New Ultralight and LSA Trainer design PAIR 2

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Rienk

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Ah, I see where I'm vague, my bad. By materials, I solely meant the structural materials, so just epoxy/carbon/foam or steel truss, or alu sheeting and rivets. Same for labor, just building the entire airframe, not systems, controls etc.
I guess I can see that. On the Solo, we have less than 200 lbs. of composite, which costs us about $700 - but this doesn't count control systems, landing gear, brakes, etc.
Labor to build those parts and put them together is about a third of overall labor, so 150 hours or $2700.
Together, that comes to less than 20% of overall cost of manufacture.

Well, rather the opposite. Standing next to it at an airshow is good entertainment. Plenty of drooling non-pilots. The simple looks put away with much of the "I can never afford that" thinking.
I've always been intrigued with flying wings, but how do you make one a UL?
Seems like you'd end up with the Sadler or the KasperWing?
I don't particularly like how the Verhees folds and travels (I would like trailer storage) but there is probably no better way.

254 pounds is going to be the tough part, and again, designing a flying wing is beyond what I am willing to do.
 

autoreply

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Rotterdam, Netherlands
I've always been intrigued with flying wings, but how do you make one a UL?
Seems like you'd end up with the Sadler or the KasperWing?
I don't particularly like how the Verhees folds and travels (I would like trailer storage) but there is probably no better way.
For a flying wing, it can be made short enough to trailer in one piece, namely with the nose up and one of the wings pointing to the car, other to the back.
254 pounds is going to be the tough part, and again, designing a flying wing is beyond what I am willing to do.
I don't see how it's going to work out for an UL, unless you go for something like an "immersed fabric delta", much like a pregnant hangglider.
 

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
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Find a whole new bunch of people that haven't ever considered flying before and get them addicted to flying. Work out how to physically introduce a non-flying public to a whole new way of life.How will you make those millions of people out there want to fly?


The beauty of having your own independently created market is that it's bottomless, it's as big as you make it and you're not competing with anyone. Not only that, the more similarly minded people get into creating their own new airplane market, the better.

Your are right about the market focus. We need to stop cannibalizing what little aviation market exists like a bunch of Hunter Gatherers fighting over the last Mastodon. We need to become farmers.

To be honest, I'm not going to start by trying to create a market - I don't have the cash flow for that.

If/when there is steady growth, we'll go after different segments of the general population.
Yes, you do have the cash flow to create a market. You have to step outside the box, not only with the airplane design, but with the overall business/marketing model that comes with large investments. The airplane market is for all practical purposes dead. Without a huge amount of money to keep the market afloat for a decade or so before you see a profit, the only way left is like it was done the first time around. Start small. Start local. Start simple. Build on ANY success that develops. Be ready to adapt.

If you wait around for there to be steady growth from within the existing aviation market before you go after new segments, you will be waiting - until someone else takes the market share that could have been yours.

Your entry level model of a having several trainers ready and waiting for the first customers not only takes more dollars than most of us have, or can round up from investors, it will fail in smaller towns. I know I live in a sparsely populated state, but even if every resident here happened to be in one city there still wouldn't be enough people interested to keep the operation solvent until you developed a market base that could make such a multiple plane operation profitable.

I'm looking at this from the most basic and inexpensive level I can. My proposed solo training using a basic modern primary glider has no hope of generating the cash flow that your model might, but I expect it to be profitable after the first year. If not I'm out less than 5 figures US$'s.

After the first glider is built I'll offer "free" flying lessons via Facebook postings and "lost dog" bulletin board flyers. I've located a few good fields around here that are next to high traffic areas that would be suitable for basic training. I have not yet found an available hill properly oriented with the wind, which would be ideal.

When the student numbers have grown to a point where a second trainer is needed I'd have the second, and an assistant trainer ready. Moving up to the next level with a 2 place trainer so my students could start flying traditional powered ultralights should be much easier to do with the established base of new pilots. Without that base I'd need a certified 2 place trainer, or at the very least an EAB 2 place and enough students to form a flying club, making instruction in the EAB legal.

There is nothing wrong with thinking big, just be willing to start small if it's is the only practical way.
 

Rienk

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Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
1,365
Location
Santa Maria, CA (SMX)
Yes, you do have the cash flow to create a market. You have to step outside the box, not only with the airplane design, but with the overall business/marketing model that comes with large investments. The airplane market is for all practical purposes dead. Without a huge amount of money to keep the market afloat for a decade or so before you see a profit, the only way left is like it was done the first time around. Start small. Start local. Start simple. Build on ANY success that develops. Be ready to adapt.

If you wait around for there to be steady growth from within the existing aviation market before you go after new segments, you will be waiting - until someone else takes the market share that could have been yours.

Your entry level model of a having several trainers ready and waiting for the first customers not only takes more dollars than most of us have, or can round up from investors, it will fail in smaller towns. I know I live in a sparsely populated state, but even if every resident here happened to be in one city there still wouldn't be enough people interested to keep the operation solvent until you developed a market base that could make such a multiple plane operation profitable.

I'm looking at this from the most basic and inexpensive level I can. My proposed solo training using a basic modern primary glider has no hope of generating the cash flow that your model might, but I expect it to be profitable after the first year. If not I'm out less than 5 figures US$'s.

After the first glider is built I'll offer "free" flying lessons via Facebook postings and "lost dog" bulletin board flyers. I've located a few good fields around here that are next to high traffic areas that would be suitable for basic training. I have not yet found an available hill properly oriented with the wind, which would be ideal.

When the student numbers have grown to a point where a second trainer is needed I'd have the second, and an assistant trainer ready. Moving up to the next level with a 2 place trainer so my students could start flying traditional powered ultralights should be much easier to do with the established base of new pilots. Without that base I'd need a certified 2 place trainer, or at the very least an EAB 2 place and enough students to form a flying club, making instruction in the EAB legal.

There is nothing wrong with thinking big, just be willing to start small if it's is the only practical way.
I like your model, and I don't disagree with you - but if I can afford it, I would like to develop the entry level model I discussed, simply because I would want to have a couple of planes for my kids, and a two-seat trainer for them and their friends. It might be adding a 'zero' to the budget, but it's all relative. The one thing that every person shares, though, is time - we all have the same amount. Thus, if I could figure out a fairly straight-forward way to pursue this before my minions all leave the house, great. That will involve a significant level of help/collaboration. Otherwise, I'll be content to pursue the LSAs I'm working on.

I like your model, but it may be difficult to replicate. Although I think using a "scooter" tow apparatus would be a good way to go - even for your first location - forget about the hill :)
 

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
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but if I can afford it,

I like your model, but it may be difficult to replicate. Although I think using a "scooter" tow apparatus would be a good way to go - even for your first location - forget about the hill :)
If you can afford the more conventional business model, then it could very well be the less risky way to go.

My model is very dependent on one individual, or a small dedicated group. It's not something that can easily be scaled on a national level until it has spread to a few other sites.

Yes, the scooter tow may actually be a more efficient, and safer, method. It has the added advantage of being able to be used both directions if the wind is minimal.

I've been thinking that a purpose made winch with similar Hp might have a few advantages. I know scroungers like me could fabricate one for less than the cost of a scooter - at least here in my part of the world where a reasonable scooter costs more than it would save on fuel in it's lifetime compared to the average car.

Time = the only truly non-renewable resource.
 
Last edited:

Rienk

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Oct 11, 2008
Messages
1,365
Location
Santa Maria, CA (SMX)
Hello friends,
I was reading through some old posts looking for some information, and noticed it's been a while since I've discussed this paper project.
FYI, I've begun to work on a wood and fabric two-seater again, using the building techniques of the TS-1. I purchased a CNC laser machine that will allow us to cut most of the wood parts. If all goes well, we'll then follow up with a new version of a single seat.

However, the UL and Trainer concept are still dear to my heart, and I haven't given up on them. I continue to mull over ideas and building techniques. If our engine development project works out for the Solo, we might be able to use it for a UL as well (the two seat Trainer will probably use a VW as the 'base' engine option).
 
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