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mrshea

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2004
Messages
2
I've been looking into building a plane at home for some time now, but I'm about 6'5" tall. It's really hard to tell from the manufactures of the kits if I will actually fit in them. Any suggestions? Anyone my height actually sat in some of the finished aircraft?

The plane will mostly be used for day trips within 200 miles of San Francisco and some overnights to L.A. or Las Vegas. It will carry either Me and a fold up bicycle and very little baggage or me and a lovely lady and light baggage. I imagine all usage will be from airports.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

orion

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
5,800
Location
Western Washington
I too have the problem, although to a smaller extent. I am 6' 4" and about 240 pounds (although I hope the latter will be going down) and as such, I consider most homebuilts "a shoehorn and a gallon of goose grease" fit. There are a couple of historical reasons for the smaller airframes - first, it has been a long-held assumption in this industry that the kits have to be assembled in a small space. Initially most were actually designed to be assembled in a one-car garage.

The reality of the situation however is that the vast majority of airplanes are built in substantially larger workspaces, but that of course does not mean the companies producing the kits have really transitioned to that level of thinking.

The second reason that many kits are small is because the developers have come to understand (and many customers have come to expect) that the kit industry is going to produce airplanes with superior performance to the certified couterparts. Since however there is no magic solution to drag, they try to design the smallest possible airplane around substantial engines - lets face it, even a brick with a large engine will fly fast.

As a result, our industry and customer base seems to have accepted that this is the case and thus no significant change has occured in the last twenty years or so, despite the fact that more and more people are starting to realize that what they really need is decent performance but with a good level of utility also.

Of course I can't complain too much since this is partially what keeps me in business - designing airplanes for folks who cannot find an airplane that specifically meets their needs. If you might be interested in that type of endeavor, give me a call.

As far as roomy kits are concerned, there are very few. The largest and most comfortable kit airplane I've ever sat in is the Express. Compared to the rest of the industry, this is like getting into a large spacious car.

On the high wing end, you can also look at the Murphy line of airplanes, especially the 2500 or 3500. They're downright cavernous.

Good luck in your search.
 

Midniteoyl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2003
Messages
2,406
Location
Indiana
Size wise the Express sounds just like what you need. Unfortunately, the missions dont really match as the Express is really a long hauler. Of course, you could always reduce the fuel tank size to 80-90 gal (from 140) and use a 260hp engine (from 310-350). This would better match your needs in size, range, power, and handling.

I'm gonna grab one myself and prolly use a 350hp (derated) LS-6. But I'm looking for cross-country speed with tons of load.

Jim
 

Dust

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2004
Messages
302
Location
Troy, Michigan
Well, just have to chime in. A cozy, i'm 6'3 and fit fine. If need be you can move the seat back an inch or so and for some unknown reason, some of them are showing up with building mistakes, they are 2 ir 3 inches wider than plans

enjoy the build
 

mrshea

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2004
Messages
2
Thanks to all of you for the feedback. The express and cozy are great planes. Those two are on my short list.

Has anyone here had experience building the cozy? I'm not sure if I am up to building a plane from plans rather than a kit.

On a side note, I'm taking delivery of my Cirrus SR22 next week. So I'll have something to fly while building a plane.
 

Alaskan

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2004
Messages
7
Location
Fairbanks Alaska
If you like the cozy but want a kit look into the velocity. Its larger. A great plane for 2 and lots of luggage. The kits are availible in different levels of completion
 

wsimpso1

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2003
Messages
6,314
Location
Saline Michigan
Hey Mrshea,

First off, go to a big fly-in. Attendance at a couple is absolutely essential to the process of homebuilding an airplane. You can sit in the planes that you are thinking of building. There are a several good fly-ins in the west, and then there is Sun-n-Fun at Lakeland Florida in April.

One of the problems you face is that most homebuilts are very limited on baggage. Generally, a two-seater would not fit two and light bags and a folding bike - Going one-up with the folding bike in the back will usually put your light bag on the other seat. If you then set the seat further aft and recline it more to fit your body in, the baggage bay gets even tighter. But the two plus two's will allow you to scoot the seat a little and recline it, and still allow the "back seat" area to carry two folders and bags. That says Cozy, Velocity, RV10, Pulsar. Go to a fly-in and try them on.

My opinion? Plansbuilt ships are the best way to accomodate high percentile folks. In premolded composites and in fast build metal, the dimensions are almost all fixed, and most are usually pretty tight. But, start with plans, and you can add a little width if you feel the need, place the seat back bulkhead further aft if that helps, and set up the canopy or roof a little high. You can also adjust the position of the controls and even the the panel to suit you.

I am building a glass ship of my own design. The two biggest contributors as shop hands are my wife (also a pilot) and my best buddy (a companion on numerous trips). She is 5'4" and he is 6'7". We built a mockup of the cockpit and fine tuned the panel, seatback position, angles, gullwing door opening shape, control positions, etc. Being as it is composite, I have to fix the seatback bulkhead. I plan to accomodate differing physiques with both ridgid plastic foam spacers that are glassed and held in place with velcro on the seatback and with high stiffness foam for adjusting the seat bottom hieght and angle. I am planning adjustable rudder pedals as well.

I hope that this helps.

Billski
 
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