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Steve Davis

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
13
Hi Y'all,

I'm new around here and looking to learn from you folks. I've got a lot to learn and I'll probably do a lot more reading than writing, but I wanted to at least say "hello" and introduce myself.

I'm currently living in deep south Alabama, almost on the Florida state line. I hold a private pilot certificate (ASEL) with an instrument rating, and a hair more than 250 hours under my belt. Most of my time has been in Skyhawks, with a little time in an Archer and a C152. I also hold an A&P, and previously made a living by turning wrenches on turbine engines. I do something else now that is far less interesting.

I've been enamored by the idea of building an airplane since I was a kid. I considered buying an ultralight several years back, even leaned strongly into the idea of a PPG or a powered hang glider, but college, starting a family, moving a half dozen times and getting my 9-5 career off the ground took center stage for a while. I'm now back into a situation where I have a little more time and a little bit of disposable income and I've decided to revisit the idea.

While I'd love to plop down the cash for a C182 or something that could take the wife and kid for a weekend at the beach, that kind of thing just isn't in the cards right now. I've even considered looking for an old C152 or J-3 to restore, and you never know... I may or may not get around to that at some point in the future. For right now though, I'm leaning heavily toward building something, even if it's only an LSA or a (heavy) Ultralight. Forgive me if my terms are not quite correct yet. Even with quite a bit of training, both in flying and maintaining, it's appalling how little I actually know about the aircraft segment that the FAA seems to want to forget about.

I've always fancied the low and slow enjoyment of an ultralight, and I'm always envious of them when I see these simple little fellas buzzing around the farm or shooting touch-and-go's that could fit in the length of a tennis court. They may not get anywhere fast, and they aren't taking much with them, but I always imagine a grin the size of Texas on the pilot's face.

I've been building and flying model aircraft for 25 years, including some fairly large models and several of my own designs. I also do woodwork as a hobby, so I think I'll be leaning more toward wood and fabric designs rather than welded or riveted, though I'm not afraid to do some metal work when necessary. Wood is just my preferred medium.

Anyway, sorry for being a bit long-winded. I'm excited to get back into aviation and I look forward to learning from this community.
 

don january

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2015
Messages
2,797
Location
Midwest
Glad to see you hanging around and better yet I like the wood aircraft build idea. Check out my member build log for my Taylor-mono plane and Pops has a great bird near ready for test phase. Welcome aboard and hope to shoot the $hit and share the wacky world of home built aircraft. :pilot: Don
 

Toobuilder

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
4,723
Location
Mojave, Ca
Welcome Steve.

Read your post and it seems like your wants exceed your current resource allocation, so you are "settling" for low and slow. If I misread your intent and you really want to start out low and slow, forgive me. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck however, this forum will offer you plenty of options to ponder.
 

pwood66889

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
1,605
Location
Sopchoppy, Florida, USA
Throwing my welcome onto the stack, Steve. Northwest Florida isn't that far from South Alabama and I'll buy coffee.
Also have PPASEL and A&P; worked on Ft. Rucker and retired last June.
So look around these forums and learn lots!
 

Steve Davis

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
13
Welcome Steve.

Read your post and it seems like your wants exceed your current resource allocation, so you are "settling" for low and slow. If I misread your intent and you really want to start out low and slow, forgive me. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck however, this forum will offer you plenty of options to ponder.
No sir, I don’t consider it “settling” anymore than I consider driving my Toyota “settling” because I don’t have a Ferrari. If I suddenly inherited Bill Gates’ fortune, I’d likely collect WWII fighters. Since that isn’t likely to happen, I’m pretty excited about building something. :) Sorry if my first post made it seem that way, but I certainly don’t consider home-built aircraft to be a step down or any less exciting than commercially available aircraft.

I do see whatever I expect to build first as a stepping stone before I build something larger and faster, but I would not be excited to get started building an ultralight or LSA if I thought it was settling.

A P-38 does sound like fun though... :)
 

Steve Davis

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
13
Throwing my welcome onto the stack, Steve. Northwest Florida isn't that far from South Alabama and I'll buy coffee.
Also have PPASEL and A&P; worked on Ft. Rucker and retired last June.
So look around these forums and learn lots!
Small world! I live 15 minutes from Ft. Rucker.
 

Toobuilder

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
4,723
Location
Mojave, Ca
No sir, I don’t consider it “settling” anymore than I consider driving my Toyota “settling” because I don’t have a Ferrari. If I suddenly inherited Bill Gates’ fortune, I’d likely collect WWII fighters. Since that isn’t likely to happen, I’m pretty excited about building something. :) Sorry if my first post made it seem that way, but I certainly don’t consider home-built aircraft to be a step down or any less exciting than commercially available aircraft.

I do see whatever I expect to build first as a stepping stone before I build something larger and faster, but I would not be excited to get started building an ultralight or LSA if I thought it was settling.

A P-38 does sound like fun though... :)
My point is that with a little looking, a more capable aircraft can be had for a slight premium over one of lessor performance. A Tailwind, for example, is only slightly more complex than a Minimax, but offers far, far more performance and utility.

One constant on this forum is to define the mission first, then find the most economical way to satisfy that requirement. Your posts suggest you want a travelling machine, but you feel you need to start out with a "simple" low/slow type to ease into it.
 

Steve Davis

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
13
My point is that with a little looking, a more capable aircraft can be had for a slight premium over one of lessor performance. A Tailwind, for example, is only slightly more complex than a Minimax, but offers far, far more performance and utility.

One constant on this forum is to define the mission first, then find the most economical way to satisfy that requirement. Your posts suggest you want a travelling machine, but you feel you need to start out with a "simple" low/slow type to ease into it.
Thank you for this. This is exactly why I joined the forum and started trying to learn. I have very little idea how expensive or affordable and how capable some of the home-built aircraft can actually be.

And you're correct with your assessment; I suppose I should define the mission a bit more clearly. I suspect I will eventually build more than one aircraft, so I'll try to define what I'm thinking on the first one:
1) I do feel the need to start out with a simpler, less expensive endeavor for my first build. It is not a concern with piloting ability, though I will admit that a speedy twin is well beyond my training and not something I intend to kill myself in, even if the budget allowed that type of build (it does not). It's more a matter of wanting to get a successful build under my belt and get back into the air before I tackle a project that will cost as much as a house and require ten years to complete
2) Single seat is okay, but I'd prefer a two seat aircraft
3) If single seat, I need a 350-400 lbs payload. If two seats, I need 500 lbs payload. I'm 6'2" and 275 lbs. I'm working to get down to 250, so that will help some with the payload, but if the payload is under 200 lbs, I've no use for it
4) I have to be able to get into it. If a 5'10" guy is cramped, I can forget about getting in at 6'2"
5) I strongly prefer a 4-cycle engine over a 2-cycle
6) I want a cruise speed higher than 50 kts, but less than 150 kts
7) Strong preference to something that I can put in or on a trailer
8) Strong preference to wood and fabric construction. I can do some metal work where necessary, but I don't want to cut, bend, and rivet the whole airframe. I'm pretty comfortable working with composites, but I don't want to build the whole airframe out of foam and fiberglass.
9) I've no preference for an open cockpit or enclosed

I think I'll do a bit more reading over the weekend and probably start a new thread for suggestions to fit my mission requirements.
 

Toobuilder

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
4,723
Location
Mojave, Ca
Cool. Just keep in mind that a single seat aircraft is not half the price of a two seat aircraft to build (but it's less than half of the VALUE in the market). Don't get lulled into a sense of false economy right off the bat.

I'd also like to stress the importance of getting your family involved. For some of us, flying is a lifestyle, not a hobby. My wife has no passion for flying the airplane, but considers it indispensable for our life. Nothing makes flying look more "selfish" than dad abandoning the family for the airport every weekend.

Finally, whatever you think your "mission" is today, it's probably going to change. You don't have to get your first airplane perfect.
 
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