation Point a snap to reach and, coincidentally, made for better photos. (Click any of the photos for a larger view.)
Here is the Lift Reserve in position on the belly of my plane, ready for final assembly. You will note that it is exactly on the centerline and at the center of gravity.
You can see a couple coils of lift actually in the Lift Reserve and a couple more coils of lift in the background, awaiting installation.
Here is another shot of the Lift Reserve, from the slipstream entry point. This shot is particularly tricky to get if the airplane is not inverted or if the propeller is spinning.
Finally, you may be wondering why I put this task off so long. I do admit that the Lift Reserve does not look too tricky in the photos. It is, though, believe you me. Here is a photo of the installation of one of the coils of lift. To give you some vague idea of the exactitude required, note that even the sky blue gloves and cloud white funnel are required equipment to conform with the Lift Reserve Feng Shui.
Finally finally (I almost forgot this important piece of information): April Fools!!!!! 🙂 Naturally, the Lift Reserve has nothing whatsoever to do with BedeCorp or the real BD-4C airplane.