Inexpensive solo cross-country machines?

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Pilot-34

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Before I got my pilots license there was a small twin I flew in that had a funnel and tube system in the extreame rear of the plane . On the return flight from Kotzebue to Anchorage I learned how to hold an aircraft extremely steady on a heading .
You see early in the flight my young pilot friend handed over control of the aircraft me and said hold it steady while I go Pee.
The evil gremlins in my mind took over and I waited for him to get started with his business before kicking the rear of that plane around Like a berserk Mexican jumping bean..
Being young and stupid it took me several cups of coffee out his gallon size thermos to realize how he planned on extracting his revenge......
 

TerryM76

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Add a aux tank and transfer pump added in baggage would give you what you are looking for in a CYGNET SF2A baggage and gear in the right seat. $15K flying or under $10K your budget may still need lights. +$400 if on Barnstormers it is still for sale as of 1/10/21 it is. It does Low and Slow local well too! If fuel budget is not an issue hit the coals!

Matt
That sounds like a good idea...I'm afraid I would modify it to the point of being a 1-seater but a slightly upsized version would be really interesting. When we get beyond this COVID situation I want to try one on......
 

103

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That sounds like a good idea...I'm afraid I would modify it to the point of being a 1-seater but a slightly upsized version would be really interesting. When we get beyond this COVID situation I want to try one on......
Stop by O2C on your way to Oshkosh 21 call ahead. There is a project on BS modified enough not to be a Cygnet SF2A. Too big of ripple for me send me your email and I will send the write up and pictures I got from the seller.


Matt
 

Little Scrapper

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Of course I’m bias but Steve Wittman figured this out decades ago. Buttercup just answers a lot of needs and can be built with a Corvair which is pretty cool.

That said I just love the Sonerai. Fred K has flown all over the country in in for years.

I have plans for both that you could borrow to study.

Both are built pretty reasonable.
 

103

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Of course I’m bias but Steve Wittman figured this out decades ago. Buttercup just answers a lot of needs and can be built with a Corvair which is pretty cool.

That said I just love the Sonerai. Fred K has flown all over the country in in for years.

I have plans for both that you could borrow to study.

Both are built pretty reasonable.
I may take you up on the Buttercup view. Fred has been flying the daylights out of his recently completed Wagabond which could fill the role as well. I do have a fresh 0-290 tucked in the corner .... Long term I may like the corvair better.

Matt
 

Little Scrapper

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The beauty of a Sonerai is the airplane itself can he built at home almost complete from start to finish because the he wings come off easily enough to manage. You just don’t need a lot of room to build one. That’s a big advantage because often time a person can only build for 30 minutes at a time so that eliminates all travel to a airport hangar which takes time.

The Sonerai is such a wonderful airplane when built as a single seater. The low wing 2 seater built as a single seems like a smart affordable airplane.
 

TFF

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The Sonerai two seater as one plus bags would be great. Not great if you need two people. I knew someone who used a Midget Mustang for day work trips if he did not need to carry something big. You can put 150 miles behind you pretty quick. He didn’t build that one, but he was almost finished with a second with more fuel. It was pretty nice, and the other must have been built straight as he had no complaints on handling.
Planes like the Sonerai, Tailwind, T-18, and such have the following that there is not much guesswork if you stay in the lane.
 

TerryM76

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Eric W

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Just looked through this whole thread. On the DA-5A, I did get the plans a couple of years ago before the current non-responsive ownership fiasco. This will not meet your criteria. Just using the Wikipedia numbers, that's 213 lb of useful load at full fuel. AND that's based on a no-electrics C-65 for power. Add battery, starter, etc. with C-85-12, for example, and it's probably well under 200 lb useful load at full fuel. Another downside in building / transport is the wing is one piece, all the way across. It's only 15' or so, but if you complete the airframe at home, how do you get this to the airport? I was picturing positioning the airplane diagonally across a trailer, then with some kind of lift frame or something, lifting one side of the trailer up to minimize the height and keep the load under 8' wide (& tail surfaces removed). Before you say "adapt it to removable wing", there is structure that goes UNDER the wing after the wing is joined to the fuselage - and the control cables also go under the wing. The fuselage can't sit on the gear without the wing because the main gear attaches to the wing spars outside of the fuselage. All that said, this design did set the closed-course nonstop distance record in the under 1150lb takeoff weight class (including pilot, who was ~120lb) in the early 1970's. That one was modified with a wet wing, and flew for about 18 hours before landing. Then the VariEze was introduced, and interest in metal airplanes dried up, so very few DA-5A's were ever built.

My impression is you have to be a wizard with precision-bending large sheets to build it. Davis definitely mastered low parts count. I plans-built a Sonex, and I thought that one was pretty good for being efficient with parts count, but the DA-5A is about 1/3 number of parts. Given super-low parts count, you save time in there's less to fabricate, and with fewer parts, there's going to be thousands less rivet holes to lay out, drill, debur, and set.

I might still give it a try to have something to do. I've tried building airplanes from plans 3 times, and succeeded to the point of a flyable product once. Those other times I sold off the parts / projects, so trying and not succeeding isn't a total waste of resources. There's always someone willing to take over the project.
 

Doran Jaffas

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The beauty of a Sonerai is the airplane itself can he built at home almost complete from start to finish because the he wings come off easily enough to manage. You just don’t need a lot of room to build one. That’s a big advantage because often time a person can only build for 30 minutes at a time so that eliminates all travel to a airport hangar which takes time.

The Sonerai is such a wonderful airplane when built as a single seater. The low wing 2 seater built as a single seems like a smart affordable airplane.
I had the low Wing tall boy version. nice little airplane and I wouldn't mind having another one to complement my Tailwind.
 

n45bm

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The beauty of a Sonerai is the airplane itself can he built at home almost complete from start to finish because the he wings come off easily enough to manage. You just don’t need a lot of room to build one. That’s a big advantage because often time a person can only build for 30 minutes at a time so that eliminates all travel to a airport hangar which takes time.

The Sonerai is such a wonderful airplane when built as a single seater. The low wing 2 seater built as a single seems like a smart affordable airplane.
That's the problem: a two place Sonerai or other that's really only practical as a single place airplane. It's hard to make a good and practical two seater that is powered by VW power. Very few VW designs are good two place aircraft.
 

Doran Jaffas

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That's the problem: a two place Sonerai or other that's really only practical as a single place airplane. It's hard to make a good and practical two seater that is powered by VW power. Very few VW designs are good two place aircraft.
I owned a flew a Cisler Cygnet. That is a practical 2 seat airplane. Not fast but roomy and a nice flyer.
I agree about the Sonerai 2. Front seat makes a good baggage compartment. I am not thrilled with any VW. My experience has been less than stellar with them. Put an 0-200 in the Sonerai 2 and it is an even better airplane.
 

ToddK

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You can buy a Luscomb or a Taylorcraft today and get all that and have money left over.
 

Topaz

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Most of my interest in homebuilt aircraft is low and slow flying for fun. Still, I do sometimes daydream about long cross-country adventures, maybe a trip around the circumference of the USA....
Flipping through this thread quickly, it looks like you've gotten plenty of good answers. The only thing I can add is that I know someone who's done this. Young guy at my soaring club (soloed gliders at 14, Private Pilot (gliders) at 16, before he had his driver's license... That kind of guy) turned 18 and graduated high school. His dad, a long-time pilot, bought him a nice RV-3 as his 18th birthday/graduation present, and young man took off on a circumference of the country in it for the summer before he started college. Great kid, great pilot, cautious and capable beyond his years - none of us worried about him a bit doing it.

He had an absolute blast and I'm still so neon-green with envy I could light up a darkened room. Great thing for a young man like that to do. Now he flies airliners for a major airline. Had aviation in his blood from day one.

Definitely a "bucket list" trip for me.
 

Doran Jaffas

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You can buy a Luscomb or a Taylorcraft today and get all that and have money left over.
A Cygnet can be had for $10,000. If again you like the volkswagen. you also have the advantage of having a condition inspection done instead of an expensive annual. And a home built in my experience anyway that condition inspection runs about half if you have not built the experiment on yourself. I truly like how the above mentioned airplane handles but the engine just didn't leave me feeling I could trust it for a great distance although I did fly it 100 miles to an airport out of state at one time. You can get a very nice W8 with an 0200 for $20,000 as well. Many other home builds out there in that price range if that is the way somebody wants to go. But you cannot go wrong with a Taylor craft or a Luscomb. Might add the assistant 140 and 120 in there too.
 

Pops

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For a VW powered 2 place airplane, the Cygnet is at the top in all around performance. I sat under the wing and talked to the designer one year at OSH for about an hour, nice man. You meet a lot of nice people in aviation.
 
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