Inexpensive Homebuilts... Why?

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Which is the closest reason to why you're interested in "inexpensive" homebuilts?

  • Have some discipline, save, and get something really nice later.

    Votes: 1 1.3%
  • I don't make much money. I can barely afford a used ultralight.

    Votes: 15 20.0%
  • I have a pilot license, but everyday expenses mean I can't afford what's out there.

    Votes: 17 22.7%
  • I need to get my license, and can afford that or an airplane, not both.

    Votes: 2 2.7%
  • I'm just a cheap bastard. Aviation costs too much. It should be less.

    Votes: 31 41.3%
  • I CAN afford many offerings, but can't get the (performance, looks, etc.) in my price range.

    Votes: 9 12.0%
  • Have some discipline, save, and get something really nice later.

    Votes: 1 1.3%
  • I don't make much money. I can barely afford a used ultralight.

    Votes: 15 20.0%
  • I have a pilot license, but everyday expenses mean I can't afford what's out there.

    Votes: 17 22.7%
  • I need to get my license, and can afford that or an airplane, not both.

    Votes: 2 2.7%
  • I'm just a cheap bastard. Aviation costs too much. It should be less.

    Votes: 31 41.3%
  • I CAN afford many offerings, but can't get the (performance, looks, etc.) in my price range.

    Votes: 9 12.0%

  • Total voters
    75
  • Poll closed .

THRC12

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Oct 14, 2015
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Lincolnton, NC USA
I'll define the cheap bastard vote for myself. I'm a racecar fabricator by trade and can "do" or fake pretty much anything I need to do. My love of flying goes way back to my childhood. The less it cost me to have a plane means I can easier make my target goal of flying as much as possible! It also means I can keep building my business and maybe someday soon I can build and fly every day!
 

BBerson

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Dec 16, 2007
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Port Townsend WA
If it's in the garage at home it doesn't cost hanger rent.
But it doesn't get flown either.

I keep my sailboat in a slip - just so we can step aboard and sail for an hour.
If it lived on the trailer we wouldn't sail near as often because it's too much trouble to set up.
I keep my plane at an airport tiedown 4-6 months in the summer and build in the winter.
Flying 12 months of the year is not needed. When I take it back to the grass tiedown in spring, it's like a new toy. In October, I am bored with it.
 

Glider

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Jan 10, 2016
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164
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North Bumble, Alabama / USA
I'm interested in becoming a better all-around aviator. To that end, I now prefer to rent a variety of aircraft for short periods.

However, because my height is 3-4 sigma from average, I am never comfortably flying anything for more than 30 minutes (or less), but can tolerate flying up to 90 minutes in the best of circumstances.

I would like to be comfortable flying for up to 12 hours (the maximum tolerable duration in my car, given one fuel-only stop, and pushed I can go 14 hours (two fuel stops)).

I also would prefer to have a long winged craft that can be slipped a lot, that goes relatively fast during sightseeing trips (150 MPH comfortably), but also can soar with the engine off (L/D of 30 or more). An inexpensive Stemme (which is too short for me).

If I had tons of money and the required ratings, I'd have a collection like Kermit Weeks. I only have resources for one, and the value I would be able extract from that one never quite seems to match the costs.

At a minimum, I just want to escape and go flying once in a while.
 

cheapracer

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Sep 8, 2013
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Australian
Has anyone been able to universally define "inexpensive"?
It was $15,000 USD about 10 years ago. That was an extensive study done by the SCCA for motor racing entry and first year cost but was accepted that the figure applied to general income status and would affect many hobbies similarly. After $15,000 the willingness to be involved dropped exponentially.

The figure might be closer to $18 - 20,000 now.
 

Aesquire

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Jul 28, 2014
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2,399
Location
Rochester, NY, USA
I voted "too broke" but "cheap bastard" as Topaz restates it may be closer.

I don't want to spend the bucks for hanger rent, I want it parked at home where I can tinker and clean.... but mostly I don't want another monthly cost. I've passed on a number of decent deals because I don't have a place to put them yet. ( current project is getting the shop/garage built. )

I expect to end up spending good used car price for a fairly minimal machine. ( So much for my dream Stemme ) But. I'm still defining my mission.

Solo ( motor glider ) soaring? Dual? Gyro? I'm afraid I've given up on Jetpack... ( But if they do a sequel to Rocketeer...... )

So, I'm cheap, and indecisive, and slow.
 

rdj

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Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
295
Location
Northern California
Is the Zenith 650 I'm building considered an 'expensive' or 'inexpensive' homebuilt?

For me, a simple day VFR flyer is all I need. I fly (and build) for fun, not for transportation (well, other than to get me to wherever the sailplane I really want is parked). My mission statement doesn't require RV-style speed, 4 seats, IFR capability or hefty 100LL fuel bills. Likewise, a Cessna 152 is inexpensive too, until you look at the ongoing costs of annuals, taxes, and 'certified' $500 replacement strobe light bulbs. I voted 'cheap bastard' because that's all my mission requires, not because that's all I can afford. I didn't choose the last item because I don't need additional performance.

However, if 'inexpensive' refers to the class of aircraft with bamboo spars, a single-tube fuselage and nitrate-doped fabric wings, well, I suppose I answered incorrectly :ermm:
 

skier

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Mar 5, 2008
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1,078
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CT
Is the Zenith 650 I'm building considered an 'expensive' or 'inexpensive' homebuilt?

I tend to classify aircraft in the Zenith 650 category ($35,000-$60,000) as in between, but as has been noted before different people have different opinions. For me inexpensive has to be <$20,000 and should be below $15,000.


However, if 'inexpensive' refers to the class of aircraft with bamboo spars, a single-tube fuselage and nitrate-doped fabric wings, well, I suppose I answered incorrectly :ermm:
I think the threads around here lean more towards Flybaby, Hummelbird, MiniMax, Thatcher CX-4 etc. when we talk about inexpensive. Usually they're single seaters.
 

N8053H

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If you believe aviation is to expensive or cost to much you are a cheap bastard? Well then I am a cheap bastard. A set of gaskets for my carb in my certified engine cost more then the complete carb for my experimental engine. Call me a cheap bastard.
 

N8053H

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I tend to classify aircraft in the Zenith 650 category ($35,000-$60,000) as in between, but as has been noted before different people have different opinions. For me inexpensive has to be <$20,000 and should be below $15,000.




I think the threads around here lean more towards Flybaby, Hummelbird, MiniMax, Thatcher CX-4 etc. when we talk about inexpensive. Usually they're single seaters.
When I think of inexpensive flying I think single seat. Once you add a seat the price doubles for the airframe. Even something as simple as a quicksilver. Single seat quicksilvers can be had for a few grand. Try and pick up a two seat quicksilver, they are around 10 grand or more for a good one with dual surface wings.
 

Dana

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If you believe aviation is to expensive or cost to much you are a cheap bastard? Well then I am a cheap bastard. A set of gaskets for my carb in my certified engine cost more then the complete carb for my experimental engine. Call me a cheap bastard.
Hah! My AIRPLANE cost less than the latest annual on my friends Bonanza... and FAR less than the panel on my brother in law's RV-8.

Dana
 

Pops

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Jan 1, 2013
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I know this is a little off thread, (I think I must be king in that department) but in my area, if someone is starting to build an airplane, all the friends donate some parts or materials so everyone has a part in the build.
In the SSSC, one friend stopped by and gave me an airspeed ind. Another asked if I had seat belts and shoulder harness and latter dropped a set off at the hanger. Another the seat cushions. Another made my aluminum fuel tanks for free, another gave me the tail wheel assembly, etc. My neighbor across the runway started building a Wag-Aero Cubby, I was given a rebuildable Cont-A-65, he got the engine and a mag switch.
Feels good to see an airplane fly and think, I had something to do with that airplane flying.
 

choppergirl

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Choppergirl's Flying Circus ★★☠★★ AIR-WAR.ORG
Anything over $2,000 I consider "too expensive" and don't even consider them.

For $15,000 you can buy a house. A house you'll use every day.
A kite is a hobby and something you'll use almost... never.

If you want to fly a lot you pretty much have to find a way to turn it into a business, and then the prices skyrocket off the chain... 60K+... and its work and a grind by that point, and no longer fun.

The middle area between those price points... 2K and 60K... are just rich kids toys and/or a money pit.
 
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Pops

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One day I stopped by my neighbors hanger and he (retired airline pilot) had been working on one of his 3 airplanes, a Nanchang CJ-6 with the Russian M-14P engine. We were watching a friend flying his 1/2 VW powered Mini-Max doing touch-and-go's and he said "The guy has more fun flying that airplane and is spending less than what my prop cost, I'm beginning to think, I'm doing something wrong". I think he made a good point.
 
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TFF

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Apr 28, 2010
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12,270
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Memphis, TN
When you have to worry about the value, its too expensive. Every one has a price point; some are just to low to play, and that is for everything. Most prices make me sad, not worried about the money for money. I love 50-60's era sports cars. I will never be able to own a great one from the era. Its not that it will cost $10-20 million for a Ferrari 250 GT; I'm never going to be able to buy one. P-51, Spitfire fully out of reach. I do like doing stuff so I enjoy fixing up my little airplane; $2000 with no engine, recover about $1500, a little welding $200; engine will be a $2000 290G probably. ADSB is going to a killer. Pretty cheap for a real airplane. I can go play like most people where they can have one toy and have a nicer family plane. No toy cars or RC airplanes, or other stuff is the trade. There is also a bottom. Unless you get a brother in law deal, too cheap is bad unless you know what you are getting. Blind cheap is dangerous. No way I will ever want to live in a $15,000 house; not around here, and cost of living is cheap here.
 

Kevin N

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Jan 23, 2015
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Your Moms basement
Everything with an engine that is fun is "expensive". Look at all the powersports hobbies, jet ski's, motorcycles, flying parachutes, muscle cars. All take an initial outlay of cash. If you are happy with being involved in aviation by being a builder then 200 dollars worth of wood will get those wing ribs started. The latest "must have " around my neck of the woods is these expensive side by side seating Polaris and John Deere Gators. I call them glorified golf carts. They all start at 10 grand and go up from there. Whatever your passion is for disposable income fun you have to decide if you want to make that initial investment in your toy. In my case I knew those big paychecks would go away and acquired all my toys a long time ago. My wife wants me to get a new pick up truck. I went to the car lot last sunday when they were closed to look at window stickers and I choked, new Silverado about 53 grand. No way.
 

Topaz

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Has anyone been able to universally define "inexpensive"?
It's been tried, here on HBA even, and the thing I've learned from that such a definition as a dollar value is impossible. "Inexpensive" means $2,000 to one person, $20,000 to another, $200,000 to a third. Trying to nail that number down for everyone is a deep, deep, rabbit hole.

For purposes of this thread, I really don't need to determine what "inexpensive" means objectively. It can mean whatever it means to each individual.
 

Wanttaja

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Sep 15, 2013
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Seattle, WA
One day I stopped by my neighbors hanger and he (retired airline pilot) had been work on one of his 3 airplanes, a Nanchang CJ-6 with the Russian M-14P engine. We were watching a friend flying his 1/2 VW powered Mini-Max doing touch-and-go's and he said "The guy has more fun flying that airplane and is spending less than what my prop cost, I'm beginning to think, I'm doing something wrong". I think he made a good point.
All boils down to what's the minimum aircraft that you want to fly.

A typical case is someone who says, "I want a low-cost airplane..." then finishes the sentence with, "...that has four seats, is STOL, has a fully electronic panel, retractable gear, six hours' range, and leather interior. Oh, and it has to be aerobatic, too."

If *cheap* flying is all we were willing to settle for, we'd all own powered parachutes.

But we all have our minima. And that bumps up the threshold of what ownership costs. I don't own a powered parachute since I prefer more traditional-looking airplanes. A Minimax, for instance, might do for me, except for my preference for Continental and Lycoming engines. Someone else will look at my Fly Baby, shake their head, and say, "need more panel space for a nicer radio and some other electronics," the next will say, "Plus a second seat," and so on.

Ron Wanttaja
 

Dana

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Actually a Minimax or such will likely be cheaper than a PPC, and it doesn't have the life limited wing the PPC has.

Dana
 

autoreply

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Rotterdam, Netherlands
Inexpensive is pretty easy to relate to income. Income spread is the major influence in the large spread of "inexpensive"

For a subgroup with a given incone that spread will be pretty small.

5% of your net income is cheap. 25% is unaffordable for most.
 

Joe Fisher

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Feb 10, 2007
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1,379
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Galesburg, KS South east Kansas
I have never been able to afford to fly but I do any way. When I was in the Air Force in 1965 I built my model airplanes in the wood hobby shop on the base. One of the base commanders brought a tandem Taylor Craft to recover and I helped him rib stitch it and he gave me my first lessons in it.He sold it to a group to form a flying club so I put in my $200. The group then made a deal to buy a BC12D with no engine. We removed the engine from the tandem T Craft and put it in the BC12D I got 8 hours dual in the BC12d. It was $2.50/hour + gas @ $.35 / gal. Some how the group got an engine to put in the tandem T Craft but did not get it annualed. So I had a total of 10 hours dual and they had not paid for the BC12d and it got reposed. So I had to keep going The Super Cub was $12/hour and the instructor was $10/hour. And I soloed at 12hours and every time I had $3 I would rent the Super Cub for 15 minutes. I was to be discharged end of August 67 so I got a part time job in the base exchange and all effort and money went toward my private license and I gave $75 for the welded up fuselage that became Low Slow Joe (see avatar). When I first flew Low Slow Joe in July 1968 I had spent $600 on it. I became an instructor with a family the only way I could fly is with some one paying me to fly. Now I almost have my beloved Cub almost flyable again. Now I own my own land with my own strip and hanger all it should cost me is for car gas to fly it. There is no way I could afford to buy a Cub today.
 
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