As usual you flatter yourself by thinking I was referring to your comment.Uh....we decided to focus our efforts on more than just the UL community so there's no point in trying to get the FAA's attention when we already have a category above them that you don't have to have a medical to fly aircraft in (which is really the only reason people wind up in UL aircraft around here; I wound up in ULs because it was cheap and the **** things are slow enough to be useful during searches for bodies, etc). The focus here is on doing away with the medical certification requirements for private pilots.
No, you'll notice that I said nothing regarding a "good/decent" aircraft. I said that the technology peaked circa 1985 almost entirely because of the weight restriction. People are getting fatter and fatter and the restriction isn't going anywhere (because we have the LSA category). It's not a matter of my not thinking it's worth the trouble. It's a matter of the same problem aviation has always faced: when you have a dreamer who tries to get around a regulation by cutting out structural weight (which is really the only option left since the weight of the people and engines isn't going to change), it seldom ends well. Physics always wins.
Of course, then again, you hold out as an example of a "good/decent" aircraft what amounts to a grown man riding a toy. There's no practical reason behind that other than some half-baked attempt to prove that you can look a bit like the aviation equivalent of a circus bear riding a tiny motorcycle.
The scene you described still exists today... in the PPG world. Since PPGs are so slow, and few pilots really ever go anywhere, people get together in some field, make short flights, hang out, etc. Many PPGers get bored and move on to faster aircraft, but many don't, and many (like myself) fly PPG as well as faster aircraft.The thing is that so much has changed, the days (early 1980s) of a dozen of us taking our planes out to the farmer's field in their box trailers and everyone helping each other to assemble wings, then camping in the trailers for the weekend and flying our hearts out seem to have gone forever. Careful what we wished for - we got it - our own airfield with hangars, 150mph (in Oz) machines and now it costs a fortune, hangar rent is prohibitive if you can even get it, and everyone goes off on their own most of the time.
That's one reason why I've been concentrating on aircraft with folding wings that can be trailered and assembled/unfolded by one person but I have to admit they're complex.
Sorry mate, but for once I can't agree with all of yours....I thought the 'ladder planes' built in France were about the most minimum sort of structure and likely cost --there was a link or a whole thread for them I seem to recall (might have been on the EAA 365 forum )-- I worked in a ladder factory while waiting for visas and paperwork in 1972 and operated the machine which spun the machined extruded rungs into hollow rivets amongst other operations there (in fact from walking in the door looking for some process work I ended up designing all sorts of folding ladders for them and --maybe as a result of familarity with such 'lock in place' structures have even noticed distant echoes of some of the mechanism/lock/structures in my latest work on folding roadables... )
No experience goes to waste .
Thee point about the ladder planes is that they used mass produced readily available precursor components --and piggy backed on the quite sophisticated manufacturing processes that both give reliable and accurate resulrs and low prices.
HAND building as opposed to HOMEbuilding is a lot of the basis for the dispute here -- even the Volksplane is expensive in terms of the man hours and equipment needed to build one and try pricing aircraft grade (or even marine )plywood and glass cloth etc etc .
The only way I can afford to drive is by buying cars that are on their last legs and started off as cheap mass produced goods --I always said that if you paid the FULL $ 100 (one hundred) for a car you got something that was reliable and would last --try to get something "good' for "nothing" and you will get something "good for nothing" --my first car was a 1966 Rambler (cost $100) that was virtually fiberglassed together but took me across the US and back three times and ended it's days (I think) as the gift to the lady who sold tickets to the long term car park at LA airport (put the keys up the exhaust for her... couldn'y give the car away otherwise..) This is how nearly ALL young people used to get their first wheels -- a market served by low cost mass produced (factory built) vehicles that were discounted after the first few owners : almost nobody gets on the road by hand beating their own car body as if making a homebuilt.
This will be the same for flying machines IF you really want to expand the market and the demand --just as Henry ford insisted on the highest precision in manufacture (interchangability and unskilled assembly) and the best materials (forged Vanadium steel ) to make the CHEAPEST car possible --the Model T -so it is and will be for flying machines .
(Ford pushed a Model T out the door every eleven seconds ....)
Luxury toys will always cost like luxury toys-- and/or be very inadequate as flying machines as well even when TOO simplified (recall the cast fiitings and swaged flying wires without even thimbles, no cable keepers and zero stick free stability,inverse stick force gradients etc etc on the Skycraft Scout --many were lucky to survive them and quite a few weren't . ( I flew the first Tweety-Scout 'prototype' in 1976 sold as bits before they were on the market even --we do not want to repeat those days of substandard engineering or lack of it but I agree that the 'barnstorming' days were a good time and have been lost largely ( I was one of those opposing the raising of the lower limit --not the upper limit --in the interests of fun flying rather than reinventing GA by Cessna .
To know what is possible at a given budget you need to specify the aims and the minimum acceptable trade offs (cheapo flying coffins won't help anyone --the first wave of defective Flying Fleas did exactly the same disservice to aviation -lest we forget.)
in his 1958 Book "An airplane in every garage" Dan Zuck painted EXACTLY the same picture of the young not having any interest in flying and being more interested in "Hopalong Cassidy" and the new fangles television than the lures of the airport --even "Peter the Hermit" noted how the young were listless, long haired, not interested in the old ways etc about AD 50 (I think) --nothing changes.
Until we get mass produced and useful flying vehicles that ATTRACT the young and the poor can afford you will be stuck with the choice between high man hour low dollar and the best that designers can do within the straitjacket of low sales price and low volume --it is just the reality of the laws of economics and economy of scale.
Good point, I picked up a PPG pilot who was walking home with his complete aircraft on his back, got me thinking...again..., so did the premarital sex thing...The scene you described still exists today... in the PPG world. Since PPGs are so slow, and few pilots really ever go anywhere, people get together in some field, make short flights, hang out, etc. Many PPGers get bored and move on to faster aircraft, but many don't, and many (like myself) fly PPG as well as faster aircraft.
One problem is that neighbors tend to get tired of the noise and activity, though a PPG seems less intimidating than an airplane, even an ultralight airplane.
My Kolb is trailerable, with 10 minute wing folding. I keep it, folded, in my trailer at the airport... because while the folding is easy, trailering is a PITA. Traveling with a PPG is a lot less hassle, and it needs a much smaller field.
It's only premarital sex if you're going to get married.
Sorry mate, thought that was a shockicon, I was probably just responding on impulse, they're all out to get me haha hehe.... So what do you think about the best ultralight configuration to design?Nope, it was obviously meant to be humorous. But just in case, I put the little smile emoticon on the end so that there would be no mistaking it. :0)
There is an ignore button that can be found by visiting someones profile page. It can save a whole lot of time and aggravation.As usual you flatter yourself by thinking I was referring to your comment.
They were toys, we enjoyed them, what did you design and build? What are you flying now - well we all know that don't we?
Where you 'focussed your efforts' is nothing of consequence here, this is a design thread, besides which you didn't/haven't - if you did, please show evidence of your involvement in anything at all, otherwise please go away from this thread.
This thread isn't about you. Not only that it would benefit you to bear in mind that this is an International forum, and whatever is the case in America, isn't necessarily the same in the various countries of many of our other very valued members.
You are probably 'getting fatter and fatter' because you probably have no real overwhelming desire to fly. People that do have that desire, and may have limited funds are willing to forgo the extra hamburger and actually lose weight... what's the point in drilling and punching a thousand lightening holes to save 5 kg if you weigh 30kg more than you should. Go away SUS PLEASE!!! You comment off-topic in just about every thread on the site, you're getting to be a serial pest IMHO.
Hard to say. It should somehow look, or it's looks should imply, something more sophisticated and capable than the Weedhopper/B1RD type planes. But it also needs to be simple to build. Actually there are probably three different basic configurations that would have to exist to cover most peoples wants/expectations: an open frame type, a fully covered one similar to the Sauricette, and, if possible one that is aerobatic. I would use pop riveted aluminum tube/bolts. The easiest one to build would have the least capabilities performance wise (I know, they are limited as to top speed, but you can dive them and SSDR in the UK doesn't have the same speed/powerplant limitations that 103 has, though there is some significant overlap in the specs). Wing structure would have a lot to do with who would want to build it; there is a perception that tube spars make for an easier to build wing (I'm not sure how true that is - maybe the tooling requirement is simpler). It would also be nice if at least one of them could fly well just with a single-cylinder 410cc (approx. 14-15 hp)or so Generac/B&S/Honda direct drive bolted to it -the $600 engine.So what do you think about the best ultralight configuration to design?
The decision of what to power it with is the starting point imo. The lightest and most powerful engines are usually expensive, inefficient, relatively short tbo, noisy, and questionably reliable. If I had the 10k to spend on a couple of ppg engines(which would be nice), I'd probably design around an 0200 and forget the ultralight part. My wish list includes a commercial Honda V twin, a bottle of NOS, and a folding prop.there look to be some good minds on this site.from what i read here alot of you are very knowledgeable. so i got to thinking, the purpose of a site such as this is to bring people with the same interest together and help the members of this site.so i have a challenge to put toward each and everyone of you.the cheapest way to fly is by far with ultralights.there are lots of kits out there that cost many 1000.00s of dollars.and the name of this site is homebuilt airplanes.so why not put the minds of the people here to come up with a truly unique design of an ultralight. a new aircraft that anyone can build and be much much cheaper than the kits you can buy.make it affordable to the average American worker, lets face it, not all of us have great paying jobs, and some are single parents such as myself. money is tight.but we have a passion as well to fly. i think it can be done way cheaper than the kits,and be a safe aircraft. so work on it and tell me what you come up with.remember,least amount of cost as possible.something some one could build without a big financial burden over the winter. if i get enough ideas i will build it myself.if fly safe we can share the plans with the world for free! any concept or configuration. lets do this people!!! you do not have to have a complete set of plans, just a part,like for the wings and main body, whatever it is, post it here, lets build something together!!! and KEEP COST DOWN!!! lets make this for everyone.! happy thinking!
Well, I think that cost of flying is a big factor in drawing new people in, and Part 103 ultralights are a quantum leap cheaper than any other option, both in terms of equipment cost and instruction. Gliders, specifically glider clubs, might be the nearest competitor, but is still significantly higher than ultralights. Let's face it, there are ultralight kits out there for as little as $3900 and there is no requirement for training with an instructor (though we would all agree that flying without any instruction is foolhardy at best and a potential death wish).While I have also pointed out to Steve and others that sometimes they come off a little bit too critical, I have to say that here I agree with him. The minimalist low-cost Part 103 ultralight, single-seat by definition, is a worthy goal in itself, but it is not the solution to attracting more and younger people to amateur aviation. A minimalist two-seat microlight or LSA that can be built easily and cheaply, say under 500 hours and under $20,000 ready-to-fly including engine, prop and VFR instruments, and still look Rutan-cool, would do a lot more for the sport.
I mostly agree with this. Where I feel the "couple of hours of dual" is simply necessary is in stalls, approaches, and spins (and yes, I'm one of those that think spin training ought to be mandatory!). All very dangerous to learn by yourself without someone there to pull your bacon out of the fire when you get it wrong.there is no requirement for training with an instructor (though we would all agree that flying without any instruction is foolhardy at best and a potential death wish).
And as I noted on your poll, without the 2 place training exemption unless you are willing to teach yourself, the only option is dual in something like a 150/172 and then stepping "down" to UL's. This option is only reasonable if the person involved understands the very different flying qualities of a plane with very light wing loading.
Even though it's not politically correct to say so, the reality is that self training is a viable option if done by a prudent person in well defined steps. But a minimalist ultralight isn't exactly the best platform for this as the risk of serious injury with the pilot setting out front with little or no crash protection is just too great. Even the old Benson had more real pilot protection then some of the tube and rag ultralights.
Come up with a part 103 UL that has some reasonable level of pilot protection and then I think we could seriously consider promoting some form of inexpensive pilot training. I personally think with such a plane a couple of hours in a 150 (for those that have never flown in a light plane), coupled with some X-plane time (tailored to the specific UL being used) followed by a very incremental flight training program with a ground based instructor would give the average person a good compromise of cost and safety.
I would agree with that, but it's the impulsive person that fails to recognize this and puts himself at risk....the reality is that self training is a viable option if done by a prudent person in well defined steps.
Yes! One of the first airplanes that got my mind thinking on, "hey, I could build that and go flying!" Ironically, it was this very picture in, I believe, David Thurston's Homebuilt Aircraft that sparked it:I'm not really a fan of ultralights, especially for training so I've been staying clear with my "negative ways" (said with a smile) but one plane that is often missed that I really liked years ago (and that was relatively cheap to build) was the old PDQ-2. I don't have pictures but a brief search might reveal some.