Anything bad to say about the Vision EX?

Discussion in 'Aircraft Design / Aerodynamics / New Technology' started by Algoa, Jul 28, 2015.

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  1. Jul 28, 2015 #1

    Algoa

    Algoa

    Algoa

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    I am about this close >< to ordering a set of Vision EX plans. It fulfills every one of my mission needs and appears to be the perfect plane for me and my wife.

    I have been reading and reading, and haven't found much negative press at all, but before I seal the deal, due diligence requires me to ask the famous question that ends with 'Speak now or forever hold your peace'.

    So, does anyone have anything cautionary to say about the Vision EX that a first-time builder should be worried about?

    Many thanks,
    Dave
    N814DL
     
  2. Jul 28, 2015 #2

    Vigilant1

    Vigilant1

    Vigilant1

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    Are you referring to the Vision plans-built composite aircraft with the EX wing? I considered building the plane, and have a set of the plans purchased from Steve Rahm when he was still actively involved with the plane.

    By all accounts it performs well when it is built. Hundreds of plans sets have been sold, and I think the number flying is about a dozen--that's something that you should consider very carefully. It is going to require many years to complete, and you'll have questions about parts of the plans that might not be crystal clear. The online builder's community for the Vision is not very active, but Scott Vanderveen does respond to questions in a timely fashion.

    From a technical standpoint, some people have questioned the long-term integrity of the Last-a-foam used in the Vision design, I urge you to do a search of the messages here and inform yourself about the issue. Orion was particularly opposed to the product in structural components. On the other hand, Scott Vanderveen and others in the Vision community stand behind it. I'm not taking any sides, but if you are concerned you could build the plane using Divinycell, as those in Europe typically do.

    Take some time to seriously examine your motivation, and be very honest with yourself. Is it:
    1) You enjoy flying and want a plane to fly
    2) You like the idea of making a plans-built aircraft from foam, fiberglass, and epoxy.
    3) You know you like actually building with foam, fiberglass, and epoxy (and all that entails, including finishing the surfaces).

    Reason number 3 is the best one for starting a Vision project, in my opinion.

    We have some Vision builders here, I think they'll chime in.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
  3. Jul 30, 2015 #3

    Algoa

    Algoa

    Algoa

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    Well, let's see;

    1) This for sure. I owned a Grumman AA5 for years and love to fly x-country. (but not with certified aircraft, see #2)
    2) I also like (and am driven by) the idea of building a custom plans-built aircraft. Does it have to be foam/FRP? Having rebuilt and lived on a sailboat for over 7 years, I certainly have a lot more experience with FRP than with drilled metal, but the plane certainly doesn't need to be composite.
    3) I like building and tinkering endlessly (built the 40'x60' barn/shop before we built the house), but not more or less so than with composites than with anything else.

    I have to admit, the very low completion rate is a major concern... I am quite sure that every person that bought a set of plans for the Vision had every intention of becoming one of the few to finish such an airplane. Am I an exception to the rule? Who knows... I guess the worst that could happen is I throw a couple of grand at it over a year or two, get discouraged at the slow progress, stick it in storage, and go buy an RV-9A kit. It's not like a wife, I can have two projects...

    Dave
    N814DL
     
  4. Jul 30, 2015 #4

    mcrae0104

    mcrae0104

    mcrae0104

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    Someone asked Burt Rutan at OSH this year how long it takes him to complete an airplane. He replied, "about three wives," without missing a beat.
     
  5. Jul 30, 2015 #5

    Vision_2012

    Vision_2012

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    I have been building my Vision EX for the last three years. It is plans #401 and I think more than 415 plan sets have been sold.

    I have registered it as N401EX as I expect to fly before the year is out. As it was very hot today, I updated my logs and noted just breaking 1700 hours building. It is mostly complete firewall back except for finishing instruments and systems. I started building my engine cowling yesterday by shaping my nose bowl. I have not collected a complete Corvair engine as yet. It will be 120 hp 3000 cc version of flycorvair.com with the SPA fifth bearing.

    As I previously built and flew a Varieze, I was not a novice builder. Which leads me to suggest that the plans are more verbal directions than drawings. Rutan supplied a nice mix of drawings and descriptions to move you thru fabrication and assembly. Rahm's instructions are backed very well by building support by Scott VanderVeen. He answers questions very quickly until you understand your material and his work for supplied parts is first rate and his prices reasonable. The builder must read and understand before building, but I think that's the case with all plans' built planes. There is also a builder's forum for swapping lies, building tricks and photos.

    There may have been some questionable foam batches, but I have had no trouble with lastafoam layups delaminating nor frittering. I vacuum bagged all flat fabrications. When one fabricates most of the aircraft, progress can be slow and today's builder of kits are impatient for results. It takes a dedicated builder to build and finish a plans' built plane these days. Today's prices for materials are going up. The flying specs are obtained by keeping things light and simple. The builder must define his mission and build accordingly. Some assemblies might be started and then not finished until other assemblies are done.

    The websites' material list (Pro-Composites) says the airframe can be built for $10k, but for me that is just the fabrication of the airframe. There is another $10k in manufactured parts like gear, flap motors, motor mounts and the like. So figure $24k for the airframe and then instruments, engine, avionics, paint and, of course, tools, jigging material, shipping and all the extras you know you gotta have.

    I make progress building from 1/2 hour to 7 hours a day as I began when I was working part time and for the last year, have been retired. I started in a one car garage workshop and breezeway and have spread outside to a tarp covered assembly. I took advantage of getting Scott to build a beautiful, light and strong three piece wing spar. The builder has a option of building his own spar.
     
    BJC likes this.
  6. Aug 1, 2015 #6

    Algoa

    Algoa

    Algoa

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    Alan, thank you so much for responding. All I really needed to hear was that 1700 hour figure for firewall back. That is the sort of number I know I can handle. My wife works 24-hour shifts as a Paramedic on Saturdays and sleeps half of Sundays to recover, giving me 36 hours of 'alone time' each weekend. I feel sure I can easily work on the plane 12 of that and still get 12 hours work of honey-dos completed. A little quick math shows 1700 hours would be completed in just under 3 years. My personal goal is to have it done in 5 years.

    As a bonus, my wife has finished her flight training and passed the written twice and has indicated that she will be available in the evenings she doesn't have a shift. With her help I feel even more sure of the 'Flying in 5 years' goal. I have already started on my 3000cc Corvair and attended a Corvair College with it.

    I have contacted Scott at Pro-Composites a couple of times with 'dumb' questions and he has replied quickly and honestly each time; another confidence builder.

    I'll be ordering the Preview Manual Set on CD this evening.

    Dave
    N814DL (reserved)
     
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