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ShadoeFox

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Sep 12, 2021
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Hello folks, new guy here. I've no idea what I may end up doing, since I've just really started thinking about it. I'm honestly thinking in terms of finding a first project, something relatively (relatively!) straightforward. No idea what that might be, though... either way, hello!
 

karmarepair

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Welcome. Give us some hints on what your mission might be, your budget, whether you prefer working with wood, composites, sheet metal or welding steel, and we can make suggestions.
 

TarDevil

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Welcome to HBA!
What's your aviation background? In addition to karmarepair's questions, will you be flying mostly by yourself or do you have spouse/significant other/kids that wanna come along?
 

ShadoeFox

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Sep 12, 2021
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My aviation background is "Wanna be." I'm getting ready to sign up for lessons probably starting in the spring so I'm not in a rush (obviously). My budget is, sadly, as little as I can manage. And I'm very much going to learn as I go. For a project, or first project maybe, I was thinking something single seat, and I like the look of classic biplanes, though I'm a bit bigger than those olde time guys (though I'm working on weight loss with everything too).

I think I'd like a wood and fabric project, but haven't 100 percent decided. Was hoping to find guidance here, to be honest.
 

Dana

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Fisher makes several biplane models, all wood, I used to own a FP-404. There's also the Fly Baby biplane. A lot of biplanes are steel tubing fuselage with wood wings.
 

ShadoeFox

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Sep 12, 2021
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I've seen those. I've also seen some WWI era designs. I like them, but I'm just not sure. I admit, I don't know how to judge the actual 'difficulty' of a build, either. Truth is, I am still figuring out what I want to try, and what I think I CAN try. And sadly, I'm not apparently near anyone who knows more, or at least haven't found them.

Okay, my favorite is admittedly the Grumman F3F but I am pretty sure that's not even remotely possible. (chuckles)

And, to be honest... I'm completely willing to rethink the entire idea, and approach a different design philosophy.
 
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Jet787

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Sep 3, 2020
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Northern Va
Pietenpol Air Camper, hard to get more straight forward than that.
It‘s all wood, easy to fly, two seats, so you can have an instructor teach you how to fly. Cheap to build and to operate. Ther is an annual fly-in just before Oshkosh each year.
Good luck
 

ShadoeFox

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Sep 12, 2021
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You know, that wasn't what I was imagining, but it's kinda... adorable. I'm going to have to consider that one, though I might have to look into ways to squeeze a bit more carrying capacity into it.
 

ShadoeFox

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Sep 12, 2021
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Near St. Louis, Missouri. I'm sure there's people around (since I know of a place that sells the aircraft grade woods not to far from me) but I haven't met them... course, with the world as it is right now... yeah.
 

Michael Silvius

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Jan 26, 2020
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Maine USA
I think a good starting point would be the Flying and Glider Manuals. Get all five of them. Loaded with interesting early designs including a number of single seat biplanes.
 

ShadoeFox

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Sep 12, 2021
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I've been pondering what books to buy. My internet education is becoming something of a diminishing return, but for here. Thanks a lot for the suggestion!
 

karmarepair

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The FIsher Products kits represent a hell of a deal if you chose to build in wood, and you can get partial kits, or build from plans. Aircraft | Fisher Flying Products | Aircraft Kits

FP-404 - biplane, single place, could ring all your bells for Small Money, as airplanes go. Light Sport eligible, Experimental Amateur Built.

You didn't mention if you're going to try and fly Part 103; the only true ultralight biplane I can think of offhand is the Graham Lee Nieuport 11, powered with one of the small air cooled 2 cycle Rotax or Hirth with the highest available reduction ratio. NIEUPORT 11 | nieuports
 

ShadoeFox

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Sep 12, 2021
Messages
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I actually am hoping to do flight training stuff, possibly as soon as spring. I am hoping to go all the way to private pilot, but LSA is what I was aiming for, or even 103 if I could but wasn't married to it for a first build.

I admit, I like the look of the FP-404, and really like the Tiger Moth (It's just so bi-plane looking as a bi-plane... if that makes sense). I also kind of like some of the things I see on the Airdrome Airplanes site (they're actually physically not far from me, too).

My hesitation is I'm going to be very learn as I go, so wasn't sure if, even as kits, if they'd be a good starting point for me. I'm also real good at being indecisive when I have trouble finding comprehensive info I can absorb. I'm a bit Virgo that way.

Maybe my best first step is make friends...heh.

Edit: I admit, I've also thought about maybe starting with a soarplane, but I for some reason have a hard time finding info about them... I'm sure it's me that's the problem, though, but thought "Well, then you don't have to worry about an engine/big engine" (depending on motor glider or not)
 
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narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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Alaska

I don't think you can go wrong with the Fisher plans. Esp. since you stated you like biplanes.
Another budget oriented wood option is the Team Mini-Max planes

You haven't stated any previous life skills that may cross over, but I am sure you probably would end up more comfortable with one of the different construction types, wood, aluminum, welded steel and fabric.

For pure ease of mind and ease of assembly, probably hard to beat the Zenith kits. You get the parts all cnc drilled and ready to literally 'pop rivet' together.
I wanted more complex for the 'hobby' of it, and am scratch building a zenith, but the kits go together amazingly easy, and there is a big following and lots of youtube videos as well as an entire homebuilding video series to walk you through holding your hands step by step. I think that could give you a lot of confidence. The 701 is the smaller of their high wing aircraft and might be a good place to start researching. We are building the 750 Super Duty, but with a 3rd seat and bigger engine, the completed cost is going to be a bit higher even scratch building.
You could also look at the other brands that homebuilding video tutorial site supports and see if any of them are more to your liking as well, all good options in their own ways.

What ever you choose, I would strongly encourage you NOT modify the plans from what the designer intended on your first build. With experience both in flying and in building and years on this forum, you could safely make modifications, but early on you don't know what you don't know, and even small changes can have cascading effects.

It is a grand adventure, and we are all rooting for you to find the perfect project you will love and commit to the long haul of finishing and flying.
Good Luck!
 

Mike von S.

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Feb 4, 2021
Messages
100
If you are looking for a wood and fabric, single seat, open cockpit, plans-built, bi-plane with panache, check out Lynn Williams' Flitzer line of aircraft: Flitzer Sportflug Verein
Z-1 was the prototype, Z-21 (improved version of Z-1) is the base model. These were designed around aero-VW's. The Goblin, which is what I am building, is the smalest, lightest, and simplest, but if you're a big guy, probably not suited. The Z-21A is the base model with a 2" wider fuselage. None of these is naturally Part 103 compliant, but all could fit the LSA criteria. All are stressed for light aerobatics. The Z-3 is an enlarged Z-21 (in every respect), designed to fly behind a Corvair aero conversion. The wild stallions in the stable are the Z-1S (clipped wings) and Z-1R (Rotec radial powered) designed for more aggressive aerobatics, with 4 ailerons and mass-balanced controls. The prototype two seater, the Z-2, is nearing completion, with a Verner 7 radial fitted.
 

narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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To follow up what I posted above, some of the kit manufacturers sell 'introduction' kits. Usually a rudder or other simple part. You can purchase them without making a huge financial commitment, and then build it yourself and decide if you enjoy that method and workflow.

Since I had suggested the 701 above, here is a link to their intro kit,

$375 for a birthday or Christmas or attaboy gift to yourself, and you can get a feel for it really soon without making any real commitments.
Just a thought :)
 
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