Building an Ultralight with my Son

Discussion in 'The light stuff area' started by Kenwhite23, Apr 22, 2019.

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1. Apr 22, 2019

Kenwhite23

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Hello everyone, im a 27 year old dad from omaha. Ive been dreaming of flight since i was 4 years old.
I recently decided to take the plunge and Build a Homebuilt Ultralight Aircraft with my Son. Im still in the planning phase but i've narrowed it down to one of the following:

1. Legal Eagle XL
2. Min Max 1100R
3. Fisher Avenger

I am far more skilled with Wood then i am with Metal, however if i do decide to go the route of a plane that is a metal assembly, i have a friend who is a welder who has agreed to do the welding for me at no cost.

I do want to leave this open to suggestions in case ive missed a good option that might work better or if someone knows of an Ultralight Bi-Plane that meets my Requirements :

• Able to be built for under 4k
• Relatively Newbie Builder Design, Ive done Balsa kits my whole life, but this will be my first full scale attempt, and my son will be helping me build it.
• Able to carry a 260lb pilot. My weight is pretty stable, working on getting back down to 200-220lbs, but would prefer to pick something that i know would carry my fat ass, in the event i have not lost all the weight i want to by the end of the build.
• Can be built in my basement in parts, and then Carried out through the door as i finish parts to be assembled later.

My background:
I have taken around 15 hours of flight instruction over the last 10 years. Mostly a couple hours at a time as i could afford to, so that i could scratch the itch. I have completed a Ground School course at my local college a few summers ago. Ive also been building Balsa Planes, and RC Planes for the last decade. I've accepted the fact that im never going to have the money to become an airline pilot or get my PPL at least not any time soon, however a homebuilt Ultralight is something i can afford to do.

My Sons Background:
He has the flight bug as well. Im pretty sure he resents me some days because i cant afford to pay for him to go for a ride in a plane at least once a week haha. He rode along for the first time when he was 4 while i was doing an hour of training to scratch the itch which was intentional as it was the age i saw the jets take off at the colorado air force academy and became hooked on flight. Hes 8 years old now, and way to smart for his own good. He does great at helping with the balsa models when we make them. I really look forward to not only continue to feed his passion for aviation, but the STEM learning he will gain Building a full sized plane with his dad.

I look forward to all the help im sure i will find here, as well as support! My son and I can't wait to share our progress with you all!

2. Apr 22, 2019

don january

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I Don't believe you can keep under 4k for any of the three you have listed. May I suggest you consider buying a started project such as A KR-2 and build a two place for you both have a seat. You have worked towards your PPL and it would aid in finishing. Fisher flying service has some nice Bi-planes to chose from. good luck and have fun

3. Apr 22, 2019

Dana

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Your big problem will be finding an ultralight that can carry a 260# pilot. Fitting in the cockpit (assuming it has one) is another concern. If you like working with wood then by all means build a wood plane. I'm not aware of any ultralight biplanes other than the Bloop.

4. Apr 22, 2019

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Still not quite an ultralight but it may be close to what you're looking for...
SNS-2 Guppy........all wood,around 30-35hp,fairly cheap to build,heard of 220lb pilots flying it.......etc.
I have plans ......

Kevin

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5. May 6, 2019

litemite

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Ultralight for under 4k. That is a tall order. I would think your best bet would be a Beaujon Enduro. It is an ultralight, wood, foam, metal fabric construction that uses a B and S 16 hp engine. You might be better off with a Preaditor 22hp engine. Now I must admit I have never seen an Enduro, only looked at the plans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaujon_Enduro

6. May 6, 2019

narfi

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You have 7 years till your boy is 15.
At 15 he can get more dual time than most do before soloing on his 16th birthday.

That gives you a couple of path options.
1. If you want to fly, and do it cheap... you can often find completed minimaxs for close to your price range, my guess is completed will be cheaper than building.

2. If your goal is to build(a great experience) and/or for your son to fly you have more options...... 4k now and 2k a year for the next 6 years as you build is 16k. You should be able to scratch build a two place for that with more design options available to you. Perhaps look at the new "Team" two place. Although designed to be a click together cnc kit, I believe you can still buy plans and scratch build it.

7. May 7, 2019

Angusnofangus

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8. May 9, 2019

simflyer

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Ken, maybe You can look on Souricette or MiniBulle, which are wooden, simple and very nice.

Next plans You could find here:
http://www.plans-for-everything.com/htr_aircraft_plans.html

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9. May 9, 2019

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Michelle Barry will not sell plans to builders from the USA otherwise I would have a set of Souricette plans myself. However, I will be visiting Family in France in July and I always forget to get the plans on order before I leave. At least this is a reminder for me to do it this time. One thing though is they are all in French I believe. I could possibly buy more than one set if needed.

Marc

10. May 9, 2019

cluttonfred

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The Michel Barry planes were not designed with Part 103 in mind, they are European microlights so well within LSA but not Part 103.

11. May 9, 2019

Norm Langlois

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The recommendations to build LSA Two seat aircraft for you and your son. they are good one.
Your No. 1 choice of the legal eagle XL is also . The cost may have once been well within your budget. Prices since The legal eagle plans were made available have gone up considerably. Half wood half steel. finding a VW engine maybe you can get one cheap. However an engine will likely be more than half you budget . Still a very good choice in my Un certified opinion.

If you havent made a trip up to Oshkosh and you have the means. Maybe you should, there is always a ton of stuff to see and experience . Forum help with covering welding wood wing construction you name it .It will take more than a few days to cover any interest applicable to your choice.

Last edited: May 9, 2019
12. May 11, 2019

simflyer

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Marc, Am in Europe so could buy plans and send them oversea.

MiniBulle (which is very nice improvement of Souricette) plans (french) are addon to Souricette plans. Twoseater is SourisBulle.

http://www.air-souris-set.fr/MB04/caracteristiquemb04.html

As I like Saab MFI-9 and Bolkow 208 Junior, mean that nice wooden plane is Pottier P30 - singleseater version of Pottier P130:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pottier_P.130_Coccinelle Some plans could be found online

Here is some newer FAR103 plane:
http://www.airplayaircraft.co.uk/
https://www.bydanjohnson.com/eurofly-minifox-light-low-cost-single-place-aircraft-oh-and-fun/

I also like Guppy design, which if actualised and built with Briggs V-Twin+PSRU would be nice.

Last edited: May 11, 2019
13. May 18, 2019

jedi

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Your son could solo a motorglider at 14 or an Ultralight at any age.

Consider the Rainbow Aviation EMG 6 or something similar. It can be flown as an ultralight, single seat glider/motorglider or two seat glider but not all three at once. I would build it as an UL and as needed convert to an N numbered craft if interested. It should carry your weight if necessary.

It is aluminum tube construction.

Show him (or have him show you) how to download "See How It Flies" and the "Glider Flying Handbook" GFH form FAA.Gov, no need to purchase.

Last edited: May 18, 2019
14. May 18, 2019

choppergirl

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Here's my 2 cents input, from being 5 years into it already and still not flying.

If this were homebuiltCASTLES.com, a million guys (as above) would chime in "Oh, that's awesome...! Welcome to Castle Building! What a great thought, to build one with your son. You should build <this castle> or <that castle!> for <this reason> or <that reason!>"

These guys love this kind of comparison chatter! They thrive on it. It requires only typing and daydreaming and proselytizing their favorite airplane makes and models. They are genuinely trying to help you, but it's easy... to do that. That's the blue pill.

Listen to what they have to say, politely, and consider it all... then take the red pill.

Walk on down the dusty dirt road, and drive 150 miles to the crazy old koot that lives in some fornlorn corner of your state, that's actually been building a for real legit made out of granite rock now castle on the side of some hill or mountain, in 2019, complete with crossbow slits, a moat, and a portculis, rock by rock, hauled up from his personal quarry, timber by timber, for the past 10 years and is still not finished.

He started off with his son, but his son quickly lost interest, and yet he carried on.
Days turned to months, months to years, he lost his job, his wife left him, and yet... he soldiered on.
His housecleaning kind of started to suffer, because, well, he was always up on that hill putting rocks in a wall like a jigsaw puzzle.
It was his dream since he was 4, so **** the topedos, to the bitter end.
It had long since stopped being relaxing, or fun... it was just... work.
People started thinking he was crazy...

He learned not to talk about his castle on dates, lest they think him crazy for wanting to live in a castle (never tell a potential date you want to be a pilot), and still he soldiered on.

His back started to hurt, and his eye sight started to fail, his hands were always dry from the concrete powder, and yet, he soldiered on...

Community? No real community. It was all pretty much just him, working on his project... alone. Always alone. Nobody else is going to help you move rocks for such madness.

He wore old tattered work clothes all the time, and took several showers a day, just to cool off and keep on going.

Still not finished, but piece by piece, by part, the walls grew higher, the form of towers and main houses started taking shape.

Every day, he kept building those walls, rock by rock, some times 4 hours a day, sometimes 6, sometimes 10...

Some days he was in so much pain, he did nothing at all, and slept until 2.

The longer on he went, he started to learn and started to realize, castles are a cold, damp, dark, rather uncomfortable place to live. Not all that fun at all.

By then though he had past the point without even realizing it, where he didn't even *want* to live in a castle any more...

The reasons that were all valid when he started and good reasons (oh man, I've always wanted a castle, they are so pretty, and cool and fun looking, and I will feel like a million bucks in one!), no longer mattered, or even made sense any more.

Still he soldiered on.

Why?

Because if he started something, he was damned and determined going to see it through to the end, no matter if it no longer made any sense any more anyway. and even if he didn't want it anymore anyway.

So that would be my only question for you.

Castle building (airplane building) is brutally hard, it's long, it takes years, it's costly, it will consume years of your life.

Will you finish it no matter what, no mattered that it no longer makes any sense whatsoever anymore?

Even so, there is a very good reason still even, you may never finish it, even locked on that tight to see the end realized.

At some point, you will pass the point where the reasons for why you started, are no longer valid or even make any sense at all any more to you, because things have changed.

Will you see it through to the bitter end?

Will you keep going, even when every day, day after day, you give up and don't believe you will ever finish it. Not feeling like that just one day, but every day...

That's what it's going to take... and still, your chances are a long shot left side of hell... that rise exponentially the more complicated build you chose.

He got closer and closer, he was playing the long game... and over time it started looking more and more like a castle, and people would come by all excited for him, and think him just around the corner for completion, but he knew the real story. Still years more ahead of him to go... before being finished...

~

I toast my cup of frothy brew to the dreamers at this watering hole local pub, here here!, but tomorrow I'll be back in dirty overalls pushing rocks in a wheelbarrow up a gravelly hill all over again, on my own mad pile of rocks.... alone.

Enjoy the sweet taste of the blue sugar pill, for the red pill that follows is very bitter indeed.
After the sugar coated blue pill, if you wish to continue... it's nothing but a diet of red pills from now on.

Cynical muchly, Choppergirl? No, not really. Just stoic. The whole adventure and tribulation extends across years, and is way bigger, than simply picking what plane to build. It would be a crime, not to warn you of... the rest.

-----------------------------------------

One last word of advice... don't bother to start a build thread about your castle on homebuiltcastles.com... because they will shut you down. Seriously, I'm not joking, who would close a build thread about a persons castle on a castle building site... but they'll do it.

Be very careful not to ask stupid beginner questions either they'll jump all over you. Though if you do post about the hazards of rocks falling on people, the thread just might go viral popular.

Also don't bother trying to post on homebuiltcastles.com about doing anything fun with your castle either, or post that, "Hey guess what I scored on Craigslist for free, an honest to goodness throne to go in my castle!" Who knows, maybe while pushing those rocks up that hill you imagined hosting Shakespeare plays in your castle some day.

They'll tell you whatever, all hail King Your Royal Highness, what should we do, build a statue to you now or something just because you're the only one with a throne for miles of you. And then they'll shut you down. Yeah, for real, on a site that is suppose to be all friendly about building castles... and one might assume... outfitting them.

You just got to keep going! Alone. Upstream. All the way.

In the end, if you do finish your castle, everyone may shower you with praise and all want to live it, but by that point, you very well may not let them, because they were no where to be found when you were rolling those rocks up that hill. When all is said and done, you may end up living alone in your castle. If you're okay with that, soldier on. And welcome to the club.

Last edited: May 18, 2019
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15. May 18, 2019

b7gwap

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One bit of advice to the OP is that everyone here wants something a little different from aviation. Everyone’s got a slightly different itch they’re scratching. You need to find your itch and scratch it. This is a great place to hear about other people’s ideas and dreams and opinions, it’s also a great place to learn some important lessons, but eventually you just need to plunk down some money and get behind a horse. There’s been some good advice given here, including looking for a nice started project. I found a complete Lazair project in Canada that had me considering renewing my passport. In the end I don’t have a good way to get it back home, but keeping an eye out for a good resto project is also an option. This gentleman in BC only wanted $2500 for a Lazair 1 that only needed a good looking over, installing the new Tedlar tapes & covering, (looks to be NOS) and probably a refresh on the two little Rotaxes. A resto might scratch both he building and the flying itch at a very attractive price point. Just my 2 cents. Austin 16. May 19, 2019 MadProfessor8138 MadProfessor8138 Well-Known Member Joined: Nov 4, 2015 Messages: 556 Likes Received: 231 Location: Ekron,Kentucky Did I miss something pertaining to this thread ????????? The man expressed interest in building an aircraft with his son and is trying to gain knowledge on the subject. I applaud him for being an active figure in his child's life and he's doing it at the age of 27.....most people in their 20's have no sense of direction for their life much less stepping up and taking responsibility to guide their child. KUDOS TO YOU SIR...WELL DONE !!! If I can supply any more plans or information please dont hesitate to ask..... I will help in any way possible. Now,just a bit of advice...... Ask the questions and gather the information,pick a design,make preparations for the tools / work space / material and then JUST DO IT . There will NEVER be a right time in your life to build a plane.....there will always be more reasons to NOT do it than there will be TO do it. Just do it and things will work out......... And remember one thing....... This forum can be quite helpful when it comes to gathering information but it can also be a blackhole that will discourage someone from getting into aviation. Misery loves company and particular members on this forum will do their best to bring people down to their level...99% of the time their misery is ABSOLUTELY SELF-INDUCED !!! Try to stick with the members that offer sound advice,useful information and encourage individuals to follow their dreams. ***And to a particular member that posted on your thread..... Red pills,blue pills,castles,thrones,The MAN holding you down,it's all for naught...etc,etc,blah,blah,blah !!!!!! YOU SHOULD BE ABSOLUTELY ASHAMED OF YOURSELF FOR POSTING SUCH USELESS GARBAGE ON THIS MANS THREAD THAT STARTED OUT AS SOMETHING GENUINE,SINCERE AND WITH GOOD INTENTIONS !!! "YOU" ARE A SHINING EXAMPLE OF THE EXACT PERSONALITY THAT YOU WARNED THE MAN TO STEER CLEAR OF !!! I TRULY HOPE YOUR CASTLE HAS A FEW MIRRORS BECAUSE YOU REALLY NEED TO LOOK IN ONE....SOONER RATHER THAN LATER ........CAN YOU SAY "HYPOCRIT" ??? !!! Kevin FritzW and jedi like this. 17. Jun 10, 2019 soarsimon soarsimon Member Joined: Jan 18, 2014 Messages: 16 Likes Received: 1 Location: Between Tryon and Brevard NC I agree with the above post. Skip all the vitriol and just do it. If you’re confident in your friends welding ability then the Legal Eagle XL is a great one for larger pilots. The minimax would be an excellent choice as well. I’ve dreamed and researched this topic for years and have finally decided on a Minimax 1030. It’s amazing how just starting on THE project makes all the speculation on “which one” or concerns over what all of the keyboard “heros ”have to say just fade into the background clutter. Just do it. You and your son will be all the better for it. 18. Jun 10, 2019 FritzW FritzW Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 31, 2011 Messages: 3,529 Likes Received: 3,140 Location: Las Cruces, NM I wouldn't get too worried about your 4K limit, build something that lets you do it on the "pay as you build" plan. You could get started with MiniMax/HiMax wing ribs and tail feathers for under$100.

At some point your going to have to lay out some real cash for things like the engine and prop but you and your son could have a lot of building fun while your planning for that.

Also, join the local EAA chapter and Airport Bum gang. There's probably enough scrap aircraft plywood laying around the Council Bluffs airport to build a MiniMax.

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19. Jun 11, 2019

cdlwingnut

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I Hope the OP is still around this forum. If so we'd love to hear if he decided on a plane yet?
if not here is a one that I keep going back to look at
https://fisherflying.com/super-koala/
you can get a sport license which really isn't much more than the basic training needed to fly safely. don't orphan your poor son. And when your done he can ride with you and even learn to fly himself in it one day.

as for the expense buy the plans for whatever you want to build and start with the ribs. stock can be bought rather cheaply and your son will love building ribs. you will also find out if building is for you. Then when the ribs are done buy some wood for the fuselage. Soon you will be having so much fun that you will have to find room for a fuselage, tail feathers. and two wings and be thinking wow when did this get so big. buy a bit at a time a couple of hundred dollars will keep you in production for a month or two. avionics? keep checking barnstormers and join the local EAA chapter, you can also hit the local FBO shops they may have something traded in or that doesn't have a tag but works fine. Engine? same thing.

good luck