Dakota Hawk or Super Koala? First build questions....

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akwrencher

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Ok, after many many years of scheming and dreaming, I think I have found a way to get started on a real live airplane. After falling in love with the VJ 22 sporstman design, I took a closer look at wood construction, which I had previously dismissed. For several reasons this has become my choice for my first build, not the least of which is the fact I live in a Sitka Spruce forest :) I briefly considered a minimax for a first build, but it won't work for me. My 13 year old daughter really want's to be a part of this build, and I can't live with not being able to take her flying someday in the plane we built together. I've looked at all the planes available so many times, and from what I hear the Fisher line has great support and very good plans for first timers.

So the question is this, how much difference in time/complexity is there between a Dakota Hawk and a Super Koala? I'm hoping to hear some first or at least close second hand info on this. Pro's for the SK are it's small size, cheep to opperate, can take off in small spaces (read beaches) etc. Con's, no folding wings and a light wing loading. I live in some pretty rugged country. Can get a little bumpy sometimes. DH pro's, folding wings, more substantial feel, con's slightly longer ground roll, bigger engine = more expense.

Caveats: This will be a scratch built plane. I would like to finish it before my daughter moves out. I have friends here with wood knowledge and lots of wood tools. Also, working on a local source for wood, so the spruce may be a bit cheeper. More on that soon.

I'm leaning towards the DH so far. Please wade in with your experiences that might help the first time builder make this final choice so I can order my plans :)

Thanks in advance for your time and knowledge. Zach
 

Pops

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I would go with the DH. My little single place Super Cub is really a SK narrowed down to single place but built to the dimensions of the Koala 202 for the Cub look. The prototype SK is hangered next door to me and I have flown it with a R-582. Lots of power, but for 2 place, its very, very tight on width and "Friends should not let Friends fly Two strokes" :) The DH is a more practical airplane for a 2 place. Friend of mine has the Yellow and White DH that was on the front cover of Sport Aviation a few years ago. Has a R-912 of 100 hp. If I was building a DH, I would used a Cont C-85 -0-200. Built it light and maybe a Cont- A-75. Both airframes are easily to built and not much difference in building time. Both are nice flying airplanes. Dan

Added-- Since I'm allergic to electric, even with the C- 85 or the Cont-0-200, I would built it light with no starter or alt. and use a handheld radio and GPS.
 

akwrencher

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Thanks Pops. I was hoping you would wade in here and help me out. My main concern was having my project size "creep" up to something larger than I feel is desirable for my first project. As long as the Hawk isn't a huge leap up in time and complexity I will go with it. I really like the lines, and Fisher Plans are reputed to be very good. I also don't need much in the way of electric. Maybe a small alt and a small bat to run the cabin, but minimal and light. I'm very excited to be on the verge of ordering plans, and I am doing some digging locally to see if I can get some spruce close to home here. After all, I'm only a hundred miles from Sitka :)
 

TFF

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Put an alternator in it and it will have to have a transponder. An A123 motorcycle battery will power anything you want all day in a plane that size. Charge at home or in the hanger and pop it in. Hand prop with nothing wired in the plane is better .
 

Pops

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I use a Hobby Lobby model airplane 5 amp starting gell cell battery ($17 and about 4 lbs) and a solar panel from Harbor Freight to keep it charged. I use the AC charger on the battery 2 or 3 times a year. Powers a Icom A-6 handheld com and an electric oil temp gauge, also a electric elevator trim servo . Nav is finger on the chart, compass and stop watch. Dan
 

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akwrencher

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Thanks guys. I really do want to keep this a simple build. I would like to finish it before my daughter leaves home, if possible. I showed here the pic today, she loves it. Will order plans within the week, hopefully. Will give me some time to study them and gather materials, hope to start gluing pieces together this winter.
 

Pops

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You are blessed to have a daughter interested in flying ak. What a tremendous oppurtunity to bond.

Building an airplane with your daughter is one of the best things you can do. My daughter started helping me build a KR-2 in 1975 when she was 13 years old. Now she had helped me restore several old aircraft and I would not paint or cover an airplane without her help. I have also flown behind engines where she did the major overhaul. So at this age, she and my wife are my best friends. Have fun together and enjoy every minute. Dan
 

Jon Ferguson

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I envy you guys my younger daughter seems to be in an entirely different culture than me. My older daughter is interested in aviation so that's good but she's grown up and gone mostly.
 

skeeter_ca

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Ak,

I agree with the rest. The DH seems to be a better fit. Just don't let the "maybe we could add this" syndrome hit you and think lightness all the time. You can always build a Volmer with your grand-daughter.

skeeter
aka, Darrell Whiteaker
President - Volmer Club of America
 

Pops

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While you build, remember this --- if it's not on the airplane, it weighs nothing, cost nothing, and its 100% reliable.
Dan
 

akwrencher

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That will work out great, skeeter, my grandaughter is almost three, so in ten years or so........ :) Still want to get the Volmer plans though. I just love the look of that plane for some reason......

Yes, Pops, I will be keeping that in mind. My main goal is to build a simple, safe, and by the book plane. I want this one to fly before I retire :) I love to tinker and invent things but an aeronautical engineer I am not. Hence the reason I want really good plans for the maiden build.
 
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