# Airplane for the Common Denominator

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#### TFF

A car restoration will make you money or break even with just about any car. Airplane at the same rate will not. It’s not welding, it’s not parts, it’s pool of buyers. You have to be a pilot to use a plane. Nothing so stringent with a car. Almost everyone has a car license. Restore a Mini, 65 Mustang, or AC Cobra there is a level of value you will get out. With these crazy times, unrestored cars are going for restoration prices. Airplanes require the same amount of work as something like a Cobra or old Ferrari. If one can’t tackle a Taylorcraft as a hobby project, it is uneconomical to restore. No one is putting $50,000 into one. If you pay a shop, they got bills and that’s how they get their money. That’s why you don’t see these little planes in shops. While stuff like certified welders is a nice feel good, it’s never been a problem really in safety. Not in the US; legacy Commonwealth which the US hasn’t been since 1776. The problem is people like the guy who lag bolted a 2x4 to the wing spar of his Bellanca Viking to cover up rot and then sold it. Unethical is always unethical. There is no certificate that can stop that. #### Pops ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member Have restored several airplanes and a few autos. There is more money to be made for your investment and time in restoring an airplane over an auto. IF, IF you get a good buy on an airplane that is in demand. You can spent the same time and money restoring a T-Craft or a J-3 or L-4 Cub or a 1940 Plymouth, but the profit will be different for each one. #### Tiger Tim ##### Well-Known Member I must be restoring the wrong cars. “Buy low, sell never” seems to be my M.O. #### challenger_II ##### Well-Known Member I do welding and some sheet metal forming for several gents in my area that restore automobiles. They frequently remark about the aircraft I rebuild bringing more than their cars. Either way, the sale goes to some one that wants THAT specific model, car or plane, yet there always seems to be a list of folks in line for when the project is finished. #### Bigshu ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member If I read the OP correctly, the premise of this thread was for a homebuilt aircraft... Right, so one for which certified parts and such aren't an issue. It might well be that alternative standards to Part 23 might yet breath some life into GA. Or maybe changes to rules that are being ironed out as we speak might help some too. Hard to say, but just defending the current crazy system will hasten the demise of recreational flying. That much looks pretty certain. #### Toobuilder ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member Clearly, homebuilts and the industries supporting them are the fix for recreational flying. Smash your aileron on your RV, and you can buy a whole new aileron kit with pre drilled and formed parts, all hardware and instuctions for less than a hundred bucks. Try the same with a Cessna, Beech or Mooney and compare. Dont let the gloom and doom of certified parts drag you into a downward spiral of inaction. Go build and fly. #### Hawk81A ##### Well-Known Member A car restoration will make you money or break even with just about any car. I have to disagree with this. Speaking for myself (around 100 cars owned), and many "car people" friends, you seldom MAKE money restoring a car. Simple "fix and flips" maybe, but a RESTORATION, few. Dennis #### Pops ##### Well-Known Member Supporting Member I do welding and some sheet metal forming for several gents in my area that restore automobiles. They frequently remark about the aircraft I rebuild bringing more than their cars. Either way, the sale goes to some one that wants THAT specific model, car or plane, yet there always seems to be a list of folks in line for when the project is finished. Most always had 5-6 people in line wanting to buy. #### Tiger Tim ##### Well-Known Member As a sort of review, here’s the method to my madness in asking in the first place. -Comfortably seat one pilot This is obviously the minimum amount of crewed airplane. Less obviously, a single-seater can have every seat occupied and full fuel and I believe it’s somewhat shielded from mission creep in this respect. With a two-seater you often can’t fill all seats and all fuel at the same time which leads one to endlessly dreaming of a bigger plane. -Travel faster than driving This was to give it some minimum threshold amount of utility. “Faster than driving” is vague on purpose since depending on time of day or route it’s possible to beat traffic at 50mph. Realistically I figure it puts the goal somewhere between 70 and 120. -Use a common enough reliable engine that’s mogas-friendly and not a never ending science experiment This is a use ability factor. I don’t want the intended airplane to frequently be grounded. Whatever the engine it should be well sorted by the end of the 40 hour test period and only requiring routine maintenance thereafter. Prototype PSRUs and home made engines are almost certainly out. -Be easy enough to fly, capable of straight-forward pilot transition from a common type It just needs to be a normal airplane and handle like one. Save the strange quirks, marginal stability, or abnormal controls for something else. -Be resilient enough to survive outside tie down in any US state without needing major refurbishment This is cost cutting. I don’t believe trailering to and from the airport is viable on the long term for a normal airplane and hangars are expensive. The hangar runs several hundred dollars a month while tie-down is several dozen. That difference in expense can go right back into the fuel budget so you can actually use the thing. -Designed for scratch building using common tools and ordinary raw materials and hardware The idea here was to minimize the initial outlay of cash, rather than having to plunk down$10k+ on a kit all at once. Ideally canopy/cowl/wing tips could be home made too.

So with that all being said how about picking apart some examples? Is there any compelling reason a Mini Coupe wouldn’t fit the above quite well?

It seats one, cruises fast enough, can be VW powered, looks like it flies well, and is scratch built from aluminum. How are there not more of these in the world?

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
As a sort of review, here’s the method to my madness in asking in the first place.

This is obviously the minimum amount of crewed airplane. Less obviously, a single-seater can have every seat occupied and full fuel and I believe it’s somewhat shielded from mission creep in this respect. With a two-seater you often can’t fill all seats and all fuel at the same time which leads one to endlessly dreaming of a bigger plane.

This was to give it some minimum threshold amount of utility. “Faster than driving” is vague on purpose since depending on time of day or route it’s possible to beat traffic at 50mph. Realistically I figure it puts the goal somewhere between 70 and 120.

This is a use ability factor. I don’t want the intended airplane to frequently be grounded. Whatever the engine it should be well sorted by the end of the 40 hour test period and only requiring routine maintenance thereafter. Prototype PSRUs and home made engines are almost certainly out.

It just needs to be a normal airplane and handle like one. Save the strange quirks, marginal stability, or abnormal controls for something else.

This is cost cutting. I don’t believe trailering to and from the airport is viable on the long term for a normal airplane and hangars are expensive. The hangar runs several hundred dollars a month while tie-down is several dozen. That difference in expense can go right back into the fuel budget so you can actually use the thing.

The idea here was to minimize the initial outlay of cash, rather than having to plunk down \$10k+ on a kit all at once. Ideally canopy/cowl/wing tips could be home made too.

So with that all being said how about picking apart some examples? Is there any compelling reason a Mini Coupe wouldn’t fit the above quite well?
View attachment 127400
It seats one, cruises fast enough, can be VW powered, looks like it flies well, and is scratch built from aluminum. How are there not more of these in the world?
Mini coupe is a great example of the challenge in my opinion. Build is the same as the Teenie, just a bit bigger.

#### Pops

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Mini coupe is a great example of the challenge in my opinion. Build is the same as the Teenie, just a bit bigger.
No larger than good performance with a 2180 cc, VW engine, no larger VW engine.

#### Bigshu

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
So with that all being said how about picking apart some examples? Is there any compelling reason a Mini Coupe wouldn’t fit the above quite well?

It seats one, cruises fast enough, can be VW powered, looks like it flies well, and is scratch built from aluminum. How are there not more of these in the world?
Great question. I know I've never heard of it, much less seen pics.

#### BJC

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Well, Thatcher and Hummel seem to be holding up their end.
Two nice airplanes. How many are completed each year? In the early days of homebuilding, almost all designs were single seat. Today, almost all are two or more seat airplanes.

BJC

#### Dan Thomas

##### Well-Known Member
How are there not more of these in the world?
It's not a taildragger.

Seriously, though, it has a stodgy appearance, with the twin fins of an Ercoupe and all. That style went out in the '50s. It belonged to the Lockheed Constellation, the Lockheed 10, the Beech 18, the Howard 500 and some others, all that dated from the 1930s - 1950s, with the Ercoupe hanging onto it until 1967 or so, when the type certificate was sold to Mooney, who called it the M10 and put the single Mooney forward-sloped fin on it. That lasted until 1970.

The other aluminum airplanes of the Mini-Coupe's day were the Thorp T18, The Bushby Mustangs I and II, all much sleeker airplanes. Yes, they were more work, but worth it. There was the Bede BD-4 and of course the BD-5, which might have swallowed a bunch of dollars that could have gone to Mini-Coupe projects instead. There were the Zenith CH100 and subsequent models. There were the BD-6 and the Aerosport Quail. The basic draw of the Mini-Coupe was the VW power, and that's about it.

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
The Pro-Composites Personal Cruiser was (it may not be available today - sales were minimal) seems to be in that category. Pro-Composites Personal Cruiser - Wikipedia

Single seat airplanes are being built in fewer and fewer numbers.

BJC
I like the personal cruiser. What was the single seat with a v twin?

Edit: it was the SD1

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Why wasn't the SD1 wildly successful? It seems to check many boxes.

#### Hot Wings

##### Grumpy Cynic
Supporting Member
Why wasn't the SD1 wildly successful? It seems to check many boxes.
First paragraph pretty much sums it up for US builders.
Without the kit supplied composite spars available within a reasonable distance for shipping to not be a huge factor it is a non starter.