Avionics/Safety/Regs question

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DLrocket89

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So, here's a question...I'm considering building a CH801 (in about 10 years :ermm:). If I fly the CH801, I'll fly it because it'll be good for getting into and out of my backyard. My intent is to make it amphibious and be able to fly up north and go camping/fishing on a lake with it.

Now, I was interested in the Garmin 430W (whatever one is the Nav/Comm/GPS combo) that lets you fly WAAS approaches...so...instrument landings on GPS basically.

I've also seen that some of the LCD panels will show you a "hiway in the sky"...basically, they take your flight plan and convert it into boxes on the screen. Fly through those boxes and you're on course.

That got me thinking...with WAAS being as accurate as it is (and electronics these days being as adapative as it is), is there a way I could program in a WAAS approach (or something similar..."hiway in the sky", whatever) so that I could fly an instrument/WAAS approach into my backyard?

It's something like $10K or $100K to have a WAAS approach officially published...not interested in that. Just wondering if the instruments would help me out any.

As for the regs part of the question, I have a sneaky suspicion that this would be illegal per FAA regs. Maybe. I dunno...I'm new to this whole thing.

Thoughts anyone?
 

Topaz

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I can't help you on the instruments question, but we get the "fly from my backyard" question quite a bit. Basically:

1) You'd better have a really big "back yard". As in tens of acres. We usually have the question asked, "Is a 500' strip okay, even though I've got trees at one or both ends?" Even though the published takeoff and landing distances of something like the CH801 are very short, you still need to have a pretty large chunk of land for a runway for one, with no obstructions on either end. Why both ends? For the time you have to do a go-around. If the far end is obstructed, your go-around may end up in the trees or wires you thought you'd never cross. You're really going to need something like an unobstructed 1,200'+ strip. There's just too many variables at work to make it safe trying to shoehorn your airplane into a tiny strip every time you go flying. It's just not worth the effort and/or risk. That goes double, triple, and quintuple if you think you're going to do instrument approaches - even under GPS/WAAS. Up the runway length a whole bunch if that's what you really intend to do.

2) Federal. AFAIK, there's nothing at the federal level preventing you from scraping out a runway on your own 'south 40' and flying from it. Just don't let anyone else ever land there, because then you're an airport and the FAA wants to know about you.

3) Local. God help you if you've got neighbors less than a mile away. I don't know what it's like in Wisconson, but if you want to open up a runway - even for just you - in California, you'll need to get a zoning variance from the local City Council. And a Conditional Use Permit. Both of which will require a public hearing where your neighbors are invited to come and comment on the idea of you flying over their houses and heads at low altitude. To get the Conditional Use Permit, you'll need to file an Environmental Impact Report conducted by a recognized independant third-party contractor. No, you can't do it yourself, nor can your lawyer buddy do it for you. EIRs generally run from about $20k on up. And up. And up. Once the EIR is done, there will be a public hearing on that, so that they can then do the hearing for the Conditional Use Permit. In California, if you're going to let anyone but you and you alone fly from the airport (including friends and family) you have to get CalTrans (the state transportation entity) to sign off on your airport plans as well.

This is not to say that, out in the desert in the middle of nowhere, there aren't plenty of guys with great neighbors (sufficiently far away) who don't complain when he's flying his airplane from his unapproved dirt strip that he forgot to tell any of the authorities about. And everything will probably be just fine until some neighbor finally complains, or there's an accident. And then the sky falls in on him.

Start looking at the regs for your state, county, and city. Become really good friends with your neighbors.

If there's an existing airport anywhere in the area, just use that. You'll save yourself so much work and heartache in the end, even if you have a patch of land that's really suitable for a runway.
 

DLrocket89

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Janesville, Wi
I can't help you on the instruments question, but we get the "fly from my backyard" question quite a bit. Basically:

1) You'd better have a really big "back yard". As in tens of acres. We usually have the question asked, "Is a 500' strip okay, even though I've got trees at one or both ends?" Even though the published takeoff and landing distances of something like the CH801 are very short, you still need to have a pretty large chunk of land for a runway for one, with no obstructions on either end. Why both ends? For the time you have to do a go-around. If the far end is obstructed, your go-around may end up in the trees or wires you thought you'd never cross. You're really going to need something like an unobstructed 1,200'+ strip. There's just too many variables at work to make it safe trying to shoehorn your airplane into a tiny strip every time you go flying. It's just not worth the effort and/or risk. That goes double, triple, and quintuple if you think you're going to do instrument approaches - even under GPS/WAAS. Up the runway length a whole bunch if that's what you really intend to do.

2) Federal. AFAIK, there's nothing at the federal level preventing you from scraping out a runway on your own 'south 40' and flying from it. Just don't let anyone else ever land there, because then you're an airport and the FAA wants to know about you.

3) Local. God help you if you've got neighbors less than a mile away. I don't know what it's like in Wisconson, but if you want to open up a runway - even for just you - in California, you'll need to get a zoning variance from the local City Council. And a Conditional Use Permit. Both of which will require a public hearing where your neighbors are invited to come and comment on the idea of you flying over their houses and heads at low altitude. To get the Conditional Use Permit, you'll need to file an Environmental Impact Report conducted by a recognized independant third-party contractor. No, you can't do it yourself, nor can your lawyer buddy do it for you. EIRs generally run from about $20k on up. And up. And up. Once the EIR is done, there will be a public hearing on that, so that they can then do the hearing for the Conditional Use Permit. In California, if you're going to let anyone but you and you alone fly from the airport (including friends and family) you have to get CalTrans (the state transportation entity) to sign off on your airport plans as well.

This is not to say that, out in the desert in the middle of nowhere, there aren't plenty of guys with great neighbors (sufficiently far away) who don't complain when he's flying his airplane from his unapproved dirt strip that he forgot to tell any of the authorities about. And everything will probably be just fine until some neighbor finally complains, or there's an accident. And then the sky falls in on him.

Start looking at the regs for your state, county, and city. Become really good friends with your neighbors.

If there's an existing airport anywhere in the area, just use that. You'll save yourself so much work and heartache in the end, even if you have a patch of land that's really suitable for a runway.

Yeah...I feel sorry for you people in California. I know of 3 people w/in 25 miles of me that fly out of backyards here in Wi. I know I could pull it off in Wisconsin (including buying sufficient real estate).

My wife wants to move out east eventually, we'll have to see what things are like out there...
 

Topaz

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Yeah...I feel sorry for you people in California. I know of 3 people w/in 25 miles of me that fly out of backyards here in Wi. I know I could pull it off in Wisconsin (including buying sufficient real estate).
Well, that's great then. Check with those guys that are already doing it and see what process they went through. People love to talk about their airplanes and the clever things they've done with them. You'll get an earful of really great practical advice for the price of a beer.

My wife wants to move out east eventually, we'll have to see what things are like out there...
Depends upon where you go, but it'll probably be more like here in CA. The higher the population density, the more they regulate things like this. They might be a little less stringent on the EIR (you know how we Californians are about the environment), but the rest of the leaps and hurdles are probably going to sound disturbingly familiar. Fortunately, there seems (from my perspective here) to be a larger number of small airports 'back east', so that the odds of you locating near one are relatively good.
 

LArzfromarz

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DL-
You can do something we called a "synthetic approach". Simply make the runway endpoint a waypoint. You fly the GPS (hopefully WAAS) as a localizer. It won't create a glideslope but you can use a standard 3 degree approach, follow the CDI and you should get to minimums. Shouldn't be real difficult but it is NOT a precision approach and I would not attempt in IFR conditions.

Larz
 

bmcj

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1) You'd better have a really big "back yard". As in tens of acres. We usually have the question asked, "Is a 500' strip okay, even though I've got trees at one or both ends?" Even though the published takeoff and landing distances of something like the CH801 are very short, you still need to have a pretty large chunk of land for a runway for one, with no obstructions on either end. Why both ends? For the time you have to do a go-around. If the far end is obstructed, your go-around may end up in the trees or wires you thought you'd never cross. You're really going to need something like an unobstructed 1,200'+ strip. There's just too many variables at work to make it safe trying to shoehorn your airplane into a tiny strip every time you go flying. It's just not worth the effort and/or risk. That goes double, triple, and quintuple if you think you're going to do instrument approaches - even under GPS/WAAS. Up the runway length a whole bunch if that's what you really intend to do.
I worked with an ultralight dealer and flight school when someone came to us and wanted to buy an ultralight to fly out of his bick back yard. I took him up in the two seat for a lesson and to look at his landing site. He had a large flat area on his property (in the hills) with a few obstructions. I could have landed there, but it would require a careful setup. We flew back to the airport where I told him that I would recommend against his plan based on the margins of safety and lack of options if things went bad. My bass (the U/L dealer agreed and supported that assessment despite the fact that it meant the loss of a sale.

As I said before, I could have landed there, but chose not to because I didn't want to give the passenger a false sense of "If he can do it, I can too." Not being pretentious, just cautious.
 

Topaz

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I'll bet we've all had this dream from time to time. Especially if there's a likely-looking patch of land to be had. I remember as a teen when the ultralight craze was going on, looking at the huge back-field at the local elementary school and thinking I could just get an ultralight in and out of there. Ah, the naïvité of youth. I swear my dad probably bought the Aeronca just to keep me from building something and trying it. :gig:

Anyway, my experince of this sort of thing is that it's a lot like a ski slope. From the bottom, you say, "Sure, I can handle that!" Once you get to the top, though, you're suddenly wondering how they managed to grade that slope about twice as steep while you were on the chairlift...

Runways are the same. I took my first flying lessons at Brackett Airport (POC). On the ground, it's just a huge parcel of land - particularly for someone growing up in southern California. Just huge. And the runways look like they're forever. And then you're on your first approach and you're thinking, "We're going to land on THAT little thing?!?!?!"
 

DLrocket89

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Janesville, Wi
I'll bet we've all had this dream from time to time. Especially if there's a likely-looking patch of land to be had. I remember as a teen when the ultralight craze was going on, looking at the huge back-field at the local elementary school and thinking I could just get an ultralight in and out of there. Ah, the naïvité of youth. I swear my dad probably bought the Aeronca just to keep me from building something and trying it. :gig:

Anyway, my experince of this sort of thing is that it's a lot like a ski slope. From the bottom, you say, "Sure, I can handle that!" Once you get to the top, though, you're suddenly wondering how they managed to grade that slope about twice as steep while you were on the chairlift...

Runways are the same. I took my first flying lessons at Brackett Airport (POC). On the ground, it's just a huge parcel of land - particularly for someone growing up in southern California. Just huge. And the runways look like they're forever. And then you're on your first approach and you're thinking, "We're going to land on THAT little thing?!?!?!"

Yeah, understood, lots of wisdom there. The hope was that I could spend a lot of time practicing such things and eventually get to it. *Shrugs* saves on hangaring fees at least.

My wife rides horses, so we were planning on having land enough for that (along with a nice pasture and stuff). I was figuring rent a nice bulldozer or something for a day and bulldoze a nice flat strip of dirt, get the rocks and stuff out, seed it in a nice grass, and there you go. *shrugs* we'll see.
 

bmcj

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Before you decide how close to put the hangar, taxiway and runway to the stable, best to check your horse's reaction to a running airplane engine.
 

BBerson

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It takes a huge piece of land to make a safe private airstrip. Mostly for clear approaches.
I had a dream of keeping a helicopter next to my shop. But even for a helicopter the approaches would be uncomfortably tight here with my 1000feet of land.

My wife will not allow a helicopter because of the horses, so I gave up.
The neighbors would have a heart attack as well.

My airplanes are trailerable. Believe it not, most airplanes sit idle most of the time. Storage at home on a trailer for the winter works well for me.
 

DLrocket89

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Before you decide how close to put the hangar, taxiway and runway to the stable, best to check your horse's reaction to a running airplane engine.
Ain't that the truth? I've been around horses my whole life, some are "good" with these things, some bad, and some freak out "because I can".

I'm also looking at typical aviation engines, with straight pipes like they have, and wondering if there's a way to put a muffler on them. It'd need to be sized appropriately of course to not create undo backpressure or whatever, but still. *shrugs*

I used to ride motocross bikes alot, the insane volume levels there drove me towards trying to find a quieter muffler to keep the neighbors happier. Same thing here perhaps?
 

Topaz

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Tony Bingelis' book Firewall Forward has a very interesting low-backpressure aircraft muffler design on p. 111. The book is well worth the purchase price and, I would say, essential if you're putting a homebuilt airplane together.
 

bmcj

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Just a wild supposition, but I wonder if gun silencer technology could be used as a muffler. A straight line unrestricted path would definitely reduce the back pressure. I know the noise source is different (bullet=sonic boom) but could you gain some noise suppression in an exhauset stack with the same design?
 

radfordc

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I can't help you on the instruments question, but we get the "fly from my backyard" question quite a bit. Basically:

1) You'd better have a really big "back yard". As in tens of acres. We usually have the question asked, "Is a 500' strip okay, even though I've got trees at one or both ends?"
Some years ago a friend built a UL strip on his property. The runway was maybe 400 feet long, cut through a bunch of scrub trees, and ending at the base of some 50 foot tall Poplars. This was a one-way in and opposite way out strip and it didn't matter which way the wind was blowing (basically only useable in no wind). Several of us flew there on occasion but it wasn't for the faint of heart. Judgement eventually prevailed and the strip was abandoned.
 

Topaz

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I'll bet final approach was a hoot. "Please don't need to do a go-around. Please don't need to do a go-around!"

We fly that type of one-way-in, opposite-way-out pattern at my airfield, except that it's for noise abatement and you can bust it if the conditions warrant. No trees in the way. The neighbors on the 'bad' end of the runway get a little upset when the jump plane takes off that way, but one of the advantages of gliders is that when we land 'over the wires' as we call it (there's some low phone lines well below the approach path), nobody hears us go over. :gig:
 
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