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Help decide what 2 seat biplane to build!

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bifft

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Apr 17, 2011
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291
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Utah
Most of the biplanes you mentioned have one drawback - you mention the occasional camping trp and taking the wife along; none of them have room for much more than your toothbrush. No problem when flying solo, but with two on board, you're traveling with the clothes on your back an and not much more.
This is very true. In the Starduster if I fly alone I can get a reasonable duffle bag in the front seat, with two on board you have to use a small bag behind the pilot seat and another area in the headrest/turtledeck. Call it a total of 2 cubit feet.
With smaller people you probably won't have this problem, but at 250#, I quickly hit the rear CG with a passenger and anything in the rear luggage.
 

dcstrng

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VA or NoDak
Most of the biplanes ... have room for much more than your toothbrush. No problem when flying solo, but with two on board, you're traveling with the clothes on your back an and not much more.
Interesting design… is the prop direct drive… location looks like either direct drive or planetary PSRU…

In any case, very intriguing and I think addresses one of the holes in modern aerobatic-focused biplanes… touring. I always like the big UPF7 and progeny because they were sort of designed for traveling; coming right at the end of the barnstorming era, that concept wasn’t foreign to the few who could afford one. Post WWII builders optimized the aerobatic qualities usually inherent in the biplane configuration, and other birds then filled the role of traveling machines.

I’ll probably never do it, but I’ve been mentally sketching up a two-place biplane – side-by-side somewhat like the HyperBipe, but with a swoopy fuselage more reminiscent of the Monocoupe – and with the feel of a miniature Cabin Waco for two (cabin figuration more in the Tailwind/Buttercup motif… but I’m just dreaming (gotta get my current project going/finished, then who knows…), one dream at a time.

Good luck…
 

TFF

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Apr 28, 2010
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Memphis, TN
The problem with any airplane time to distance. 2 hours in the seat is 2 hours; the question is did you go 200 miles or 400 miles in that 2 hours? Carrying the fuel for a biplane to go 400 miles at normal biplane speeds means you are carrying a lot of fuel; big engine, even more. My little biplane will carry about 2 hours plus reserve, and it has a bread box size cargo. Im modifying the unused area ,for the upper wing tank never added, as baggage. Wing lockers where wing walks can be another option. My friend has the same plane, his flys!, and has a big cargo area added behind the seat. Really nice; put more than 10 lbs in it and the plane is out of CG. He has the wing tank, and after flying his back once he bought it, he said he will never travel in it again. 3 fuel stops vs none for his RV7; same distance. HiperBipes are a favorite of mine, but I dont look at them as a biplane as much as a unique homebuilt. A cabin Waco or Staggerwing are cool but shrinking them takes the grace out.
 

dcstrng

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Oct 17, 2010
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913
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VA or NoDak
The problem with any airplane time to distance. 2 hours in the seat is 2 hours; the question is did you go 200 miles or 400 miles in that 2 hours... HiperBipes are a favorite of mine, but I dont look at them as a biplane as much as a unique homebuilt. A cabin Waco or Staggerwing are cool but shrinking them takes the grace out.
Okay point taken... and admittedly, this is an amalgamation of seemingly mutually-exclusive concepts that (probably) look better in my head than anything I could produce in real life…

Nonetheless, there are those who just like traveling and the absolute speed, while an interesting factor, is not the primary one… for instance those folks who fly day-long cross-countrys in elderly 532 powered KitFoxs or J3-Cubs, or traverse the continent in UL trikes. Those flyers are a distinct minority to be sure, but properly configured almost any connivance can be comfortable – indeed I am constantly amazed at folks who complain about their cars, bikes, boats and/or plane’s comfort (often grumbling that it is more of an endurance contest, than an enjoyable pastime) but have given little thought to the solution.

If and when I get my little bird in the air I fully intend it to be able to 5-6 hours legs (at least solo, don’t expect enough gross for more than slightly over an hour plus reserves with a passenger) with this geriatric pilot reasonably comfy the whole time – kidneys notwithstanding.

Ergonomics is a very important and individual thing – and magic foams and other potions/nonsense is not the answer; fitting it exactly to the operator is the primary tool… case in point, I have enjoyed long distance motorcycle travel for many years (not in competition, just for my own enjoyment to see the country), and have often quip it is not worth cranking up the bike if I’m not going to burn up several tanks of gas. Folks who don’t know my habits comment on how tough a rider I must be – pure nonsense, I’m actually an ol'softy.

It did take me several thousand miles to hit the magic combination of control placement, saddle arrangement and the like and I assume that any other passenger carrying device is the same – as I’ve used the concepts in cars and boats as well. Now I will tell other riders quite frankly, if you can’t enjoy riding your bike for as long as you can keep your eyes open, without falling asleep, then you’re not done setting your bike up.

I’m already embarrassingly into social security country with the usual arthritis and other structural maladies that plague the geriatric set, but often set out on trips that cover half the continent non-stop (1500-1600 miles), and I plan to set up my little plane to cover the same route – only twice as fast (so what was a longish 24-hr ride with become a quick 12-hour flight… yippee…). But I’m confidant my goal will be an impossibility if I just weld up the control placement according the plans (designed my an art teacher who is half my size, and the bird was optimized to travel long distance in a trailer, not the air...) and slap some magic foam on a buckboard seat…

Way too long-winded… sorry…
 

bmcj

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Fresno, California
Per the OP's originally stated requirements...

1. Canopies on biplanes are uncommon but not unheard of. Many of the aerobatic mounts use them. Even if the plane you chose does not have plans for a canopy, you can (like many have) craft your own canopy. Keep in mind though that some designs just won't look natural with a canopy. Also, you can fly in light rain in an open-cockpit plane without getting wet.

2. You say 'easy to build'. How easy are we talking about? What is your skill level and preferred medium for building? How many years or man-hours are you willing to dedicate to the build?

3. Why a biplane? Most people that want a biplane want it either for the nostalgic look (which a canopy would disrupt) or as an aerobatic mount (in which case, 90 knots seems too slow).

4. Keep in mind what everyone else has said up to this point... all good advice.


Now my thoughts (some good, some possibly not as realistic):

A. Flitzer makes a cute plane that is supposed to be easy to build (wood construction). I think they are working on a 2-seat version. Canopy may look out of place, and I suspect baggage area might be minimal.

B. The biplane version of the Pietenpol (plans are available, I think). Canopy on a Piet... you might get away with it, but it detracts from the nostalgic look.

C. I think that one or two of the Airdrome Aeroplanes replicas might be two seaters. They are simple to construct (aluminum tube with riveted gussets (no welding). Again, a canopy may look out of place.

D. Hyperbipe might work, but I think an O-320 might be a little light for it.

E. The Bower's FlyBaby had a biplane version... I wonder if you could similarly make a biplane version of the ywo-seat Hevle Classic?

F. I recall a biplane design maybe 30-35 years ago that looked very much like a P-51 Mustang with a second wing (and Mustang-like canopy and scoop). Very sharp looking, but it didn't seem to materialize. I heard somewhere that there were some design issues (or maybe engine issues) that stalled the project.
 

TFF

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Memphis, TN
Touring would be great. Start the engine and in a month or two land back at the home airport. All sight seeing. If I have to be somewhere, I want it over with. My comfort is 3 hours and will sit for 4. Five kills me.
 

dcstrng

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VA or NoDak
Touring would be great. Start the engine and in a month or two land back at the home airport. All sight seeing. If I have to be somewhere, I want it over with. My comfort is 3 hours and will sit for 4. Five kills me.
I suppose it's an acquired taste as much as anything (notwithstanding my naturally demented nature...). My commute is upwards of five hours a day, so hmmmm... a colleague at work used to fly high-performance birds and he recounts days of upwards of ten hours (in-flight refueling) without getting out of his seat and then having to set it down on a carrier, and that was a 1960s vintage bird... anyway, if one wants to, it might be done...

As for touring in a biplane (or a Pietenpol, or similar...), all I can do is envy those who have done it even once...
 

Mcmark

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Sep 24, 2013
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424
Location
Owings, MD
Check out the Biplane Forum. A friend just listed an Acrosport 2 project a long way along for cheap.
Mark
 

Airplanebarn

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Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
1
Location
Jackson,Ohio , USA !!!
Late to the Party but I just thot I'd pass along what I have discovered . I looked at building a Hatz , but when I tried to climb into the front cockpit it was VERRRRY Difficult !! I'm 5'10' and average weight for my age ..... soooo I looked around at different pics online and the Starduster Too looks the easiest to get in . The top wing is forward of the front cockpit and looks easier to get in and out of . Terry
 
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