# New Ultralight and LSA Trainer design PAIR

Discussion in 'Aircraft Design / Aerodynamics / New Technology' started by Rienk, Aug 1, 2010.

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## What is your interest/input in such a project?

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1. Aug 5, 2010

### Dana

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That's it, in a nutshell. Unless the airport's at the beach or some other place that's fun to hang out at while the girls wait (not too long) for the guys to come back. At the beach, guy goes out on the jetski, comes back in 5 minutes for another beer. He can take the girl for a ride (pobably the girl doesn't want to go but he keeps hoping ) Now jump to the airport... it's hot and dusty and just getting once around the pattern in your single seater takes at least 5 minutes...

And how many get scrapped? When we were importing arts from Korea, roughly 50% of the parts we got were bad. Half of those could be fixed (adjusted), but the remaining 25% had to be scrapped. Nothing we did could get the supplier to improve their quality control... and even with the rework and scrap it was still cheaper than making the parts domestically or even someplace closer like Mexico.

I don't know what Cessna's scrap rate for the 162 is but I've heard that paraglider manufacturers making gliders in the far east also cut up a lot of scrap gliders on receipt.

Sounds like what Snedden's trying to do with his M7... though I remain unconvinced that his 503 powered machine will ever be 103 legal.

Still, I think the best hope would be something strongly resembling the Viera, minus that frightfully ugly engine pod.

-Dana

I think we should have a new Constitutional amendment: every year the State of the Union address should open with a reading of George Washington's farewell address, with emphasis on avoiding entangling alliances and not becoming involved in the territorial disputes of other nations.

2. Aug 5, 2010

### Monty

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What Dana said...

The company I used to work for would routinely scrap an entire shipping container of motors or parts. We had a dual source policy. We never relied entirely on China. That way we could respond quickly, but could save some money on the volume deals.

I have also sourced quite a few injection molding dies in China. When you have a multi-million dollar project, and you can afford to have a liaison engineer on the ground over there mothering the whole thing, you can save some money. If it's only a $100K or less project, it's better to keep it here. You can always have it made in Korea, or Singapore, or Taiwan, but prices are more like the US. Then you have shipping and all the associated logistical problems dealing with somebody on the other side of the world who does not speak your language. The bottom line is you get what you pay for... There are some good people to deal with in China, but you really have to do your leg work and can't treat it as a hands off thing, and IMHO unless your volume is large it's not worth the effort. Shoestring development projects are not the place for outsourcing. Besides, the dollar is going nowhere but down and the Renminbi is going up (long term).....I'd automate and do it here. But do it in a State that treats business a little better than Kalifornia. BTHW the other reason I was thinking motorglider is the popularity of the sport elsewhere around the world. If you can ride a bike, you can hop on a motorcycle after a day of instruction, or if you grew up with them you don't need any, and be cruising the highways and byways with your buds. There are a lot neat things to see, places to go with good food and babes. It is perceived as "cool". Scantily clad Babes hang out at the lake...jet skis....You can put a girl on the back of either one of these devices. There is very little hassle from "The Man". Aviation.......:whistle: Forest for trees-Probably true, but I've been dragged through that forest bouncing off those trees on so many projects that when I hear..."If we could just get 1% of that market" I get vertigo and my stomach starts to clench. My apologies for immediately going into devil's advocate mode. I can't help it. I have too many battle scars, and most of them started with that very statement.ara: I want you to succeed, but to do that you must understand reality so your plan and plane will reflect it. Those of us here, reading this think it's fun to hang out at some desolate airfield with a bunch of crotchety old men diddling about with airplanes all day. Young kids, and even me at certain times in my life...would rather be at the lake. I've been disappointed more than once trying to get my young nieces and nephews interested in a model that you have to put together, or something like that. They have so many instant gratification devices available, that they have the attention span of a nanosecond. You are going to have to address this issue somehow if you are going to succeed. I still say it's not the cost. Everybody (including me) is always talking about getting the cost of aviation down. I think mostly because we are a bunch of cheap B#$&^%*$. If you look at the cost of a bass boat, or 4 wheelers, or off roading, or jet skis, or golf, or motorcycles...flying is not really that much more expensive. You can buy an older C150 for$20K or less. You can learn to fly. It's not the cost it's the other stuff that goes with it that keeps it unpopular. So if you want to make this thing "fly"...(sorry I couldn't help it) you have to address the other things not the cost. How to do that I have no earthly idea. I'm not sure asking a bunch of true believer cheapskate home-built airplane aficionados and airport bums is the right thing to do....ask your potential customers not us.

Then once you know WHAT to build, I think we can possibly help with that.

FWIW

Monty

3. Aug 5, 2010

### Rienk

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Good feedback from all, and I understand the realities of what was said.

Regarding China; the only way it can work is if you have your own factory and manager there. Though QC has improved greatly over the last few years, most companies have learned (the hard way) that you either have to accept junk, or you have to control everything in-country yourself (we plan to do the latter).

Regarding popularity of a sport and the influence of the female gender; I disagree. Most motorsports are not initially pursued because the girls are there, but because cool guys who do it have the girls (this is why smoking is still a problem... kids don't start because smoking is cool - they do it because people they think are 'cool' smoke).

Look at any sport or hobbie - people pursue them for two main reasons - and it's a toss up for which is primary: interest in the actual hobby, or for being a part of a community. 'Belonging' is what drives most human endeavors.
Aviation has done a very poor job of capitalizing on this.

Another issue for aviation is that - unlike most of the motorsport markets - there is no real opportunities for simple "upgrades".
You can't move from a 80cc to a 125cc to a 250cc, etc. It took decades for the dirt biking and carting industries to develop, as is probably true of most hobbies.

For aviation, I'm convinced it is possible - if we look at it for the long haul. Most people only pay lip service to the idea, but really only hope to be able to sell to"one percent of the market".
But for this to work, someone (hopefully a very large group of someones) needs to be committed to providing the 'upsell.'
IMHO this whole thing needs to center around Clubs. Once a Newbie gets involved in this new sport called aviation, they need to be able to quickly move up from the single seater to the two seater - so that they can show off their new sport to their buddy or girlfriend. That is why I am convinced that we need to develop a PAIR of aircraft.
The less expensive they are, the easier it will be to set up schools and clubs.

This brings me to the issue of Price.
I agree that price is not the only issue - but it is a key issue.
I have not done a true market study, but one only has to look at the models and sales numbers of other motorsports to see where the magic price points tend to be. This is purely anecdotal - so anyone who has the interest or connections to do some research in this area, your help would be more valuable than design and engineering.

Let's use Harley-Davidson as a quick example. They start off with their low end models (Sportster?) at a price point that many people say, "I can afford that." But then they have models that are 2-4 times as expensive, and custom bikes can end up being 5-10 times as expensive!
What I am trying to promote is the goal of working together to develop the Sportster of aircraft - starting with the 103UL "class," I am already trying to do this on a little higher end using LSA with the Solo and Duet... but I realized that this is still not simple enough (or cheap enough) to get the momentum our sport needs.

This comparison brings up another point - conformity and appeal. The reality is that motorcycles don't really look that different from each other, let alone operate significantly different. Although there are the oddball trikes (which I actually like some of), there are not motorcycles that have the steering in back, side by side, seating, front engine, rear engine, etc. (anyone who argues with this is not even trying to get the point).
Two wheels in tandem, engine in the middle, seat on top... normal.
Yes, there are dirt bikes, crotch rockets, cruisers, air cooled, liquid cooled, bare bones, lots of chrome or plastic... but there is still a sense of 'normal.'

What's normal for an airplane?
As much as some of you may chaff at this, in order for our "potential" customer base to envision being able to move up, they need to know that their transition to each "class" of aircraft will be evolutionary (not revolutionary). In reality, this may not be a big deal - but the "perception" of it needs to be addressed (just like tricycle versus tail wheel training).

Okay, that being said, I believe that a conventional airplane configuration will be the easiest to design-engineer-build, as well as give the "perception" listed above... but will it be exciting enough?
As much as I am becoming enamored with Orion's 'Rasp' design (I really think it is awesome, though I don't see how it will actually fly - but a flying wing like that would be amazing!), a conventional layout is probably where we're going to end up.

On a side note - I truly believe that these aircraft need to be trailerable - just like most other motorsports (motorcycles, carting, water craft, snowmobiles, etc). Most people who enjoy these sports don't usually use the vehicle to get together, they haul them to their meeting place (I was surprised to see how many trailers were at Sturgis).

Okay, enough philosophizing (hey, spell check says that's a word!)...

Responses to my ramblings are encouraged - but we need to start somewhere - with a real design!

4. Aug 5, 2010

### Monty

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I agree, but you are saying you want an integrated approach with clubs and all that...you need to figure that out first and have a list of design requirements that go along with that "system". Build it and they will come doesn't always work out so well....

Rocket Racing League anyone???

Monty

5. Aug 5, 2010

### Rienk

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That was the stupid-est-er-istic thing in the world - no different than watching a glider be towed up and see how fast it can come down...

Again, for our purposes, the design requirements are already laid out in the FARs (103).

The "system" is simple.
• non-flying trainers.
• UL single seater to practice and compete in.
• LSA for training and competition (rally racing?).

Later...
• Formula 1 type racer (inexpensive - stock and modified)

What do you think we need to know - for now - beyond that?

6. Aug 5, 2010

### Monty

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Well how and to whom are you going to market it? I mean I could see something like a set up where you market to businesses who rent them out, that way you keep the initial entry cost to the individual really low.

What if it was at the beach, or the lake and there were some of those blow up pylon things out in the water. What if you could get in and fly around those pylons yourself in a single seater? What if the instructor pilot was on the ground and had a remote control and a radio to talk to you. What if the plane had electronic "training wings" so it keeps a novice out of trouble....

In the line there are simulators where you can start learning to fly before you even get on....that part is free. Instant gratification. It's like go karts...you show up and go for a ride. You of course have your stunt pilot doing all kinds of silly tricks up and down the beach and towing banners around. You get a large throughput and are more likely to find the small percentage of people who will think "THIS is COOL!!!" As you get better, you move up in classes, maybe to racing your own on the weekend.

So now you are competing with the jet ski rental and go cart rental, or maybe even selling to them. That would be an entirely different set of design requirements than if you were selling to me..

What are these clubs going to look like and who is going to be in them, where are they going to be? For profit, non profit? Insurance? business model...etc.

I did see that one LSA amphib with the folding wings that is trailerable.....I think they did their homework. Still don't know if it will work out.

I'm not sure any of this is really a good idea or even viable.....but I think you need to look at this kind of thing if you really want to change the industry dynamic as it is now.

Designing the plane before you do this part is putting the cart before the horse.

I think you are right about the trailerable thing. If you could fit your plane in a covered trailer and park it beside your house a huge expense goes away. You can take it to wherever you are going for a meet. If you do like the motocross guys you have a couple cots and a cook stove with an awning and the trailer becomes a camper. So it becomes a social event along with the flying.

Monty

7. Aug 5, 2010

### Monty

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FAA would never let you do any of my previous Ideas....

Monty

8. Aug 5, 2010

### Hot Wings

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I'd really like to contribute more to this endeavor as I'm one of the "interest in the actual hobby" group. But I'm also not a social creature. To be honest if there are too many people at the airport I'm likely to grab the climbing bag and head for the furthest rock.

I understand "things" and am completely confounded by people and their whims. For example the only Harley I'd ever consider buying would be a Topper, with a side car. A modern liquid-cooled 4 stroke would make it my daily transportation.

I can design and build a perfectly good and efficient "widget" but if there isn't a market for it I've wasted my time. Guys like me need the marketing department to get started. The marketing department needs guys like me to keep one step ahead of the competition.

Tell me what will sell and I'll help build it. I've got my own ideas on what would actually make an efficient practical light plane but I doubt that you could sell many. My past marketing attempts suggest that I'm completely out of phase with the general public. :dis:

Harley didn't sell many Toppers eitheronder:

9. Aug 5, 2010

### Dana

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That's true. Half the guys I fly with rarely even fly. They come out to the airport every Saturday morning, religiously as going to church, to hang out and drink coffee until lunchtime. Some of the guys haven't flown for years, but still keep a plane at the airport, and keep paying hanger rent, just to "belong". Only a couple of us, and the PPG guys, fly more than once every few weeks.

And airports are another part of the problem... there simply aren't enough of them. And they're too far from home. The kid with the dirt bike is riding in the woods behind his house; you can't do that with an airplane.

As one who owns a trailerable airplane, I can say yes and no. Yes, it's nice. But I still leave the plane (in the trailer) at the airport because towing it around is such a hassle.

-Dana

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and
delicious. And why shouldn't it be? -- it is the same the angels
breathe.

- Mark Twain

10. Aug 5, 2010

### Monty

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A good pilot friend of mine and I went around and around on this when I was doing the conceptual work on my little bird. I originally wanted to have the wings detachable so I could trailer it (glider habits). He eventually talked me out of it for a lot of good reasons.

Where I live hangars aren't that expensive. But....SoCal or any other high population density place?

Yeah...funny thing is I almost wrote "and drink coffee" to my post too. Just didn't in the interest of getting done.

I think anything involving having to "go somewhere" to do this is part of the complication. Motorcycles and all the others can do this around the block or in the woods behind the house. Then they get together for special occasions with their buds.

We are confined to only the "special" occasions. There is a glider port over near Tulsa...but it takes me 2 hours to get over there...not gonna happen often enough to be worth the money and hassle, even though I LOVE to do it.

Monty

11. Aug 5, 2010

### Monty

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I'm with you man...

Flying is a solitary sport in the end. And it tends to be those crotchety old timers and fairly individualistic types hanging around that makes it fun for me. Frankly if it was the general public involved I'd go do something else. Aviation for better or worse as it is now is a fairly effective "filter". I personally like that about it. What Rienk is trying to do is broaden the appeal and get more people in it. I think that would be good, and I hope he pulls it off. I'm just not sure it's one of those kind of things to start with.

BTHW that amphib I was thinking of was the ICON....I looked it up. Yeah...real nice...right idea...just lop \$100K off the price and it might work.

Don't even get me started on that flying car thing.

That para-dune buggy makes a lot more sense.

Monty

12. Aug 5, 2010

### Rienk

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I'm sure we can probably agree that most of the motorsports would be at less than 10% there current levels if people "had to" pay to store their toys... this brings to mind one industry that we haven't mentioned yet - boating.
How many people actually keep their boats in a marina, whether ocean or lake? Mostly only those that are too large to trailer. There are exponentially more that are trailerable, and are stored at home.
What we need is an airplane that can be set up for use as quickly as a boat.

I agree that most people who have airplane with folding wings don't usually use that feature - but that would be different for the group we're talking about, if for only the fact that there are not enough hangars available. Still, it would be nice for a club to rent a larger hangar that can fit 10-20 of these airplanes that can be pulled out and used as needed.

We need to get flying to be less of a special get together; I am also not willing to drive 2-3 hours each way just to get to the glider port... but anyone with 10-20 acres outside of town can set up a flying field - preferably grass so that all the hot babes don't get dusty!
In our part of the country, most of the hang-glider launch sites are on public land; I would think this would be the best way to go with airfields for these ultralights clubs as well (though they might have to be non-profit). And the beauty is that you don't need a hill/mountain to launch off of, or tow planes - just some pretty countryside (I guess that means this won't work in west Texas).

That 'solitary' mind set is what we have to change. Granted, many enjoy being alone in the sky, and that's fine. But if we really love our sport, we need to create opportunities for others to get involve - primarily on their terms, not ours. Only the most selfish or egotistical SOB's think otherwise (if the shoe fits...).

Yes, I may be tilting at windmills, but I would rather 'crash and burn' trying than to sit back and do nothing, bemoaning the fact that so few others realize how "special" we pilots really are.
I don't know if this can be pulled off - ever. But I believe it can.

The practical side of it all is that we really don't have a lot of options for creativity in the 103UL market... thus I don't think we need to have the marketing plan done first.
Pragmatically, even if this idea doesn't work, the worst case scenario will likely be that a bunch of us have fun designing and building these little aircraft, and get to keep one for our own use (I want at least four of them myself - one for each kid).

IMO, the Icon is the epitomy of great marketing for a new aircraft concept.
However, it will never work as conceived. The electronic retract mechanism apparently weighs 100 lbs by itself which will never fly; I've even heard that they are going to get rid of the flaps for weight savings (and why not, they only help a little with stall speed, and LSA rules don't allow them to help meet the minimum anyway). But overall, those guys have the right idea - it is a fun "toy", not a mode of transportation. I think we can do the same thing at higher volumes, even with less capability, just by dropping a Zero off of the price!

SOOOOOO !
The issue is not whether we should try this, but rather what the airplane should look like.
Only those crazy enough to try, or in love enough with aviation, should be involved with this project. Those of us who do may lose some time and/or money; maybe we'll at least get to own an airplane out of the deal; hopefully we'll get many more people involved with aviation; at best, we'll recoup our investment and be able to afford trying another project!

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13. Aug 5, 2010

### Topaz

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I've been in earlier iterations of this discussion, and have said my piece there, but I will chime in here and to this degree:

If you don't have a marketing plan and at least some marketing development done before you put pencil to paper (or mouse to CAD system), then what you're designing may bear little or no resemblance to something that might actually sell. You'll be committing exactly the same business sin that's hobbled far too many fledgling companies in the light-aviation market: You're building what you like and assuming that everyone else likes the same. And you'll "figure out how to sell it later."

If you're serious about selling the product of your efforts, start with the business and marketing plans FIRST. The product you develop should flow from your plan, not the other way 'round. If you're not serious about doing this as a business, don't even entertain the thought. If you want to sell airplanes, you need to be in this for the business first and the airplanes second. Anything else and you will fail.

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14. Aug 5, 2010

### Monty

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Yeah...but everybody here wants something totally different!!:gig:

We are all such a bunch of dissatisfied malcontents that we are designing OUR very own airplane...nobody else has one good enough for us:roll:

I agree about the solitary thing...everybody gets into it for their own personal reasons. I like the fact that it generally tends to select for people who are disciplined, dedicated and generally have their heads on straight. I don't really care what the rest of the world thinks...and we like it that way

That is the crux of the issue though you have to care what the rest of the world thinks to do what you want to do. Something that most of us find...erm difficult. That's just the way it is.

OK, I'm going to pretend you are that annoying marketing guy with his head in the clouds and we work for some company

So we have the following requirements:

Part 103
Folding wings
Trailer-able
Industrial engine of some sort.
Designed for manufacture

My response:

Where is the concept and the ID? (this is half the battle)
What annual sales volume?
What price point?
When?
What is my development budget? :gig:
What are our resources :whistle:

Let's worry about that first one before we get any farther down the list. Somebody has to put a stake in the ground. I suggest you come up with 3 fairly well thought out designs (you need an ID guy who flies model airplanes, not a bunch of engineers for this). Then we can do some trade studies. The problem is going to get back to who your customer is...I'm pretty sure we ain't it; so asking us in a poll isn't going to tell you what you need to know. Show it to high school kids or take it to a motorcycle rally or something like that to get some feed back.

Monty

15. Aug 5, 2010

### Topaz

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Monty, I am the annoying marketing guy, but I'm also a business owner and I like the way you think. :gig: See my post above.

16. Aug 5, 2010

### Monty

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AMEN BROTHER!!

Monty

17. Aug 6, 2010

### Autodidact

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18. Aug 6, 2010

### Hot Wings

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I'm in this for selfish reasons. If we don't get some new pilots that actually fly we are going to loose even more airspace and have more restrictive regulations.

I'm also in this because I like flying and think others should have the opportunity to experience the fun that can be had. I may be a solitary individual but if you are really interested I'll be there to help. Just don't expect me to hang around for "happy hour" after the flying is done for the day. I'd rather go polish the bugs of the canard.

One thing we can do without a business plan is get the engine issue sorted out. Maybe since I have an unfinished BD-5 I'm more sensitive to the availability of an engine.

I've been doing my own thing for several years toward the goal we've been discussing. I plan to build what I like and if it sells great. If not, Oh well. I have other ways to make a living.

I've got a half dozen projects I'd like to build in varying stages from basic weight/balance/stability calculations to "flop the material on the CNC table and poke run"

They all share one common problem. There isn't an engine on the market in the 25 to 40 Hp range that I consider airworthy, for a reasonable price. There are lots of canidates if you are willing to scroung parts and do the modifications needed yourself. But that isn't marketable.

Soooo !

IMHO get the engine situation nailed down and then we can start thinking about the airframe.

This brings up a debate similar to the pusher/tractor one. Direct drive, or reduction unit? If it weren't for the unknowns of torsional harmonics I'd be firmly in the PSRU camp.

2 strokes? Fine for the hardcore 103 flier but I doubt the target demographics would put up with the idiosyncrasies.

Liquid cooling? I think it's where we will all end up. There are just too many advantages. But for now I think the simplicity of air-cooling will get us to market quicker.

That's my 2 bits for now:nervous:

19. Aug 6, 2010

### Monty

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20. Aug 6, 2010

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