# Cheap aircraft are simply impossible? :(

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

1. May 3, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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Hopefully, we can apply some good old fashioned ingenuity and cleverness, and create some better or more cost-effective way to do it. For example, CNC machining is getting inexpensive enough that the time it saves (versus manually cutting and drilling accurate parts) pays for itself compared to the money the builder makes at their job using the same number of man-hours. If it would have taken 50 hours of time cutting and drilling all the parts for scratchbuilding a fuselage, but now he could have the CNC kit and it only took him 10 hours of overtime at his day job to pay for that CNC cutting upgrade...

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2. May 3, 2019

### Vigilant1

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I agree in principle, but . . . the barriers to entry are higher if going the high-tech road--both in  and time/knowledge. I can watch a guy cut out ribs with a jigsaw and I "get it" immediately. Buy a $150 jigsaw and I can start work tonight, be finished with the ribs in a day or so. I can even pick up the basics of welding in 10 hours +/- and make acceptable welds in tubing. But, unless there's some serious hand-holding/guidance, it's really easy to invest a bunch of time and money learning software and buying hardware--and it won't end up doing what you want. Unlike watching a guy cutting out the ribs with a jigsaw, I can't look at the online demos for fusion360 for ten minutes (or even 10 days) and really know what it does, what I'll need to buy, how much time it will take to be proficient, when the whole darn thing will be obsolete/abandoned/incompatible with my present OS/drivers/hardware/etc and I'll have to learn something else, etc. Yes, the high-tech approach has a lot of appeal, but it is important to recognize the unattractive aspects it may have for someone who wants to build (or design) one airplane rather than play around with the kewl software, cutters, etc. 3. May 3, 2019 ### Hephaestus ### Hephaestus #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jun 25, 2014 Messages: 899 Likes Received: 193 Location: YMM The walkthroughs on most are very quick now. I taught an octogenarian the basics of fusion in about 2 hours. Then about 20 minutes for a crash course on my 3d printer, then about 20 minutes to cover the basics for him on the MPCNC He 3d printed his first design about 3-4 hours later having had a quick walk through after training on fusion, and buying his own in the city, links sent for the curaprofile for the ender3 tweaked to the brand of filament he was using. He's used my MPCNC a few times now, he draws his models in fusion, uses the built in cam software to create his gcode. While getting professional results take a lot of learning and tweaking - the basics takes little time. Sometimes the best education is learning the workflow then burning off some filament and ball nose bits trying stuff. Last edited: May 3, 2019 4. May 3, 2019 ### Himat ### Himat #### Well-Known Member Joined: May 5, 2011 Messages: 2,754 Likes Received: 633 Location: Norway Internet is fine, and with a search engine a lot of information can be found. Like data on US$ M2 money stock. It’s even from an official source, St. Luis Fed (Federal bank of St. Luis. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/M2NS)

From 1. Of January 1974 to 1. of January 2019 the M2 monetary stock have risen from 861.5 to 14 423.8 billions of dollar. That is almost 17 times as much today as in 1974. One possible inflation factor from 1974 to 2019 is then 14 423.8/861.5 = 16.74.

The 1974 USD $1000 material price for a CriCri would with this factor inflate to US$16 743. Maybe not that far of your expected US $20 000. 5. May 3, 2019 ### Little Scrapper ### Little Scrapper #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Jan 3, 2014 Messages: 5,273 Likes Received: 3,193 Location: Wisconsin Exactly. 6. May 4, 2019 ### MadRocketScientist ### MadRocketScientist #### Well-Known Member Joined: May 17, 2009 Messages: 1,434 Likes Received: 892 Location: Canterbury, New Zealand, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy. I realized after my post that there is more shipping cost included to get the materials here to NZ, so that would explain some of the discrepancy. 7. May 9, 2019 ### choppergirl ### choppergirl #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 31, 2015 Messages: 1,532 Likes Received: 528 Location: AIR-WAR.ORG ★★☠★★ I spent about$160 in gas to pick up my 3rd airplane last week, which was free, which included a 503, prop, and BRS. So, about $160 for a "there's basically a plane there but needing some changes and work done to it", plane project? I guess you could, by a stretch, count the few hundred bucks ($300) I spent on urethane and enamel paint (urethane paint ain't cheap, probably the single most expensive thing I was buying), new plyboard, cutoff and grinder disks, and new bolts.... to refurbish the rusty old boat trailer I got free off craigslist (see my pictures)... but, not really?

I say not really, because I got a good looking aircraft hauling trailer out of it which I consider a separate thing, and even more key to my airplane hobby than any one airplane project. I put a *whole lot* of labor into that thing. But not very much money at all. When I was done, my friend sent me links of comparable $4000 trailers, and said... wow, you did it, I can't believe it! Every day, marching down the shop, to do a little more... some days only 2 hours, some days, 8. It was good practice, something I was more comfortable working with, taking off rust, painting, and drilling holes... than directly working on a plane which requires a different skill set I haven't entirely tackled yet. If I made any mistake on it, unlike a plane, I wouldn't kill myself. My trailer might bounce apart, but my wings wouldn't fall off, know what I mean? And it didn't bounce apart, in fact, it performed like a champ. On smooth road, you completely forget it's back there. Not one technical problem happened with it or the truck on the trip. I recommend to anybody who wants to build a plane - to build something big first. The trailer is the biggest thing I've ever built. If you can't build a trailer, you shouldn't tackle a plane. You're going to need a trailer anyway - how are you going to get your plane home when you have an off field landing? For me, it's a must. Build a shop first, or a hanger/shop first, then a trailer, then you can think of a plane. I started out under a shade tree on my front porch, taking rust off of leaf springs that were rusted solid together. It was a pleasant and beautiful place to work, off my front porch, but having to bring my tools indoors every time it looked like rain was a real pain. So I backtracked by a lot, and got a shop and put in the work to clean it up, and after that... where I could just leave my tools right where I dropped them and where I left off working.... my work rate started to fly. ~ I just read all the vitriol in my trip thread and I'm like, really guys? Really? The reason I didn't read your posts or reply was because I was on the road hauling a plane, posting pics through Taco Bell wifi from an old phone with cracked screen. I had just enough time to connect, upload a pic, and keep on keeping on. Sunlight washes out the screen, and in a truck cab in a parking lot is not somewhere I want to hang around reading and replying to HBA threads. My shop belongs to my family and is my retired dad's old woodworking shop, which I spent 3 months last winter cleaning up to do my trailer refurbish project in it. So yeah, I put in my dues there, that was one hell of a job cleaning that thing up. I practiced welding and taught myself by rewelding up the firebox for the heater in it, on an old Sears and Roebuck welder we had from the late 70's. -- The reason I get my planes so cheap, is because I adopt planes you guys wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. You all have your dream plane you want, and have eyes for nothing else. You insist on building from scratch. I am way more flexible. I'll do whatever it takes to get flying. If I can save 300 hours by reusing and restoring something someone else has built and fixing it, I'll take that deal. Hell yeah. When I started out, I wanted a Kolb Ultrastar with Folding Wings. I thought an Ultrastar, or an even less loved Kolb Flyer, was my best shot at a used foldable wing plane from the golden era of the 80's that I could trailer to an airport. I watched hundreds of Youtube ultralight videos, and even posted to Dana's Ultrastar Youtube videos *long* before I ever posted here (this one comes to mind - not sure where my comments are, maybe one or the other of us deleted them). Anyway, I was enthralled. I had found a Kolb Ultrastar project for sale for$600 in Atlanta at the time, that needed some aircraft steel tube welding, but I didn't buy it because I didn't know how to weld then, and thank goodness I didn't buy it. I don't think now, I'd have the guts to fly such a plane.... you are jutted right out there feet forward into absolute space in an Ultrastar. Instead, I saw something else that came along that was too good to pass up and was flexible.

My Volmer was on ebay for anyone to bid on... mislabeled as a CGS Hawk. I bought it for $38 and drove the 700 miles to pick it up with a lightweight boat trailer in a Ford Taurus with a hitch I built myself. In fact, a year later, I was talking to someone online, showed him my site, and he was like, oh yeah, I saw that too, I was going to buy that... but didn't! So yeah. My Woodhopper was on Barnstormers for$99 for anyone to buy as well - nobody wanted it, so I bought it, and drove about 150 miles to pick it up.... mostly for the engines, and to have a wood plane wing construction in my hands to see how it was actually done.

The Poorgirl has been sitting in storage forever and really anybody could of had it too. She's not a beauty queen, but the Youtube videos prove the design flys, so I was like, okay! And she will need to be rebuilt - and modified by me - so plenty of home building of parts there, and fixing of things.

The Poorgirl waited on me for a year during which time, anyone else could of grabbed it out from under me... but nobody did.

You didn't want it, so I went and got it. It's just that simple. I did the leg work to network, and I did the foot work to press the gas pedal and go fetch it.

I network outside of HBA, mostly with guys who actually don't hang out on forums, but spend their time actually building. I noticed that, the people who actually build, aren't here. They're too busy building, not posting.

The ones I gravitate to are the outcasts, the ones that are considered either fringe aviation guys, excentrics, or kind of kooky.... just because I'm kind of that way myself and favor the rebel and outsider. They design things like the Affordaplane, which you guys harangue and make fun of, but I don't... because they are just someone like me... someone that wanted to fly (I'm friends with the Affordaplane guy, btw, simply because I defended his plane). Maybe they don't get things right, but they get it to work, and it's a stepping stone to be improved upon later.

Someone slammed my brilliant hitch, which I literally whipped up with 2 hours from "how the heck am I going to solve this" to "dang, it works". It was a masterful case of the only kind of engineering we do here on the farm, what I politely call "Improvised Engineering" which has a long pedigree. Yeah, I know, you're moving the weight outward and it's going to put a twisting force on your bumper, but guess what, so does the aftermarket square hitch tube setup you bolt on underneath and slide the exact same thing into... if that worked, I figured, mine would too. And it did. For 1600 miles, it solved my problem, which was what I needed.

Someone slammed me getting a BRS and being tickled pink about it. Okay, fine, you are welcome to do that. But guess what, I've never had a parachute, never thought I would have a parachute, and nobody within 10 miles of me has a parachute. So it's a milestone, a stepping stone, a rung up that ladder. A rare gem, in my world.

I've tried to give advice to others, maybe adopt a little of my strategy... those who insist on building parts from scratch, for their dream plane, and then throw temper tantrums and cut up their work when they change their mind. They tell me hey, please don't ever post in my thread... and within a week, post in my threads their hate spam. I just roll my eyes... since I'm down with free speach, I just shrug at the haters. You are welcome to critisize, say what ever you want about me, make wild speculations, slam my reputation... you're just shooting your own self in the foot.

Me, I'm just going to keep on trucking.. my ambitions are pointed skyward....

I don't have a flying plane yet, but ever big step I take, is just one more step up that ladder until that day, when I won't have nothing left to do... but fly it. Or in this case, fly both of them, or even... who knows... three of them...

Good luck with your own airplane ambitions - think outside the box. There are more ways to get airborne than you think than starting with than sketching your dream plane on a napkin (have you ever considered a hang glider?). Be open to all of them, even those you may turn your nose up at, and your chances to get on down that road increase greatly.

You know have to be rich, you don't have to be smart... you just have to be tenacious like a ************. Someone said regarding business, the way to win, you need only one quality. Tenacity. Even when building a plane makes absolutely no sense any more in your life, even when you've lost all interest, even when you don't even want to fly any more, even when you start to absolutely hate it, even when people make fun of you or think you are nuts, you just keep going.

I see guys posting things like "Hey, I want to do a father / son plane project, which should I build!" and you guys chime in with a million answers, but never ask him the right questions that I would ask him. I would say to him... will you keep going, alone, once your son loses all interest, which will be very quickly? Will you keep going, if your wife leaves you? Or your life situation changes? Or you lose your house, or your job? Or you yourself lose interest in it? Will you keep going, when it makes no sense any more? Do you have a shop to work in? Do you have a way to get it to the airport? Are you willing to chose a design that is not necessarily the one you want, but the one that guarantees you the most chance of actually finishing it to flying state? Will you keep going when you are in pain all the time, from an injury?

These kind of questions, the hard questions - to me are the elephant in the room. You don't want to talk about them, and you're doing a disservice by not. Because they will run into problems. You know they will. You know hundreds of people never finish their plane, because stuff *happens*. Real world stuff.

Building a flying machine is a NASA level undertaking. Really, it is. You're trying to float on air. If you don't have a long string of airplanes built already behind you, than its an unbelievably ambitious undertaking. You really have no idea, until you're several years into it and regretting it . I regret it every day, I think of quitting every... single... day. But I don't. For no other reason... no other reason.... than I finish what I start. And that is what is going to carry me all the way through to the end. I'm passed that point, I'm locked on now, there's no way I'm getting off this horse unless something kills me.

And if I see another fugly ugly duckling come up, on ebay, barnstormers, facebook, or in the wild yonder, I'm going to beat you to it, cause I did the hard work to build a trailer just for that. ;-)

Last edited: May 9, 2019
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8. May 9, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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Choppergirl wrote:
"Building a flying machine is a NASA level undertaking. Really, it is. You're trying to float on air. If you don't have a long string of airplanes built already behind you, than its an unbelievably ambitious undertaking. You really have no idea, until you're several years into it and regretting it"

Well, now, isn't that a delightfully informed, mature thought. With this newfound wisdom expressed so eloquently, NOW what do you think about a bunch of silly old guys trying to offer sincere advice based on years of experience?

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9. May 10, 2019

### Tench745

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A bit of advice I've heard and read from multiple sources: Don't build an airplane because you want an airplane, there are cheaper and faster ways to get in the air. Build an airplane because you want to build an airplane. I don't know if that's true for everyone, but I'm definitely someone who builds to build and in the end think, "Now what do I do with this thing?"

10. Jun 4, 2019

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