2 Seater - solo build

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1Bad88

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I've been looking at several options for a two seat build. Looking for decent cross country ability, room for 2 plus luggage, and full fuel. I like the Mustang 2 and RV-7/9 but I don't have someone to help squeeze rivets. I love the Cozy but I don't have confidence in my ability as a body man. I've also seen that it takes a crew to flip the boat. The Falco is attractive but wood availability would be a challenge. A Tailwind is tight interior wise from what I've heard. What other options are there for kit or plans that allow a invest as you go approach?
 

Riggerrob

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Murphy, RANS and Zenith all offer kits for sheet metal airplanes that are fastened with Pop-Rivets. Pop-Rivets can be pulled/set with a fancy pair of pliers, but if you are pulling hundreds, then you will want to invest in an air-powered rivet pulling tool.
 

Rhino

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....then you will want to invest in an air-powered rivet pulling tool.
Using the word "invest" makes it sound expensive, but it isn't.

At one time I was looking at the Jabiru J230 to meet those very same requirements. It's composite, but almost all the 'plastic' assembly is done at the factory. I'm not really sure if they offer component kits that allow you to build as you go though. I kind of lost track of them after their office in Tennessee quit selling them. I think US Sportplanes in California sells them now, though I think they're geared more toward selling S-LSAs than selling kits. They do sell kits though, last I checked, and the mother company in Australia has great tech support.

You might also want to consider the Bearhawk Patrol or LSA. Sounds like they would meet your needs, and you could build from plans rather than a kit if you want that true invest as you go approach.

I would also recommend the Zenith CH 750 Super Duty, or maybe the Cruzer. The 750 STOL I'm building is great, but some people consider it too slow for cross country. I plan to use it for cross country anyway, but I'm limited to LSA.
 

gtae07

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Quite a bit of the riveting (I'd say 90%) on an RV-7 can be done solo. For the rest (and for a few other tasks like hanging wings), is there not someone you can bribe with a beer or three? I've found that you can teach someone the minimal skill required for the riveting portions pretty easily. My wife helped me with those inaccessible rivets and over the course of my whole build she probably has 10 hours riveting.

Also I was able to "flip the canoe" myself. Hanging my wings took a 6-pack of beer to two coworkers.

Also note that riveting is only a tiny fraction of the build process time-wise...
 

TFF

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Unless you are a hermit with no arms, the RV is the way to go. Save for the Quick build if you are really worried. A friend stuck his teenage daughter in the tail of his RV to do some of it. I would probably place the Mustang2 and Tailwind with about the same cockpit size, nodding to the M2. If you build the aluminum wing option on the Tailwind, for the wing tanks, it might be roomier. The RVs will have the biggest useable cockpit.
Pop rivets may be your best if you are really worried and you want a homebuilt more than a cheap Mooney. Hard to beat a Mooney that’s ready to go. Used RV6 may be the best deal. Lots of projects on Barnstormers that might get you over some of the humps you are worried about.
 

1Bad88

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This is the exact option on my mind last night. Build a single seater because I want to build something and buy a Mooney. I may be able to get someone from my glider club to help but I'm not sure.

Zenith - CH650 may be an option, not much luggage space, max cruise is at VNE
Murphy - Great haulers but not fast
Rans - Nothing that meets the requirements
Jabiru - Single purchase kit

These were all great suggestions.
 

petroelb

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What about the GP-4 from Osprey Aircraft? It seats 2 plus luggage, is fast with good range and seems reasonably priced. Wood availability could be an issue, though.
 

Victor Bravo

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Referring back to Post #1, I think you made a catastrophic mistake by discounting the Tailwind. Steve Wittman was a pretty tall guy, and Tailwinds are flown by tall guys all the time. If the cockpit width was not enough, widening it out by using "bubble doors" is quick and easy, but even adding three inches to the cross tubes is not that big of a deal. The Tailwind is still, 65 years later, the very best bang for the buck in a capable cross country airplane that you can scratchbuild on a 'pay as you go' basis.

Many of us here have brought up the Tailwind's advantages over and over again. A clean and well faired TW will cruise right alongside with the RV on equal power. Jim Rust, of WhirlWind Propeller fame, has the cleanest and fastest one, and it embarrasses a lot of RV folks in speed. You can get incredible speed out of a TW by using time and sandpaper instead of money and fuel... it's the best bargain in aviation.

Look into it a little more, and find a way to go sit in one or fly in one with someone. If you decide to build one, build the W-10 with the trapezoid wingtips, they are very well worth it. A very lightly massaged O-320 with an ignition and injection system would give you a 200 MPH airplane that you could scratchbuild over time and come in at half the cost of an equal RV. Wood is not as cheap as it used to be, but neither is a loaf of bread.
 

TFF

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A 160 hp 320 with attention to building, will allow a W10 to do 200. That’s what Jim Clement’s does. 170 all day long considering fuel burn.
All these planes are small in that’s how the performance is gained. Look at the engine and what it normally comes out of, then look at the homebuilt. The GP-4 is cool, I would call it the smallest. I have never sat in one but the side of the fuselage only comes up to my 5’-10”waist. All the planes are within a 1-2” width of each other. Legroom tends to be a luxury in every airplane short of an airline cockpit. I just saw my friend fly with someone who was 6-8. It’s put up with it or don’t fly. He picks flying.
 

Chris Matheny

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I'm biased but a widened KR2S with a Corvair is very low buck and efficient. Most builders widen the fuselage to 40-42" width without issue. Cruise of 165-170 is not out of the question and 600 mile range. Baggage weight is a little limited depending on the CG setup when its built.
 

1Bad88

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The GP-4 is cool too but has the same issue with wood as the Falco with the long spars.

The KR2S is a favorite of mine also. I have looked at it for years but the issue has always been gross weight. Most KR's are heavy and the gross weight is quite low. For instance, let's say a gross of 1150 and an empty weight of 750 you end up with 400 pounds useful which means about 6 gallons of fuel with two FAA standard occupants. I truly wish that a KR would work. I love it. I just haven't been able to make the math work. What is your empty weight Chris?
 

Hephaestus

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And just because it hasn't been mentioned - Sonex aircraft / kits / fastbuilds seem to be easily found at the moment... Not a terrible choice.
 

Vigilant1

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Thatcher CX-5 and CX-7 are both plans-built aluminum 2 seaters using primarily pulled rivets. Not speedy (108 mph), but an economical VW based engine and about 600 lbs of useful load.
FWIW, as you are evaluating options, check out the old Matronics list or other sources of info on the Zenith 601 and 650. Nothing wrong with these planes, but it has been my impression that owners, in general, find that Zenith's claimed cruise and max speeds for these types is "optimistic" (even more than is normal for manufacturers).
 

9aplus

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How about Thatcher CX-7 ?
Spars solid riveted can be purchased and the rest are the pop rivets....

NOTE
Plans are drawn after cut to fit building, must be redone in CAD in
case one like to use any CAM machining.

@Vig1 you beat me for seconds :D
 

1Bad88

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Bellville, TX
Referring back to Post #1, I think you made a catastrophic mistake by discounting the Tailwind. Steve Wittman was a pretty tall guy, and Tailwinds are flown by tall guys all the time. If the cockpit width was not enough, widening it out by using "bubble doors" is quick and easy, but even adding three inches to the cross tubes is not that big of a deal. The Tailwind is still, 65 years later, the very best bang for the buck in a capable cross country airplane that you can scratchbuild on a 'pay as you go' basis.

Many of us here have brought up the Tailwind's advantages over and over again. A clean and well faired TW will cruise right alongside with the RV on equal power. Jim Rust, of WhirlWind Propeller fame, has the cleanest and fastest one, and it embarrasses a lot of RV folks in speed. You can get incredible speed out of a TW by using time and sandpaper instead of money and fuel... it's the best bargain in aviation.

Look into it a little more, and find a way to go sit in one or fly in one with someone. If you decide to build one, build the W-10 with the trapezoid wingtips, they are very well worth it. A very lightly massaged O-320 with an ignition and injection system would give you a 200 MPH airplane that you could scratchbuild over time and come in at half the cost of an equal RV. Wood is not as cheap as it used to be, but neither is a loaf of bread.
I would like to see the interior of a Tailwind or at least some pictures. It is a wonderful performing plane but I am under the impression that it may feel cramped with a passenger. My wife and I are not big or heavy people.
 

TFF

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Tailwind is as wide as a C150. The problem with any aircraft is most of the time someone will have to wiggle to keep the pilot happy. My shoulders are going to hit your shoulders unless we are in a Cirrus. That is every airplane I have gotten in short of an A36.
 

Rhino

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Then you've never sat in a CH 750. Lots of shoulder room, which is one of the primary reasons I bought it.
 

mcrae0104

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How fast? How much luggage? How much range between stops?

I would not shy away from wood on the basis of "availability." Wood is available; you just need to weigh the cost against aluminum or composites or what-have-you (and also the build time and your ability/efficiency in any given medium).
 

TFF

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Without the bubble doors, same general width as all the others. It does have that option though.
 

Rhino

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Bubble doors came standard with my 750, just not the tinted ones. And it really doesn't matter what part of the airfraft gives shoulder room. The room is there regardless. I'm not saying the 750 is stellar choice for everyone. I'm just saying there are airplanes that give good shoulder room. Perception plays a part there too. After being scrunched in next to someone else in a CH 650, the 750 seemed downright palatial. Truth be told though, I was already happy with the roominess of the 750 before I ever sat in a 650. It did serve to assure me I had made the right choice though.
 
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