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Thread: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

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    Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Hi Everyone,

    I am contemplating starting my first airplane project and am a bit daunted by the number of options out there. I wanted to see if anyone could give me some opinions about the absolute easiest and most inexpensive plans-built 2-place airplane designs out there. I'm thinking something along the lines of the MiniMax but for two people. I've been looking at the VP2 a lot, but I've heard that it really doesn't have enough lift to transport two people. I've also been looking into the Pietenpol air camper but it sounds like this might take a very long time to build. One other design I have been considering is the RW8 ragwing PT2S. Any thoughts on these? Are there other designs I should be considering? I can't emphasize enough how moderate my expectations for this plane are. I just want it to be able to fly with two people (and maybe a backpack). My budget limits me to building from plans rather than a kit. I have experience working with wood, so that's what I'm mostly considering now. Thanks for your help.

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    Registered User Vipor_GG's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Fisher Flying Products can be built from plans or kit. I also like Roger's RagWing planes. I plan to build a FFP Super Koala from kit.

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    Registered User Dan Thomas's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Why would anyone build an ugly airplane like the VP? If you want wood, try the Jodel series. You can make pretty things out of wood with a little more work than it takes to make ugly things. It's going to take time, anyway. Make it count for something.

    The VP's anemic performance is largely due to using a Volkswagen engine and a whole lot of drag. Two people (modern American, industrial-sized people) need more power than that to get off the ground safely. When some of these old homebuilts were designed, the average dude weighed 140 pounds, maybe.

    Dan
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Thanks for the tips. I have also been looking at the Jodel series. Does anyone know how the time and expense required to build, say, a D11 compares to the time and expense required to build, say, a VP2? I know the total number of hours will vary depending on a lot of factors. I'm just interested in obtaining a relative estimate. Would a Jodel D11 require 25% more time than a VP2, 50%? I just don't want to be one of the many people to start building an airplane and not finish. I'd like to know what I'm getting into before I start. Thanks.

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    Registered User Jon Ferguson's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Difficult to quantify... You would have to have built them both and few if any have done that. Also build time is very relative to the builder. For example my buddy and I are building pretty much the same plane. He is three times faster than me and his work looks neater... Same plane, different build times.

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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Quote Originally Posted by jpleonard2000 View Post
    Would a Jodel D11 require 25% more time than a VP2, 50%? I just don't want to be one of the many people to start building an airplane and not finish. I'd like to know what I'm getting into before I start. Thanks.
    All else being equal, one of the euro touring planes like a Jodel will take longer to build simply because the parts count is higher. Count on a factor of 2.
    Some random thoughts:
    There's not a lot of options for "inexpensive 2-place" airplane.
    The greatest chance for successful completion of an airplane project comes when you enjoy the building process as much or more than flying. I think you'll find people that build from scratch don't really do it for the cost savings, they do it because they like the challenges of building.
    When you're done, you need a plane that fits your needs. Otherwise, you'll never fly it. Not practical to have a sleek plane sitting in a hangar and only fly it around the pattern 2x a month.
    I plan on starting a homebuilt project soon because it's on my bucket list. While I would really like a 2-place, the building process is more important than the finished project. So I'll be building a simple single-place - possibly a 103 ultralight. I'll just rent a plane when I need to take someone flying.
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    Registered User Jon Ferguson's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    That's pretty much the mindset I have, which is why I am building a single place. Later I'll likely buy a four place. So many good used planes on the market nowadays. I am building a wood design because I enjoy working with wood. You are going to spend so many hours and hours, they may as well be enjoyable. Build because you enjoy building. If flying is the only goal, then their are easier and cheaper ways.

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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Weights of passengers has to be considered. A Pietenpol is ok if powered by a C85 for two but I would not consider it a two place with a converted FORD. Single seat FlyBaby is the best simple design, but it is one seat. Something fancier like a Emarude or a Jodel for a 2 seater, because once done, you have something. All will take a lot of time to make; A VP2 takes more time than it should to make. Fisher would be the easiest to build, but it is not going to be by much. As they say, building a homebuilt airplane is like eating an elephant; can only be done one bite at a time because it wont fit all at once. If you want to build to build, it will work. If you want to build only to fly, you might have some motivation drops when it takes a long time. It will take a couple of years to build unless you can devote most of your spare time ie no wife, kids, girlfriend, life...

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    Registered User djschwartz's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Have you joined the EAA and a local chapter yet? If not, do so. Through them you will be able to find out where fly-ins are in your region and which airports homebuilders tend to congregate at. This will allow you to see first hand what types people are actually building and talk to the owners about their experience with the aircraft. This is important. Advertised claims about most homebuilts tend to range from "optimistic" to "ridiculous". Few of the cheap, simple, low horsepower homebuilts are really suitable for two full size adults, especially as has been commented, among the older designs that were offered as plans. See one of a type you're interested in first hand will be really helpful.

    Dave

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    Registered User Jon Ferguson's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    TFF I believe a 2 seat variant of the flybaby is out there called the Hevle Classic. I am sure Ron will step in and sort out the details.

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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Ferguson View Post
    TFF I believe a 2 seat variant of the flybaby is out there called the Hevle Classic. I am sure Ron will step in and sort out the details.
    Until Ron checks in, this PIREP by Ron may help: Hevle Classic Pilot Report



    Click image for larger version

Name:	hevle1.jpg
Views:	2135
Size:	85.9 KB
ID:	27776
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Quote Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson View Post
    All else being equal, one of the euro touring planes like a Jodel will take longer to build simply because the parts count is higher. Count on a factor of 2.
    Some random thoughts:
    There's not a lot of options for "inexpensive 2-place" airplane.
    The greatest chance for successful completion of an airplane project comes when you enjoy the building process as much or more than flying. I think you'll find people that build from scratch don't really do it for the cost savings, they do it because they like the challenges of building.
    When you're done, you need a plane that fits your needs. Otherwise, you'll never fly it. Not practical to have a sleek plane sitting in a hangar and only fly it around the pattern 2x a month.
    I plan on starting a homebuilt project soon because it's on my bucket list. While I would really like a 2-place, the building process is more important than the finished project. So I'll be building a simple single-place - possibly a 103 ultralight. I'll just rent a plane when I need to take someone flying.
    Actually the Jodel is a very low parts count aircraft. The main wing spar is the hardest and its not that hard. The rest of the aircraft is a simple design and also with very few metal fitting to make. And when you are finished, you have a darn nice useful aircraft for 2 people and baggage. Dan
    Pops

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    Registered User Jon Ferguson's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    You could call it.. Odel Ay eee hooo...

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    Registered User Jon Ferguson's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcj View Post
    Until Ron checks in, this PIREP by Ron may help: Hevle Classic Pilot Report



    Attachment 27776
    Yup that's the one. I sweet looking bird. I think I would put one long canopy over both cockpits though.

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    Re: Easiest to build (from plans) wooden aircraft for two people

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcj View Post
    Until Ron checks in, this PIREP by Ron may help: Hevle Classic Pilot Report
    Attachment 27776
    I think that covers anything I was going to say. Name:  pilot_beer4.gif
Views: 1230
Size:  3.6 KB

    I'm not actually that fired up about two-seat conversions of the Fly Baby. The fuselages are built similarly, but there are a lot of details the builder still has to solve since a bunch of the dimensions change. Plus, the 'Baby has no shock absorbing capacity on the landing gear, and I'm a bit skittish on running a relatively heavy two-seater that way (tho the Piper Vagabond seemed to do well...). The Hevle Classic does have an optional steel-tube fuselage option that might gain some weight back.

    If you're looking for an easy-to-build two seater, I don't think I can recommend higher than the Pietenpol Air Camper. There are a BUNCH of them around, and plenty of help available. I posted a Fly Baby vs. Pietenpol comparison to the Fly Baby web page a while back:

    Fly Baby/Pietenpol Comparison

    Ron Wanttaja
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