Cheap aircraft are simply impossible? :(

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Inverted Vantage, Nov 15, 2009.

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  1. Mar 28, 2019 #1081

    Tench745

    Tench745

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    I felt I had to add my 2cents. I apologize for the likely rambling nature of the following.

    I am not a yet pilot or even training to become one. I like to build things and right now that thing is a Corben Jr Ace. Someday I hope to get my private, but finances don't allow that right now; one project at a time.

    When I graduated high school in 2006 I decided I wanted to take up sailing. I read everything I could on the subject. then built a dinghy for about $150 and started sailing it.
    When I graduated college four years later I decided to buy a "real" boat. To me that was a 25 foot O'day trailer-sailer. All-told that probably cost about $4500 after buying a used trailer and making the necessary repairs to boat and trailer. All the while I was learning more and gaining experience sailing. This all culminated in a 6 month trip to the Bahamas living aboard my boat and sailing thousands of miles for not much more than I paid for the boat.

    Aviation doesn't have that.
    You can't really build a $150 airplane and fly it expecting any modicum of safety. Even if you found a project you'd have to KNOW what you were doing. That learning takes years, money, and someone who knows what they're doing to walk you through it.
    My perception is that someone has to be willing/able to pay at least as much as my ultimate sailing budget allowed me to even begin making their way into the aviation world.
    I had years of sailing and learning for the cost of one flying lesson, to say nothing of an aircraft purchase or mechanic's bill.
    Now some of this expense is founded; unless you're really lucky you can't just muddle along too far trying to teach yourself before you get hurt. If you mess up sailing on a lake, you bob around for a while, aviation is less forgiving.
    To keep your hide intact you have to have either have experience or pay for someone who does.
    To learn what you're doing you need and instructor's experience, you need an A&P's experience to knows what's safe in an aircraft and inspect your project, etc etc. Obviously there are exceptions, but as a whole I think we could agree that as far as barriers to entry, aviation has many more than a majority of other hobbies.
    As a side note, sailing is also said be be dying; years of misconceptions have made many view it as a rich man's sport and because of that reality is beginning to follow that perception. (I could elaborate, but don't think this is the place).
    My point: if my $150 sailing hobby is largely ignored because so many view it as unachievable, how much more do you think the cost of entry to aviation scares people away, to say nothing of fences,barbed wire, no-admittance signs, and empty parking lots...

    Nevertheless, I am here. I am here because my father is a pilot and I learned to love anything that flies.
    I feel like aviation needs me, even if I have nothing to give it yet.
     
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  2. Mar 28, 2019 #1082

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    Go fly if you want. Boats are irrelevant, it's not even remotely the same thing.

    Join the EAA and go to meetings. Get to know people. Help them. Volunteer. Hang out. Every single person who I know that is a pilot loves, I repeat, loves to take people flying. Get to know people, grab a stick and get some stick time. There's endless opportunities here.

    Build a Legal Eagle Ultralight, Minimax, etc. There's endless opportunities here. $300 in material can last months of fun.

    Yes, aviation is probably more expensive than some things and cheaper than others. Ever see what people spend on horses?

    Nobody is in charge of making a hobby cheap for the masses, that would not only be impossible it would be a horrible idea.

    So work for it. Work isn't bad, it's a good thing. Study compound interest, study investments. Cancel your cable bill. Get a part time job and sock $400 a month away for 5 years at 6%. Can't get that return? Then study returns and get 4% until you get 6.

    I'd like a Ferrari Dino. I currently can't afford one right now. That doesn't mean the Ferrari enthusiasts and car hobby industry owes me a cheaper Ferrari. I'd rather they didn't. I'd rather look in the mirror and say "what can I do about it personally" and get busy solving it.

    Of course, it's a ridiculous discussion to compare it to anything else. Aviation is aviation. It is what it is. Aviation is extremely manageable for anyone who wants it. People who can't get it simply don't want it.

    I saw a Sonerai the other day for $5k complete. I mean, my God, how cheap do people need this? Free? Do people want things for free?
     
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  3. Mar 28, 2019 #1083

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    So Choppergirl wants to slide the cursor 100X to the left of the arbitrary $25K old 172. OK, let's see what we cdan come up with for that $250.

    You might be able to build a scratchbuilt backpack paramotor for that kind of money if you do all the sewing yourself, and get a small dead go-kart engine and rebuild it. This would take a lot of scrounging, getting ripped and obsolete sails from the nearest boatyard for the canopy, and getting a great deal on some parachute line.

    Now Chops could certainly scratchbuild a passable bamboo rogallo wing hang glider for $250, and it could even probably be designed with safer flying characteristics than the original bamboo/tarp Rogallos for that matter. That is also a "flyable aircraft" for $250, but there may not be anyplace to fly a foot launch low-performance glider wherever Chops is located.

    But what are we comparing this to? You can't hardly find a usable roadworthy junk car for $250 these days. I don't think that anyone's electric personal VTOL is going to come in at $250 either, even if the Chinese are making them by the millions.

    I believe we should be using a decent average-inexpensive used car as the benchmark for what would be a cheap flying aircraft. A dollar figure that the average American would agree is a price for an average cheap used car. To me, that's more like $1500-2500. Which is 1/10 of the price of even a base model cheap new car. I think that is fair. We would all love to have a flying F-86 warbird that costs $250 but that's not a reasonable request. I don't think $250 for any safe flyable powered aircraft is reasonable. But at others have pointed out $2500 is not out of the realm of reasonability.
     
  4. Mar 28, 2019 #1084

    copec

    copec

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    Although I totally agree with your observations I personally hate multirotor aircraft and would not take on flying one recreationally for the pleasure of flying. I would rather fly with Jim Carrey:
     
  5. Mar 28, 2019 #1085

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    This is what Greg is working on today... I think it's a wing.. I seriously doubt he is using anything from Aircraft Spruce. His engineering may be untested so far but I got to admire his passion. He's going to do some load tests eventually.

    [​IMG]

    Hold on, I got to do something impossible. *pulls out hand held Star Trek communicator, messages someone super far away. Gets message back in 15 seconds*. Not sure how this works, I think it's magical waves in the air or something. Witchcraft. Impossible in 1968. Not 1968 any more though, there have been er... developments since then that were game changers.

    Text message says I got the green light from the Mexican government to build my huge Shindler's List Posts and Pans assembly line aircraft factory on the Mexican side of the border to give caravan refugees a job mass producing one single Model T cheap airplane. :) Not a million different freaking different handbuilt models. Only one. One. One. One. One. You can get it in any color you want, as long as it's white. If any of my engineers bring me a new model design after we got the assembly line going full tilt speed cranking airplanes out the front door at a rate of 1 per every 5 minutes, I'm going to smash that new version up like Henry Ford.

    Some assembly required upon UPS delivery.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  6. Mar 28, 2019 #1086

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Looks like he has a pair of Volmer VJ-23 hang glider wings on the wall in the background, and that he is building a larger metal derivative using all that white metal in the foreground. Can't mistake that Irv Culver low speed airfoil :)
     
  7. Mar 28, 2019 #1087

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    Don't build an airplane, build an assembly line that builds airplanes. Once the minimalist airplane design is finalized, that's it, it's carved in stone, other than some tweaks and bug fixes as we go along. Engineers, why didn't you get it right in the first place? "Next Sucessor" versions can stay in the R&D lab as secret weapons until the time is right. Meanwhile, the engineers need to be investing their time in making that line go faster and cheaper and smoother. Time the making of every part with a stop watch and dump them in a finished parts bin. A station to make every part, with a dedicated machines and people to do that, over and over and over again. Maybe a press to stamp out parts kerchink kerchink kerchink like they did MG-42's in WW2.

    Business is war. I got to be like Jack Tramiel... once the Chinese find out I can sell boxed airplane kits delivered to your door on eBay for what it would take any American Joe to earn working only 4 weeks at a Dollar Tree... they'll be gunning for a piece of my market share.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  8. Mar 28, 2019 #1088

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    You don't build a high-volume production line... that costs millions to design and build and operate... when your market is only five or ten airplane kits a week or a month. If and when the "magic battery" technology happens, and when that magic battery costs less than $5000, and when the city governments will allow you to have your Jetsons flying car on your rooftop and commute into downtown...... THEN there will be a market to bui ld tens of thousands of little eVTOL flying cars, and THEN such a production line will be worth having.
     
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  9. Mar 28, 2019 #1089

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    Sky Pup must be about the cheapest fixed wing to scratch build start to finish?
     
  10. Mar 28, 2019 #1090

    E28POWERM20

    E28POWERM20

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    Not to mention availability of materials, mostly sourced from big box stores.
     
  11. Mar 28, 2019 #1091

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    I thought of this thread just now. I was with a customer on a repair and they told me they are going to Scotland next week on vacation. So we start talking. Her husband works on the weekends doing Uber driving just so they can travel the world. She said he makes about $8,000 a year just on weekend evenings.

    That's over $600 month!!!

    Aviation is easily within reach to those willing to work for it. Put $600 a month away in a dividend stock for 5 years and yoully have no problem flying.
     
  12. Mar 28, 2019 #1092

    pwood66889

    pwood66889

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    Your post was very well the price of admission; others not so much...
    You're my kind of guy! I live near a lot of water and your experience was very enlightening.
     
  13. Mar 28, 2019 #1093

    Himat

    Himat

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    I could add one more point.

    If the want to fly is just flying around locally sightseeing, go racing with others, do some mock dogfights against other pilots, a surrogate to go flying have arrived. Reasonable cheap, safe and available to all. It’s named FPV.

    A remote operated flying vehicle with built in camera and real time transmission to either a monitor or goggles with monitors. Now, why go potting around when you can go racing something with a better power to weight ratio than an “unlimited class” airplane? Quite safe too. Dogfight, again power to weight like a jet fighter and lasers and sensors to record hits.
     
  14. Mar 28, 2019 #1094

    Hot Wings

    Hot Wings

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    Gross or net? Big difference!
     
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  15. Mar 28, 2019 #1095

    Pops

    Pops

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    Flying has paid me very well in my lifetime.
    You think you can't build a cheap airplane ? When I started the test flying on my SSSC in 2007 I had a little over $3800 in it. I built it trying to see how little I could spend. I ripped every piece of wood, cut my own pinking tape, used paint for Lowes box store and had $200 in the complete covering and paint. Tires and tubes from Tractor Supply, etc, etc. Scratch built the VW engine from parts. It was fun.
    Like to do another.
     
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  16. Mar 28, 2019 #1096

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    Irrelevant to the discussion. The point is they set a goal to travel the world and that's exactly what they are doing. HesH a highly intelligent individual, I'm quite certain he has it handled. They are actually doing it, I believe she said. 3rd trip out of the country.
     
  17. Mar 28, 2019 #1097

    choppergirl

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    Your car can not be more than 10 years old (2009 or newer) to drive for these sketchy phone app taxi challengers. My own car is 1981... 38 years old. I believe 35 years and older you can get an antique license plate.

    I could probably cut PVC pipe with a hacksaw, grind the burrs off with my hand, swab glue around it, and stick it in a coupler... and charge customers $80/hr for it.

    Be done in 5 minutes, and then spend the next 6 billable hours of you know "drying time" out in the truck playing on my phone before i switch their water back on. But then I'd probably be going to hell for it.

    I don't need that; I already bought my ticket to hell in advance. : - )
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  18. Mar 28, 2019 #1098

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    Ahh, I see.
     
  19. Mar 29, 2019 #1099

    Hot Wings

    Hot Wings

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    There is a 'little bit' more to it than that..........And $80/hr probably won't leave much after the overhead is paid. :cool:

    Now, $80/hr net? Not too bad in my part of the world.:)
     
  20. Mar 29, 2019 #1100

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    There's a lot more. $80 doesn't even cover costs. A journeyman plumber makes $42 an hour on the check. I keep about a $100k in inventory in my shop at all times, I have to. The price is steep to play poker in the plumbing world.
     
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