Low-powered, four-seat homebuilts?

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cluttonfred

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Not for the first time, I mentioned the French Peña Dahu (also here) in another thread as an option to consider for a builder looking for more cabin room and payload capacity than your average homebuilt.

With a 180 hp engine, the Dahu is advertised with a whopping 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) gross weight and 600 kg (1,323 lb) empty weight. Even if the empty weight is optimistic (as is often the case), 500 kg (1,102 lb) of payload and four seats is a heck of a lot for a homebuilt that shouldn't cost more than a minimalist two-seat Van's RV-X to build.

There are few enough four-seat homebuilts out there. Are there any others that come to mind as viable four-seaters with modest engines? Let's say 1) a useful load of at least 450 kg (992 lb), 2) an engine of 180 hp or less, and 3) space for at least four adult humans. The only other one I can think of is the Croses Para-Cargo, which is a Mignet-style tandem and far too weird for most people.

I ask because I was thinking that something along the lines of the Dahu, but optimized for ease of building and piloting (constant-chord wing, tricycle gear, possibly no flaps) could be very appealing for people who want the ability to carry more than two people and/or cargo (luggage, camping equipment, a folding motor scooter, etc.) at modest speed for modest cost.
 

BJC

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...
There are few enough four-seat homebuilts out there. Are there any others that come to mind as viable four-seaters with modest engines? Let's say 1) a useful load of at least 450 kg (992 lb), 2) an engine of 180 hp or less, and 3) space for at least four adult humans. The only other one I can think of is the Croses Para-Cargo, which is a Mignet-style tandem and far too weird for most people.

I ask because I was thinking that something along the lines of the Dahu, but optimized for ease of building and piloting (constant-chord wing, tricycle gear, possibly no flaps) could be very appealing for people who want the ability to carry more than two people and/or cargo (luggage, camping equipment, a folding motor scooter, etc.) at modest speed for modest cost.
The Sportsman 2+2 from Glasair Aviation is a four seater (rear seats limited to 300 pounds, but loads of leg room) that can be built with a 180 HP engine (or bigger or smaller), folding wings, useful load between 950 and 1,000 pounds, max range of 700 nm, max cruise of 140+ knots, relatively short takeoff and landing, steel tube cage, supports tri gear, tailwheel, floats and skis, 42k stall.

They aren't free.


BJC
 

cheapracer

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saini flyer

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Good topic Mathew.

I want to do it eventually, but I need to take one step at a time, 2 seat first.

I think the back to back seating arrangement is a very real option, but at the same time, it's not for everyone.

White Lightning is an example, maybe a little too sporty for most though ..

http://www.studiomoonart.com/whitelightning.htm

https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/threads/white-lightning-aircraft-and-kit-manufacturing-assets-for-sale.22942/

View attachment 90525 View attachment 90526
I thought that the MCR4s, Jabiru 250, Brazilian Paradise are all great LSA equivalent aircraft with low stall, good flying habits and a small engine up front for a 2+2. Also Morgan Cougar...

With the LSA rule change, and the new Rotax 915, a light weight 4 seater or 2+2 is even more possible today(sling 4, high wing sling for 2020). I have doodled my own thought on this using RV12 as a baseline for a 2+2 with aft facing seats by removing the 15 lbs fuel cell into the wings and using the now open 200 lbs+ baggage compartment for +2.

It cant fit a 6' 3" individual
upload_2019-11-20_12-12-20.png

but can fit a 5'10" in length and maybe two 5'6" slim bodies at <125lbs lbs each effectively

upload_2019-11-20_12-14-17.png

Ofcourse the 1320lb gross is too low to accomodate 600lbs of 2+2, baggage, and full fuel but if one can build for 700 lbs empty and 1500 lb gross keeping in mind the upcoming rule change, you can have an excellent current LSA with humongous baggage area that can be used for +2 as the family grows.

There is an RV6 rocket with this configuration and the same amount of rear added space as a RV12!

Okay I will stop dreaming now and Sorry for the thread drift!
 

narfi

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Having spent some time facing backwards in bonanzas, its not enjoyable (my words) my wife hates it(her words).
Do you gain more than an inch or two vs designing the rear legs under the front seats?
Of course other things like ease of entry/exit need to be considered as well.
 

mcrae0104

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Are there any others that come to mind as viable four-seaters with modest engines? Let's say 1) a useful load of at least 450 kg (992 lb), 2) an engine of 180 hp or less, and 3) space for at least four adult humans.
Neat plane, the Dahu; I had not seen that before. Do we know that it fits adults in the back seat? If not, then perhaps comparisons to other four-seaters with semi-questionable back seats wouldn't out of line. An early (light) 172 if equipped with 180 hp might not be that different on paper than the Dahu (maybe you were looking for EABs only). The Melmoth 2 comes to mind since we're talking about backwards back seats and 1000 lb useful. (Granted that's a 200 hp TSIO-360 but I'm sure it could stagger off the ground with "only" 180 hp). Also I'm surprised no one has thrown out the Bearhawk.
 

JayKoit

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The two 4-seaters I've had my eye on that fit your criteria are the Zenith CH 640 and the Sling 4:

http://www.zenair640.info/
https://www.airplanefactory.com/aircraft/sling-4-kit/

I really like the 640 because it's based on the Part 23 certified design, the CH2000 (basically a stretched version of the 2 seater), and is designed for an O-320 or O-360. It's also one of the most affordable kits at $39k, plus you can buy plans and scratch build parts to save even more (also has a quickbuild option). Plus they've published build options to raise the roof and extend the legroom for the rear occupants...helpful if adults sit in back.

Now that said, the Sling 4 is a real beauty. I went to their US facility in Torrance and took a demo flight in it. It flies great and looks great, plenty of space in the back. And since you're flying a Rotax 914 you're only burning 6gph, and going 125-130 kts. Pretty impressive - but it's well over $100k for the kit and the engine, so...
 

cheapracer

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Having spent some time facing backwards in bonanzas, its not enjoyable (my words) my wife hates it(her words).

Do you gain more than an inch or two vs designing the rear legs under the front seats?
Yup, get trains often and I hate it when I get a wrong way seat.

Its not the leg room issue, it's the better CoG control you get with the 4 torsos closer together.
 

narfi

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Its not the leg room issue, it's the better CoG control you get with the 4 torsos closer together.
You missed my point entirely.
The balance point of the rear seats changes very little between rear facing and forward facing if you are able to put the legs under the front.
In the diagram above, you can see that if you turned the rear seat around, the butt would only need to move back about 3" to provide the minimal uncomfortable knee space even without going under the front seat. Rough math in my head (2k gw and 300lbs in the back seat) that is less than .5 inches which may or may not be critical in that direction for any given design.

Obviously the top has to be high enough for the head at whatever angle, and you cant stick your legs through spars on low wing aircraft, so that all has to be worked out.
 

Victor Bravo

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Has anyone here seen four adults fit into a PA-14? My one ride in a PA-14, in Alaska no less, convinced me it is not a 4 seat airplane for normal size well-fed Americans like me.

The PA-22 and its homebuilt derivatives will probably meet the OP's criteria with an O-360 up front. The PA-22 was the "realistic" version of the PA-14, although it was not the off-road bushplane that the PA-14 can be.

HBA's own Toobuilder has an E-AB project for sale CHEAP, that was based on the PA-22. Bang for the Buck is off the scale.

There's probably a Jodel of some flavor that will meet this mission, Matthew?
 

Victor Bravo

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Fast airplane, the White Lightning. Nick Jones was a little fellow, though.
BJC
He may have been a little guy, but he was also known for having an out-sized personality. "The Mouth of the South" is how he was described to me by some of the Formula One crowd. (Nick Jones had been a F-1 racer, "Mother Holliday" was the name of the airplane I believe, a Cassutt. He apparently built landing gear doors that closed over the bottom of the wheel pants, so it was still "fixed gear", but cleaner than exposed tire treads.)
 

BJC

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Nick also could be very funny. His description of his bailing out of his Cassutt after it failed the requisite 6 g pull, and his description of his mid-air, left me laughing so much my side hurt.


BJC
 

Pops

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Roomy four seat, hard to beat a Bearhawk for room and weight hauling. Build light.

Pictures of my Bearhawk project. Fuselage built and a wing kit of all parts except for the fuel tanks and fiberglass wing tips.
Sold , had to start flying LSA.
Seats fold down for sleeping for 2 people.
 

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TFF

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The problem I have with a four seat homebuilt has nothing to do with any airplane. The problem is cost. Cost value of a four seat homebuilt is more important than lust. Lust drives single seaters and twos also. No one gets excited about a four seat homebuilt. The one that makes the most sense is the Bearhawk. I have plans. It’s a big project if you scratch build every piece. It’s expensive if you buy premade. When you think about time and effort, you can not beat a 172 or a C model Mooney.

If you need some strange modifications, of course a homebuilt is the way to go, but for a regular airplane, why would I want to spend twice as much money to get the same thing essentially. There are people who want to build one for their bucket list, but not many. An RV 10 makes sense as a half price alternative to a Cirrus. That is still an extreme.

What a 172, Mooney or Cherokee does well is give you a chance to have a flying plane so you can spend time building a dream plane like a GeeBee without trying to build to fly.
 
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