Copyright © Custom Flight Ltd. 2013
Here is some comparative data on the
North Star 2 , and the North Star 6 Galaxie aircraft.
North Star 2 North Star 6
inside width at floor, gear attach
to rear seat 26" 47"
Inside width at panel 28.25" 47"
at the ceiling in the wing area 24.75" 47"
Also the Stinson is about 38" at the panel and the 180 Cessna is about 39" at the door posts.
North Star 6 Galaxie
Most new designs are conceived due to a dissatisfaction with the aircraft that are available. This is not to say the existing choices are not good airplanes, but there can be better. Most (Beaver excluded) if put on amphibious floats have very restricted load carrying or range ability. I don't want an airplane that can't hold four adults , full fuel, and their baggage. The North Star 6 is a BIG serious airplane. It was designed to carry a REAL load, and fuel, out of a small bush strip or lake, fly it long distance, and do it with the high STOL performance, tremendous control authority, and good cruise speed that is not only demanded, but essential in the wilderness. In addition, when far from civilization, there will be no concerns about structural integrity. We designed the hydraulic shock struts to absorb a 600 fpm rate of descent into the ground at gross weight! I don't know any other aircraft that I would want to do that in, except maybe the North Star 2! ( The problem with the Beaver is age and cost to buy and maintain)
If load carrying missions in the wilderness are not what you have in mind, then maybe the classic lines of a big round engine airplane and it's inherent luxury and roominess would be what you are looking for. Reminiscent of the greats, like the Stinson Reliant, the performance, ruggedness, low cost, the fact that it's NEW and designed to last longer are just bonuses.
It can actually be set up as a 2, 4, 6, or maybe an 8 seater. It's big. The NS6 is 49.25" outside width. With 15" seats you have 4.5" to the doors and 9" between the seats. This will allow you to walk through to change seats/pilots etc. in flight, or go to the back for a sleep while your partner flies! From the fire wall to the baggage back wall is all open, and its about 11' long. The width at the back wall is 38.5". The back wall can be opened up against the ceiling to extend the floor for camping by another 4 feet, giving 15 feet, but if used in flight the weight in the most aft area must be limited. At the front seats the floor to ceiling height is 51.5", Its fairly tall to get better visibility over the radial engine than is normal in round engine airplanes. To aid in the visibility needed in a STOL aircraft for tight approaches, in addition to the tall cockpit, the engine is mounted lower on the firewall and long gear legs are used to maintain prop clearance. The long gear also gives a higher angle of attack on the ground which shortens the takeoff run. There are cargo doors on both sides that are 29.5" wide x 37" tall at the front and 28.75 tall at the rear. This is a strong, usable airplane. All the cross tubes in the floor from the front gear attach to the back wall of the baggage are built like inverted roof trusses so they can support high baggage/cargo weights. The longeron at the baggage door is double tube telescoped together to support the loads while loading the ac.
We expect an empty weight around 2000 lbs. and have designed it for a gross of 4,000 lbs. People don't expect that ratio because they are used to Cessnas. You can't get the same strength to weight ratio with aluminum that you can with tube and fabric. (and definitely not the same durability) The only advantage to aluminum is the lower cost due to easier manufacturing. Even the Cessna 180, an airplane built much stronger than any aluminum kit on the market, has recurring structural problems when used 1/2 as hard as I expect the North Stars to be used. I know this from 25 years watching the 185 jump plane I used to fly here. The other consideration is the slow speed flight. It brings back the same complaint I keep getting from 180 pilots, they feel like they are landing a dragster in small rough fields. Add this high touch down speed to less than optimum structural integrity and rough strips become a big liability for airplanes with a higher landing speed than the North Stars. The NS6 will have a much lower stall speed, and carry more weight, than a C180. The cruise speed we don't know yet but it should be comparable to a C180, maybe better. You have to remember that even though the engine is rated at 315 hp ( or 360 hp ), it's power output to the prop is more like 400++ hp due to the gear reduction and internal supercharger. To get a feel for the thrust available, the prop is 106" long with 9 1/2" wide blades! During repeated thrust tests we measured a static thrust of 1400 lbs.!! On takeoff that thrust should get the Galaxie up to 65 mph in only 375 feet at gross weight, and it should be in the air and climbing long before it sees 65.
We are using the same aerodynamic design as the North Star wing on the NS6. The wing structure will be all aluminum however, not fabric covered. The wing span is 44 feet with the flaps 11 feet long per side. The flaps will be hydraulic pressure cylinder activated with a quick release solenoid and a manual cable system for redundancy, in case of system problems. The big advantage of this system is that a trigger on the stick will activate a solenoid, dumping the pressure and quickly/easily retract the flaps. This would be a big help when landing in short strips, it would get rid of the lift from the flaps on touchdown, "gluing" the plane to the ground, eliminating float, and make the brakes more effective. The gas tanks will hold 100 gallons in the wings, with an option for another 50, giving a potential of about 150 gallons. That should give about a 1500 mile range. Also it would be easy to do a large belly tank if needed, this is a tall airplane because it was designed with the 106" prop in mind, so there is lots of room under the belly.
The tail is wire braced and the leading edge of the stabilizer will be strut braced with a yoke that travels with the jack screw, to take the abuse from the big prop. (this was done on a number of old ac) Yes the tail is bigger and stronger. It's the same shape as the C185 tail but with a little more span and height to give very positive control response during our lower landing and takeoff speeds.
There is an alternative to the 360 hp M14P "Russian" engine, that's the 315 hp Czech engine. Almost all parts are the same, cyl., pistons, rings,... The main advantage other than lower cost is that they use a two blade ALUMINUM CS prop, the M14P uses a WOOD CS Prop. The last quote I got for a Czech prop was $6,000.00 rebuilt "0" time! There now are adapters to use American props on the M14P, but the cost of those props is high. These are low compression engines so auto fuel is ok. With the gear drive the engine runs in the optimum RPM range and the prop turns at its most efficient speed. This greatly reduces prop noise and vibration, and increases thrust. Even though the Czech engine is rated at a lower HP, due to the gearing and longer prop it probably has close to the same thrust as the 360 hp.
It really is an exceptional airplane and if you opted for it you would never have to worry about space or structural integrity. The Galaxie caries the same load as a DeHaviland Beaver, with a much lower price tag, while not giving up anything in quality or performance. It is the airplane I want and need for our family so you can be assured I will do it right. We have built production tooling with it. The main jig probably weighs 3,000 lbs.! Six Fuselages are built.
We have added a big CNC mill/router to the shop so we can machine our tooling, dies and parts in house. This machine will also cut the parts for the wings.
The price for the NS6 is $75,000.00 U.S. funds. That price includes engine mount, fire wall, boot cowl,
plexiglass... basically all the type of stuff we supply with the North Star 2. Since the prototype has
not flown yet we are trying to keep the price down, it will rise in time.
As a side note the NS6 could carry 1 or 2 stretchers, a pilot, and a doctor!! We are working on an extra large cargo/stretcher door mod. We have always expected that eventually the third world market for aid and supply work will be a natural for this airplane. Look at the Link " New North Star Wing Design" for a description of the wings.