avatar_upnorth

Edgely EA7 Optica

Started by upnorth, December 19, 2006, 09:58:32 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

upnorth

Brooklands/Edgely Optica observation plane.

I thought it was the coolest looking civil aircraft I'd ever seen when I first saw one back in 1986.

I'd take it in 1/72 or 1/48.
My Blogs:

Pickled Wings: http://pickledwings.com/

Beyond Prague: http://beyondprague.net/

Jeffry Fontaine

#1
Remember that odd science fiction film with the Optica and Mark Hamil from many moons ago? I think that was the first time I had seen that aircraft and thought it was the neatest thing since sliced bread.  Everything you could want in an observation aircraft with almost unlimited visibility.  It would be nice to see this aircraft converted to use a turbine engine linked to that multi-blade ducted fan.

(Attached cut away drawing of the Edgley EA7 Optica by Ira Epton)
Unaffiliated Independent Subversive
----------------------------------
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

The Rat

I've seen it listed by some on their 'ugliest aircraft' lists, but I strenuously disagree, it's way cool! Forward Air Controller perhaps?
"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles
Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr

dy031101

#3
I think at this point people here would know that I can't resist the temptation to throw in a FLIR/laser-designator turret and Hellfire missile racks......  ;D
To the individual soldiers, *everything* is a frontal assault!

====================

Current Hobby Priority...... Sigh......

To-do list here

The Rat

There's a nice 4-view of it on this page if you want something to work with.
"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles
Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr

kitnut617

Some time ago I saw a 'future release' announcement of a 1/72 kit of this.  I can't find it now, but it was either in a SAMI issue or on Hannants' 'Future Release' list, those being the only two places which I frequently look in.

Interestingly, the PAK-20 book shows it but not who was going to make it.

Robert
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike

Mossie

The Optica did fly with a Flir turret.  The first picture is the company development aircraft & is probably for demonstration or mock up purposes.  I think the aircraft in the second pic saw service with the Irish Constabulary, although the titles on the tail seem to suggest this was a test machine. 






Jeff, I think you're right about weapons, it's not that viable on the Optica.  It was developed specifically for operations at low speed which the ducted fan did very well.  It's niche was almost purely civillian observation duties, Police, traffic watch, survey work etc.  I could see it being used in a military role for patrol, but it's speed was comparable to the O-1 Birdog which was regularly shot out of the sky in Vietnam, partly due to it's low speed.

With a substantial re-design, you could fit it with a pusher turboprob, or even a turbojet?
I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my mule don't like people laughin'. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize, like I know you're going to, I might convince him that you really didn't mean it.

Archibald

Give this thing a rocket engine, hang it below the White Knight, and enjoy the view...

King Arthur: Can we come up and have a look?
French Soldier: Of course not. You're English types.
King Arthur: What are you then?
French Soldier: I'm French. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king?

Well regardless I would rather take my chance out there on the ocean, that to stay here and die on this poo-hole island spending the rest of my life talking to a gosh darn VOLLEYBALL.

GTX

Interestingly, John Edgley the designer was recently in the news trying to get the Optica back in production:

QuoteDATE:13/09/08
SOURCE:Flight International
Optica designer seeks manufacturing partners to relaunch aircraft
By Kate Sarsfield

John Edgley, founder and designer of the Optica observation aircraft, is seeking manufacturing partners to help relaunch the aircraft for the commercial market. Edgley acquired the jigs,tooling, design rights and two aircraft last year from its former owner Aviation Group International. The deal also included the rights to the FLS Sprint two-seat aerobatic trainer, which Edgley is also hoping to relaunch.

"I have always been passionate about the Optica," says Edgley. "When it finally came up for sale last year my initial aim was to get an aircraft back in the air for the first time in 10 years. This was solely for historical purposes." One of Edgley's aircraft, formerly operated by the Spanish government, made its maiden flight in July. "The aircraft - G-BOPO - is fully reconditioned and flies very well. We now have a European Aviation Safety Agency certificate of airworthiness," he says.


The aluminium Optica made its first flight in 1979 and entered service in 1985. A total of 22 aircraft were built - a 23rd remains unfinished. Edgley left the company in 1985 shortly after the fatal crash of a police Optica G-KATY. The company was acquired by Brooklands Aerospace, but an arson attack at the factory the following year destroyed all but one flying Optica. Production ceased in 1990 when Brooklands was declared bankrupt. The programme was then acquired by UK company FLS Aerospace, which completed its US certification. However the acquisition and subsequent development of the Sprint trainer shortly after drained resources from the Optica programme. The Optica and Sprint were acquired in 1998 by UK company AGI, however a lack of investment thwarted plans to relaunch both programmes and the Salisbury UK-based company sold both aircraft to Edgley's company AeroElvira in 2007.

"The Optica has consumed a lot of my life. I just wish its former owners would have worked with me to get the aircraft back into production. I know the Optica better than anyone," says Edgley.

"There is a good market for the Optica and the Sprint, but I simply don't have the money to put them back into production," says Edgley. "We live in a surveillance-hungry and environmentally-aware era. This aircraft is perfectly suited to both markets. Its bubble canopy observation platform gives the pilot a perfect field of vision. It has a long range, slow cruise speed, low fuel consumption, low noise and low emissions. The only thing that needs updating now is the instrument panel," he says. "The Sprint would make an ideal replacement for the Scottish Aviation Bulldog trainer."

Regards,

Greg
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Archibald

I think the "optica" would be the perfect plane for this country http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groland

L'armée de l'air Grolandaise currently has a single recon UAV plus a Dassault Falcon "use by the President to flee the country once war is declared".



King Arthur: Can we come up and have a look?
French Soldier: Of course not. You're English types.
King Arthur: What are you then?
French Soldier: I'm French. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king?

Well regardless I would rather take my chance out there on the ocean, that to stay here and die on this poo-hole island spending the rest of my life talking to a gosh darn VOLLEYBALL.

Mossie

Quote from: GTX on November 25, 2008, 12:04:03 AM
Interestingly, John Edgley the designer was recently in the news trying to get the Optica back in production:

That's good news, although the Optica program seems to have been plagued with a combination of bad luck & bad management.  Good luck to him getting funding, but in the current financial market he's going to have trouble pitching anything with an element of risk.  John Edgely may be optomistic, but the aircraft design is now thirty years old & some might see that as a downside.  Saying that, I don't think much would change apart from maybe some materials.  I sound pesimistic, but I hope he does finally get the Optica going.

The Sprint is a nice little aircraft too, might be able to eek some sales out of the niche the Grob has pretty firmly wedged itself into.  The aluminium construction might count against it when most of it's competitors are composite, but otherwise it's a good little aircraft.
I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my mule don't like people laughin'. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize, like I know you're going to, I might convince him that you really didn't mean it.

Just call me Ray

Quote from: Mossie on November 25, 2008, 03:12:01 AMGood luck to him getting funding, but in the current financial market he's going to have trouble pitching anything with an element of risk. 

They do say war thrives in a bear market.

By which, it seems that the Optica would make an excellent "manned UAV" or a set of roving eyes in the air for aerial IED patrols. In fact I know the Iraqi Air Force has a few for this specific purpose. A great aircraft as long as the enemy doesn't have much to shoot back with :)

In fact, I wonder if a UAV version could be developed....
It's a crappy self-made pic of a Lockheed Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR), BTW
Even Saddam realized the hazard of airplanes, and was discovered hiding in a bunker. - Skydrol from Airliners.net

dy031101

#12
Quote from: Just call me Ray on November 25, 2008, 08:25:35 AM
By which, it seems that the Optica would make an excellent "manned UAV" or a set of roving eyes in the air for aerial IED patrols. In fact I know the Iraqi Air Force has a few for this specific purpose. A great aircraft as long as the enemy doesn't have much to shoot back with :)

Iraqi Optica?  Do you have a picture of it?  :wub:

I do know that they have a few Seabird Seekers (the AFM claims that the Seekers have now been decommissioned though).



Another quick (and off-topic) question: the first aircraft of the kind (of Seabird Seekers and Optica, ones that have fully-glazed cockpit/passenger cabin) that I heard of, if my memory serves well enough, actually took a helicoptor cabin to start with......

Does anyone remember an aircraft like that?  One that takes a fully-glazed helicopter cabin and gets made into a plane?
To the individual soldiers, *everything* is a frontal assault!

====================

Current Hobby Priority...... Sigh......

To-do list here

Mossie

Quote from: Just call me Ray on November 25, 2008, 08:25:35 AM
They do say war thrives in a bear market.

By which, it seems that the Optica would make an excellent "manned UAV" or a set of roving eyes in the air for aerial IED patrols. In fact I know the Iraqi Air Force has a few for this specific purpose. A great aircraft as long as the enemy doesn't have much to shoot back with :)

In fact, I wonder if a UAV version could be developed....

Hmm, I like that idea, something along the lines of the Scaled Composites Proteus.  If your going to go high altitude, you'd need a pressurised cabin (assuming it'll be manned on occasion), a bit more wingspan wouldn't hurt.  Time to station would be long, but with that economical engine loiter times would be long too, probably enough to get a second aircraft on station to provide constant surveilance.  Do-able, & at high altitude it's low speed wouldn't be as much of a disadvantage.

Quote from: dy031101 on November 25, 2008, 08:48:28 AM
Another quick (and off-topic) question: the first aircraft of the kind (of Seabird Seekers and Optica, ones that have fully-glazed cockpit/passenger cabin) that I heard of, if my memory serves well enough, actually took a helicoptor cabin to start with......

Does anyone remember an aircraft like that?  One that takes a fully-glazed helicopter cabin and gets made into a plane?

I don't I'm afraid, but that could describe the Optica.  I've nothing to back it up, but the cabin does look like it's been heavilly influenced by the Hughes 500, maybe, maybe not.  If you uncover any info on this helicopter with wings, let us know!
I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my mule don't like people laughin'. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize, like I know you're going to, I might convince him that you really didn't mean it.

Just call me Ray

Quote from: dy031101 on November 25, 2008, 08:48:28 AM

I do know that they have a few Seabird Seekers

Damn, I think I was thinking of that plane instead! Sorry!
It's a crappy self-made pic of a Lockheed Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR), BTW
Even Saddam realized the hazard of airplanes, and was discovered hiding in a bunker. - Skydrol from Airliners.net