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Toobuilder

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... 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)...

This single minded goal is perfectly valid.... But its also a very good example of how easily good intentions go off the rails. You ignore a better value option because your goal is not simply to fly the most efficiently, its really about building your own design. This premise does not actually belong in this thread. The guidance in this thread is about finding the good deals in aquisition, operation and performance. The airplane itself is largely irrelevant as long as it meets the requirements. However, your primary requirement is in fact to "build what you want". This is almost always a more expensive and time consuming option. Its a poor value, regardless of what the actual cost is. You are not being honest with yourself.

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...

If this is actually true, and you are in fact unable to improve your economic trajectory in any way, then you are a considerable outlier. Its pretty rare that someone driven to accomplish a goal cant work overtime, barter, or otherwise generate a bit of a boost to pay for that goal. It is unfortunate, but you are NOT average. Does not mean that you cant accomplish even your very specific goals, but it does reinforce the fact thay you are not the "common man" this thread is targeting.
 

J.L. Frusha

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Luling, Texas
Nobody hires a Stroke survivor, much less one that has a bad back (6ft, instead of 6ft 2in). Because of those 2 factors, I am on a fixed income, even though it is a higher-range median income. I also have Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, which is why I am planning around a 250lb pilot.

Keeping the empty weight below 254lbs is going to be a challenge... EW ~ 253lbs + 31.5lbs fuel + 250lbs = 534.5lbs MTOW... Challenge Accepted!

Most likely engine will be a 38HP, 2-stroke, Polini Thor 303, like those used for parasails (~45.25lbs) with 3.2:1 geared reduction drive. Anything else will just subtract that much more from the empty weight, weakening the structure.
 
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robertl

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Heath Springs, S.C. USA
"...I can't afford..." statements, yet insisting they are "average". On that note, I'll just say. Three years ago, my good friend who is a CFI made the comment, if we had a Cessna 150, I could keep it busy. We looked for a year and a third party said, hey, me and ole Bill will go in on it with you. Now these two guys don't fly 150's, they have bigger iron, although one of them HAS flown our 150 that we purchased two years ago. Less than a $5000 investment each and we have paid the other two, "investers" part of their money back, and all the while the little 150 is paying for it's own maintenance. I know, it's not everybodys cup of tea but this is how we have managed to own an airplane, pay for insurance and maintenance and stay in the game. It could all fall apart tomorrow but for now, we are living the dream.
Bob
 

J.L. Frusha

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893
Location
Luling, Texas
"...I can't afford..." statements, yet insisting they are "average". On that note, I'll just say. Three years ago, my good friend who is a CFI made the comment, if we had a Cessna 150, I could keep it busy. We looked for a year and a third party said, hey, me and ole Bill will go in on it with you. Now these two guys don't fly 150's, they have bigger iron, although one of them HAS flown our 150 that we purchased two years ago. Less than a $5000 investment each and we have paid the other two, "investers" part of their money back, and all the while the little 150 is paying for it's own maintenance. I know, it's not everybodys cup of tea but this is how we have managed to own an airplane, pay for insurance and maintenance and stay in the game. It could all fall apart tomorrow but for now, we are living the dream.
Bob

So, almost $20k... Pretty sure that's higher than my closing costs, 2 years ago, on 6.39 acres of mostly clear, mostly flat land with a 100 y.o. house, shops and a pond.

Sometimes "I can't Afford..." means exactly that. Now throw in the added required licensing, registration, insurance, maintenance and necessary airport storage fees... Since I can't afford those, either, is it reasonable to assume a homebuilt ultralight is the way for me to go? Pay out a little at a time for materials, build it one step at a time and so-on.
 

Toobuilder

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OK, So now you're back to constrained by extremely limited finances (not average, agreed?). If that is the case, then it stands to reason that designing an airplane yourself expends mental resources and time that could instead be used to generate more income, so it is a form of "cost", right? And this particular cost would be avoided by sticking with an existing design. Further, we KNOW that there is an added cost by pure new fabrication compared to a restoration or aquisition of an abandoned project. So if you really "cant afford", then you need to be looking at Craigs list for that unloved Weedhopper or abandoned Minimax rather than starting from new.

In the long journey of this thread you have made some significant assertions which are in direct conflict - on the one hand you are an average guy of average means, yet you have zero ability to improve your economic situation, and cant afford "anything with an N number". You have also admited that buying existing is cheaper than starting new, and passionately articulated that you dont want to take on anyone elses junk but who cares about budget anyway?

Its clear that your goal is to design and build your own thing. Great. Stick with that. When someone offers a cheaper alternative, dont fall back on "I cant afford", because frankly, most of us know better.

BTW, went over to see my neighbor yesterday after some time without contact. Theres a formerly flying Tailwind project hanging in the rafters. Complete with low time O290G. It was given to him and he tried to sell it without success. He ended up giving it to the guy who just bought his house. Free Tailwind. Thats pretty cheap!
 

Pops

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I received a phone call one day. Said, a car hit my house and the contractor doing the repair has a large dumpster to be taken to the dump. I don't want to sell my Zenith 600 project but if you don't come and get it in 2 weeks, its going to be cut up and put in the dumpster. All complete with instruments, painted, etc, except for the canopy and firewall forward. I built an engine mount for it for a small Cont and had enough parts to assemble a A-75 engine. Gave it to my oldest son and grandson.
Yes, there are people out there that will give projects away.
 

WonderousMountain

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Apr 10, 2010
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Bellingham, Wa
Peer Bias, but from my perspective poor IS the Median:

Well, according to a recent survey, 58% of millennials have less than $5,000 in their savings account, with just 70% having a savings account at all.

More than half of the millennials surveyed also said that they have outstanding credit card debt. This makes trying to save for retirement that much more difficult and helps explain the low millennial savings rate.

Yes Pops, people favor family over any who actual need help.
 

J.L. Frusha

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Feb 17, 2006
Messages
893
Location
Luling, Texas
OK, So now you're back to constrained by extremely limited finances (not average, agreed?). If that is the case, then it stands to reason that designing an airplane yourself expends mental resources and time that could instead be used to generate more income, so it is a form of "cost", right? And this particular cost would be avoided by sticking with an existing design. Further, we KNOW that there is an added cost by pure new fabrication compared to a restoration or aquisition of an abandoned project. So if you really "cant afford", then you need to be looking at Craigs list for that unloved Weedhopper or abandoned Minimax rather than starting from new.

In the long journey of this thread you have made some significant assertions which are in direct conflict - on the one hand you are an average guy of average means, yet you have zero ability to improve your economic situation, and cant afford "anything with an N number". You have also admited that buying existing is cheaper than starting new, and passionately articulated that you dont want to take on anyone elses junk but who cares about budget anyway?

Its clear that your goal is to design and build your own thing. Great. Stick with that. When someone offers a cheaper alternative, dont fall back on "I cant afford", because frankly, most of us know better.

BTW, went over to see my neighbor yesterday after some time without contact. Theres a formerly flying Tailwind project hanging in the rafters. Complete with low time O290G. It was given to him and he tried to sell it without success. He ended up giving it to the guy who just bought his house. Free Tailwind. That's pretty cheap!

I'm on a fixed income and unable to get hired, or pass the medical for reasons stated (History of Strokes, bad back, etc.). No. I cannot afford a $2k tractor, or a $20k aircraft, plus insurance/registration/flight lessons, let alone pass the medical exam. Buying an existing aircraft MIGHT be 'lower cost' in the long run, BUT, I don't have the funds available to do so.

I wasn't offered any aircraft, haven't found one that I am really wanting to build, until I found the Curtiss-Stinson Special and its specs. My variations from the original are justified to me and were available at the time the original was built (minus the reduction in size and power for it to become an ultralight).

You gloss over too many sticking points, simply because you cannot comprehend my situation, though I've repeatedly covered the subject.

Now, why on Earth would I take what I can apply and apply it to something I don't want? Heck, I could probably build and fly a parasail cheaper, but it isn't what I want. I have plans for the Chotia Woodhopper and wouldn't be satisfied with it, so why throw what little I have at something I do not want, along with wasting time on that project?

Where is the economy of building a plane from scratch going to best come into play? ONLY in building what I want, rather than something else.

Great for your new neighbor! 'Free' aircraft in need of repair and restoration... Which will require inspections, certifications, insurance and registration BEFORE it gets off the ground, assuming the neighbor even has a PPL.


What I have the funds for is buying some materials and tools, then build it.
 

raytol

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Dec 17, 2021
Messages
178
JL, I thought you were on the right path when you were talking of a "Whing Ding" type aircraft. Use marine ply for all the ribs and struts and a bit of aluminum irrigation pipe for the tail boom. Part 103 so no BS. Concretors sometimes get rid of their plastic faced ply. Good stuff and even though it is 3/4 inch thick. You could cut one rib shape and then split it in to 2 or 3 ribs. Wheels off a go-kart, brakes are rubber flaps pushed on to the tires. Cover the wings with commercially available shrink wrap and double sided tape. Hunt for a Vanguard engine from a ride on lawn mower. Use door hinges for the controls ( make sure the pins can't get out). Make your own prop. "Start not knowing if you can finish" was the best advice Bert ever gave me. Best of luck
 

J.L. Frusha

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Feb 17, 2006
Messages
893
Location
Luling, Texas
JL, I thought you were on the right path when you were talking of a "Whing Ding" type aircraft. Use marine ply for all the ribs and struts and a bit of aluminum irrigation pipe for the tail boom. Part 103 so no BS. Concretors sometimes get rid of their plastic faced ply. Good stuff and even though it is 3/4 inch thick. You could cut one rib shape and then split it in to 2 or 3 ribs. Wheels off a go-kart, brakes are rubber flaps pushed on to the tires. Cover the wings with commercially available shrink wrap and double sided tape. Hunt for a Vanguard engine from a ride on lawn mower. Use door hinges for the controls ( make sure the pins can't get out). Make your own prop. "Start not knowing if you can finish" was the best advice Bert ever gave me. Best of luck

Still have plans for both the Hovey Whing Ding II and its offspring from South America, the Pamperito. Excellent reference material for building ultralight airplanes. Pamperito plans will definitely help with the wings and both may help with the tail.

The Curtiss-Stinson Special UL, however, is inspired by an historic, one of a kind airplane. Granted, I plan to deviate to what it could have been, but this feels like the right plane to start with.

Jeff
 

J.L. Frusha

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Feb 17, 2006
Messages
893
Location
Luling, Texas
Probably, the one thing we all have most in common is aviation, in one form, or another. My desire to build my own is one thing, the limitation to making it an ultralight has multiple factors.

I never said it was cheap, or easy. If, by some miracle, I can keep the costs down and build a safe, reliable ultralight putt-putt biplane, so much the better. If I miss that mark, it won't be by much and I'll fix the weight issue (because that is the one thing I won't absolutely KNOW until it is finished).

That everyone has an opinion is a good thing, which can be helpful to future builder/flyers.

CAN it be done? Yes!
Can I do it? Not if I don't try.

Maybe, just maybe, I can set up an approachable homebuilt ultralight that others can afford and build, as well.

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