Evans VP-1... Worth Building?

Discussion in 'Aircraft Design / Aerodynamics / New Technology' started by ejcheli, Sep 27, 2019.

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  1. Sep 27, 2019 #1

    ejcheli

    ejcheli

    ejcheli

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    Hello,

    I've been seriously considering getting into aviation (wanted to since I was a kid) and have come to the conclusion I'd like to build my own plane and fly it. I'd like to stay with LSA or Part 103, as I just can't justify the money for a bigger airplane, currently working on a Sport Pilot License. I almost started building a Legal Eagle XL, but I just got frustrated with the extreme restrictions on what you can do with Part 103... how fast you can go, how much fuel you can carry, etc etc. So LSA is looking like the answer. I then I started looking for airplanes that could be trailerable as I don't have year round flying conditions where I live and I'd like to avoid paying hanger fees for 2/3 of the year when I can't fly. Plus my interest is purely recreational.

    The Evans VP-1 greatly intrigues me as I love the basic design and simplicity but as I read the forums it seems there is a lot of hate out there, some people say "looks ugly" or "flies bad"... and I'm just looking for some feedback from anyone who's built/flown these planes. I can understand that perhaps they are under powered on the VW conversion motor, but I've seen videos where people put in Corvair engines (among others) which should surely solve that problem (if it is a problem)? And regarding ugly, it seems one could greatly enhance the looks of it (which many have done) with a little extra work while building it. I dunno, I really want to get into aviation but I need to do it on a fairly strict budget. I want to fly for fun on the weekends, don't care about work, travel, etc.

    I've also heard people say that for the time and effort one would put into this there are better options. This is probably the most concerning comment, and I wonder better how? Lots of planes are certainty "better" in their own way... except they cost 10-100x as much, and require expensive hangar fees, insurance, maintenance, and other skyrocketing costs... Is there a better low cost, high bank for buck airplane that can be build economically that flies well, can be towed or trailered (if necessary) that can be built from plans and in a garage/basement? I've seen the "kits" and I'm not really interested (though many look nice) as I have all the skills and tools necessary to manufacture just about anything and I loved building R/C planes for many years so I'd imagine I'd enjoy building a real plane too. But I need to settle on a design before I can move forward. I would hate to get halfway into a build and then realize there was a better option!

    Any advice and feedback would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Eric
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  2. Sep 27, 2019 #2

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Well I'm just going to step aside here and clear a path...
     
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  3. Sep 27, 2019 #3

    ejcheli

    ejcheli

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    Uh oh. :D

    I provided a lot of specifics and whatnot in the first post but to be clear, I am mostly interested in peoples opinion on this:

    Is the Evans VP-1 worth building in 2019 as a low cost recreational LSA?
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  4. Sep 27, 2019 #4

    MadProfessor8138

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    Has Google crashed again....????

    So let me see if I understand your post...
    1. You want a plane that looks like a million bucks.
    2. You want a plane that has outstanding performance.
    3. You dont like the idea of being regulated.
    4. You are afraid someone won't like your choice of aircraft.
    5. You don't want to pay a hanger fee or insurance.
    6. You dont consider LSA or Part 103 to be "Real" aircraft.
    7. You want it to pretty much be free.....

    Did I miss anything ?

    Thanks for clearing the path Victor Bravo because I almost stepped in the B.S....

    Kevin
     
  5. Sep 27, 2019 #5

    FritzW

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    I'm very biased on this topic but I'll jump in anyway ;)
    First of all I don't think VP's (at least the VP-1) are necessary under powered, especially with an 1835 or bigger. They have just the right power for what they were designed to do: and that's to get you flying with a minimum of cost and hassle. They could be lighter if your willing to trade a little extra build time for weight

    People can say what they want about the VP but the facts are that it's a good flying, very safe, inexpensive airplane that's easy for a builder with minimum skills and tools to build.

    If you decide to build a VP ...you'll have it built and flying while all the theoretical guys are still debating the ugliness of the VP's wing struts.
     
  6. Sep 27, 2019 #6

    MadProfessor8138

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    And dont forget that the VP1 can be changed cosmetically very easily.
    I've seen a few planes that are absolutely gorgeous.....

    Kevin
     
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  7. Sep 27, 2019 #7

    FritzW

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    Maybe I didn't read the OP close enough, I didn't see ANY of that in his post.

    What I read was:
    1) I like the VP but...
    2) I'm concerned about all the negative comments about it
    3) I don't like the limits of part 103 so I guess I'll go with an LSA (which a VP is)
    4) I'm on a budget
    5)Any advice and feedback would be much appreciated!

    I didn't get any of what Kevin is talking about....
     
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  8. Sep 27, 2019 #8

    ejcheli

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    Oh my, no that is not the case at all. Clearly I came off wrong, lets try again.

    1. No, doesn't have to look like a million bucks, in fact I feel the VP-1 has a utilitarian charm to it. I like it. Was trying to convey sarcasm I guess from other people's comments I had just read.

    2. Not outstanding, just can't limp into the air, its gotta fly decent. Perhaps VW power can do that, some say otherwise, I'm looking for advice from real people who've flown them.

    3. Regulations are definitely not my style no. The government and I don't agree on a great many things, but this does not mean I do not obey the law or rules, not sure where you're getting that anyway.

    4. Don't care what people think, just want feedback on an airplane I know next to nothing about that I'm thinking of building.

    5. True, I'd like to avoid storage fees because thats just a waste of money. I'll pay tie down costs during the summer if I keep it at the airport... but why pay for a hanger 12 months of the year when I can only realistically fly 3-4 months? I own my own property and can store it there, and of course I'll pay for insurance.

    6. The "real" bit was again... sarcasm, seems like lots of people feel that way and it irks me. I am of the opinion that model airplanes are just as "real" and ultralights are actual airplanes too. I still just might build the Legal Eagle XL that I bought plans for, cause its awesome.

    7. Not at all, just affordable for the average guy. The average man cannot afford a $250,000 airplane with exorbitant annual costs that never end. Sorry but a LSA for recreation should be around the price of a new car, and many are! Sonex is an easy example.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    Hope this makes sense Kevin.
     
  9. Sep 27, 2019 #9

    ejcheli

    ejcheli

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    Hello, yes that was exactly my intent! Sorry, I was a bit upset when I wrote the first post coming hot off a lot of negative comments on other forums! I believe you built a couple right? I saw quite a few posts on this forum about it!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  10. Sep 27, 2019 #10

    ejcheli

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    Yes me too, I've seen some beautiful planes.

    This one looks amazing IMO. Its a VP-2 I believe.
     

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  11. Sep 27, 2019 #11

    jedi

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    Don't plan on having a hanger for the summer. Anyone with a hanger does not want it setting empty for half the year. The hanger will soon go to someone who wants it year round.

    You can perhaps get a tie down for the summer and let it go in the fall. If that is you plan, build something you will be comfortable leaving outside in the sun and thunderstorms, etc.

    The plane will most like stay in the hanger year round. Consider where you would store it at home in the winter. It still takes up lots of space.

    Folding and trailering after every use gets old in a hurry unless the fold and transport is really fast and easy.

    If the goal is really to just fly for fun and avoid regulation I would have another serious look at ultralights.
     
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  12. Sep 27, 2019 #12

    ejcheli

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    True. Storage space is not a problem, but I figure folding and towing would get old quick. If I just did it in the Spring and Fall it might not be too bad with a tie down spot at the airport.

    Ultralights are definitely being considered but I always end up just wanted a little more. LSA covers everything I'd ever want and not too prohibitive. I want to get a PPL eventually anyway so... eh, why not. Can still end up flying an ultralight if I want down the road. :D
     
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  13. Sep 27, 2019 #13

    ejcheli

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    This is an original unmodified VP-1 (I believe) and I think it looks great! I feel the aft end of the fuselage is a little boxy but other than that I have no real issues with the looks whatsoever.
     

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  14. Sep 27, 2019 #14

    PTAirco

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    I think for the same outlay a Druine Turbulent or a Taylor Tirch makes for a far better airplane. They both have great flying characteristics and are really not complicated to build. The VP1 is very crude in many respects and I realize that was the intent but anyone contemplating building an airplane probably has some basic mechanical skills already. The VP1 looks like it was designed for someone who might have trouble with an IKEA table. Too many compromises for my liking.
     
  15. Sep 27, 2019 #15

    ejcheli

    ejcheli

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    Thanks for the feedback!

    I did see those posts about the wing struts haha, but personally I don't think they look bad at all. It kind of reminds me of a crop duster and I always thought those looked neat.

    I do like the idea of a relatively quick build too... lots of projects go on for years... and years... and some sadly never get finished.

    Do you think the VW engine is still worth using compared to a more modern alternatives? Certainly its probably the most cost effective option...
     
  16. Sep 27, 2019 #16

    ejcheli

    ejcheli

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    Oh nice, that Turbulent looks neat, I'll have to look more into it. I didn't get any google hits for the Taylor..

    I definitely have the ability to manufacture a far more complicated plane the the VP-1, the IKEA comment is hilarious btw! The simplicity is part of the charm, but its definitely about as simple as it could get! I assume you mean compromises like aerodynamics and looks? It seems that its structurally sound...
     
  17. Sep 27, 2019 #17

    Victor Bravo

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    Professor, I don't recall spewing any BS, and usually I remember when I have :)

    The VP-1 is absolutely known to be a good, safe, predictable airplane. Almost universally accepted as a high quality design, and done by an experienced airplane designer. It has a lot going for it.

    Full disclosure: I have done my share of complaining about the struts, and to a lesser extent the appearance. But those are both personal preference. I'd be glad for the chance to fly a VP and I'd feel safe doing it.

    We have had a truly epic thread about what would or would not be a 21st Century replacement for the VP. Tastes have changed in 50 years, average home craftsman skills have changed, attention span has changed. These are the factors in my opinion that justify a modernized version. But none of that does anything to diminish the validity of the original.

    We have some bona fide Volksplane experts on this forum, their experience and opinion is very valuable. Pay attention to them.

    To address whether it is viable for your needs, I can only offer these opinions:

    If you live in a warm climate, the VP is probably a better choice than if you lived in a climate that's cold more often. Yes you can put a canopy on it, but it runs contrary to what it was designed for originally.

    I don't know what it takes to fold or unfold the wings on a VP-1 for "garage storage" or sharing a hangar. That cost of storage has become a much bigger problem for general aviation than the original designer ever imagined. It's a big deal in a lot of places. The VP-1 is not an airplane you can leave outside in the sun, rain, or ice. Again, this will have a big effect on the viability for anyone in this day and age. What part of the world would you be keeping it in?

    Since the VP design came out, VW derivative engines have generally been "worked out" to a pretty high level of reliability. There are people on this forum who know exactly what works and what doesn't on a VW aircraft conversion, pay attention to them. I believe that an engine built for 60HP is capable of being built to very very safe and economical standard at this point. There are other engines that might be as good or better for the VP airframe, but I doubt any of them are going to be as economical as building a modest power VW derivative.

    There are several small or even very small things that you can do which are likely to make modest inprovements in the VP's performance. I have not proven them, and I'm not sure anyone else has or has not. But they are simple and cheap. The little stick-on VG's are very likely to improve climb a measurable amount, reduce takeoff and landing speed, stall speed, etc. Some simple aileron gap seals are very likely to increase roll rate, and/or reduce drag a little.

    The most important thing is that one or more people right here on this forum can 100% verify the VP is FUN, safe, and has good flying characteristics.

    So if you like working with wood, and you have the capability to do decent quality metal fabrication and welding, it is probably a very viable choice for a basic no-frills flying machine. Some creativity with the paint job can make it cute, utilitarian, or FUNky :)

    A desert camo Volksplane would look pretty awesome, and overcome any and all complaints about aesthetics.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
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  18. Sep 27, 2019 #18

    ejcheli

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    Victor Bravo,

    Thank you for that response! That answers some of my questions for sure. Also, I have been reading the 21st century Volksplane thread but there is a lot of content!

    I live in Montana, I'll probably be keeping it in a garage at first... but I do have a possible hanger sharing opportunity with a friend that has a Cessna. Depending on the rate, I'd be happy to keep it in a hangar.

    I like to hear that the VP-1 is a fun, safe, and well flying airplane. That reassuring, and I'd definitely like to incorporate some modern improvements if possible, I feel it could definitely be done with the advancements in material science and aviation in general.

    I do like working with wood, made countless scratchbuilt model airplanes in the past, have gone to school and passed multiple welding certifications, and currently run and operate CNC machines making aerospace parts as a career so I think I have basic fabrication skills covered. :D\

    Utilitarian and Funky... I like that sound of that.
     
  19. Sep 27, 2019 #19

    FritzW

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    To me it looks like it was designed for someone who has limited budget, limited spare time and maybe limited tools. Sure, It CAN be safely built by folks with limited skills (your IKEA comment) that's a good thing.

    And when it comes to fulfilling the mission of the Volksplane (simple, safe, inexpensive, good flying basic airplane) Evans made NO compromises.
     
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  20. Sep 27, 2019 #20

    FritzW

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    It would look cool but it would suck if you had a forced landing in the desert :D
     
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