I'm tired of waiting!

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by Jman, Jul 6, 2004.

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  1. Jul 6, 2004 #1

    Jman

    Jman

    Jman

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    Well, the time has come for me to either commit to building SOMETHING or jump of a bridge! I've been waiting until I can afford to build my dream aircraft for so long that I could have built two fun and interesting projects in the mean time. So, I've decided to just say the heck with it and get a project going that I can afford and will be fun to fly. It may not have everything I wanted, but at least I'll be enjoying a project that, in the end, will result in a safe and flyable machine.

    So, the decision has been made to build but I would like some help picking that perfect design. I'm about 75% set on the Hummelbird but I am interested to know about any other designs that fall into the same category (read VERY CHEAP). Here are my requirements:

    1. Less than 12K complete with engine.
    2. Reasonably proven design.
    3. Good handling.
    4. Good looking. I would like it to have that "real airplane" look.
    5. Must have at least 1 seat :D. Two seats would be really nice, but for the price I'm looking at I won't hold my breath.
    6. Any construction method is OK.

    Some designs I'm also considering but I don't have enough info to rule one way or the other:

    1. Volksplane
    2. Bradley Aerobat. To meet the price requirement, I would need an alternative 80 HP engine. They recommend the revmaster 2100.
    3. KR-1. Anyone know the finished cost on the KR?

    Anyway, if anyone can think of something that may fit into the above category, I'd love to hear about it. I finish Army Flight School near the end of the year and will be moving to my new duty station at that time. I plan on getting started as soon as I make the move so I do have a little bit of time to finalize the decision and pick up any tools I may need. Thanks for the help and I look forward to hearing your ideas.

    Jake
     
  2. Jul 6, 2004 #2

    Marilyn

    Marilyn

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    Alright Dude!

    For a total project cost under $12k, you probably cannot afford a kit.
    I have over $4000 in workspace mods, jigs and tools alone.
    So welcome to the plans built world.
    As grandaddy used to say, "Dinna worry tho laddie, a braw brain and a bit'o patience will take ya father than lucre", you may have more to spend than you think you do.
    Howcum?
    Because an engine may not be as much as you think it is.
    I'm a dedicated Ebay watcher and fly-in parts mart browser, and you can get anything up to 80 HP (plenty fine for a simple, inexpensive first project) for less than $1500 US. Probably for less than $1000.

    Also because how much you have to spend - or think you have to spend anyway - will actually increase with time. My original budget for my Acrolite was not to exceed $8K for the airframe. I'm at $18K now in total project cost, with at least another thousand to go before it flies. But by paying as I go, mostly out of my weekly pocket money allowance, I still haven't exhausted my "plane savings".

    Howsdat?
    As you put more of your time and resources into building, you natually start spending less time and money on other stuff. You also pick up the skills and confidence to fix or make just about anything. Fixing things and making things costs way less than buying them. That frees up mo money, mo money, too.

    But it's your first project, and you won't believe me about that until you actually are a year or so into the building, so, what plane should you build? Hell it's your forum, haven't you learned that we need more data than a price yet?

    What is your mission?
    How do you fly now?
    How do you see yourself flying in the future?
    How far?
    How fast?
    Is Stol or Speed more important too you?
    Aerobatic capable?
    What should it look like?
    Do looks matter to you?
    High, Low, Mid or Two Wing?
    Funky or conventional?
    Slick Modern or Vintage?
     
  3. Jul 7, 2004 #3

    Jman

    Jman

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    :D. Actually, the only real constraints I want to put on the project right now are the ones I listed. Cost is the major constraint. Having just come back in to the Army after several years of College, my student loans and such need to get paid off before I can allow a major portion of my cash flow to flow into the workshop.

    It just clicked the other day that I can do one of two things.
    1. Save all my money and pay off my student loans and other bills in 4 years and then start the aircraft that will carry my family around at 200 MPH.
    2. Build an inexpensive design that will be a great learning experience and will be fun to fly and still pay off my student loans in around 5-6 years.
    When I looked at it like that, #1 was the only choice to make! How could I not build?

    Where I came up with the 12K (would prefer something like 10K) is I budgeted in a monthly project cost I could live with then multiplied it by the number of months I expect it will take to finish the project. Then added one year to that because it always takes longer than you expect from what I hear. Building a plansbuilt fits this method best but I won't rule anything out based on that.

    So, to recap and add some detail:

    1. Low Cost
    2. Safe and good flight characteristics.
    3. Fun to build. Building the aircraft is my number one attraction to this sport. I like to work with my hands and the idea of building a flying machine actually has more appeal than the flying part. And I love to fly!
    4. Fun to fly. I envision myself taking 1-1.5 hour flights day VFR near my local airport. Low and slow with the occasional pancake breakfast within a 300 mile radius.
    5. Good looks. This doesn’t necessarily mean sleek or sexy, it could also mean quirky and interesting. This is one of those things that I won't know it until I see it.
    6. Small size is a plus. I'm not sure what type of building area I will have in my new location. Probably small if I want to keep my costs down.
    7. I'm interested in all of the building methods so that is not a problem. I plan on building at least one aircraft from each method at some point down the road anyway. :D

    That is really about it. I'm very interested in hearing about any aircraft that fit into that category. I've been thinking about buying the Aerocrafter CD that lists just about every homebuilt on the market but I just haven't wanted to fork out the cash. Anyway, thanks for the interest.

    Jake
     
  4. Jul 7, 2004 #4

    wally

    wally

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    my suggestion

    How about a Hummelbird? Small - 3 each 8' wing pieces, can be built for way less than 10K, fast enough to get somewhere in an hour. (100mph) and easy to fly (so I have read) tri-gear or conventional.

    You can probably find an engine already done for sale so just build the airframe and fly. All sheetmetal and "pop" rivets if you want to use them.

    I tried several years ago and got pretty far but had No time and No money to finish.

    Nice plane

    ed. to add:
    WOW, I just looked at www.flyhummel.com - they offer all sorts of finished parts! Including weldments, gas tank and several versions of completed engines.

    I really believe if a person was not held back by $$ and had a modicum of time and space available, you cold whip one of these out in less than a year!
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2004
  5. Jul 7, 2004 #5

    Jman

    Jman

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    The hummelbird definitly has my attention. I really like the looks and the cost can't seem to be beat. Below is a picture for those of you who may not be familiar with it. This particular builder incorperated folding wings which are very apealing to me. Great paint also! I had a picture with the wings folded but I can't find it.

    How was the build? Enjoyable? Were you using pop or aircraft rivets? Thanks.

    Jake
     

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  6. Jul 7, 2004 #6

    wally

    wally

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    I got as far as hammering out the fuselage frames, wing ribs, fabricated the 3 piece wing spar, engine mount, and made several parts for the engine and tail. I sold it all to a guy in FL when I had to move. I had used solid rivets on all the parts I had built. They are cheap and easy to do.

    I was using Hummels original plans. The were just modifican instructions that made some changes to Gary Watson's Windwagon plans, which he, Gary in turn had designed after building a Tennie Two.

    A guy in Canada re-drew the plans to make it a stand-alone plan.

    It was lots of fun, I enjoy working with aluminum. I used mostly hand tools, a small drill press and a little band saw. There is nothing complicated about any of the plane.

    Now with the Hummel outfit providing finished parts, it should be a snap to build.
     
  7. Jul 7, 2004 #7

    StRaNgEdAyS

    StRaNgEdAyS

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    Good stuff
    In a way that could also be a another reason why i decided to go for the KR as well.
    Something to get started on while I get my other design finished.
    The KR1 is a nice plane, but the KR2S is probably a better way to go, two people and not so pitch sensitive as the KR1 was. The build time and costs would be about the same.
    At my calculations, you should be able to put a KR2S togethjer for less than $10K
    If you stuck to the plans and used the Diehl tri gear option with all the factory supplied gear you would come US$7.6K, add a few K for instuments/avionics and $1.5-2K for a ready to go corvair, and you're not far over the 10K mark.
    If you sourced your gear more carefully, built a tail dragger and opted for the new airfoils etc. you'd probably come in a fair way under that again.
     
  8. Jul 9, 2004 #8

    Jman

    Jman

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    Strangedays,

    Thanks for the KR comments. It really seems to be a nice aircraft. It's definitely a contender.

    Does anyone have any info and or experience with the Pietenpol Aircamper? This looks like a pretty inexpensive design and I like it's classic lines. I would be very interested to know a ballpark overall cost. I imagine it is most commonly built with a VW or Corvair aboard which is an attractive powerplant to me. Another plus is that my Wife says she thinks it's cute and would have fun flying in it. Believe me when I say, to get my wife to say something like that is a miracle! She is great but not exactly on the same wavelength as me when it comes to aviation. :D

    I wonder if you could take the overall airframe costs of say 20 popular tube and fabric aircraft and divide it by its weight without engine then average them together to get an average cost per pound. Then do the same for 20 popular all aluminum aircraft. Which would be cheaper by the pound do you think? Just an oddball question probably better left to some graduate student thesis paper. :D

    Anyway, I appreciate all of the comments and would like to hear any other ideas on the subject. My goal is to have the decision made and have plans in hand by the end of next month. There are so many designs out there that appeal to me it will be pretty tough to make that final decision. I'm hoping to narrow it down to a few and then go out and find some folks building near by. I've tracked down a couple of local Hummelbird builders. I'm confident I can find some of the other interesting designs fairly close (lower Alabama / Northern Florida / Western Georgia).

    Jake
     
  9. Jul 9, 2004 #9

    MasonMcD

    MasonMcD

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    Anyone have any opinions on the Affordaplane?

    How about gyrocopters as opposed to fixed wing? Anyone have any experience with ultralight copters?

    Thanks,

    Mason
     
  10. Jul 10, 2004 #10

    Jman

    Jman

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    The Revolution II, formerly Spacewalker II, has come to my attention as another rather inexpensive build that looks great and handles well. Anyone out there building one? I would love to hear about it. Thanks.

    Jake
     
  11. Jul 12, 2004 #11

    Jman

    Jman

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    Well, after talking with Tom Mathes by phone and email, I've pretty much set my sights on the Aircamper. Tom is a member here and has built both a GN-1 (Virtually identical to an aircamper) and a Revolution II as well as a flybaby and his current Hatz project. He was very helpful and gave some very good tips for building from plans. He even offered to let me take a look at his GN-1 plans to get an idea of what I will be in store for. Thanks Tom!

    After weighing things like cost, simplicity, and my wife's preference to have a wing over her head to keep from falling out, I think the aircamper is the one for me. I'm still deeply in love with about 10 other designs but I believe this will be a good place to start. Plus, it seems fitting that my first project would be the first popular homebuilt that really kicked things off for this great sport. Sort of feels like paying tribute to the past. I can, however, pretty much rule out using the Model A engine that was popular back in 1929 (and still is today believe it or not). Probably a Corvair for me.

    I've not bought the plans and glued the first component so it's not final and things could change but I feel pretty good about the way things are heading. Thanks to all those who commented and offered help. I appreciate it.

    Any other comments are still welcome.

    Jake
     
  12. Jul 12, 2004 #12

    StRaNgEdAyS

    StRaNgEdAyS

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    There is a series in the homebuilt section AVweb of written by a guy building a piet called "Wooden it be lovely?"
    I reckon you should check it out.
     
  13. Jul 12, 2004 #13

    Jman

    Jman

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    Looks like a great article, I'll read it tomorow when I can keep my eyes open long enough :zzz:. Thanks.

    Jake
     
  14. Jul 15, 2004 #14

    J3storch

    J3storch

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    Take a look at the headwind

    Uses a vw engine, seats one. Excellent plans (I own a set) and yet there are folks that build components for them.

    DO a search on Stewart Headwind and you should find his website, stewart aircraft of michigan or some similar title.

    This plane is a modern day version of the plane that started it all for General Aviation, the Aeronca C2.

    Seats 1, high wing, taildragger.

    Excellent grassfield, cruise the neighborhood and look at the crops kind of airplane.

    I intend to build one some day. Have another project underway at the moment.
     
  15. Jul 15, 2004 #15

    Jman

    Jman

    Jman

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    I will take a look, thanks. What project are you working on now?
     
  16. Jul 19, 2004 #16

    Jman

    Jman

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    Well, I did it!

    I sent for the Pietenpol plans, full size rib drawings, Supplemental drawings, the builders manual (of sorts), and the building video.

    A local builder was kind enough to spend about 5 hours out of his day today to really give me an education on what it will take to build this airplane. We even went on a field trip to see his gorgeous Model A powered Aircamper waiting for final inspection. It was a work of art, and I was instantly in love.

    I guess that means I am almost an official builder now. I'll let you know when the first sawdust hits the floor.

    Jake
     
  17. Jul 19, 2004 #17

    Jman

    Jman

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    For those of you who have not seen, or can't quite remember what a Pietenpol Aircamper looks like, here ya go:
     

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  18. Jul 20, 2004 #18

    Johnny luvs Biplanes

    Johnny luvs Biplanes

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    Jake, an excellent choice of aeroplane, a true homebuilt classic.
    Are you going with a Corvair engine for it?
    I wish you good luck with the project and hope you keep us fully updated.
    John :)
     
  19. Jul 20, 2004 #19

    Jman

    Jman

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    Yes, at the moment the Corvair is what I am going with. I still need to do a lot of research, but it looks like the most practical choice. I did see a gorgeous Model A powered Piet this Sunday but I think that doing the Model A conversion may be just a little more work that I want to take on.

    I do plan on making a couple of changes. One of which is in the cowling. I would like to go with a Flitzer type cowl instead of the pointy shaped one in the plans. I also would like to make a baggage compartment just forward of the front cockpit. This is the location where the radiator supporting components go in the Model A powered Version but is open in the Corvair version, if you use a wing tank. I need to do some CG calculations but I believe it's been done before.

    I checked on the wood kit today and looks like I can get a first class wood kit for the Pietenpol from Western Aircraft in Canada for about 1700 + shipping of 250. Not too bad. I'm going to look at some other suppliers but I've heard some very good things about Western Aircraft.
     
  20. Jul 20, 2004 #20

    Johnny luvs Biplanes

    Johnny luvs Biplanes

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    Jake, a guy called Alan James, who you should be able to find on the UK Pietenpol list is the man to ask on storage solutions. He has loads on his and has used the idea you mention. To help find him, his aircraft registration is G-BUCO and is well known.
    Cheers
    John :)
     

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