First attempt to build which airplane?

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sleeperrx7

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Sep 3, 2012
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KAOH
Hi, I'm new here. I am a low time private pilot. I have around 145 hours. I witnessed a homebuilt gyro copter at my airport make a couple of test flights and I'm hooked. The thought of building my own aircraft is taking over my thoughts constantly! Its driving my wife crazy too!, lol. I don't want to built a gyro copter, but I do want to build a fixed wing. Not sure which direction I should go. Composite or metal? I love the Vans Aircraft line, but they are expensive for a homebuilt. I love the Varieze, Longeze, and the Cozy designs more though. They both have pros/cons when in flight and none of those are of concern. My concern is how many people have started building a composite aircraft before a metal frame aircraft or even a fabric covered aircraft. Is it logical to build a composite aircraft before an all metal airframe? Would it be harder? I have some experience with fiber glassing, but none building an airframe as of yet. I am confident in my abilities as I have been around the automotive industry for quite some time before I started working at my local airport. I even have most of the tools already. Spent $$$ on those tool trucks back in the day and yes it was worth it! I like the idea of building the aircraft in sections at a time as space is limited. Are there any type of fiberglass resins out there that do not require ventilation? I have neighbors that would not like the smells in my apartment, including the wife:gig:. Thanks for the info everyone! I like this site.:ban:
 

TFF

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Apr 28, 2010
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Memphis, TN
People tend to flock to the types of materials they want to work with. No prerequisite on building any type of aircraft, just desire.
Your build space being an apartment is going to be tough. It has been done before, but usually a bachelor. ;) The mess composites make is pretty toxic. Foam dust, resin, fiberglass/other fabric trimmings is not what I want in my house. Small pieces might be made on a deck if you have one, but some point the parts will get too big to go out the door, so you have to have a plan at that point.
A plane out of wood would be quieter and less smelly.
 

Nickathome

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I would not consider building while living in an apartment. A couple things will happen. Firstly, you will make enemies of your neighbors very quickly. Secondly, you're divorce will come soon thereafter. I'd either look to renting some space or maybe consider holding off on the project until such time as you do have space available. Just mt .02c.
 

SVSUSteve

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Foam dust, resin, fiberglass/other fabric trimmings is not what I want in my house
Building composites in your home is asking for anyone living in the apartment or house to develop the fibrotic interstitial lung diseases associated with exposure to the dust that inevitably. I cannot advise against such actions staunchly enough.
 

autoreply

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Building composites in your home is asking for anyone living in the apartment or house to develop the fibrotic interstitial lung diseases associated with exposure to the dust that inevitably. I cannot advise against such actions staunchly enough.
A good blower will solve most of that.

But yes, some off-site work place is still highly favorable. Try to find a company that strictly works in the week days, so you can maybe work in their work place for a very low price. The folding frames plus a blower and filterseem like a good idea for such a workplace.

2 heavy (wooden) frames, plastic inbetween. Drop the top one while pumping the air out, the lift both out-of-the way. With a bit of vacuum cleaning you have a perfect temporary composite/paint shop. Wet sanding and cutting saves 99% of the trouble.
 

SVSUSteve

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A good blower will solve most of that.
Still....it would not be something I would engage in simply because of the risk of endangering folks who may not be entirely willing to take the risks those of us in homebuilding are. That includes not only the OP's wife but folks in neighboring apartments or future residents. Here in the US most apartments have carpet as opposed to hardwood or linoleum floors (not sure if this is the same in Europe) which almost assures that you're going to gather debris in the carpet unless you turn the apartment into a very well designed negative pressure room with an outside exhaust. Also, I doubt the neighbors would appreciate the noise associated with equipment for vacuum bagging and ventilation required for composite work.

2 heavy (wooden) frames, plastic inbetween. Drop the top one while pumping the air out, the lift both out-of-the way. With a bit of vacuum cleaning you have a perfect temporary composite/paint shop.
I don't know about your wife, but even with my fiancee being entirely supportive of my design and build (to the point of taking part in it), there's no way in hell I could convince her to let me do that in the living room. LOL

If I really wanted to do something like this and could not afford a hangar and did not have access to a detached garage, I'd honestly rent a large storage locker and work in that.
 

sleeperrx7

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KAOH
I have seen quite a few pics of Sonex Aircraft being built in the apartment, but those are small and mostly made of pull rivets. I did not think of the dust or the divorce (hilarious!). I could only imagine a fan in the window and coating the neighbors cars with white powder, lol. I have T-hangars at work that are empty. I'll just have to cut a deal with the airport board (employee discount!).:ban:
 

autoreply

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Still....it would not be something I would engage in simply because of the risk of endangering folks who may not be entirely willing to take the risks those of us in homebuilding are.
Let's not invoke the curse of the gods (old and new) and proclaim instant death plus nuking out all neighbors because of some dust.

Several folks have built in their appartment just fine. With the "sealed box" I referred to that's no big deal, just a bit more... constrained. And you have to wear a mask. Bottom of the box is roughly airtight and can have every composition, though something less fluffy as carpet would be preferred.
If I really wanted to do something like this and could not afford a hangar and did not have access to a detached garage, I'd honestly rent a large storage locker and work in that.
Not everybody has that luxury, though Ohio doesn't strike me as terribly expensive. A workplace of sufficient size (say 10X20 ft) here runs for several hundred euro's. A month. Downtown whichever metropole will be similar or worse.

Ow and I'm not married. Saving the money of a wedding for an airplane makes a lot of sense...
 

SVSUSteve

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Not everybody has that luxury, though Ohio doesn't strike me as terribly expensive. A workplace of sufficient size (say 10X20 ft) here runs for several hundred euro's. A month. Downtown whichever metropole will be similar or worse.
Yeah, for a storage locker of 10'x20', here is $105 a month or 10'x35' is less than $150. It's less than what many of us probably spend on lunch in a month.

Several folks have built in their appartment just fine. With the "sealed box" I referred to that's no big deal, just a bit more... constrained. And you have to wear a mask. Bottom of the box is roughly airtight and can have every composition, though something less fluffy as carpet would be preferred.
It might work, but it's probably not the best option given the differences between your setting and the average American builder's situation (see above). There's that old adage about "Just because you can, does not mean you should nor that it's a good idea." One of the homebuilders who introduced me to the hobby used to modify it to include "....nor does it mean you have a divine mandate" as a warning to those who were trying to overstretch their own limits.


Let's not invoke the curse of the gods (old and new) and proclaim instant death plus nuking out all neighbors because of some dust.
The problem with the morbidity and mortality of dust exposure is that it's not a quick death. It's a slow almost inexorable decline as your lungs scar up. I took care of several folks with it (one of whom was building an airplane; the rest were working on boats or cars involving fiberglass) over the years when I was working as a respiratory therapist. Two of them wound up receiving lung transplants. This is not something one should take lightly.
 

racegunz

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Well since you asked, I'm a couple of weeks (maybe less) from completing my first build, a Vagabond variant of my own, it was not my first choice that fuselage still sits in the barn (long story) after all this and very close to a divorce (really... no kidding) I wish I'd ordered a van's RV 4 or maybe a 6 as it is I'll have a nice 2 seater slightly aerobatic plane that "should" cruise a little over 100 mph but it isn't cheap and the learning curve is steep and re-work is costly (thus the isn't cheap part) Van's has so much help to offer it's worth the price. Second choice is a Sonex variant ,third choice a CH 701 or 601. I was you 3 years ago a burning desire to build my own, almost there too ,make your choice wisely.
 

Battson

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Jan 30, 2012
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New Zealand
I would not consider building while living in an apartment. A couple things will happen. Firstly, you will make enemies of your neighbors very quickly. Secondly, you're divorce will come soon thereafter. I'd either look to renting some space or maybe consider holding off on the project until such time as you do have space available. Just mt .02c.
All of the above is truth, based on my experience.

I moved house before starting my project.
A rented space wouldn't be nearly as efficient as doing it at home in a garage / basement / etc.

Building takes time, you will need undying support in all its forms from your partner. It will consume most of your time and (collective) money.
 

cluttonfred

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Something to consider for your own workshop.... If you can secure somewhere to store a used 20-foot shipping container (or 40-foot if you are ambitious) with access to electricity and water, it's very easy to convert one into a very nice workshop with some lights, outlets, paint, shelves, workbench and elbow grease. Purchase price about $2,000-3,000 but you could sell it after you are done and get some or all of that back. It provides a dedicated, lockable work space: walk away from your work, switch off the light and lock the door, come back and pick up where you left off. Much better than trying to set up in your living room.
 

sleeperrx7

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Sep 3, 2012
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KAOH
Something to consider for your own workshop.... If you can secure somewhere to store a used 20-foot shipping container (or 40-foot if you are ambitious) with access to electricity and water, it's very easy to convert one into a very nice workshop with some lights, outlets, paint, shelves, workbench and elbow grease. Purchase price about $2,000-3,000 but you could sell it after you are done and get some or all of that back. It provides a dedicated, lockable work space: walk away from your work, switch off the light and lock the door, come back and pick up where you left off. Much better than trying to set up in your living room.

That is a very interesting idea! Great job at thinking outside the box, lol. The Wife has given me the big O.K., but she has no idea what shes letting me get into, lol!:ban:
 

clanon

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Yep, all of the above... and then you'fix a bathroom a kitchen and you'll never go back home again!:roll:
PS:maybe just to pick more money
 

Nickathome

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If you can find a spot to put it, you could also consider one of those portable garages. The ones that are basically just a tent, supported by hefty metal poles. You can buy them fairly cheaply. In fact you can get the carport model that's just a roof, then add walls made from polypropylene tarps grommeted to the front, back, and sides, for probably less than $300.00. It won't be pretty, and it'll probably be hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but it will keep the weather at bay, and can be heated or cooled easy enough....Alot cheaper IMO than renting hangar space at an airport, or even securing an old shipping container, but at least it'll be a space to work.......
 

addicted2climbing

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Jan 27, 2012
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Glendale, CA
Hey SleeperX7,

Have you considered finding your local EAA chapter. I just did a search and there are loads of them in Ohio. Unsure how close to you, but it is worth a try. I joined my local chapter here in Los Angeles since I dont have the space to build either. Rather then jump in feet first and build something for myself, I have decided to get involved in our club project (Cygnet SF2a) and I figured by doing so, I will also learn many of the skills I will need to build a plane of my own. Also while being there, my choices in planes I would like have changed many times. Before i never owuld have considered a metal airframe because i had no experience in sheet metal; my composite skills are strong. Yet after helping on a Sonex and also a little on an RV9 I am becoming more open to it each day. More so the pop rivet construction over the rivets in the RV.

Also ny joining the EAA club, i have been exposed to more people who fly then I coudl ever imagine. It is a great way to meet people who fly and who are builind or have built. The Have built part is nice since you can get rides in some very interesting planes from members.

Hope this helps.

Marc
 

SVSUSteve

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Evansville, Indiana
If you can find a spot to put it, you could also consider one of those portable garages. The ones that are basically just a tent, supported by hefty metal poles. You can buy them fairly cheaply. In fact you can get the carport model that's just a roof, then add walls made from polypropylene tarps grommeted to the front, back, and sides, for probably less than $300.00. It won't be pretty, and it'll probably be hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but it will keep the weather at bay, and can be heated or cooled easy enough....Alot cheaper IMO than renting hangar space at an airport, or even securing an old shipping container, but at least it'll be a space to work.......
For the cost of a carport, you could get enough lumber to build a decent size building. I used to raise chickens for 4H and we built a huge chicken coop that would, in hindsight, have made a **** fine workshop. We just used a plastic corrugated material for the roof but the walls and floor were plywood with standard framing lumber supports.
 

rheuschele

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Jan 12, 2010
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Chicago Il. USA.
For the cost of a carport, you could get enough lumber to build a decent size building. I used to raise chickens for 4H and we built a huge chicken coop that would, in hindsight, have made a **** fine workshop. We just used a plastic corrugated material for the roof but the walls and floor were plywood with standard framing lumber supports.
It's a nice thought, but way too many building codes, laws and zoning will cure that thought.
 

SVSUSteve

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It's a nice thought, but way too many building codes, laws and zoning will cure that thought.
Nope. It's classifiable the same as a "yard barn" or, at most, a detached garage. If it's not permanently anchored into the ground and not intended as a residential or commercial structure, it is generally not beholden to most building or fire codes in most jurisdictions. Zoning would not be an issue unless you're trying to run a business out of it (and even then there are ways around that). Even if you need a building permit, it would be no different than requesting one for a detached garage which often simply just requires a few pages of paperwork and a nominal fee.
 

sleeperrx7

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Sep 3, 2012
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KAOH
Why can't I find more people like this in my area? I gotta get out more. Thanks for all the great ideas everyone!
 
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