The Hensley H1 Wolf is a four seat, mid wing, twin-engine, composite constructed, pusher configured aircraft with a fixed, tricycle landing gear to be offered initially in kit form.
It was designed to be able to accommodate a variety of engines.
Flight controls are operated with push-pull tubes for both elevator and ailerons and stainless steel cable for the rudder. Side sticks control both pitch and roll. Yaw is controlled through standard rudder pedals.
Its 28V electrical system will be designed for safety and reliability with sufficient backup capability.
The airframe structure utilizes pre-preg carbon graphite composite sandwich construction.
Component parts are vacuum bagged and oven cured to insure uniformity and increase heat tolerance.
The most often asked question posed by people is the choice of a pusher configuration. It is an understandable one being that the aviation industry is much engrained; sometimes to its detriment, in tradition. Aircraft design is a never ending battle against compromise and any decision has repercussions in other areas. The first step in designing the Wolf was establishing its mission parameters. When these parameters, that focused on safety, performance and utility were established, it wasn’t even close, this configuration was clearly superior.
There were also numerous other reasons but perhaps, in the age of high tech gadgetry and endless quantifiable statistics, one sometimes tends to forget the pure enjoyment and experience of flying. In addition to the spaciousness, pilots want to actually be able to see something. For those of you considering the purchase of your own aircraft, especially those considering a twin, have a seat in the aircraft you were considering. Have you noticed just how poor the visibility is? In a twin not only are you most likely sitting directly on top or underneath the wing, but you also have two engines extending forward robbing you of even more visibility.
The platform of the Wolf actually places the wing behind the seats. That’s why we’re certain it will be an instant favorite amongst not only pilots, but friends and family members who are along for the ride, just for the fun of it.
As straight forward a design as possible. A fully faired, fixed tricycle landing gear, it doesn’t get much simpler than that. In addition to something the insurance companies will greatly favor, a fixed landing gear arrangement was also done for safety, weight, maintenance and cost.
It can not be argued that a retractable gear system would enjoy slightly higher cruise speeds, but during critical phases of flight, a fixed and faired landing gear removes one critical item with which a pilot has to contend and in spite of its unmatched capabilities, the Wolf was designed to be easier for the first time and low-time multi-engine pilot to fly.
The fuselage was lofted to fit the requirements for a very roomy, comfortable and ergonomic cabin. However, as we’re sure most can see, the fuselage of the Wolf is far more graceful and flowing than some sterile computer lines lofted merely to satisfy basic dimensional requirements.
Not wanting to have yet another lifeless slab sided aircraft, to the basic loft, many hours were spent trying to do something most often forgotten in the aircraft industry and that was to satisfy an aesthetic driver in addition to a numerical one, and this driver yielded a low drag shape that appears almost organic in origin.
The NACA 64A-212 airfoil strikes the difficult balance between the low drag necessary for high speed and the high lift required for low speed operations. This very low drag airfoil at cruise attains the necessary lift at low speeds via dual slotted flaps. To design a flap system like this is a very complex, time consuming and expensive process and requires sophisticated software, yet to the pilot its all powerful forces and resulting benefits can be summoned by the mere touch of a button.
Perhaps the difference is no more apparent in a pilot conceived aircraft vs. an engineer conceived aircraft than in these areas, and it’s where a lifetime spent in aircraft paid real dividends. The Wolf was designed to not only be the roomiest and most comfortable aircraft possible but also ergonomics that would make a luxury car manufacturer take note. It is something you’ll notice from the very second you open up the door and have the ability to step right into the cabin without ducking under, or the hassle of climbing up onto a wing. Just how many aircraft do you know of with a feature like that? It is as simple and safe as stepping into your car. It certainly doesn’t stop there either. The cockpit is clean and uncluttered and over 51” side to side means plenty of hip and shoulder room. It also makes possible an instrument panel, where nothing has to be left behind.
Side Stick controls offer the ultimate ergonomic control of the airplane, from takeoff rightdown to minimums and touchdown.
Do you notice aircraft manufacturers bragging about the comfort of their seats or executives toiling away for long hours at their desks sitting in aircraft seats? Why is that? It is because comfort is not their all important design driver. For engineers, it is weight, pure and simple. After all, they’re not the ones sitting in the seat for long cross country flights, what do they care if it’s comfortable or not? In fact, take a look at some of the new multi million dollar light jets, they aren’t even full size seats. We decided our pilots were to have full size, properly ergonomically designed and supportive seats and as someone who has spent almost 20,000 hours in airplane seats, personally I think it’s worth just a few extra pounds to be comfortable, don’t you? After all, this is a pilots airplane.
Cockpit • Controls • Comfort To Cruise
The general aviation industry has been searching for an alternative engine for many decades and new entrants can include diesel, auto-conversion, electric and even hybrid options. We don’t intend to enter the argument about the existing engines. The fact is, while we welcome all new entrants, the 100LL, air-cooled, direct drive, horizontally opposed engines are still the #1 choice for homebuilt aircraft for numerous reasons.
No matter what new engine entered the arena it would always be looked upon with skepticism for many decades until its “reliability” badge could be worn. Conventional wisdom however always focused new engines being used on a single engine platform. Hensley’s idea was to simply use a fully redundant twin engine platform and offer our customers their choice in engines that best suits their needs.
The prototype Wolf will be equipped with 180hp, air-cooled, direct drive, horizontally opposed engines with dual electronic ignition. With the peace of mind afforded in having a second engine, we’re quite certain in years to come numerous other engines will be used including using the twin engine platform as a test bed for new engines under development.