Preparing to build a TBD

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Valy

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Feb 27, 2020
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Hello, I'm happy to join this forum.

I'm looking at starting a build of a single sitter that I hope to use for commuting 30 miles daily, weather permitted.
I'm pretty good with mechanics (restored and rebuilt cars, engines, bicycles, appliances), electronics (my other job) and some carpentry.

Is there a consensus on what that TBD plane should be? My basic criteria is:
1. Fly 30 miles with some spare gas for surprises.
2. I need to be able to build it.
3. I need to be able to finish it in 12-24 months.
4. I'm budgeting about $15K for plans, materials and engine. Could pony up $10K more if a quick-build will save a lot of time.
5. Needs to fly in and out of Class C/D airspace, so no ultralight (unless it is registered)

This community rocks!
Thanks captains!
 

Dana

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The usual questions, what's your flying experience, what kind of materials do you have the skills for and like working with (wood, aluminum, welded steel, composites), do you have a place to store it?

Any airport in class C means having a plane fast enough to not interfere with other traffic. And those airports often have hefty landing fees...

If your budget extends to $25K there are a lot of already flying airplanes, certified and experimental, in that price range, as well as partly completed projects, unless you really have your heart set on building.

Unless you're instrument rated don't count on any airplane being a reliable form of transportation unless you live where the sun shines all the time or have storage and alternate transportation on both ends.

But if you can make it work, go for it!
 

Valy

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
7
The usual questions, what's your flying experience, what kind of materials do you have the skills for and like working with (wood, aluminum, welded steel, composites), do you have a place to store it?

Any airport in class C means having a plane fast enough to not interfere with other traffic. And those airports often have hefty landing fees...

If your budget extends to $25K there are a lot of already flying airplanes, certified and experimental, in that price range, as well as partly completed projects, unless you really have your heart set on building.

Unless you're instrument rated don't count on any airplane being a reliable form of transportation unless you live where the sun shines all the time or have storage and alternate transportation on both ends.

But if you can make it work, go for it!
Dana, yes I want to build it. I know I could buy a used 150 but where's the fun in that?
I have a class D airport within 10 min cycling distance from both home and office. (Class C is there as an option)
I only plan to fly when weather permits, daylight VFR. I can drive any other day, or even take an Uber if something unplanned pops-up.
Here in California, the sun always shines :) but that still means that I can fly probably 50% of the days. That sound like fun to me!

I'm looking for advice on what plane should I focus on. I prefer wood and composites. I'm not familiar with welding but I could learn.
 

Victor Bravo

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Jul 30, 2014
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KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
I can point you toward a very basic good-weather-only airplane that you can buy for $6,000, spend less than one month getting it back to flying condition, Spend another $1500-2500 in ADS-B avionics to be legal, and then use it for your intended purpose.

It is a white and red Volksplane VP-1 that is on the San Diego Craigslist. It is complete and may be flyable right now, but to be conservative it should be looked at very closely over the course of a month.

The only "requirement" is that you will need to have a place in a hangar to store it, it isNOT the kind of airplane that can be left out in the weather 24/7.
 

cdlwingnut

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May 25, 2015
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Iowa
there are a lot of options. If you only need one seat you have the mini max series, there's the Fisher Avenger, or it you like scratch building the ragwing series. If you are ok with metal the hummel bird looks pretty cool. If you need another seat you have the zenair 701 if metal, or the Fisher Horizon, Dakota, or the plane I still am considering if i try again the Super Koala.
 

bmcj

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Apr 10, 2007
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Fresno, California
They’re getting a little more difficult to find, but an unstarted or unfinished Avid Flyer or Kitfox might fit your need.
 
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lr27

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Nov 3, 2007
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That's what I thought too. Was there one of those WAR replicas?

I'm no expert on tbis stuff, but the Volksplane came to mind immediately.

It seems like there are a gazillion possibilities. I don't know which are the easiest and fastest to build, unless it's the VP. FRED? Jodel? What sort of piloting skills do you have, and do you want to go fast? Other choices that come to mind, which are all over the map: SD-1, Luciole, Taylor JT-1, KR-1, Quickie, etc. etc.
 

lr27

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I forgot the Pietenpol Sky Scout!

I only mentioned single place aircraft, but that probably helps with budget and building time.
 

Wanttaja

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Seattle, WA
You can typically buy a good Fly Baby for $10K or so. Might have to add a battery to power the transponder and ADS-B if you intend to fly into Class C airspace.

Ron Wanttaja
 

Dana

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Or an EAA biplane or Miniplane or a Starduster One... all much more fun than a 150!

Don't need ADS-B unless it's inside a mode C veil (though it might be nice to have in a heavily trafficked area).
 

Valy

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Feb 27, 2020
Messages
7
Or an EAA biplane or Miniplane or a Starduster One... all much more fun than a 150!

Don't need ADS-B unless it's inside a mode C veil (though it might be nice to have in a heavily trafficked area).
I know I need ADS-B. I'm within 30 miles of SFO. All airspace here is controlled.
I'm only looking to build something myself. I find it hard to trust my life in the hands of another builder and I also want to be the certified mechanic for the plane.
 

TFF

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Apr 28, 2010
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Memphis, TN
I think buy it he 150 is the way to start. Start the daly commute. That will leave you time to build and not rush. A build in time is usually a years worth of work minimum; by that I mean a full time job. The 150 does not have to be hangared which in Cal is a big deal. As for a homebuilt to go 30 miles, any of them. As for material, almost all requires something of all disciplines. Almost all require some welding or aluminum work or fiberglassing. Personally I’m a wood wing steel tube person. Small biplane or Tailwind or something like a Acey Ducey parasol would be great short trip planes. If it does need to be all wood, a Fisher design would be the easiest choice. An unfinished or restoration RV3 or 4 would be good to have if all aluminum. Engine is probably where you will bust your budget.
 

addicted2climbing

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Jan 27, 2012
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Glendale, CA
Look for a half finished Thatcher CX4. Even flying they go for 15K or less. VW engine, car gas and still fun to play around with when your not commuting. I have never flown one, but its been on my short list of planes to build or buy one day. I have CX4 plans. Now if you have more time and open to 2 seats there is a CX7 side by side that was just finished and plans should be available soon.

Marc
 

galapoola

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Jun 4, 2017
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68
Location
NJ
3. I need to be able to finish it in 12-24 months.
4. I'm budgeting about $15K for plans, materials and engine. Could pony up $10K more if a quick-build will save a lot of time.
The Merlin PSA comes quick built for $18,500 firewall back. You'd have to figure out an engine and panel but it may be a great foundation to spend 2 years working on it.

The Team Mini-Max guys are getting ready to sell the EpicSport Total kit price for $18,500.00
If the price and kit material list holds, this would be over your budget buy a bit but not by much.

They are saying:
Kit includes all material to build the Epic Sport:
Fuselage (Raw build) Expected availability July 2019,
Wings (Laser Cut Plywood)
Empennage (Laser Cut plywood)
Machined Hardware,
Landing Gear (nose Wheel or Tail Wheel options)
Full instruments panel, hydraulic disk brakes,
85 HP Hummel Engine with Electric start, Dual Ignition.
Propeller
 

cluttonfred

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Feb 13, 2010
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World traveler
An Evans VP-1 Volksplane (or VP-2) would fit the budget if you did the VW conversion yourself and, if hand propped, no ADS-B or transponder required.
 
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