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iac249

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri, USA
Hi all,

My name is Corey and I presently live in Missouri. I have my private pilot license, but I've been away from aviation for a while. I tried in the past to build a Hummel from plans, but I found metal working wasn't my thing and more difficult than I had expected. So that project was fairly quickly abandoned.

I am since now completing a boat; a 10-foot rowing skiff made from wood which is turning out nicely. After giving it some thought, it seems to me I'm willing to try my hand at plane building again, and currently I'm looking mainly at the MiniMAX line, with particular interest in a VMax.

I also have a set of Fly Baby plans. While I like the Fly Baby better, the VMax looks like it is an easier build for first timers, and it has vendor support for kits and parts.

The VMax calls for white pine lumber, while the Fly Baby uses Sitka Spruce. One issue I'm having is trying to locate a supply of white pine lumber. I thought it would be fairly easy to locate at Home Depot or Menards, and from there just select stock with good tight rings and run out. The local stores supply "pine" lumber, but looking at the material sheet, it appears this lumber could be anything from spruce, fir, or various types of pine.

If worse comes to worse I could buy the kits from Team Max, but I'd like to try to save a few $$$ and get my own lumber.

Wicks is actually in driving distance from me, but I believe they only stock sitka spruce, and I'd prefer to stick with what is called for in the plans.

Anyone know of a good source of white pine in central Missouri?

Thanks!
 

lr27

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
3,822
Hi Corey, and welcome.

If you poke around the forum, you will find ANC-18, which has a lot of information about wood for aircraft use. I suspect you'll find the numbers for Sitka spruce are superior to white pine, except for the price. Chances are, there's a forum for VMAX builders where they discuss the issue.

Have you checked out the Sky Pup? It's been around a long time and has a good reputation. You have to buy the plans, though. You don't really have to worry about the lumber for most pieces, as long as it looks like good stuff. The builder's manual says you can use pine, spruce, redwood or fir for any part described as softwood. It says the quality of the board is more important than the species. Most of the wood is supposed to be softwood. Not for the wide or heavy pilot, though. As I recall, the original was supposed to come out at only 190 lbs, but I seem to recall no one reports such a low weight. Gross is supposed to be 400 lbs. If I'm not mistaken, that's commonly abused.
 

iac249

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri, USA
Thanks, Ir27.

There is a forum for the MiniMAX line of homebuilts (which included the VMax). I know the plans call for white pine, and spruce is slightly heavier, I believe. In any event, I haven't yet finalized which I'm going to build, so I'll check out your recommendations. It will end up being a balance of cost/build effort/design, so a lot of things to consider.
 

cdlwingnut

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
May 25, 2015
Messages
492
Location
Iowa
also take a look at the RagWing line of airplanes.
you may want to look at Douglas Fir too, I found a place with Doug Fir flooring boards that I'm using for my build, just remember its heavier than spruce and white pine but also stronger.
 

MikePousson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
465
Location
Ontario on the bay
If the pilot weight puts the gross weight of the plane at risk, then the wood weight should be considered. If the pilot weight leaves a lot of available gross weight, then changing recommended wood, as long as it's in the same strength category, would not be a problem. Changing from white pine to Sitka spruce will not add enough weight if gross weight has some room for changes.
 

Little Scrapper

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Jan 3, 2014
Messages
5,674
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Wisconsin
"....while I like the Fly Baby better......:

Absolutely positively do not choose a design because you feel it's less difficult than something you may want.

You're gluing and cuttin and clamping, try not to over think this stuff.

The Fly Baby is a excellent first time type of airplane with stellar vintage looks and uses a nice Continental engine.

Again, figure out what you like then set yourself on a path to learn the skills. There's all sorts of people here in this forum and in your home state that can help you with any questions you have.

Where's Ron when you need him. :gig: He'll set you straight, he's the Fly Baby guy here.
 

rbrochey

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Joined
Oct 17, 2010
Messages
1,503
Location
Gallup, New Mexico USA
There are many many designs to fall in love with... but you can't build them all so best to choose something that suits your needs... a good first plane to build could be in the Legal Eagle family... and Little Scrapper has posted a bunch of welding the fuselage videos on youtube that are really really good, and very helpful. You might want to check those out too.
 

Wanttaja

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Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
1,466
Location
Seattle, WA
"....while I like the Fly Baby better......:

Absolutely positively do not choose a design because you feel it's less difficult than something you may want.

You're gluing and cuttin and clamping, try not to over think this stuff.

The Fly Baby is a excellent first time type of airplane with stellar vintage looks and uses a nice Continental engine.

Again, figure out what you like then set yourself on a path to learn the skills. There's all sorts of people here in this forum and in your home state that can help you with any questions you have.

Where's Ron when you need him. :gig: He'll set you straight, he's the Fly Baby guy here.
Well...shoot, nothing wrong with the Vmax. Fly Baby has been around a lot longer, but like the OP said, it might be easier to buy the welded bits for the Vmax vs. the Fly Baby.

I always hate to talk Fly Baby vs. other designs, as things I personally feel are important are less so to other folks. But let me point out a few of the Fly Baby's advantages, as I see them.

1. It is a relatively large aircraft. This means a larger, more comfortable cockpit. It means you're out of the wind more, and, if you want an enclosure, it won't look as odd.

2. It is a relatively heavy aircraft, compared to some single-seaters. This means it's more tolerant of windy conditions.

3. It uses a proven, reliable, Continental engine, from A65 to O-200. Yes, they're more expensive. Yes, parts can be pricey. But they just keep running, and if a problem develops, any A&P is familiar with them.

4. Partially-completed projects are pretty common, and can be a jump start on an aircraft. You can often buy them for the value of the commercial parts such as wheels, brakes, and instruments included.

If you're interested in using non-standard wood, check out:

http://www.bowersflybaby.com/tech/index.html

...and scroll down most of the way to the "Wood Information" section. Specifically, see Drew Fidoe's piece on Non-Certified Wood Testing and Selection.

Ron Wanttaja
 

TFF

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Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
12,832
Location
Memphis, TN
Ron is the expert not just on Fly Babys but also the homebuilt industry.

The Fly Baby and the V-Max are not really apples to apples. This is how I see the differences. The Fly Baby is like someone paired down a Piper Cub and made a low wing single seater. it has the presence and look to be a certified like plane. The Vmax is a smaller airplane. You can tell the Vmax is like a small Fly Baby with details to make it different to not be a total copy. I think the Fly Baby is the simpler airplane overall. The parts are simplified; they dont have to be the lightest to work as the V-max does. It does not mean you can cut the wing ribs from 3/4 ply, but you dont have to be fiddly. One of the things you have to make peace with is the engines. I like the VWs and I like the small Continentals. Both done right are reliable; both done wrong will put you in the dirt. You have to put your money where you want and you are stuck with what the design needs.

As for wood, good luck. Some are lucky to be close to where the homedepot has default decent wood, but not near me. Specialty wood stores that deal in cabinetry might have something, but to find wood you can call even close to aircraft grade is going to be premium top wood. Its not in a stack of 2x4s. Once you see a piece of real airplane wood, you look at every piece of wood hoping, just in case. Its a treasure hunt for gold and just as hard to find.
 

Turd Ferguson

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Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Messages
5,041
Location
Upper midwest in a house
what part of MO? (Where is Lynn when you need him?) We have a semi regular here from Cape Girardeau area that has built a MiniMax and purchased his whte pine locally so he might be a big help.
 

iac249

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Messages
22
Location
Missouri, USA
what part of MO? (Where is Lynn when you need him?) We have a semi regular here from Cape Girardeau area that has built a MiniMax and purchased his whte pine locally so he might be a big help.
Cape Girardeau is a LONG way from my location (central Missouri). There's a local EAA chapter in Jefferson City, which is a convenient distance. I might connect with them and see if anyone owns a MiniMax or Fly Baby locally. It would be great to see actual flying examples.
 

lr27

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
3,822
The Fly Baby is the only homebuilt airplane project I've ever seen that I later saw fly. But then, I don't think I've seen more than five, and some of the others may have flown when I wasn't looking. If memory serves, I was retrieving a dropped sailplane tow line when I saw it approach and land. It was nice to see what became of the project, which I'd encountered in the hobby shop in college. A Pioneer II I saw there was almost completed but has now languished in storage for many years without being finished.
 
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