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

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J.L. Frusha

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I really like these DIY wood struts, more than any others I've seen, and they're similar to the ones used on the Curtiss S-2 Wireless...

Struts from Lincoln Spt bipe.png
 

speedracer

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Feb 4, 2020
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How many ultralight biplanes are there anyway? Biplanes with an empty weight of 254 lb or less? Biplanes have more structure, which equals more weight. They have a lot more drag, from struts and wires and four wingtip vortices instead of two. Short wings, and biplanes, have terrible glide performance, and since ultralight monoplanes are not known for their gliding performance, an ultralight biplane would have the glide angle of a sack of wet sand. Poor gliding ability is another way of saying that the lift-to-drag ratio is rotten, which is another way of saying that takeoff and climb performance will be lousy on small power. More power means a bigger engine which means more weight and a stronger structure to take it, and now we're way past the 103 weight limit.

Fat wings. It would need fat wings to get the lift, which would make it slow but would keep the stall speed down, but would also make it risky in winds or turbulence.

EVERY airplane is a collection of compromises. The fewer compromises, the better. Too many, and you don't have an airplane. You have a big expensive lawn ornament.
I've heard that all Pitts drivers carry a brick in their airplane. If they have an engine failure they throw the brick out. They then watch it to see where it lands so they know where THEY'RE going to land.
 

BJC

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I've heard that all Pitts drivers carry a brick in their airplane. If they have an engine failure they throw the brick out. They then watch it to see where it lands so they know where THEY'RE going to land.
Years ago, NASA had a live TV transmission from the pilot’s perspective of a SST landing. I commented to my wife that the approach angle looked very familiar.


BJC
 

TFF

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A friend had to put one down in a back yard and ask to use the phone. Pre cell. His engine out in a plane was IFR at night. He was lucky he was going into his home airport so he knew what to expect when he got clear, which was the interstate. Merged with traffic and took the off ramp. He would rather be in the helicopter. Low level over trees, both loose. I think it’s a wash. Just different.
 

Pops

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Maybe right, but to me it looks like lot more parts to go wrong. I have had a broken crankshaft, lost of oil, engine failure on take-off, broken throttle cable.
 

TFF

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I was with him when we had multiple issues with customer aircraft the first time we would get them.

With the parts going wrong, there are more that can go wrong, that’s why they cost more to fly, you can’t skirt replacement. A helicopter business is pretty. Our helicopters were relatively easy to maintain but we probably spent $50,000 a year on parts for each helicopter. It’s very hard to mix helicopter and airplanes in a business. Customers will alway cheap out when they find the helicopter is three times the cost of the airplane. The only way is not to give them the airplane option. Can’t pay for a helicopter if customers use airplane. Cheap out and you make the news. . It’s only about knowing how to do it.

His list is long too. I always double checked how tight the mags were. Before I worked for him, he had a duel mag fall off the back of an engine. That story runs in my head every time I touch of a mag.
 

Tom DM

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EBGB Grimbergen airfield (N of Brussels, Belgium)
I was with him when we had multiple issues with customer aircraft the first time we would get them.

With the parts going wrong, there are more that can go wrong, that’s why they cost more to fly, you can’t skirt replacement. A helicopter business is pretty. Our helicopters were relatively easy to maintain but we probably spent $50,000 a year on parts for each helicopter. It’s very hard to mix helicopter and airplanes in a business. Customers will alway cheap out when they find the helicopter is three times the cost of the airplane. The only way is not to give them the airplane option. Can’t pay for a helicopter if customers use airplane. Cheap out and you make the news. . It’s only about knowing how to do it.

Yeah, heard define a helicopter as a craft composed out of 20000 parts , all of them wanting to shake apart.

Near my brother's home is a heliport, so... got to check it out. As soon as I saw the customers car parking, made a 180 and floored the throttle. I run from danger, I don't look back, I know it's there.

A wise man said : " Do not envy what you cannot pay". For me that proved useless info: found it out all by myself :)

Bleu skies
 

TFF

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Hmmm. A pure soul throwing the first stone or non glass house dweller throwing rocks inside? Every commoner I know owns a helicopter. The problem is most people are not so common.
 

Hawk81A

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I just checked. I'm a common guy. I don't have an airplane. I guess I'd better get rid of my helicopter. This whole thread is corrupted anyway (hijacked and pulled far away from it's original intent). Dennis
 

J.L. Frusha

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I just checked. I'm a common guy. I don't have an airplane. I guess I'd better get rid of my helicopter. This whole thread is corrupted anyway (hijacked and pulled far away from it's original intent). Dennis

I think you're wrong on that. The whole point is finding something that CAN be homebuilt by the average person with average income and average means.

A lot of the argument has been telling me that I cannot_________________, and then my responses. Sure, some of that can be pruned, but it's also applicable to the conversation.

Congrats on the helicopter. You can go fly. I will start gathering materials for a homebuilt in about 2 weeks.
 

Toobuilder

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Actually, a lot of this discussion has been offered up as solid, proven examples to aircraft ownership and performance for the regular guy. Some outliers on the low end of the economic spectrum (self identified), have dominated the dialog with repeated "...I can't afford..." statements, yet insisting they are "average". The result is the discussion has now focused on the extreme low end of the utility spectrum (and by definition, a poor economic "value"), and anyone who has higher ambitions is "rich" (and therefore "uncommon" and not subject to this thread).

For me, its an interesting study. Nothing to to with homebuilt airplanes, but one more piece of evidence why the world works the way it does.
 

J.L. Frusha

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Luling, Texas
Actually, a lot of this discussion has been offered up as solid, proven examples to aircraft ownership and performance for the regular guy. Some outliers on the low end of the economic spectrum (self identified), have dominated the dialog with repeated "...I can't afford..." statements, yet insisting they are "average". The result is the discussion has now focused on the extreme low end of the utility spectrum (and by definition, a poor economic "value"), and anyone who has higher ambitions is "rich" (and therefore "uncommon" and not subject to this thread).

For me, its an interesting study. Nothing to to with homebuilt airplanes, but one more piece of evidence why the world works the way it does.

... and yet, I checked-off the very stats that show I am as economically middle-of-the-road as can be, then explained where my limited ability to afford it comes from (namely having a mortgage, but also paying off a vehicle and a reduction of expenses).

I have explained the planned construction techniques that partially date to WWI and earlier that I intend to use to build what I want, rather than take-over a rejected remnant of someone else's, whether a used ultralight in need of repair, or an abandoned project (both of which are still viable options, just not within the spectrum of my goals).
 

Vigilant1

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Actually, a lot of this discussion has been offered up as solid, proven examples to aircraft ownership and performance for the regular guy.
It would have been good to nail down the definition of "common man." In the US, the BLS says the median hourly wage in the US was $31.85 in April 2022*. There's little federal income tax due at that implied annual income, but let's say that yields $25/ hour after payroll taxes. Assuming our "common man" wants to aviate and so works 10 hours extra per week ($250), in a year he'll have squirrelled away $13,000. That right there will allow a choice of many partially completed E-AB builds, finished aircraft in need of work, or even partial ownership of existing flying aircraft. It certainly doesn't require the design of a new plane. As a bonus, continued working and this infusion of $250/week will pay for all hangarage, insurance, and fuel in many locations in the US for a modest aircraft.
In the US, aviation is within reach of the "statistical common man" if he (or she) wants it, even on a pay-as-you-go basis. No new engineering or technology required.

*Private nonfarm payroll, wages do not include other benefits.
 
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Pops

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This thread is the reason I built the SSSC. To see how low a price an average (me) person could build a fun flying homebuilt and afford to fly it.
Would have liked to made the wing fold to cut down the high hanger rent, but I never came up with anything I really liked .
Shipping is becoming a huge expense in building. If several builders of the same airplane built at the same time they could save a lot of money splitting the shipping cost.
 

J.L. Frusha

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Luling, Texas
It would have been good to nail down the definition of "common man." In the US, the BLS says the median hourly wage in the US was $31.85 in April 2022*. There's little federal income tax due at that implied annual income, but let's say that yields $25/ hour after payroll taxes. Assuming our "common man" wants to aviate and so works 10 hours extra per week ($250), in a year he'll have squirrelled away $13,000. That right there will allow a choice of many partially completed E-AB builds, finished aircraft in need of work, or even partial ownership of existing flying aircraft. It certainly doesn't require the design of a new plane. As a bonus, continued working and this infusion of $250/week will pay for all hangarage, insurance, and fuel in many locations in the US for a modest aircraft.
In the US, aviation is within reach of the "statistical common man" if he (or she) wants it, even on a pay-as-you-go basis. No new engineering org technology required.


*Private nonfarm payroll, wages do not include other benefits.

IF that person can work, or find the extra work... In my case, I cannot work, so I have time, but limited funds available to build, rather than buy, which has been a big chunk of the discussion, too. I'm not going to pass a flight physical, nor can I afford flight instruction for a PPL. Again, statistically middle-of-the-road, given the number of Americans on disability.

It isn't just about funds, though. ALL of this takes time and skills to accomplish.
 
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