The Rebel is an all aluminum, side by side, high wing, taildragger with several engine options, long range cruising capability and more leg, head, and shoulder room than you'll find in any comparably priced aircraft kit. It is adaptable to oversize tires, straight and amphibious floats, as well as skis, making it the plane for all seasons, all reasons.
Visibility from the Rebel is exceptional. The low profile cowling offers excellent forward visibility and the wide, outward folding door windows give a perspective of the countryside and cityscapes that turns every flight into an engaging adventure.
With the exception of the flaperon covering, which is fabric, the Rebel airframe is aluminum. We chose aluminum over composites, wood, as well as tube and fabric, because it has known measurable strength qualities, it stands up to ultraviolet light, is generally faster to build because it's easy to work with, and it gives a nice finish to any airplane. Aluminum aircraft also have better resale value, though we doubt that consideration will come up for quite some time once you discover the benefits of owning and flying a Rebel.
Any welding required for the Rebel is done at the factory. Steel parts are powder coated to assure longevity. Aluminum sheets are prepunched to assure correct alignment and expedite riveting. No jigs are required, just a straight, level work table.
The Rebel fuselage uses semi-monocoque construction. Bulkheads are stamped aluminum. The skins are .020" 6061-T6 aluminum, giving the fuselage exceptional strength. An aluminum sub-floor installed over the lower bulkhead sections provides a good base for seat mounting and, perhaps more importantly, a crushable floor for energy absorption and crash protection. Pre-bent aluminum tubing is used to frame the doors, which are covered by aluminum skins on the lower half and large Lexan windows above. Hinges across the midsection of the doors allow the large side windows to fold outward and down ... even in flight. Great for summer sight seeing, or photography.
Where high strength is required, fittings are cut from 2024-T3 aluminum. For the engine mount, rudder pedals, and control column , 4130 chrome-moly steel is used. All hardware used in the fuselage and wings is AN spec aviation hardware.
There are no "left" and "right" fuselage sides and no "top" and "bottom" either! All 4 panels are identical, eliminating any chance for confusion. Also, all of the corner-wrap sections have the same radius, and are interchangeable. This commonality of parts makes for much easier building.
Six inch wheels with high profile tires are standard for the Rebel, giving it rough field and river bed landing capability. The standard bungee suspension provides excellent shock absorption. An optional aluminum spring gear is available, reducing drag and smoothing out off-airport landings. Murphy 1500 and 1800 Series straight floats, and amphibious floats are also available. The Rebel also flies and lands beautifully on skis.
There are three spars, 14 nose ribs and 13 main ribs in each wing, which are all covered with three sheets of pre-punched aluminum sheet. Pre-formed leading edge material covers the nose ribs creating a D-Cell, which ties into a box section that is formed by the main ribs and upper and lower skins. This results in exceptional strength. 12 full-length extruded stringers help stiffen the skin against torsion and shear loads. The wing is joined to the fuselage by extra heavy fail-safe 2024-T3 aluminum fittings. A single streamlined, custom extruded strut is used for high strength and low drag. Wing tips are gelcoated fibreglass.
The Rebel features "wet" wings for fuel storage. Two 22 (US) gallon tanks are standard, giving the Rebel considerable range, even with the larger engines. If that is not enough, optional 58 (US) gallon tanks are available.
Spacious is the word for it. The wide door and track mounted seats were designed to allow big, tall people easy access to the cockpit. Unless you can make Michael Jordon look short, you'll be able to run the seat~ back to the point that your legs fall short of the rudder pedals. Same thing applies to headroom. The doors of the Rebel are four inches farther apart than a Cessna 172. So there's plenty of shoulder and hip room. The seats are designed for long cross country endurance and offer exceptional comfort as well as freedom of movement. A third "sideways" seat can be added for positioning behind the two front seats. This optional seat can carry a child or adult weighing up to 175 lbs. The seat can be removed to increase the capacity of the enormous cargo area.
The instrument panel is wide and has a wraparound look that makes checking instruments very convenient. There's enough room to accommodate a full VFR panel or a basic IFR package.
Fuel read outs are accomplished by looking at clear sight tubes that are mounted in front of the root rib and give instant, accurate indications, at a glance, of fuel on board. Visibility, as we've said, is extraordinary. In addition to the sights provided by the standard blown, one-piece windshield and the two fold-down windows mounted in the doors, it's possible to add up to six skylight ports in the ceiling. If that isn't enough, fly your Rebel without the doors ... the aircraft doesn't seem to know the difference ... but you sure will. Doorless visibility is fantastic!
The control system on the Rebel uses push-pull tubes connected to a massive 2-inch torque tube which operates the full span flaperons. This results in swift and accurate response to control input. The flaperons are lowered with a mixer box controlled by a teleflex cable and flap lever which has been placed within easy reach of the pilot. Flaperons have the advantage of being lowered in 6 degree increments to a maximum of 18 degrees and can be put into a 5 degree reflex position to increase cruising speed and give a smoother ride, thus giving the Rebel a very large flight envelope.
A simple box design, utilizing pre-bent channels, covered with aluminum skins forms the vertical and horizontal surfaces of the tail. The horizontal members fold upward for storage or transport and are braced in flight position by small aluminum struts.
The elevator and rudder are controlled with 1/8" stainless steel aircraft cable. For elevator control these cables are attached to dual pushpull tubes.
Ease of Assembly
The Rebel design uses pre-punched pilot holes to locate most parts, reducing and almost eliminating the need to make difficult measurements which can result in errors and, in some cases, ruined parts.
For example, the pre-punched wing skins are located and attached by clecos. The pilot holes are then drilled to size and deburred so the 1/8" AVEX rivets may be installed. Stringers attached to the wing skins can be located by clecoing the ends, and aligning with the row of pre-stamped holes in the skin. These holes are then drilled through the stringers so the rivets may be installed.
Similar methods are used when attaching the bulkhead quadrants to each other for the fuselage. Pre-punched guide holes allow the bulkhead quadrants to be aligned, drilled and riveted by the builder. This simple type of construction is backed up by superior-quality exploded assembly drawings and parts lists in the builder's manual.
A tool list is included at the beginning of each sub-assembly and the instructions provide easy to follow step-by-step procedures. Easy-to-follow instructions combined with the simple type of construction mean even a novice builder can build the kit with relative ease. Assembly times are significantly reduced in comparison to what might be expected for an all-metal aircraft of this type. Indeed, we estimate the first-timer's assembly time of the kit at an average of 1000 hours, without instruments, interior, and paint.
The structure of the Murphy Rebel has been designed to meet the airworthiness standards of the U.S.A. FAR Part 23, Subpart C, the lJ.K. BCAR Section S. and the Canadian TP10141E. Depending on the gross weight and power selected, it will comply with the acceleration factors and airspeeds specified for the normal, utility or aerobatic categories of Part 23.
In general, the structure is conventional and compliance with these standards has been demonstrated by detailed analysis using well established methods. In many areas of the primary structure the strength is set by the minimum gauges of available material and the margins of safety are very large. A major portion of the wing structure is redundant and a full scale component has been tested to support the analysis.
The maximum design loads on the horizontal tail result from a combination of Balancing and Gust loads at V (D) on the flight envelope. In addition to the analysis, this structure has been tested to ultimate loads.
The fuselage is a rugged metal box for "crash-worthiness" stiffened with a substantial main frame to support the undercarriage and provide a carry-through structure for the wing reactions. Engine mounting pick-up points have been designed for a range of engines up to 160 hp. Provision has been made for up to three seat and harness attachments that will accept load factors in excess of 9 G. The fuselage strength has been verified by static tests.
Since the structure is governed to a major extent by minimum gauges of stiffness (EI) considerations, high strength alloys with debatable characteristics from the standpoint of corrosion and fatigue are not required. Most of the preliminary structure is comprised of flat skins or formed parts using 6061-T6 alloy. Margins of safety on joints are large and "fail safe" provisions have been made in many instances.