Is it possible?

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Notsure

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I'm looking for something fun to do and I thought building an ultralight under $500 was a good challenge and would be fun so I need to know would it even be remotely possible to build something flyable out of some scooter wheels, plastic sheeting, duct tape, bamboo, and pvc pipe that could carry at least 224 pounds? If it it is I need to know

A. What kind of engine/motor would I want?
B. How much would it cost?
C. How fast would it go?
D. How far would it have to go before liftoff?
 
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bmcj

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Realistically, you MIGHT be able to make something that just gets off the ground, but not far and not safely. Engine and prop will likely cost more than $500.
 

Dana

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Sorry, no, unless somebody gives you a bunch of aircraft parts for free there's no way you're going to fly for $500. $500 won't even buy you the engine. Attempting to fly an aircraft from "plastic sheeting, duct tape, and PVC pipe" is a fancy way to commit suicide.

Dana
 

TFF

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Auditioning for Mythbusters? Technically yes, but guaranteed to kill you if you persist flying it. I wonder if white or black trash bags would work better to cover it with?
 

Notsure

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If I could convert a 20 or so hp scooter engine and have the prop machined by a friend, would it then be possible?

And as for the frame, basically I was thinking of replicating the aerolite body using bamboo and some pvc pipe wrapped in plastic sheeting and duct tape for the wing/tail

If I cant do it for $500, I can afford $2000
 

Dana

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This has been discussed here before, but PVC pipe is not a suitable material for an aircraft structure; it's not very strong, it's too flexible, and it's brittle. Bamboo has been used, but it's difficult to work with. Really there are better materials.

20HP will barely get you into the air, but would require a very light, efficient aircraft; not the kind of thing you're proposing to cobble up. Converting an engine not designed for a propeller is not as simple as it looks.

$2K will occasionally get you a flyable or almost flyable used ultralight. But you still need to factor in the cost of at least some basic flight instruction.

Dana
 

Turd Ferguson

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I'm looking for something fun to do and I thought building an ultralight under $500 was a good challenge and would be fun so I need to know would it even be remotely possible to build something flyable
You'd have to think way outside the box because conventional wisdom says it's not possible without a lot of donated materials/components.
 

dusterpilot

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Find like-minded friends and do it together. I know of a group that have completed and are flying a great little Pietenpol. It's a beautiful, well-constructed, safe flying machine. I think the individual who has the most cash in it invested $5,000 to buy a partially completed project. They learned from each other, enjoy great camaraderie, and enjoy flying a safe, proven airplane.
 

Victor Bravo

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You could possibly make a foot launched or MINIMALIST rolling powered paraglider for $500 in raw materials if you did all the sewing, all the cutting, and all the fabrication. It would be close, and you would wind up with a marginal aircraft.

If you have a 20HP scooter engine and $2,000 then you have a better chance at an "airplane". For the Minimax or other similar airplane you will have to substitute PAINSTAKINGLY HAND-SELECTED Douglas Fir from a discount lumberyard as a low cost alternate to Spruce. DO NOT use "Gorilla Glue"! Use Titebond aliphatic resin for an inexpensive but safe wood glue.

You might be able to build an Affordaplane for $2000 if you have an engine. No idea how well it will fly on that power.

You can build a Mike Sandlin GOAT, Motorfloater, Bloop, etc with that engine and possibly come in under $2K. Look at the youtube videos for the Zigolo ultralight... that is the pwoered version of the GOAT. Sandlin's airplanes are safe and designed well.
 

Notsure

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Ok, after looking at the Goat airchairs, I think it may be possible to build one out of pvc pipe and spruce plywood for the seat/body and mount a small motor on the back of it. do you think I could do a dual prop design? I have 2 small motors that produce 5 - 10 hp. If not, would a 100cc 4 stroke motor work? I don't know the exact number but my guess is between 10 - 20 hp

EDIT - I have access to some professional grade glue they use in place of welding at autobody shops, would that work for this? Or could i just use a ton of apoxy resin or rubber cement?
 
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Dana

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As I said above, you can't ust PVC pipe. It's just not strong enough. 5-10HP won't do it, nor will a 100cc 4-stroke which is probably under 10HP (100cc 2-stroke paramotor engines are typically 18HP). You would need more like 25HP.

Take a look at the Bloop motorfloater, it's about as minimalist as you can get and you can download the plans for free.

Dana
 

blane.c

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Considering this is an airplane and not a glider you will likely need at least 1 hp for every 25 lbs of weight as a minimum, and it will be a real dog at that ratio. 1 hp for every 20 lbs will work better (more realistic minimum) but still pretty doggy. Considering 254 lb weight limit you are going to need around twelve and a half hp or more to fly, this can and has been achieved with more than one engine strapped to the apparatus. Propeller(s) will bust your budget so you will have to glue up and carve your own, remember you will be limited on prop diameter by the air going over the air-foil of the prop tips approaching the speed of sound, this is limiting. I would look at the "Demoiselle" aircraft for answers as to design of something as inexpensive as possible. Plastic sheeting sounds like suicide to me it, you may consider an upgrade to your thinking on aircraft covering there are better options, also duct tape is used for temporary field "repairs" seldom (read never) for initial or permanent structure. Careful thought can produce an inexpensive airplane along these lines but getting it under $500.00 is going to depend on your ability's to beg, borrow, and steal. Many pilots pack heavy so I would be careful with the last option.
 

litespeed

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PVC pipe will only end in failure.

IF it manages to get in the air, then it will fail - it is only a matter of time. Possibly seconds. Then it is a fast fall to earth and a possible if not definitely quick demise.

Take some time, look at various designs that are proven and then think about which suits your building skills, build time, available materials ie are they expensive aircraft grade or are suitable cheaper materials available.

When using a non aviation approved material, you must be sure it meets the required strength as the approved parts. Some aircraft can use timber that can be substituted by correct selection at cheaper sources. IF in doubt it must be tested properly.

PVC pipe and cheap covering just wont do it. You will only be wasting your time and money at best.

Spend some time thinking and buy some plans of a design you like. 'the cost you can absorb as you build. Meanwhile get some flight training.
 

blane.c

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If I could convert a 20 or so hp scooter engine and have the prop machined by a friend, would it then be possible?

And as for the frame, basically I was thinking of replicating the aerolite body using bamboo and some pvc pipe wrapped in plastic sheeting and duct tape for the wing/tail

If I cant do it for $500, I can afford $2000
Consider purchasing a "used" ultralight and fixing it up, many people here will be able to assist you with that option, I am not sure if you can safely get airborne for 2 grand but it is the most realistic option for you to safely get anywhere close to flying for that amount of money. There are many used ultralights available that were produced from sound aeronautical minds, and you will learn a lot from fixing one of these up, a lot of money can be saved with "sweat equity" using this approach. Be wise use this forum extensively and avail yourself of other resources during your search and while you repair your little chicken and in the end you will be smiling ear to ear.
 
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