# Cheap air racing class to promote aviation?

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Hot Wings, Aug 26, 2014.

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1. Dec 10, 2014

### RJW

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You’re missing the point. Forget business models, kits, and profitable engine packages. I’m talking about homebuilding. Homebuilders don’t have money and aren’t interested in starting an airplane business. They just want to build because it’s fun and go flying as cheaply as possible. The builders here on HBA are constantly crying out for suitable and inexpensive engines. By some almost shocking lack of insight and creativity modern car engines are almost universally ignored here. This, despite the fact that they are free, everywhere, and SUITABLE for an enormous range of light airplanes. Can you imagine what Pietenpol, Evans, or Wittman would have done with the bewildering array of light, powerful, and essentially ready-to-fly engines that are available to us?

Rob

2. Dec 10, 2014

### RJW

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Look carefully at the motor in the picture. It is a long block and then some. It has a distributor, coil, wires, and plugs. It has an oil filter and is full of oil. It is about half full of coolant. It has at least 10 pounds of useless hardware hanging on it that I haven’t bothered to take off since I pulled it from the car. It has a bunch of cooling system stuff that would be removed for aero use. It has a huge cast iron accessory drive pulley. Long block to long block there is only a tiny, tiny, tiny difference in weight between this motor and the GP VW. This motor was free and is ready to run just like a used mid-time Lycoming. The GP VW is $3500 and would have to be assembled. Rob 3. Dec 10, 2014 ### RJW ### RJW #### Well-Known Member Joined: Feb 9, 2011 Messages: 687 Likes Received: 191 Location: Wisconsin and Kansas On your first point, of course it will be heavier than an equivalent VW installation. It is a liquid cooled inline compared to an air cooled opposed. I don’t really know what to say about your second and third points. You don’t really believe that a VW will out-power a modern liquid cooled motor similarly configured, do you? Point three is also confusing. The comparison is between a mid-time modern motor and a new VW from one of the vendors. Used modern motor: free to$500. New VW: $3500 to$7000.

These motors are not perfect. They are car motors—just like the VWs. But they are SUITABLE for this and many other “cheap” applications. They are essentially free and everywhere. They are what VWs were in the 1960s. But a little thinking and work has to be done to make use of them. Maybe I’ll start a new thread.

Rob

4. Dec 10, 2014

### BoKu

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That is a very sweeping generalization. I think it omits more than it illuminates.

I agree that, by and large, homebuilding draws in the folks you describe with the idea of inexpensive flight. However, in my experience the vast majority of those enthusiasts lose interest when they learn that there is no free lunch; that there are no wormholes through the laws of physics and economics.

The most successful sectors of the homebuilding movement are those where people do it primarily because there are no manufactured aircraft that offer the same features. Of course, the most popular of these is the Vans Aircraft RV series.

Thanks, Bob K.

5. Dec 10, 2014

### Hot Wings

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Not "of course".

Back when I was still working on the Q-2 I seriously considered a VW - Rabbit - engine with belt PSRU. Directly compared to an air-cooled VW Tp1 with equal components needed to burn fuel the water cooled engine weighed less (8 pounds IIRC).

By the time the radiator and cooling plumbing was added it likely would have weighed a few pounds more, but still much less than an O-200. The point is that this was an iron block motor that was in current production and came with a proven history of durability at Hp numbers far above the Tp1 VW...........and it cost me $125 with <10K miles. If the metric used to compare the Tp1 to the Rabbit motor was power/pound or power/$'s the Rabbit would have been unquestionably superior.

That old GTI motor is considered rather primitive, and heavy, by today's standards.

6. Dec 10, 2014

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Would we all have that shocking lack of insight and creativity? Or would we just know that in the real world it's not as simple and cheap as you think?

Look, I've seen and had exactly this debate with plenty of people, who then (commendable) went out to set up a business or build an engine. Those in business never made a profit, let alone had a sustainable income and most had to triple or quadrupel their prices. Those building up their own engines all spent as much or more as a new VW would cost, even if we just completely ignore labor. Talk is cheap. Trying is commendable, but if everybody fails to do what you talk about, I would scratch my head and worry what I'm missing.

The cheapest plane will - by definition - always be a 2nd hand one, period. If you want to fly affordable, buy a 2nd hand plane, whether it's a Hummel Bird or a Lancair, building - save a single exception like the RV's - is always more expensive in just raw cost.

7. Dec 10, 2014

### RJW

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Hmmm. I don’t need to support a family. I need to support ONE airplane—just like most here seem to want. And I don’t remember saying anything about building a modern car engine.

Rob

8. Dec 10, 2014

### BBerson

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Yes, but it isn't a distributor. It is called TDC/Crank Sensor. There is a difference.
It requires the computer, all the the sensors and a source of power. All this stuff is integrated into the manifold (which is missing from your photo) and various other components under the hood of the car.
Just disconnecting the speedometer on my Honda CRX turns on the check engine light. Substantial care would be needed to evaluate the stock computer for aviation.
I am more of hand prop and points for ignition kind of guy. (old)

I hope you do it, but again I am waiting to see the total weight with alternator and battery, water pump and radiator, computer with sensors and wires, manifold with injectors, prop hub, engine mounts, and starter and flywheel since you have electric now.. I should have got the whole wrecked car to collect all this stuff.

9. Dec 10, 2014

### cluttonfred

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Woo hoo! You have a Honda CRX? Almost twenty years ago when my wife and I were first married we needed a second car. I ran across red 1985 CRX advertised for something like $1,400 and talked the guy down to an even$1,000 but was afraid someone else would come by before I could close the deal. Problem was I hadn't really intended to buy the car that weekend, it was Sunday, the banks were closed, you couldn't take that much out of the ATM. What to do? My grandfather was an antiques dealer and gun collector and always ready to make a deal, so I went over and asked if I could please borrow $1,000 until I could get to the bank the next day. True to form, he said "Shuah" ("Sure" in Massachusetts), reached into his pocket, peeled off a fraction of the wad in his pocket and off I went. Closed the deal, paid Gramps back the next day and drove that car to work while my wife got the newer four-door Civic. The CRX was a real beater and needed to be babied, but it got me around for a couple of years and I sold it on the next guy for something like$700. ;-)

10. Dec 10, 2014

### BBerson

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I have three:gig:
One for me, one for the wife and a third for spare. They never quit unless you tamper with them.

11. Dec 10, 2014

### RJW

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You’re kidding right? I know what the dingus that’s stuck on the end of the valve jiggler thingy is. I also remember all the thingamabobs that were hooked up. And I’m pretty sure I can figure out the whatchamacallits that need to be connected to the doohickeys to make this thing run. Imagine this free modern putter with the stupefying array of doodads that make a Great Plains VW run.

Rob

12. Dec 10, 2014

### rtfm

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Heh heh...
I am late to this thread, but finding it most interesting reading. Hey Rienk - I was thinking precisely the same thing about the Razorback. 288lbs empty, fitted with a VE Big Bad Twin (116lbs, 50hp, $5500), hopefully under$30k

It seems there are a number of planes currently on the drawing board or in construction which would fit the bill.

Just sayin...

13. Dec 10, 2014

### BBerson

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No, I am not kidding. I wish it was a simple distributor like a Bosch 009 distributor, but it isn't.
I am sorry if you were offended. Have at it.

14. Dec 11, 2014

### gtae07

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Most people don't have the knowledge, time, equipment, or other resources--or the desire--to mess around with engines. It's an economic loser--I'll spend more money and more time trying to fiddle with a one-off junkyard motor than I will just buying a Lyclone. And I'm more confident that it'll work, too.

So yes, I'll spend rather than do when it makes sense to do so. If it's going to take me 30 hours to do something, but only 10 hours at work to make enough money to pay someone else to do it, guess what? I'm paying someon else, especially if it's something I don't really want to do.

dcstrng likes this.
15. Dec 11, 2014

### RJW

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So you are one of those who are too rich, right? Good for you. No need to do any homebuilding, correct? And I’m glad you understand that if you make less than your plumber, then you are silly if you refuse to do your own plumbing.

I’m starting to see that this forum should be called Kitbuiltairplanes.

Thanks for commenting.

Rob

16. Dec 11, 2014

### rtfm

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Hi guys,
One of the reasons I originally joined this forum was the fact that it was polite, gentlemanly and downright friendly. You guys are doing a GREAT job of ruining all this. Keep the bickering offline, please. The rest of us really aren't interested.

Duncan

17. Dec 11, 2014

### RJW

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I apologize. Sometimes I get a little frustrated here. At times it seems one could assert that the sun will come up tomorrow and a bunch of people will respond with shouts of “nonsense!” or “idiot!”

Anyway, you have a bunch of these motors in your CRXs, right? Pull the distributor from one and see how easy it would be to fit an older HEI, mag, or even points distributor.

Rob

18. Dec 11, 2014

### RJW

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You are right Duncan. I apologize and will not comment further. It’s not that important. Folks will do what they will do.

Rob

19. Dec 11, 2014

### gtae07

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edit: retracted.

20. Dec 11, 2014

### BBerson

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Thanks for the apology. I looked at my comment and could see how it might offend because (I figured you knew the difference) But I just say what I think. You said: "look at the photo, it comes with a distributor", which implied you would keep the distributor/crank sensor.
I have thought about this. I figured the stock ignition with computer and everything is at least twice weight of Slick magneto.
I would install a Slick mag for ignition, I think. (I even bought one) But mag operates at engine rpm so can't just plug into distributor (crank sensor) hole. I don't want electric system, so VW distributor is out. See the problem?

So my whole point of conversation... It isn't that simple. Or someone would be doing it.
Brian Clayton is experimenting with a Inverted Honda, but far from finished, I think.

Yes, you should start another thread.