# Aircraft for the common man, homebuilt or kit....

### Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

#### gtae07

##### Well-Known Member
Remember that many of the FARs were written many decades ago.
Amateur-built airplanes were much simpler back then.
Of course. I understand why it's written that way, but again as a systems guy it still irks me that building up my own engine, designing my own electrical system, and wiring up a full IFR glass panel buys me less "credit" than building an elevator.

The last thing you want is the FAA writing more FARS
Indeed.

#### Dan Thomas

##### Well-Known Member
Way back in 1973 I bought a Taylor Monoplane for restoration. It wasn't very old, but there was damage to one wing. It only had about six hours on it, by the logbook. I took it apart and spent a bunch of hours on it, finding that the right wing had massive wash-in because the builder hadn't rigged it before gluing the leading edge plywood on. That's why it had six hours: it would need full right aileron just to stay upright. It had a McCullough drone engine on it, and the vibration had shattered all the firewall glue joints and only a few screws were holding it on. The wood was all oil-soaked from the engine's exhaust. Then I found that all the glue joints were duds; it appeared that it had been built in a cold building, and urea-formaldehyde glues need 70°F to properly cure. Otherwise they just dry. I could pick gussets off with my little finger. I salvaged the engine, gear, steel fittings and instruments and scrapped the airframe.

The lesson: beware of unfinished projects, or those with little time on them. Remember that they were built by amateurs, and there are competent amateurs and incompetent amateurs. There is no certification requirement for a homebuilder. Americans call homebuilts "Experimental/Amateur-built" for good reason. In Canada they're just "Amateur-builts."

#### Riggerrob

##### Well-Known Member
I don't know how the costs would work out, but someone could revive the Inflatoplane using current materials. Dacron fabric glued with current supplies should make it even better than the original. Yuo could fold it up into the trunk of your car for storage and taking to a field for some flying.

Back during the 1950s, Goodyear pioneered the "airmat" fabric now fashionable on inflatable stand-up paddle-boards. Modern through-stitch sewing machines can only sew constant-thickness sheets, but that will change over the next 3 to 5 years. Once CNC variable-thickness boards can be sewn, the next week we will see through-stitched parachutes followed a week later by through-stitched para-gliders. A week later a through-stitched, powered-parachute will be introduced, etc.

Mind you, that million dollar, multi-needle, CNC sewing machine will be a long way from "amateur-built."

Perhaps eventually some rich wag will talk the FAA into believing that pushing the START button constitutes "51 percent." Hah! Hah!

#### Toobuilder

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
While it is valid to inspect any project with suspicion, some are more self evident than others. My last Tailwind was pretty easy to inspect (steel tube and wood wings), and it had a lot of hours of flying on it. Also need to understand the "typical" faults of the type - The Hiperbipe has a well known issue with the factory glue used on the wings. Easy to inspect, but you DO have to know about it first. A less well known pitfall of that airplane is the fact that if it had a wing tip strike (ground loop, gear collapse, etc), there's a very good chance the spar is broken at the interplane strut. And you cant see it unless you pull the sheet of the wing because the crack is hidden behind spar doublers. I had to replace both spars on my Hiperbipe - one was from MY groundloop and one was there from many years before.

#### J.L. Frusha

That's understood and you are certainly not alone - but to be blunt, your stated income level puts you a bit outside the fat part of the bell curve for the potential airplane owner. You might think about stating a new thread titled "How do I fly for $100 per month?" Actually, it won't be that difficult. I have the basic skills and equipment, plus several sets of plans. I should be able to start construction in June of my ultralight version of the Curtiss-Stinson Special. Nice thing is, I don't need permission to do so. #### Tom DM ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member I am surprised to hear you say that. My impression mostly in France and a little in the UK is that conventional (taildragger) landing gear is more common in those two countries than in the USA. That may have been: up to the 1960-ies European airfields were "designed" for the classic landing gear configuration as -I suppose- there were few other aircrafts and the space was available. Since then most airfields lost runways du to growing population, environnementalists etc. There is no discussion that an airfield with one runway do not favour the classic landing wheel layout and maybe the vastly superior C150/C152/C172/ PA28 were extra nails in the coffin of tailwheel-aircraft-producers which in Western Europ were mostly French because of state sponsoring. My home field EBGB survived by the skin of its teeth yet loosing 2 (or 4) runways. Of around 80 airplaces based here, 70-75 are tricylces. 2 Piper Cubs, 1 Stampe SV-4 , 1 Morane-Saulnier Alcyon and 2 Fournier-motorgliders come into mind, all flown not that often by people as old (or older) as the plane. As for "modern" aircraft 1 Extra is stationed here. Blue skies #### Riggerrob ##### Well-Known Member I don't - hate - the first 75% but it is the reason I'll never be an RV builder............it is just work. Bringing life to the body, the last 25%, is the really rewarding part of our Frienkstein-ish HBA hobby. Let someone else sew the body parts together, I'll supply the electricity. Perhaps you should join EAA Chapter 292 in Independence Oregon. They have already group-built two squadrons worth of replica World War 1 biplanes and are now cutting parts for a batch of Facetmobiles (with Barnaby Wainfain's blessing. I sincerely doubt that any one of them did exactly 51 percent of the work on each of those airplanes. Far more likely is that one or two guys did the bulk of the firewall-forward installations. Another guy or two probably built most of instrument panels. A third sub-group probably sprayed all the paint, over-lapping with the three or four guys who wrapped them in fabric. etc. #### Riggerrob ##### Well-Known Member Sky Pup! Of course, you would have to weigh under 200 lb soaking wet. It would be great to see a new original design along the lines of a Sky Pup XL for larger pilots, maybe with a Predator-based powerplant. Predator and Bayraktar drones are powered by Rotax 912 engines. Great engines. Reliable engines, but a long way from cheap engines. What are the chances of purchasing Rotax engines at military-surplus auctions?????? #### Victor Bravo ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member What are the chances of purchasing Rotax engines at military-surplus auctions?????? Zero. The Predator 1 drone used the Rotax 914. General Atomics, the manufacturer, overhauled the engines once, and at the second "runout" the engines were destroyed and scrapped, very likely under an agreement with the engine supplier (Bombardier). I know this, because a good friend worked at General Atomics, and I asked him over and over if he could please get me one or two out of the dumpster and before the cutting torch! #### Tiger Tim ##### Well-Known Member Here you folks go (click the link, the preview is wrong): I’m not sure you can get any cheaper than that without stealing. #### robertl ##### Well-Known Member If you have a "decent wind" most days, then an ultralight will not work well either. You are going to need something with more control authority and higher wing loading. Sounds like you have an ultralight budget but a "real airplane" mission. Tough spot to be in. Back in the early 90's I had a Nomad Honcho, one cylinder, 18 hp Cuyuna engine and 36 foot wingspan. I kept it across the road at an old MOA grass strip that was used mainly for low level parachute jumps and dropping cargo with parachutes. The military guys would put red tape all over our plane, mainly for the fun of it, we were parked under the only tree on the field. I had planned to fly early one morning but a friend stopped by and set my schedule back a couple of hrs. I knew the wind had picked up but I wanted to fly so I did the pre flight inspection and carried on. Have you ever gotten airborne and started praying to just get back on the ground safely, well that was one of those days. As soon as I reached the height above the tree tops, the wind caught me and I was in a steep bank to the left, aileron control stick and rudder fully to the right, all to no avail. I was trapped, 50 feet above ground in an almost 90 degree bank and I had no control at all, just hanging on and hoping I didn't die. As it turned out, the wind pushed me back to the beginning of we used as a runway and I was able to get the nose down and land without any damage to me or the plane. I won't even fly my Cessna 150 if it's too windy, lesson learned. Bob #### J.L. Frusha ##### Well-Known Member Here, the 'art' is looking at windy.com and trying to understand what different layers are doing. I haven't had a way to fly since before I got married. Nothing blocking the wind across my place, yet. Gotta get a couple hundred seeds up to saplings, then watch 'em grow.Still going to be a gap from the general direction it comes from. We're a long way from getting this place 'productive'. Just marking time and watching my hair go silver. In the meantime, I can work on plans for the planes I want to build and fly. Kinda have a fixation on biplanes, right now... Easiest way to get to about 200 sq. ft. of wing. Latest concept is a cross between the Rutan Amsoil Racer and enlarged wings from a Christen Eagle, but scaled down to the size of a Cri-Cri... Bottom wing isn't drawn right, just did a cut-n-paste. It'll have an inverse gull wing bottom wing and Junkers 'flaps' control surfaces, like the profile shows. Figure on it being all aluminum, like the Cri-Cri. Last edited: #### Vigilant1 ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member Nothing blocking the wind across my place, yet. Gotta get a couple hundred seeds up to saplings, then watch 'em grow. That may make your situation worse rather than better. If things are gusty it is way better to know about it at ground level than when you are just high enough to sustain more injury from a mishap. Last edited: #### Niels ##### Well-Known Member Yes. I need the engine of that plane. Ferry fly it from Hungary to Brussels, I take the engine off and you'll get the rest of the airplane for free... In Europe a tricycle airplane is close to a must. I migth have been passenger in that hungarian plane many years ago. Two friends built one each and one strengthet the spar and put in a slightly bigger engine. It was built by Alex whom I pestered with my engine scheme phantasies. The other was built to plans by a person I have only talked to once. He became some heart trouble,lost medical and sold plane to sweden. Customer was Eric Bratt (father of SAAB 35 Draken) that was one of the best .airplane designers last century . He had been swedish dive bomber pilot during ww2 and became leader and main force behind Draken 1948 as 30 year old and WW2 veteran. I have met him and talked aeroplanes and also his Jodel.IHe said it was the best built amateur plane he had seen. I mentioned that I knew the builder and Bratt said I should compliment him when I met him.I tried afterwards but he was gone. That danish,swedish,hungarian Jodell deserves better than being burnt alive without engine. I would burn that old o-200 and give it a new Rotax Last edited: #### Dana ##### Super Moderator Staff member Nothing blocking the wind across my place, yet. Gotta get a couple hundred seeds up to saplings, then watch 'em grow.Still going to be a gap from the general direction it comes from. That may make your situation worse rather than better. If things are gusty it is way better to know about it at ground level than when you are just high enough to sustain more injury from a mishap. Might be better to leave it unobstructed. When you have a tree line (or buildings or whatever) to windward of the runway, the air "spills" over it and creates rotor and turbulence, which is especially problematic for very light aircraft. When I was flying paramotors, our field was open to the southwest, where the prevailing winds came from. There were trees to the northwest. If the winds came out of the northwest over the tree line, we didn't fly. #### J.L. Frusha ##### Well-Known Member Might be better to leave it unobstructed. When you have a tree line (or buildings or whatever) to windward of the runway, the air "spills" over it and creates rotor and turbulence, which is especially problematic for very light aircraft. When I was flying paramotors, our field was open to the southwest, where the prevailing winds came from. There were trees to the northwest. If the winds came out of the northwest over the tree line, we didn't fly. We need the added income, or I would just keep it mowed best I can. On top of that, once subsurface irrigation is in place, we'll have livestock in a paddock rotation, to maximize the number of animals we can have, both for our larder and for sales. However, there are neighbors with better open fields that are our friends and I'm fairly sure the ocaissional take-off and landing won't be a problem. If, for some reason it is, I can use the trailer and go to one of several small airports and airfields in the area. #### Toobuilder ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member ....Latest concept is a cross between the Rutan Amsoil Racer and enlarged wings from a Christen Eagle, but scaled down to the size of a Cri-Cri... Bottom wing isn't drawn right, just did a cut-n-paste. It'll have an inverse gull wing bottom wing and Junkers 'flaps' control surfaces, like the profile shows. Figure on it being all aluminum, like the Cri-Cri. View attachment 125036 Looks pretty complex (and expensive). What is your initial cut at the cost for the BOM (bill of materials)? What is your anticipated cost per hour to operate and maintain? How does this compare with existing airplanes - (more or less expensive)? Do you think this can be built for less than the$15k that a Tailwind would take? How about less than the $4k an old Weedhopper and new sails would take? #### J.L. Frusha ##### Well-Known Member Looks pretty complex (and expensive). What is your initial cut at the cost for the BOM (bill of materials)? What is your anticipated cost per hour to operate and maintain? How does this compare with existing airplanes - (more or less expensive)? Do you think this can be built for less than the$15k that a Tailwind would take? How about less than the \$4k an old Weedhopper and new sails would take?

Almost nothing tin snips, a drill and pop-rivets can't fix.

My budget is wherever, earlier in this thread. I have another biplane to do, first. Best guess is 1.5X the weight of the Cri-Cri.

How does it compare? I may be prejudiced, but it's roughly the same size as the Cri-Cri and a hell of a lot better looking. gotta fix the bottom wing, though. Should only have a slight dihedral to the outer sections.

Not all struts are shown, for better clarity., Junkers 'flaps' control surfaces also not shown.

Wings are enlarged and should approach 200 sq. ft., if not exceed it.

#### Toobuilder

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
The cost of the BOM refers to how much money the pile of "stuff" needed to build your airplane will set you back. Nuts, bolts, rivets, rolls of coverings, sheets of aluminum, wheels, prop, engine, etc. This BOM is like a grocery list - you buy all the stuff on the list and you have what you need for the airplane. A Cri -Cri, though small looking, has a fairly expensive BOM. I had one for a while, and its a pretty complex little beast. Considering that you have rejected many options in this thread as "too expensive", I'm curious if you have done a rough cost analysis on your latest concept? Because it appears to me that your concept will be more expensive to procure than many others presented.

#### Dan Thomas

##### Well-Known Member
The cost of the BOM refers to how much money the pile of "stuff" needed to build your airplane will set you back. Nuts, bolts, rivets, rolls of coverings, sheets of aluminum, wheels, prop, engine, etc. This BOM is like a grocery list - you buy all the stuff on the list and you have what you need for the airplane. A Cri -Cri, though small looking, has a fairly expensive BOM. I had one for a while, and its a pretty complex little beast. Considering that you have rejected many options in this thread as "too expensive", I'm curious if you have done a rough cost analysis on your latest concept? Because it appears to me that your concept will be more expensive to procure than many others presented.
I've been stung like that. Plenty. And it doesn't matter what you're building, either. The raw materials are easy enough to figure out; it's the nuts and bolts and washers and other hardware and fittings that starts to add up real quick. Paint, too. And painting means not just paint; it means all the prep stuff as well: the sandpaper, scotchbrite, (acid and alodine if working with aluminum), primer, paint filters, mixing cups, respirator or forced-air hood, paint gun, masking tape and masking paper, thinners and cleaning solvents, tack cloths, lint-free wipes---lots of stuff, most of which ends up in the garbage. With fabric you need brushes for the first coats, to get the stuff right into and around the fibers. A calibrated iron and accurate thermometer to keep it calibrated.

None of this stuff is apparent at all when you're looking at airplanes at the fly-in, but you can be sure it was all bought and used up.