Planned and implemented

One of the great things about an experimental aircraft is that you can make any changes you want.  They can range from the conservative ("I choose to use a slightly thicker wire for that connection for added safety") to slightly less conservative ("If two wings are good, then NINE wings would be GREAT!").  There are folks that'll build a plane exactly as it is in the plans and announce that any variation is no different from putting a bomb in the passenger seat, and there are folks who think half the fun is changing things around to suit you.  There are also some crazy people, but that's a different page for now.

I plan to make some small changes to the basic design to make the plane fit me better, both in terms of comfort and my ideas of strength.  I'll keep a current list here of any changes of note and their status.

Change Description Status
Cozy Girrrl Strakes I'll extend the strakes forward so that I have more elbow room in the front seat.  I'll be able to see the original fly well before I get to this point, so my role as a test pilot will be limited.  This should improve the cabin space tremendously and it is predicted that it should not have a noticeable aerodynamic effect. Planned
1" canopy raise A common mod is to raise the canopy slightly for extra head room. Planned
Baggage pods Depending on how they evolve, I hope to mount baggage pods on the main wings.  Someone else is doing it first, and I'll track their progress.  I'm also considering what the implications of an emergency release mechanism are. Considering
Electric retract for nose Almost not mentioning because everyone seems to be doing it.  This should reduce pilot workload while in the pattern and make moving the aircraft a bit easier. Planned
Landing light in nose I plan on putting an automotive halogen headlight in the nose for landing.  If I'm REAL cool, I'll get the ones that are slightly blue tinted. Planned
Electrical I plan on isolating the main bus from the charging current while in flight.  Keeping the delicate electrics separated from the rough, drunkenly lurching alternator seems like an investment in safety and device longevity. Planned
PA/Horn I'm considering the idea of mounting a PA speaker somewhere or a car horn onboard.  I was once on short final to land at an airport when a group of skydivers (who had just landed in the DZ immediately nextdoor) walked across the runway without even looking.  I had to do a go-around to avoid chopping them up.  Sure wish I could have honked at them when I saw what they were doing, and idling airplane can be pretty quiet if you're dumb.  Alternately, being able to fly across the country while loudly singing my favorite songs out of key and subjecting tens of thousands to my melodic overtures intrigues me.  Not to mention being able to do a real "Clear prop!" that nobody can fail to hear before hitting the starter in parking. Considering
Steal an inch I'll be using various techniques to steal a little bit of space here and there to make the front seats wider.  Mainly, I'll remove some foam from the armrests and do a fiberglass to fiberglass buildup so that I can use every little bit of space to park my posterior. Planned
Extra windows I'd like to put in some extra windows, including but not limited to possibly a skylight in back.  One other possible window I'm considering is one that might be on the bottom of the strakes so that someone sitting in either the front or rear seats might be able to look down and take photos.  Camera specific cubby holes, perhaps in the nose, are also interesting to consider.  My dad is a photographer, and one of his complaints about the Cessna we flew in was the difficulty in getting good shots through the Plexiglas at an angle.  A couple of SpaceShipOne style port holes might not be a bad idea either, on general principles. Considering
Canard resize I'm considering whether or not to increase the canard length by an inch or so so that my front seat max weight is a little better.  Of course, an aerodynamic change like this will need a lot of research ahead of time, and I'll want to watch the other builders who are making similar changes.  As it is, the 400lb limitation could be problematic. Considering
Rudder Pedals The plans pedals look kinda flimsy, and Brian Deford makes direct mention of this in his build as well.  I'm going to investigate using either Velocity pedals, or perhaps something else. Planned
MGS Epoxy The EZ-Poxy/Simple-Poxy that Rutan originally used is ok, but I'm leaning towards MGS 285 right now, need to do more research.  Lower physiological effects, and it has a higher Tg, but I've got more to read. - UPDATE: Decided on 285. Planned
Pressurized engine mount One of the Cozy Girrrls had another great idea here that I'm very interested in, sounds like a good safety innovation.  Pressurizing the engine mount and monitoring the pressure to detect cracks...  fantabulous. Considering
Upgraded fuel There's a fuel system modification I'm really interested in.  Instead of a knob for left or right fuel like the Weathervane valve, I may do this.  With two fuel valves, I'll be able to specify left, right, or both without having a single point of failure. Considering

Some modifications I won't be making
There are plenty of mods out there that people have done or are doing that I'm going to skip. 

Change Description Status
Retractable main gear As cool as it looks, it's a lot of work, cost, and complexity.  I buy the argument that the increase in efficiency will pay for itself in a few hundred hours of flying, and I think it probably makes off-airport landings more survivable, but too many other factors make me give this cool mod a thumbs down for now. Not gonna do it
Constant speed prop I'm infatuated with the idea of being able to pour all my horsepower into a short field takeoff, and the other efficiencies that come with these wonders of aviation technology, but the cost, weight, and complexity outweigh the benefits in my mind for now.

Update 1/10/2006: Perhaps I was too hasty.  I have plenty of time to watch how the IVO prop situation develops.  They now offer a constant speed governor.  Hmmm...  I know, it sounds nuts, but it's intriguing.  Still probably not.

Considering, but...
Widen the fuselage As tempting as it is, I doubt I'll actually widen the fuselage.  It's complicated, takes me off plans in a structurally important area, and I might be able to realize the same benefits by rearranging my cockpit a tiny bit.  Also, see the Cozy Girrrls strakes above, those should help with comfort too. Not gonna do it.
Electric Speed brake I might cave and do this, but I trained in a Piper Warrior, and I both like being able to 'feel' the right drag out when deploying my flaps/speedbrake and detest the slow electric flaps on the Cessna.  If I have enough space to put in a johnson bar to open the brake, I want to do it.  Cessna electric flaps suck, btw.  They suck with a force that rivals that of the vacuum of deep space. Depends

Cozy Page - Ben Hallert - - Progress: 4 hours - 0% of estimated 2700 hours construction. - Last updated 4/23/06
All text and original photographs copyright Ben Hallert except where otherwise noted.  Cozy Mk IV is a registered design of Aircraft Spruce and the author makes no claim otherwise.