Need Suggestions for First Build

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cluttonfred

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To recap the OP's criteria:
  1. <$40k good, <$20k better
  2. Build time on the shorter side, say 2k hours or less
  3. Primarily wood and fabric construction
  4. Two seats minimum, tandem preferred but not required
  5. >500 lb useful load OK, >600 lb preferred (pilot alone is 275 lb)
  6. LSA fine but not required
  7. 50-150 kt cruise speed
  8. >100 mile range, >200 miles preferred
  9. 4-stroke engine
  10. >Removable or folding wings preferred, ideally only doable by one person
  11. No significant modifications/redesign required
  12. Looks are irrelevant (yippee, he likes Volksplanes!) ;-)
  13. Taildragger OK, grass field operations
I have gone through a very similar list of criteria myself, and I think it comes down to whether or not you will really fly with wife and daughter or anyone else very often.

Do they fly with you now in rental aircraft? If you invite them to join you in day trips or overnights in a rented C172 and they are not enthusiastic, then maybe a VP-2 as a single-seater might be all you need.

I also think that pilots tend to like tandem seating, non-pilot passengers not so much, so it might be worth sending them both up for joyride in a Cub or something to get their opinion.

That said, looking at your criteria especially useful load then I would look at more than two seats, ideally three and more commonly four.

One plane you might consider is the Peña Dahu (also here) from France. It's a straightforward wooden taildragger designed for mountain flying that can be built as a four-seater with 180 hp and about 1100 lb useful load or kept light and spartan as a roomy two-seater with a 120 hp and about 660 lb useful load. Here's a nice album from a sightseeing flight in the Alps in one such plane with a couple of the photos below at reduced size. It does not meet the folding/removable wing criterion, but there are very few homebuilts with more than two seats that do.

Cheers,

Matthewdahu 1.jpg dahu 2.jpg dahu 3.jpg
 
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Steve Davis

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Do they fly with you now in rental aircraft? If you invite them to join you in day trips or overnights in a rented C172 and they are not enthusiastic, then maybe a VP-2 as a single-seater might be all you need.

I also think that pilots tend to like tandem seating, non-pilot passengers not so much, so it might be worth sending them both up for joyride in a Cub or something to get their opinion.
That Dahu is a neat looking plane!

And yes, I love the Volksplane. I'm a big fan of simple requirements being met with simple designs. Fly? yes. Win beauty contests? not a requirement.

For better or worse, my family LOVES to fly. If it were not so, I'd jump on a single-seat in a heartbeat. I'll look more into the non-tandem setups too. I'm not against them. Part of my thinking on the tandem idea, and it may be wrong, is my experience with a C152. My wife and I could fly in it, but shoulder space sure was tight.
 

Pops

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In today's market, you can buy someones project that is for sale for less than the cost of the materials.

I loved my Falconar F-12. All wood and 2 or 3 place. Great mountain airplane with a ROC at 1700 fpm at GW of 1600 lbs with +9 and -6.5, and at a lower g rating at a GW of 1800 lbs. My F-12 had a 75% cruise at a good 150 mph. Great traveling machine that handled like an RV-4 with just very slightly heaver ailerons. EW was 937 lbs.
One piece wing of 27' 6".
 
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mcrae0104

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Have you considered the Cub Major/Majorette (essentially a Luton Major)? Checks almost all of your boxes, except perhaps the folding wing.



Matthew posted some information about the Lutons over in this thread.
 

cluttonfred

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I am a big fan of the Luton designs, but do keep in mind that the Cub Major is a fairly complex 1930s design originally intended for series production. I am not trying do discourage you, but I would definitely consult with some UK builders to be sure you know what you're in for.

Something like a Fisher Horizon 2 would be a simpler and quicker project.

 
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I am a big fan of the Luton designs, but do keep in mind that the Cub Major is a fairly complex 1930s design originally intended for series production. I am not trying do discourage you, but I would definitely consult with some UK builders to be sure you know what you're in for.
I have plans for the Luton Major and the American derivative, the Cub Major. I can confirm that there is some very involved work in them, especially the Luton Major, and some elements that would be difficult not to mess up badly. It looks like it would be satisfying to build, but it's a whole different class of aircraft from the Fishers or the Flying Flea I'm building.
 

cheapracer

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Steve, have you been to the Mini-Max site yet?

Plans for some of the models are free, and there is a 2 seater, the "Epic Sport", either released or about to be. It's basically a side by side version of the "Hi-Max".

They have been around a long time with planes flying all over the world, in fact a bit strange how infrequently they are mentioned anywhere considering their success and the hundreds of them out there.

I spent a few days recently with the owner, Dave Cooper, very nice guy.

https://www.teammini-max.com/support/which-mini-max/
 

Toobuilder

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Considering that you're 6'2 and 275 takes you out of a Tailwind, I think. Even with the Clement mods it's going to be tight.

How about a Hiperbipe? Meets much of your construction criteria and has a very wide cabin. Downside is the engine is pretty much limited to 180 with a CS as a minimum. Upside is that you can find a complete flying airplane within your stated budget, they are fast, carry a lot, and are comfortable.
 

Steve Davis

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I am a big fan of the Luton designs, but do keep in mind that the Cub Major is a fairly complex 1930s design originally intended for series production. I am not trying do discourage you, but I would definitely consult with some UK builders to be sure you know what you're in for.

Something like a Fisher Horizon 2 would be a simpler and quicker project.

Thank you for the heads-up on build difficulty. Just out of ignorance... what is so difficult about the Cub Major/Majorette build?
 

cluttonfred

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I have no personal experience to share on the Major/Majorette, Steve, just what I have heard. I suspect it is simply designed as if you had a full woodworking shop and experienced woodworkers standing by, ditto the metal bits, not impossible by any means, just finicky.
 

Dana

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A lot of old British designs were fiendishly complicated, requiring insane amounts manhours, driven I think by the labor laws of the time.
 
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