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FishHawk

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Jan 20, 2021
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Hello everyone. I joined this forum to entertain myself and instead I found my next big project.
I am a software developer, with a side business of knifemaking.
I've always loved DIY projects, from as small as building IKEA kits, to building a buggy from scratch with a transplanted fiat 128 engine.
Recently I've found myself without a hobby, and I contemplated building a custom motorcycle on Honda CB platform, but after the full buggy build while keeping the cost under 600 eur, it's rather mundane.
An aircraft is a challenging project where I hope to be able to fuse all of my past experiences.
I will need strong support and info, and you seem like the right guys to ask.

I'm looking to build a two seat airplane strictly from plans like Jodel D11 or something very similar. Yesterday an opportunity popped up, but I wanted to ask first and not act on impulse. I can get a fully functional VW 1.3 boxer engine for 100 euros. Should I get it, and does it have enough power? Or is it better to buy a used aircraft engine and not have headaches with conversions? The budget is a very big consideration.
 

pwood66889

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Guess I'm #1 in the welcoming Party! Did software myself for 20 years, then became an aircraft mechanic.
May one presume you are European? Not wishing to offend, but location is available in your profile that will appear with your posts.
A 1300 CC (which the VW's were called sold in the USA) that runs may be good indeed for the Jodel or a Turbulant. Single seat is it's limitation, because it does not shed heat all that well.
This forum offers excellent advice; "Worth it's weight in gold," as it were. But please look around your area for someone who may be doing similar things.
Wish you luck, welcome aboard, and I am looking forward to your PIREP!
 

Vigilant1

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Converted VW Type 1s are very popular airplane engines, at least in the US. 1300cc is a very small one, more common in the US would be engines of 1835cc and up (they all weigh about the same regardless of displacement). Certainly there are many 1600s and smaller flying, too.
A 1300cc engine will not be sufficient to power a two seat aircraft in the Jodel style.
The architecture of all the VW Type 1 engines is very similar inside. You could buy this 1300 cc engine just to gain experience with it. If you are really strapped for cash, then to build an airplane you'll need to use your own sweat rather than money to build and maintain your plane. 100 Euros spent on this engine could gain you a lot of experience. And, it might even have a case you could later use for an airplane engine.
Welcome!
 

Voidhawk9

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Welcome! Indeed, this place is great for education and entertainment. ;)

I'd choose an airframe before buying an engine. The plans will surely come with recommended engines listed, and you can go from there.
To choose an airframe, define your mission: what do you want the aircraft to do?
 

blane.c

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capital district NY
VW is good for single place airplane.

If you buy a used airplane every year you have to pay for an annual inspection, unless you have an A&P (airframe and powerplant) license with an AI (aircraft inspection) authorization. In USA.

If you build at least 51% of your own plane you can submit a form and get authorization to do your own inspections. In USA.

So depends, mostly if you get the bug ... well you got the bug.

It is important to define your mission. Do you want to fly around for an hour and go home, or do you want to go someplace(s), do you want the wind in your face and the bugs in your teeth or do you want a closed cockpit, do you want to fly with your friend or by yourself, do you want to soar with a glider or zoom with an airplane?

The more things you know the more things you can eliminate and that is what you want to do eliminate everything you can't afford or don't want. Then you can concentrate on weeding out what's left.

Most private pilots end up flying less than 25hrs a year. For example you and a friend fly one weekend when the weather is good for a couple hrs and get a meal somewhere, and come back. Are you going to average doing that once every single month?

So it is important to define your mission.

Oh yeah, Hi.
 

FishHawk

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Jan 20, 2021
Messages
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A 1300cc engine will not be sufficient to power a two seat aircraft in the Jodel style.
Thank you!
In Europe most of the VW's are 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 engines, and it's hard to find a bigger one. I want to save as much money as possible, but not at the cost of building a poor airplane. I can wait a year or two to save some cash while I am building the other parts if needed. I wouldn't compromise quality.
Would a liquid cooled engine be impossible? An alfa romeo 1.5 boxer 105hp is cheap to get and it's a wonderful engine. Idk if the characteristics and torque curve are right for aircraft, but as a car engine it always put a smile on my face.
 

blane.c

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Weight. Weight per hp.

Also propeller tip speed needs to be below around 650 miles per hour (the air has to go around the curvy part of the prop so speeds up to near the speed of sound and becomes inefficient) to be efficient @ take-off and less than that for cruise. So what rpm an engine turns for hp is important because if it turns fast then you end up with a short propeller or you have to add the additional complexity and weight of a PSRU (propeller speed reduction unit).
 
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Vigilant1

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By the way, your title mentioned learning to be a pilot and wanting an airplane project. Both are really big undertakings, and not as related as people might think. Learning to fly in many parts of Europe "the normal way" can cost many thousands of euro. Gliders are a relatively inexpensive way into this hobby. If you haven't flown, I would recommend seeking out a glider club and getting involved there.
 

FishHawk

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So it is important to define your mission.
I love the theory and building as much as I love the flying. This is just asking around about engines just to be able to tell when a good deal is offered. In the balkans here, everything is twisted with the prices. You can wait and find a great deal on almost anything.
 

blane.c

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Well good deals are relative. When you are over a sewer plant and the good deal quits running, is it still a good deal?
 

FishHawk

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Well good deals are relative. When you are over a sewer plant and the good deal quits running, is it still a good deal?
As I said, I would never compromise quality. Plus, complete engine rebuild for VW type engines cost peanuts here, so I would definitely do a light rebuild. Piston rings, bearings, seals, and other parts that wear out.
 

Vigilant1

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Thank you!
In Europe most of the VW's are 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 engines, and it's hard to find a bigger one. I want to save as much money as possible, but not at the cost of building a poor airplane. I can wait a year or two to save some cash while I am building the other parts if needed. I wouldn't compromise quality.
Would a liquid cooled engine be impossible? An alfa romeo 1.5 boxer 105hp is cheap to get and it's a wonderful engine. Idk if the characteristics and torque curve are right for aircraft, but as a car engine it always put a smile on my face.
There's nothing wrong with the smaller VWs, and they can be used to power a single seat Jodel D9 or some other single seat aircraft, but won't safely power a 2 seater.
If you build an airplane, you'll save a lot of headache by using the engine recommended by the airplane designer. So, unless you already know and love VWs enough to let that narrow down your airplane choice, you could wait to get an engine.
Typically, homebuilt aircraft don't make ideal planes in which to learn to fly. Students are hard on planes, and training aircraft are built to survive that treatment.

Homebuilt aircraft can be made primarily of wood, wood and fabric, welded steel and fabric, aluminum and fabric, aluminum, or composites. Before you spend many hundreds of hours building a plane, you'd want to be very sure that you'll be working with a material you'll enjoy (after all, this is a hobby, right?). You'll be miles (kilometers?) ahead if you join a group of others in your area with similar interests, and visit someone already working on a plane similar to one you'd like to build and fly.
There's a common saying in this hobby: "If you want to build, then build. If you want to fly, then buy. ' If things on your area are the same as the US, you can buy a used homebuilt plane for less money than you can build one. That's no reason not to build one, if you'll enjoy doing that.
 
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FishHawk

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Jan 20, 2021
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Typically, homebuilt aircraft don't make ideal planes in which to learn to fly. Students are hard on planes, and training aircraft are built to survive that treatment.
I'll be learning on a Pipistrel Alpha Trainer, I can't wait for the spring. I intend to be a good(ish) pilot when I first try to fly my own aircraft. I will be building everything strictly from plans as I have no prior experience.
 

don january

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Hello FishHawk and welcome to the Forum. My plane would probably fly with a 1300 VW but it would be a poor performer and it is a single seat. 100 euros or 122.00 us dollars is a good deal for that engine especially for training on things such as the Bob hoover oil mods and conversion options. I agree with the suggestion of getting some duel time and finding persons of same goals. One other area to look at is RC aircraft clubs to see if you have the knack of getting a plane up and back on the ground in one piece. Building a plane takes a very large amount of your time along with any family members and the cost is non forgiving because you don't want to cut corners in material's rather wood or metal or composite. I think you need to ask yourself a few questions 1-do I have the patients to complete a build ? 2- can I afford out of my budget to see it through ? 3- If married do I have the support of wife and children ? And I guess most of all FishHawk are you truly a jack of all trades ? you will find that in a build there is many projects to get done from wood work, to metal, to fiberglass, wiring, installing instruments and the list goes on. On a positive note if this is something you want to do in your heart if so don't over think it just take that 100 euros and apply it to a set of prints or look around for a good started project. on this Forum there is the member project log section and will give a good idea what takes place. By the way I think the PDQ-2 would work well with the engine your debating on. FWIW PDQ-22.jpg
 

BBerson

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Mostly depends on the pilot weight.
Pops built his single seat Cub design with 1200cc VW. Then he wanted more power so he went to 1835cc.
Pops is around 225 pounds or something.
The 1500 cc VW is common and usually overhauled with new inexpensive 1600cc cylinders and pistons.
 

TFF

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With the VW the stock engine is just a starting place. Generally you will change the guts to make a bigger engine. You could build something like a Teenie Too with a 1300, but any more airplane and you will be upgrading internals. You might need to make a first plane and then move up with a second.
 

CAVU Mark

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Dec 30, 2012
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San Diego, CA USA
By the way, your title mentioned learning to be a pilot and wanting an airplane project. Both are really big undertakings, and not as related as people might think. Learning to fly in many parts of Europe "the normal way" can cost many thousands of euro. Gliders are a relatively inexpensive way into this hobby. If you haven't flown, I would recommend seeking out a glider club and getting involved there.
In 2008 I volunteered at the San Diego Air and Space Museum, USS Midway Airwing Restoration hangar, started A&P school and got my private. Airplanes make you do the damnedest things.
 

flitzerpilot

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Hirwaun, Aberdare, S.Wales, UK.
FWIW the prototype Flitzer-1 initially flew with a 1600cc VW and the accredited test pilot weighed about 220 lbs, so rate of climb was pretty poor. The engine was modified to 1834cc and with the designer flying ROC was recorded at over 700 fpm. Wing loading is around 7.7 lbs/sq.' at full load. so my point is, if built light (prototype weighed 479 lbs tare) and choosing a propeller of the largest theoretical diameter operating at an rpm at the threshold of the torque plateau, resulted (in this case) in optimum performance. Small size makes for ease of building in a confined space, but you have to enjoy the building process, especially if considering a wooden biplane.

Mission statement for the above was a good short-field performance and ROC, excellent handling, gentle stall, range 300 miles and aerobatic, all achieved with the modest power of a VW motor. Two seaters, such as the Jodel D118, are an excellent choice for 1834cc and upwards but the single-seat Jodel D.9 will fly well on a 1600 cc VW.
 
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