RC Pilot journeying to a full-scale pilot from NC

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FoamyDM

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Sep 16, 2021
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First off HELLO! Thank you for letting me poke my head around here, and learn.

Short Intro:
I have quickly progressed from a guy with a young family and no money or interest in flying to one with a passion for aviation, and a love of building RC Aircraft inexpensively. I have recently (2 months ago as of this post) started my private pilot lessons in an effort to take to the skies myself. my extended family lives 9-12 hrs away on a good day, and I see full-scale aviation as a way to shorten the gap between us.

Long intro:
Around when 40 (6yrs ago) I was temporarily pushed out of my woodshop. During that time I needed a creative, quiet, hands-on hobby I could do at night inside. RC planes turned out to be my solution. The passing from an onlooker, I turned into an interested passenger, turned to a participant, turned to avid participant, turned to sky obsessed builder and flyer of aircraft. With over 50 foam craft built and 23+ of my own designs (of varying success). One I'm most proud of lately, is building a foam version of the PRANDTL-D wing experiment done by NASA.
P2-Complete.jpgP2-Complete.jpg
I have been so avid, I started a podcast. My RC Podcast: www.aviationrcnoob.com

A gift for my 45th birthday was an investigatory 1st fight lesson. (the best gift from an amazing GF) During the following year I had a rare moment where I pulled back and looked around. I noticed i hadn't visited my family in some time, 3 years. and Thant was brought on by a cancer scare. The main culprit was the distance from Fayetteville NC to Louisville KY, or near Hartford CT where my parents and siblings reside. I thought about why, and I came up with time. To visit was a minimum of 1 week, because of the 9-12hr one-way drive. Realizing that as I age, so do my parents, I needed to remove the barrier keeping us apart. I spoke to a few pilots I knew (non-military and military) and tried to figure out if becoming a pilot would meet these goals, considering the cost. Upon the results of these conversations, and "with your passion and interest in aviation, you won't regret the decision", I enrolled in pilot lessons over the Summer. (my 2 boys spend summers with their mother in PA - another reason to learn to fly, for much shorter Drop-off times). Considering my goals and how I'm not getting younger, It was time to get moving.

This past week I received my student pilot certificate and am flying down the path to become a full private pilot, trained on a Cessna 172.

So that now leaves me with a few more things to consider, which brings me here. How to I Fly regularly? The options to meet my mission/purpose goals area many. Lease, rent, club ownership, buy new (too expensive) Buy used or Build (kit or Scratch). As I love to build RC Planes, Building my own plane is a very attractive option. I have a two car garage. That's why I'm here. I want to see what it takes to get from "I'm going to build an aircraft" to a finished flying craft.

As I sit here I also consider, how my goals and my wants with general aviation may be different.
1) Goal: I want to be able to fly my family to visit I need a 4 seater comfortable efficient aircraft equipped for IFR flight.
2) Want: I want to inexpensively get into the air and have quick local fun. (and practice proficiency without breaking my bank.)

It is Possible I my fill goal #2 with a built ultralight, or light sport plane, and belong to a club for the #1 mission. As I am not independently wealthy this must be done - carefully. It should be fun
-I'm here to learn and share
 

don january

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Your Goal is reachable with hours to get the experience needed and certifications and beings this is HBA I won't speak of GA so building a craft to fit your Goal will be requiring a large amount of income and time. Want: is what aircraft you choose to build. "I'm going to build an aircraft" to a finished craft. This Forum has much stored info for that question. But to me I found its the drive you have inside that makes it happen and is a test of your endurance. bb fus.jpg
 

TarDevil

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Four seats just isn't done inexpensively. Maybe you could scratch-build a four seat plane for about what a two seat kit plane would cost, but that takes time unless you are skilled and have that time to spare.
As far as your goals and means of achievement, #1 will take away from #2. Get in a club and fly if flying is your objective. If you are more interested in building, it will take a mighty lot of your resources. But, do it if that's your dream!
 

rv7charlie

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Four seats just isn't done inexpensively.
Very true. But if the 1st goal is to actually fly, you can almost always do that with much less money by purchasing an already-flying 2 seat homebuilt than any other option. Most 2 seaters are cheaper to purchase than build, but after that, their prices seem to stay pretty stable. There will be cheaper certified a/c out there, but since you aren't an A&P/IA, the maintenance and annual inspections will quickly eat up any up front savings. They will also be much slower than the faster homebuilts.

The nice thing about airplanes is that their value doesn't decline rapidly like ground vehicles. If you buy something decent that's reasonably fast, you can do your family visits and as money availability increases (it will if that's where your focus is), you could start building the long-term goal 4 seater. You can also stay current; a serious issue for most builders when they quit flying to build.

Last, hang out at EAA chapter meetings and the airport(s), and get to know the instructors and students. You may find another student or two who are interested in a/c ownership and are willing to go into partnership. If you can find compatible partners, it can greatly reduce cost of ownership with little loss of use of the plane (most single owner planes sit on the ramp/hangar 99% of their lives).

FWIW...
edit: If you're in Fayetteville, I think there's an active EAA chapter down in Hendersonville. (I really miss stopping over in Fayetteville for live music, when traveling to Greensboro.)
update to edit: well duh. Read Fayetteville; saw Asheville. Oldtimer's is tough.....
 
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BJC

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Derswede

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BJC, yall need to look at a map. FayetteNam is several hundred miles east of Hendersonville. Fayetteville is 270+ miles from Hendersonville. The museum is worth the trip, tho. There are several excellent active fields near both towns. Used to be several active restorers in the Fayetteville area, have not kept up with them over the years. Not unusual to see a coupe of farm strips while driving thru the area. Was between F'ville and Lumberton when a Tri-pacer lifted off a strip right beside the highway.

Derswede
 

BJC

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BJC, yall need to look at a map. FayetteNam is several hundred miles east of Hendersonville.
I know. RV7 mentioned
I think there's an active EAA chapter down in Hendersonville.
So I commented on the museum there. Have flown there 5 or 6 times.

I lived in Fuquay-Varina, based at Kennebec Flying Club, was a member of EAA Chapter 506 in Smithfield and 1114 at Cox Field in Apex. My friend who is almost finished with the Bearhawk lives in the country north of Fayetteville. He also took me to Ft. Bragg where he let me “fly” the full motion Blackhawk simulator.

Loved the countryside in NC. Hated the politics there.


BJC
 

Pops

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Used to go the the spring get-together at Lindville , NC for the spring wave off Mt. Mitchell. Go with my old instructor with his sailplane and I would work in the ground crews. Had a great time.
 

BJC

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Used to go the the spring get-together at Lindville , NC ...
We (flight of three, C120, A152, PA-18) followed a PA-12 out of Hendersonville, on our way to the Super Cub gathering at Elizabethton, TN, one fall. He was headed out to make his weekly “flight down hill” or something close to that. He would depart Hendersonville, fly to Linville Falls, then fly down the valleys back to Hendersonville. Sounded like fun, but we had committed to get to the Super Cub gathering for a fly-out with them to SW Virginia. Good times.


BJC
 

Derswede

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Missed the RV7, makes a big difference. The Hawk is a bit slower and range limited by comparison. At Hendersonville, they have a great flight training setup as well. Blue Ridge Sport Flight is the company. They even have a place where you can stay while training. Pretty location, lots of small airports in the area, and friendly folks.

Politics...Poli meaning many, and tics are blood sucking critters. Nuf said. You do know what CARY* stands for, right?? Cary, NC, just outside of Raleigh.

Derswede


*Containment Area for Relocated Yankees........ (Just tugging chains, no hurt intended. I have yankee friends....;)
 

FoamyDM

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Sep 16, 2021
Messages
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First off Thank you for the warm welcome.

The plan was to build a plane to have as a fly-around. But time-share /club part ownership a family traveler, to effect the weekend visits. I guessed that for most people, a plane is an expensive house accessory that mostly sits dormant. Even an ultra-light would bring me the fly-around experience.

There is an EAA Chapter 45 mins south of me in Lumberton NC. and a few clubs 45min-1hr north. Hendersonville is a 5hr drive.

I did visit the Museum up in Boone NC and it was like Hendersonville great museum and an even better group of Folks! if it weren't many hours out, I'd be going back often.

@Derswede - I love the CARY acronym! :) according to my coworkers, I'm a Damned Yankee. (a Yankee who stays). Growing up in CT means I am not sure about you unless you can give or take a good-natured ribbing. Thanks for the Love.

it sound though as building and flying is the much LONGER and EXPENSIVE route than most of the other methods other than renting a plan whenever you need to fly somewhere. Right now it seems as though Hangar space and Rentals are a premium at this time. I suppose that is another reason I wouldn't mind getting started on a garage project.

I have to say there are 3 planes I would love to build/own. I love the Sonex, the Quickie and (not that I could afford it) the Synergy.
 

Derswede

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Foamy, the airport at Lumberton used to have an Aeronca Champ for flight instruction. One of my customers is just down from the airport, and have seen it fly over several times. Don't know any of the instructors, but a possible place to check. Check what you want to do....if you want to get up and fly, your thoughts about a flight club are sound. Avoids the major costs in going on your own. An ultralight is another possible to get flying, tho not for trips. I was hoping to use my little Hawk to make an occasional run out to a customer's place, which is right beside their local airport, but not to be. A 172 or similar would be the best selection....space, range and speed.

Derswede

Oh, I have a good sense of humour....the proper term, for example, for those who move to FLA and then move to NC to get away from the heat and other FLA problems, we call Half-backs...they only made it halfway back to "home" when they stopped. All I ask is please don't whine......"Pizza was better in my old neighborhood! Food here is lousy...too humid, to hot in winter, not enough snow in winter (now THAT is ironic!), etc." Have an old friend from Chicago, had to suffer with all the stories about how great life was there....I finally told him that we were going to visit one of the "bad" neighborhoods in Greensboro. He asked "WHY?" I said that I wanted him to feel at home, so we'd go there so he could get shot at a few times. He did get a bit quieter after that!
 
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FoamyDM

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Sep 16, 2021
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So at the moment, my homebuilt goal is to build for myself a kick-around plane. something for me to enjoy flying. at the local airstrip. (there is a strip down the street in Eastover NC.)

Funding
I know most folks get uncomfortable with money, but I want to know if the funds I have set aside is appropriate or will I need to reconsider where I spend my money?

Typically I have a budget of $300/mo for knock around fun hobby stuff. I have all the motor systems I could want for RC, and the Foam is very inexpensive. costing me 1-$10/ plane. This Leaves me with $3240/year (mostly) for building a Full-scale once I get my License. I understand that unless I'm on Vacation, to Effect a weekend trip to CT or KY from Southestern NC, I will really need an IFR certification until i retire or become independently wealthy. (which is more time).

Time
As it stands my kiddos are younger 9&12. this means they have lots of stuff going on. however that means I have most nights (for a 2-3 hours and if I get to it, one or two 4-6 hr block on the weekends.
I get the impression, that the money is close, and time availability is about right for home building an Ultralight or 1 or 2 seater.

Education
Where can learn more? Is there a good place here to learn a realistic layout of effort and $$$? I don't expect it will be easy, or quick. In my head I have 3yrs and ~10k earmarked for the project. Also My plan is to build a Scale Model of the plane to learn 1) the build process, 2) the flying characteristics 3) build the skills needed for the full sized construction. I wood work (amateurly) I watch Mike Patey build Scrappy, and think. That is WAY more effort than he shows, but it doesn't look THAT challenging, in that the steps don't look completely out of my wheelhouse. And the couple that are may be worth hiring a service (automotive finisher) to take care of.

I didn't state it, but I am a Civil/Structural Engineer in my real Job. And while the hobby currently is a break from the design rigors at work, I think it would be a joy to Engauge them to work on a personal aircraft. (although they say never design your own stuff, 1 of 2 things happen, either you over design, or throw margins away. I worry that I will over spend my time going through designing.

Inquiring minds...
I plan to visit the local EAA clubs. the meet the 3rd week of the month, What questions would you guys recommend I have with me?
 

Derswede

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Foamy, if you want to rebuild something, I have another CGS Hawk hanging in my warehouse. Winga and control surfaces will need recover, but the airframe is solid. The nosewheel will need a bit of welding, but not a hard item. Engine is a water cooled Rotax, which does lower the one problem that I worry about with two strokes...which is thermal piston seizures. I ended up with a flying one, don't need two. If you read up on the Hawk, it is a respected design. If interested, PM me.

Derswede Hawk3.jpg
 

FoamyDM

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Sep 16, 2021
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A 172 or similar would be the best selection....space, range and speed.

Derswede

All I ask is please don't whine......"Pizza was better in my old neighborhood! Food here is lousy...too humid, to hot in winter, not enough snow in winter (now THAT is ironic!), etc."
That is the Reason I'm training on the 172. it seems a good choice for a family trip. I just don't see me owning one any time soon. :(

I have found that the years in the NY area have made me a Sandwich snob. I have just now began to limit my whining to when I'm asked, why I don't order something like a Cheesesteak (lived in Philly for 20 yrs)

I am going to poke around here and see what trouble I can start. I never asked, but What is it you guys own or are building?
 
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