"made my butt soar"

Paul Smigel's WeedHopper

Low N Slow

This is the build process page

** WWW.ULFlyer.com **


This project was started in January of 2005

NOTE: The hardware in some of the first pictures is not AN grade hardware it was only used to set up the plane.

New AN 4 and 5 hardware is now installed on the plane.


Each of the links below will show each step or progress that was made to get my butt in the air. I spent Most of 2004 looking at plans for an ultralight, talking to people, reviewing the posts on the web sites for each of the different type of planes. Then I found a simple plane that could be dismantled for transport, easy to store, easy to fly, and within my budget for building.



Original Purchase

I bought the fuselage or at least most of a fuselage from Wes Erickson, a seasoned Weedhopper pilot who has answered about 8 million questions for me and has been my mentor through this whole process.


Pictures of the original purchase. Click here!

All the pictures will open in a new browser window when done looking at the pictures just close that window.



New Boom Tube

The old Boom Tube was slightly damaged I chose to replace it with a newer and stronger one.


Pictures of setting up new boom tube

Click here!

Elevator Assembly pictures


I had to find a place to work on the plane so my truck came out of the garage and in went the plane. I also put the stabilizer / elevator back to stock.

Pictures of plane in garage and stabilizer

Click here!



I acquired a Cuyuna ULII 02 and here are the pictures of it when I got it, motor mounted up, and finally with the motor mounted down with exhaust in place.

I chose to mount it down with the original configuration as this gave me 8 more inches of prop clearance from the ground and it all mounted up real clean. This also put the exhaust up on top not in my face!


Motor Click here!

Mounted up Click Here!

Mounted down Click here!




Rear Fuse Fabrication

I had to fabricate the rear fuselage struts and the connection points to the rear of the plane.



Top and bottom rear fuse and connection to the tail section and sub fin. Click here!


Gas Tank

Wes was very generous when I purchased the original fuselage from him and he gave me a seat back tank. Beautiful 5 gallon tank eventually I need to paint it with a cool picture or something.

I am picturing FLAMES! seems appropriate for a gas tank.

What to do with leftover spray paint.


Mounted Gas tank Click here!

Finished with Flames Click here



Fuse Put Together for Testing

Here is the fuselage completely put together to check the dihedral it was perfect at 7.5 degrees.


fuselage with the wings on Click here!


Throttle Setup

New Throttle setup Fired the motor March 4 2005 IT RUNS!!!


Throttle setup Click here!

Later I changed this setup see Modifications section below.


Wing and Tail coverings"Sails"

The sail colors I selected are green and black. This puts the black at the ends of the wings and and the end of the tail. I think that this setup looks balanced. Hopefully the black center will keep from showing the engine exhaust on the top of the wing




My new sails are here! I ordered them from Dick at Great Salt Lake Sails and he had them finished and in my hand Friday morning March 10, 2006. Now the fun of putting them on and finishing all the little items related to these areas.

Officially named

"The Green Lady"


Dash Design and Install

Dash and gauges installed. First there is a fine cardboard mockup of what I want for a dash panel then to make it out of aluminum.

The process of obtaining all the gauges was finished January 4 2006 with my purchase of the EGT Gauges Thanks for the help from the other group members who provide knowledge and/or used parts.

Ended up with a complete different design. I put the gauges mounted into a closed dash hanging from the root tube this is 9 inch square and is easy to see the gauges. Completely rubber isolated from vibration. Easy to remove the back to have full access to see the wiring also.

First mock up with options dash

Boy was this a tough decision if you look at all the really nice dashes that are on other peoples planes. My goal was to stay simplistic and clean.

Final dash

This dash was thought up while looking for a place to put all the gauges so they would not get damaged and would store easily. I put them in the old cake pan and that is when the epiphany happened! and here is the results.



Prop Selection

My choice of props was a difficult one! There are a few really good props but deciding on which one is the best for me was tough. Lots of hours reading over the specs and discussions of likes and dislikes by other member of different ultralight airplane groups.


Pictures of my prop a 64 in. PowerFin

Now to do the run up and test for the correct setting.


Front Brake Install

I know I have to be able to hold the plane for run up prior to takeoff and also be able to slow down when landing.

Here is my scrub brake system


Pictures of the Front Scrub Brake

This will act as a small fender also!


Some Updates to Fuse

I had to update the Thrust Drag Spar tubes from 1 inch to 1.5 inch and change the brackets and make sure that everything fit together. This series of pictures show the complete fuselage put together.

There are about 40 pictures from all angles and showing all parts of the plane. The next step is putting on the wing covering "Sails"


Pictures from multiple angles of the completed fuse.

Pictures 44 total



"B" Model flight video - Once you have played it save it for yourself -- it is about 9 meg in size

It is not my video I just thought it was a nice video of a Hopper.

"B" Model flight video

Viewed with Windows Media Player




Material costs

I am putting together a total cost list of all the parts that I purchased and where they came from for this project.


Prices and where I got the parts:

These prices are for the plane parts only:



Modifications and ongoing fixes.    

In doing the W&B on my plane I was a little heavy on the nose so I had to add weight to the tail.

Since I am 6' 4" I moved the seat back 4 inches.

This fixed two problems now I do not need as much extra weight in the tail. and it is much more comfortable for my size.

The other mod at the same time was to move the throttle lever to a position directly by the left side of the seat and in a direct forward position.



How to haul the Green Lady from my house to where I want to fly. Well looks like a it is time to get a trailer. Harbor Freight had a sale on their trailers and so I bought one. Lots of other Weedhopper owners are using a similar trailer. It is 4 ft X 8 ft and has 12 inch wheels and a tilt bed. And best of all it folds up and can be stored in about a 3 X 6 foot area. I though it would be easy to just bolt this together but this thing ended up being quite a bit of work. Still easier than fabricating everything from scratch.

I had to build ramps to load it easily - 1 piece of 4 X 8 X 5/8 ply cut into 16" by 8' pieces it works great.

Trailer Time!

It is completed

Plane loaded and tied down



Here is a helper for putting the wings together. You could probably get by with one since you put the wing struts in on one side and then just move it around to the other side to do the second wing. Total cost 12$ parts: total weight 8 lbs. folds to a space about 8 ft long and a foot in diameter.

However, I built two just cause it makes life easier especially when your working on the plane but want the wings extended even if not put together.


PVC Wing Helper

Here are the pictures of how it works

PDF Document of How to build one



Cuyuna ULII02

Engine videos 1/14/08

click here to view the engine running 1/14/08 images/engine-vids/vid1_NEW.wmv Plane was in the shade and the video is not real clear this is 4 15 sec vids tied together no sound on this one

It seems it has rained every weekend this winter I finally got another sunny day where I was able to run the engine to get some videos.

Here are better ones I took while in the sunshine 2/17/08 these are Quicktime and are about 10 meg each. Engine idle is at about 2100 rpm and top speed is 6000 rpm. I tried to show the RPM and EGT gauges but the dash came out too dark. These have sound - Videos will open in a new window

Video1 Engine running from idle to 6000

Video2 Running from the cockpit (attempt at showing the Tach

Video3 Walk around of the engine while running at idle.

Video4 Another run from idle to 6000 and back down.


This is the end of this build process I created another page that will show the changes since this time.

Click on the link to the right to see further changes

I installed a 1/2 VW engine and added more videos and information on this part of the build and flying.

There is another page with pictures taken during flights.



Continuing build with the 1/2 VW ---- Click here to see it.


Pictures taken while flying ----- Click here to see them








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