Current state of Great Plains Aircraft?

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I am in the process of buying some parts from them. The new owner is called Art (sounded like an older guy), I talked to him a couple times in the last 2 weeks. I also sent him some emails about which parts I needed. He told me he received the emails but has not responded to them in return. So far I have not been charged for the parts I ordered.
In the past, I had received fairly prompt service.
 

Pops

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The new owner must have read the book titled " How to go broke in your business".
 

Vigilant1

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To be successful would require a fairly rare combination of attributes:
- Thorough knowledge of VW Type 1 engines
- Thorough knowledge of the Type 1 aftermarket industry (who makes what, which parts are high quality, etc)
- Be a pilot and be very familiar with airplanes/airplane engines.
- Have the skills, temperament, and energy to run a unique small business (so, nobody else to copy or use as a guide)

Steve Bennet was quite a guy.
 

BJC

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To be successful would require a fairly rare combination of attributes:
- Thorough knowledge of VW Type 1 engines
- Thorough knowledge of the Type 1 aftermarket industry (who makes what, which parts are high quality, etc)
- Be a pilot and be very familiar with airplanes/airplane engines.
- Have the skills, temperament, and energy to run a unique small business (so, nobody else to copy or use as a guide)
Paging Pops. (But not having met Pops in person, I’m not certain about that temperament thing.)


BJC
 

Hot Wings

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To be successful would require a fairly very rare combination of attributes:
Good list.
I'm missing most of #2 (because I've been away too long) and at least 1/3 of #4. The market segment where the VW conversion makes sense also seems to be shrinking.
If I could find a trusted partner that could/would run the biz side.................? But even that sounds a little too much like work. 😞
 

Mike von S.

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Am I crazy to think buying an 82x92 kit from someone like Scat, and dealing with the aero conversion myself might be a better option?
I'm thinking flywheel drive, so AeroVee is not a good fit.
But I haven't worked on a VW engine since I relied on Muir's book for idiots to try to maintain my bug in 1972-3.
 

Vigilant1

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You could order the appropriate build manual/DVD from GPAS and see if it looks like a project you'd like to do with parts from various suppliers.
 

Pops

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When GP's was for sale, I told the local VW only parts store and machine shop about it and he inquired about it but decided that he didn't want to expand any over what he had. Been in business over 50 years. They would have been like Steve.

I'm retired and to old and downright anti social :) And to lazy. I did have a successful side business of building WV engines and a VW only auto sales for several years in the 1970's when I was young and full of energy. Was growing to large for a side business, so I shut it down and stayed with my day job.
 

Pops

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V-dub engines fly a lot of planes. We really need them to be successful ...
As cost goes up, I believe the use of VW's engines will increase.
Friend of mine ordered a 2180 VW from Scott at Hummel a few weeks ago and he has a several month wait. Very busy.
 

Mike von S.

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As cost goes up, I believe the use of VW's engines will increase.
Friend of mine ordered a 2180 VW from Scott at Hummel a few weeks ago and he has a several month wait. Very busy.
Spoke to Scott a few days ago. He said I should expect 8 months
 

Mike von S.

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Guess I should ask: apart from the prop hub (and perhaps Force One type additional bearing, although not for me with flywheel drive) and a low weight flywheel, is there any magic sauce in an aero conversion, that a regular performance VW shop couldn't provide, as kit or ala carte?
 

Tipsynipper

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I started an order (worth $5500) with GPAS in December for a complete engine and an extra crank to go with a Force 1 hub I already have. I have phoned Art many times, and on the very few occasions he has picked up the phone I have been told "doing it this week". I have also emailed him many times, and had only a couple of replies which are vague. I have left loads of answer phone messages, but he has never responded to them. I have not been rude or short with him, quite the opposite. So I have had to cancel the order (he hasn't responded to that email or phone message either).
Very sad, I had a good relationship with Steve, he supplied good stuff. RIP.
The ultimate engine from my point of view for a VW powered Tipsy Nipper is the 2180cc Force 1 hub conversion. The F1 hub is an excellent design, similar to the one from Revmaster, but lighter and shorter. To my mind the RM hub is too long, and too heavy (it is designed for a std ISO flange as on a Lyc'.)
Ultimately an aero' conversion can be made from parts sourced from EMPI or similar. Go for a 4340 Forged crank. The weak spot is the crank where the circlip grooves and keyways are.
The shrink fit prop flange can be made by a good machine shop. Make sure it is a good shrink fit, as the keyway is not designed to transmit the loads, the shaft and hub will fret and fail. If you have the ignition sensor on the prop' flange you may loose correct timing as the flange turns when the woodruff key fails.
The best and simplest ignition is the Leburg system, you will also get an alternator on the back of the crank. ( Leburg Dual Ignition Kit for VW Aero )
I really do hope GPAS sort themselves out, they have a good inventory.
I tried to do business with Aerovee, but they told me they didn't want to be part of me building a "Frankenstien" engine, and wouldn't sell me parts unless I had an Sonex! WTF.
Neil
 

Vigilant1

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... is there any magic sauce in an aero conversion, that a regular performance VW shop couldn't provide, as kit or ala carte?
No magic sauce, but other stuff.
Here's my view on why people buy from GPAS, Scott Casler, etc.
1) They are believed to be good evaluators of part quality. SCAT, EMPI, etc have sold good stuff, and some duds. You don't want a dud. There has been considerable turbulence in the desireability of various cylinder heads, for example. A good cam or head for a performance street car may not work well at the lower RPMs of an airplane engine. The baffling for an airplane engine is different. The local bug guy may not have much experience with magnetos, if you want to go that route. Etc.
2) They are believed to know how to perform the procedures to make an aero conversion. Maybe the local bug shop has drilled heads for extra spark plugs, maybe he hasn't. He probably doesn't do it a lot.
3) You can buy a manual from GPAS that tells you how to convert and maintain an engine. They will (ostensibly) sell you everything you need to do it. It is the main product sold by this business.

And then there are the HVX mods--you may have to do them yourself whether you buy from GPAS or not.

People have done successful conversions without the involvement of GPAS, Casler, Sonex, etc. It is certainly possible.
My 2 cents.
 

Mike von S.

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I started an order (worth $5500) with GPAS in December for a complete engine and an extra crank to go with a Force 1 hub I already have. I have phoned Art many times, and on the very few occasions he has picked up the phone I have been told "doing it this week". I have also emailed him many times, and had only a couple of replies which are vague. I have left loads of answer phone messages, but he has never responded to them. I have not been rude or short with him, quite the opposite. So I have had to cancel the order (he hasn't responded to that email or phone message either).
Very sad, I had a good relationship with Steve, he supplied good stuff. RIP.
The ultimate engine from my point of view for a VW powered Tipsy Nipper is the 2180cc Force 1 hub conversion. The F1 hub is an excellent design, similar to the one from Revmaster, but lighter and shorter. To my mind the RM hub is too long, and too heavy (it is designed for a std ISO flange as on a Lyc'.)
Ultimately an aero' conversion can be made from parts sourced from EMPI or similar. Go for a 4340 Forged crank. The weak spot is the crank where the circlip grooves and keyways are.
The shrink fit prop flange can be made by a good machine shop. Make sure it is a good shrink fit, as the keyway is not designed to transmit the loads, the shaft and hub will fret and fail. If you have the ignition sensor on the prop' flange you may loose correct timing as the flange turns when the woodruff key fails.
The best and simplest ignition is the Leburg system, you will also get an alternator on the back of the crank. ( Leburg Dual Ignition Kit for VW Aero )
I really do hope GPAS sort themselves out, they have a good inventory.
I tried to do business with Aerovee, but they told me they didn't want to be part of me building a "Frankenstien" engine, and wouldn't sell me parts unless I had an Sonex! WTF.
Neil
Thanks, Neil, for the update. Certainly unfortunate situation.
I started an order (worth $5500) with GPAS in December for a complete engine and an extra crank to go with a Force 1 hub I already have. I have phoned Art many times, and on the very few occasions he has picked up the phone I have been told "doing it this week". I have also emailed him many times, and had only a couple of replies which are vague. I have left loads of answer phone messages, but he has never responded to them. I have not been rude or short with him, quite the opposite. So I have had to cancel the order (he hasn't responded to that email or phone message either).
Very sad, I had a good relationship with Steve, he supplied good stuff. RIP.
The ultimate engine from my point of view for a VW powered Tipsy Nipper is the 2180cc Force 1 hub conversion. The F1 hub is an excellent design, similar to the one from Revmaster, but lighter and shorter. To my mind the RM hub is too long, and too heavy (it is designed for a std ISO flange as on a Lyc'.)
Ultimately an aero' conversion can be made from parts sourced from EMPI or similar. Go for a 4340 Forged crank. The weak spot is the crank where the circlip grooves and keyways are.
The shrink fit prop flange can be made by a good machine shop. Make sure it is a good shrink fit, as the keyway is not designed to transmit the loads, the shaft and hub will fret and fail. If you have the ignition sensor on the prop' flange you may loose correct timing as the flange turns when the woodruff key fails.
The best and simplest ignition is the Leburg system, you will also get an alternator on the back of the crank. ( Leburg Dual Ignition Kit for VW Aero )
I really do hope GPAS sort themselves out, they have a good inventory.
I tried to do business with Aerovee, but they told me they didn't want to be part of me building a "Frankenstien" engine, and wouldn't sell me parts unless I had an Sonex! WTF.
Neil
Thanks, Neil, for the update. Certainly an unfortunate situation.
Presumably, no GPAS means no (new) Force One hubs?
My preference would be to mount the engine the other way, with flywheel drive. But not sure if I can make that fit.
Forged 4340 crank definitely sounds like the way to go.
I had already decided on the Leburg dual ignition, which a friend in the UK told me had been taken over by Skycraft after the passing of David Mickleburg.
 

Vigilant1

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Presumably, no GPAS means no (new) Force One hubs?
When I last talked to Scott Casler a couple of years ago, GPAS was his source for the Force One hub (and Top Bug crank, too? I dunno). I would guess he'll find a way to get what he needs to stay in business.
 

Tipsynipper

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Joined
Dec 10, 2020
Messages
7
I used QSC "Nikasil" cylinders on my last engine, they have worked well and are still in service quite a few years on. However, they are not Nikasil, they are a steel lined aluminium cylinder. The quality of the units are very, I mean VERY random. Of 8 cylinders I bought I sent 4 back as unusable due to manufacturing defects. Shame, because you can save 10 lbs against the heavy (+7 lbs) counterweighted crank.
I have dropped Scott a line to see what he has/can do.
 

Mike von S.

Active Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
43
When I last talked to Scott Casler a couple of years ago, GPAS was his source for the Force One hub (and Top Bug crank, too? I dunno). I would guess he'll find a way to get what he needs to stay in business.
Yes, presumably he'll find a way.
 

Mike von S.

Active Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
43
No magic sauce, but other stuff.
Here's my view on why people buy from GPAS, Scott Casler, etc.
1) They are believed to be good evaluators of part quality. SCAT, EMPI, etc have sold good stuff, and some duds. You don't want a dud. There has been considerable turbulence in the desireability of various cylinder heads, for example. A good cam or head for a performance street car may not work well at the lower RPMs of an airplane engine. The baffling for an airplane engine is different. The local bug guy may not have much experience with magnetos, if you want to go that route. Etc.
2) They are believed to know how to perform the procedures to make an aero conversion. Maybe the local bug shop has drilled heads for extra spark plugs, maybe he hasn't. He probably doesn't do it a lot.
3) You can buy a manual from GPAS that tells you how to convert and maintain an engine. They will (ostensibly) sell you everything you need to do it. It is the main product sold by this business.

And then there are the HVX mods--you may have to do them yourself whether you buy from GPAS or not.

People have done successful conversions without the involvement of GPAS, Casler, Sonex, etc. It is certainly possible.
My 2 cents.
Makes sense.
 
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