Australian Ultralight Federation
Constructor's Corner

Lachlan Wishart's Jodel D18 project


Construction history

In March 1994 Newton Lawson, who then lived in Coffs Harbour on the NSW coast of Australia, received a set of Jodel D18 plans [serial number 05-18]. He and a partner, Les Squires, began this building project. The original plans were drawn in the late '80s and early 1990, then sent to our friendly Civil Aviation Authority for their approval and blessings. It took them about 2 1/2 years to grant it, simply because amateur build aircraft had a rather low priority - for which they apologised.

Les Squires made the wing spar, undercarriage, and metal fittings while Newton made the fuselage and tailplane. The canopy was made in England and shipped out with two others, now located with builders in NSW.

photo In 1999 the partners sold the partly built Jodel to Mike Ware of Toowoomba, Queensland. It remained in Mike's shed for about 3 years without any further work being done. When I bought it at the end of May 2002, it was rigged with wings and undercarriage in place, the empennage complete, and some of the cockpit fitting had begun. It lacked covering and firewall forward.

Having purchased the incomplete airframe, the next trick was to transport it from Toowoomba to Melbourne. I began asking about a trailer at the Bacchus Marsh gliding club. I had great advice from Ian Patching and Garry Crowley, but in the end it was Roger Druce who had the solution. He had a massive enclosed trailer that he offered and, when I picked it up, insisted on providing a second set of tyres. This is a great sport to meet great people. We left Melbourne at 5.00 am Thursday and we were in Toowoomba - 1600 km north - by 4:00 pm Friday. We dismantled the aircraft, packed it in bubble wrap, and left at 8.00 am on Saturday. By Sunday night the Jodel was snugly settled in my garage.

The work to be completed includes:
• Cutting the wing and fitting flaps
• Covering fuselage, empennage, and wings
• Locating and fitting the engine
• Completing the firewall forward fit out
• Fitting and testing instruments, radios and other electrics
• Seats and trim
• Cowls
• Rigging
• Painting

Not much if you say it quickly

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The aircraft build is well documented. It was begun under the old Civil Aviation Authority regulations and a Sports Aircraft Association of Australia Inspector (A Pratt) has signed off on the wing, horizontal tail, rudder and fuselage (17th April 1995). There are also documents to sign off the welding of components and to certify the VSI.
Each stage of construction is documented with photos and receipts. The images above record construction of the rudder; the ribs and spar are straight forward, but note the use of clamps and dampened ply to form the ply over the rudder leading edge.

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Construction of the front fuel tank. On the left the base of the tank being pressed into the jig. In the middle the top of the tank being offered up to the main section, and the right image shows the clamps being used to close up the gaps and prepare the tank for welding.

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photo This group shows the assembly of the fuselage once the side panels have been assembled. Note the use of the plumb lines and the female box templates to true and shape the fuselage.

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These images show the addition of the
turtle deck frames.
photo Again note the use of braces in the assembly,
and the use of plumb lines.


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The development of the cockpit and the fitting of the canopy. It is much easier to fit the turtle deck to the canopy, as is being shown here, than it is to have a canopy moulded to fit an existing turtle deck. Wood is easier than hot plastic to alter and tune to a predefined shape.

photo The use of ratchet straps to mould the ply over the turtle deck frames, and hold them while they are glued.

Copyright © 2002 Lachlan Wishart