# Airplane for the Common Denominator

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#### Tom DM

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
at least do the following:

-Comfortably seat one pilot
-Travel faster than driving
-Use a common enough reliable engine that’s mogas-friendly and not a never ending science experiment
-Be easy enough to fly, capable of straight-forward pilot transition from a common type
-Be resilient enough to survive outside tie down in any US state without needing major refurbishment
-Designed for scratch building using common tools and ordinary raw materials and hardware

Does not exist. The reason why is point 2 "Travel faster than driving"

In a (VFR)-airplane you can got fast from A to B but you don't know when you start, not when you will land, even less when you get back. Flights over 500 NM get often elongated by a day. If I have to be somewhere "on time", I take the car, an airliner ... or I budget 1-2 extra days.

Been there, tried it, on occasions a car should have beaten me by several days. Liked the journey with the plane more yett some highspeed runs Brussels-Munich (830 km in less than 4 hours) are also fondly remembered. I learned that there is no need for a 500HP-Porsche or BMW , an Audi A8 TDI (a lousy 350 HP diesel!) clocked my fasted time.

#### Toobuilder

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
While I aknowledge the adage that "...if you have time to spare, then go by air..." is generally sound guidance, its far from absolute. I have been weathered in on some trips and it would have been faster to drive on that trip, but I have MANY more examples of flights that were "no brainers" compared to car travel. Any trip I take to LA, Vegas, AZ or Nor Cal is going to be radically faster by air. So yes, it can be done. Also understand that individual circumstances make a big difference. I'm in NTPS right now with a bunch of international students. Israeli, German, Italian, Oz, Brazilian... To a man, all were absolutely amazed at my ability to fly whenever and wherever I want without any real restriction. They all "knew" it, but it didnt sink in until I actually flew the Rocket to class last week and we started discussing flying freedom in the US in practical terms.

#### Tom DM

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
While I aknowledge the adage that "...if you have time to spare, then go by air..." is generally sound guidance, its far from absolute. I have been weathered in on some trips and it would have been faster to drive on that trip, but I have MANY more examples of flights that were "no brainers" compared to car travel. Any trip I take to LA, Vegas, AZ or Nor Cal is going to be radically faster by air. So yes, it can be done. Also understand that individual circumstances make a big difference. I'm in NTPS right now with a bunch of international students. Israeli, German, Italian, Oz, Brazilian... To a man, all were absolutely amazed at my ability to fly whenever and wherever I want without any real restriction. They all "knew" it, but it didnt sink in until I actually flew the Rocket to class last week and we started discussing flying freedom in the US in practical terms.

I connect the dots : Freedom, Harmon Rocket II, RV-8, Mojave(Ca)

Sounds a bit like game, set and match

#### challenger_II

##### Well-Known Member
In many instances, it is not the destination, but the journey...
It is quicker for me to drive 38 miles to work, yet I still fly on those pretty days.

#### Tiger Tim

##### Well-Known Member
On the subject of a small airplane for transportation, it of course lacks the reliability to absolutely hold a schedule. I hope we all knew that right off the hop.

Having said that, I’ve done purposeful cross countries solely for my own benefit (ie. not for training or work) in a Bonanza, an Archer, a J-3 (did 700 miles that day!), a Ford-powered Pietenpol, and some other neat stuff. All were sufficient for their respective trips. The Cub was the most fun. The Bonanza outran traffic because it’s a Bonanza, the Archer took me across an island chain that saved at least a hundred track miles over the car route, the Cub was flight planned in a straight line where the highway definitely wasn’t, and I’ll be honest the Piet was a wash but boy was it ever fun. I had lovely weather for each of those trips but I fly small planes for my own enjoyment and if I’m not going to enjoy the ride I don’t go. I think those of us who have used airplanes for stuff understand that.

Maybe starting this thread was a terrible idea, I just wanted to frame the whole thing with some optimism. Maybe the naysayers are doomed to a self-imposed mediocrity and denying that these things are possible is the only way to cope. Who knows? I have my own constraints in life but then again I also find ways to fit in my airplane(s).

#### BJC

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Maybe starting this thread was a terrible idea, I just wanted to frame the whole thing with some optimism. Maybe the naysayers are doomed to a self-imposed mediocrity and denying that these things are possible is the only way to cope. Who knows?
No, it was not a terrible idea.

Just accept that people who fly figured out a path to success and stuck with it. Many people want something (an airplane, more money, a better job, to live in a different place, etc.) but are unable to make the decisions, take the actions, and stick to the plan until they succeed. And it all is someone else’s fault. Sad, really, but there is nothing that you or I can do about it. I’ve given up on trying to coach and encourage them.

BJC

#### challenger_II

##### Well-Known Member
There-in lies the rub.

Maybe the naysayers are doomed to a self-imposed mediocrity and denying that these things are possible is the only way to cope. Who knows? I have my own constraints in life but then again I also find ways to fit in my airplane(s).

#### Tom DM

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
On the subject of a small airplane for transportation, it of course lacks the reliability to absolutely hold a schedule. I hope we all knew that right off the hop.

So focus on the mission of the airplane while not giving it one it can't fulfill. Any airplane is an answer to an equation with a lot of variables which you don't always control or even know. It is logic and non-logic thoroughly mixed.

Small airplanes are about recreation, not about getting there. It is also about affordability, being a bean-counter and then saying: well , yeah... It is about safety and being alert but not afraid. Respecting Nature (nothing as good for that as coming a bit too close to a thunderstorm) and acknowledging that even in this day and age weather plays a role. It is about learning, accepting from yourself that a decision you made was not the correct one, dealing with that. It is about being amased and staying that way.

It is about (the illusion of ) Freedom. Also it is about that kid walking towards the plane... and you know on forehand: this one ain't going to take "no" for an answer.

Which plane? Low wing/ high wing, factory made/ home build , low power high power, easy to fly or a bit bitchy, big wallet / small wallet... They fly the same air, follow the same fundamental Laws and if one disrespect them they will bite.

"This is a Piper Cub, a very easy to fly aircraft which can barely kill you."

Blue skies

#### WonderousMountain

##### Well-Known Member
I've gotten a soft spot for the Corby Starlet recently.

#### Toobuilder

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
I connect the dots : Freedom, Harmon Rocket II, RV-8, Mojave(Ca)

Sounds a bit like game, set and match

Maybe. But its most certainly a "long game"... Its been in motion for 25 years and has only recently normalized. Would be very tough to duplicate today with a "hey, I want to try aviation..." Epiphany moment.

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Hummel H5
Any of the Thatcher Aircraft
Mini Coupe
Teenie Two
Sonerai with wing fold if you are okay with storing in a trailer

Outside to me precludes anything wood or composite. The sun is brutal on all aircraft though.

Cruise is probably too low for:
Team V-Max
HM-293

I guess my first question would be: is the requirement that it must be built from plans definite? It's almost always cheaper to buy than build. If it has to be built from plans than the Teenie Two is the airplane in my opinion. You probably can scrounge it together for about $5k. #### Victor Bravo ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member Unfortunately there are no "common denominators" and no "common man" anymore. What we do know is that there are (thankfully) many different types and categories of airplane to meet the majority of "wants and/or needs". So all of these (many) HBA discussions about this type of thing are doomed from the start, and we've all seen that those discussions suffer catastrophic aeroelastic flutter sooner or later. I do believe there is, however, a "bell curve" that can be quantified, based on a reasonable amount of data collected. The average number of hours logged per year, the average level of pilot training, the average disposable income for someone with a private license, the size of the average garage or shipping container, etc. etc. etc. So, once again, we need to have some hard parameters for the discussion (this one and all the others) about designing an airplane for any segments of that bell curve. What we can do differently perhaps, is to admit that there is a benchmark against which we have to compare/contrast any of the designs in a particular segment of that bell curve. So as one example, let's say we are trying to come up with an "everyman" 2 seat airplane that has the best combination of minimum 175mph cruise speed and the ability to scratchbuild the airframe (less engine and avionics) for less than$20K. The hands-down benchmark for that, of course, is the Tailwind. So all of the sketches and renderings and soaring rhetoric discussions about how we can design-by-committee a better mousetrap for that performance outcome have to hold up against the known quantity of the Tailwind.

So when someone comes up with "but it also needs to meet Part 103"... that can be nipped in the bud because "No, dear HBA participant, that would be the other discussion about everyman's ultralight, your comment is actually relevant over on that sub-forum"

Same for the VP-21 discussion, the Ranger discussion, the 103 discussions, the "Yankee Luciole" and "flying motorcycle" discussions, etc.

#### cluttonfred

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
VB, you mean one airplane can’t be all things to all people? I am shocked.

#### [email protected]

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
The airplane for common man or denominator in most cases starts with the man or woman ability to understand themselves, the economic status of self and others and their future. Many of us on this forum did not have life handed to us on a golden platter. We took old potatoes and made great tasting potato soup. Many, like me worked at minimum wage, ate beans and knew we could improve life for our self by planning today for the future. Some like myself were hospitalized 6 months, did our duty for our neighbors and country but we survived and our better persons for it!

#### challenger_II

##### Well-Known Member
People have been trying to devise the airplane for the EveryMan ever since Bleriot crossed the channel. Problem is, not every man wants the same airplane.
Like everything else in Aviation everything is a compromise. So, every man has to make a conscious decision as to what can be afforded, what performance is essential (not just desired), and where said aircraft will be living/operated.

Life is so full of decisions...

#### Brünner

##### Well-Known Member
I guess that part means whatever you want but the idea is you can take off in one place and arrive in a different place all while making it an attractive option compared to driving.
That would include having a decent baggage area as well, which many single seaters do not have.

#### Tiger Tim

##### Well-Known Member
This thread could best be summed up as, “Pilots: you can hand them a million dollars and they’ll gripe that it’s heavy.”

#### Toobuilder

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
VB, you mean one airplane can’t be all things to all people? I am shocked.

Certainly never going to satisfy all pilots, but if you were to change the focus of this thread and come up with the single homebuilt that appeals to the broadest possible bell curve of pilots, I'm thinking RV-8. If I had to pick just a single airplane from here on out, that would be my choice. Fast "enough" to be used as a cross country tool; sporty "enough" to keep all but the hardest core G junkies entertained; easy "enough" for even a zero time TW guy to transition into; comfortable "enough" for current size humans and bags; cheap "enough" to operate and maintain. Its not the perfect choice for all pilots, but a very large percentage of pilots would find an RV-8 "likable".

#### Tiger Tim

##### Well-Known Member
Interesting. The RV-8 is more airplane than I was expecting the answer to be but I certainly respect your experience.

#### Vigilant1

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Interesting. The RV-8 is more airplane than I was expecting the answer to be but I certainly respect your experience.
I thought the same thing, though it's certainly all that Toolbuilder says it is. It does a lot of things well. We could make a case for many other aircraft, too, if the budget is more limited, if we are willing to do more work, if we want to favor payload, or speed, or handling.