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The simplest airplane to build?

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Pilot-34

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What would be the simplest way for Joe average to build a plane?
Bolting two parts together on a kit doesn’t count neither would simply hiring somebody else to do it
For the sake of this discussion imagine the fundamental requirement ,mission being ease and speed of building the aircraft.
So that we don’t wind up with a bunch of paper airplanes or hang gliders let’s set up a load requirement of 1000 pounds and a flight duration requirement of three hours

To me it would seem like starting with. A flying. Boat hull would eliminate requirements for landing gear.
But are the requirements of a boat hull more complicated than building a conventional hull and gear ?

With the requirement for a parasol wing with an engine mounted be more complicated than conventional layout ?

We can do away with flaps unless there’s a complicated downside

Would spoilers be less complicated than ailerons?

Is there a downside of complication to a tail without flying services ?

etc. etc.
 

120mm

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Wood hopper or AA's Dream Classic has to be up there for simple
 

Vigilant1

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So that we don’t wind up with a bunch of paper airplanes or hang gliders let’s set up a load requirement of 1000 pounds and a flight duration requirement of three hours
A thousand pounds?? Whether that's payload or useful load, it eliminates most 2 seat airplanes now flying.

If a builder's only criteria is ease/speed of build and a 1000 lb "load", then why build an airplane at all? He doesn't care about cruise speed, building materials, takeoff length, economy of operation, cost to build, etc. He doesn't like the idea of building, wants it to go as quickly as possible. He should buy a flying airplane (certified or E-AB). Faster, cheaper, and a more predictable result (performance and cost) than any self-build project regardless of its apparent simplicity. He is asking the "what" when he should ask "why"?

Enjoy the trip or don't take it.
 
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kent Ashton

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A Long-ez (these days, Open-ez) is easy to build. Relatively few tools required, most of the work is solo work. Open-ez plans have been downloaded for years now without objection by Rutan. Still good support for them on the web. Really fun airplane that will transport two persons 600 miles at 170 mph. Low upfront cost to build the airframe
 

Topaz

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What would be the simplest way for Joe average to build a plane? ...
Plop down his cash and buy one that someone else has already built.

Less flippantly, what you've outlined here isn't sufficient information to design an airplane by a country mile. And then you immediately go off into trades that are only relevant to make once the initial design has had the requirements validated, initial sizing done, and sensitivities set.

If you're just looking for "cheapest, simplest way to have an airplane," then building is not the answer to that requirement. Saving and buying an airplane that already exists is the answer.

If, instead, you're just looking for the "cheapest, simplest way to build an airplane," the answer is clearly "buy a pre-existing kit," because then you don't have to spend the thousands of hours and effort to design it first.

If you really want to design an airplane that is the "cheapest, simplest to then build," then you have to start with a realistic payload (just saying, "1,000 lbs" isn't that), and then move on to a realistic - and complete - design mission profile (take off distances and runway type, climb requirements both ICAO and "hot-and-high", design cruising altitude and speed, landing distances and runway type, etc.), and then get into less-tangibles like your skill level as a pilot, build space requirements, build material preferences, baseline engine choices, etc., etc., etc.

All of this is helped if you establish a baseline budget up front, before you start setting your other requirements. And, as I so often have to remind my graphic arts clients, "as little as possible," is not a budget. Figure out how much you can afford, and design an airplane to suit that. Doing it the other way 'round is a virtually guaranteed recipe for failure.
 

Pilot-34

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A thousand pounds?? Whether that's payload or useful load, it eliminates most 2 seat airplanes now flying.

If a builder's only criteria is ease/speed of build and a 1000 lb "load", then why build an airplane at all? He doesn't care about cruise speed, building materials, takeoff length, economy of operation, cost to build, etc. He doesn't like the idea of building, wants it to go as quickly as possible. He should buy a flying airplane (certified or E-AB). Faster, cheaper, and a more predictable result (performance and cost) than any self-build project regardless of its apparent simplicity. He is asking the "what" when he should ask "why"?

Enjoy the trip or don't take it.
I’m not telling you the way you’re enjoying your trip isn’t right ,please don’t tell me that I can’t enjoy the trip I’m taking!
 

Pilot-34

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This thread is about exploring simplicity in aircraft design .
The trade-offs and interactions involved in simple aircraft design .
I set the performance parameter on purpose and carefully
I can’t see how anything I did not specify would be pertinent to the discussion

What would be the simplest way for Joe average to build a plane?
Bolting two parts together on a kit doesn’t count neither would simply hiring somebody else to do it
For the sake of this discussion imagine the fundamental requirement ,mission being ease and speed of building the aircraft.
So that we don’t wind up with a bunch of paper airplanes or hang gliders let’s set up a load requirement of 1000 pounds and a flight duration requirement of three hours
So no kits or flying aircraft unless it’s already the simplest flying airplane possible.

If you all want to explore something else go ahead and start your own thread
 

Vigilant1

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Clearly: A Rogallo Wing (quite big), lash some drums underneath to hold the undefined 1000 lbs of who knows what, and a purchased O-540 to maybe get it airborne. It should go 300 miles, and the weight below will keep it moving relatively straight. Get a good weather forecast for winds and aim well at the start and you can likely get to the right county, or near it.
That's as simple as we can get, I think. A big-ish powered parachute would also be simple
 

Pilot-34

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Interesting thoughts Vigilant I but they don’t meet the outlined requirements
 

Pilot-34

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Define the 1000# load requirement?

1000# useful load? 1000# payload? Payload w/ full fuel?
I don’t care you pick one why would it make a difference to this discussion?
Would a wing without flaps not fly if 1000 pounds of load was defined in some ways ?
 

Turd Ferguson

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A wing without flaps for a plane with a 1000# payload would have to be excessively large or have impractical operating speeds. Either one of those cancels the simple requirement.
 

Vigilant1

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Interesting thoughts Vigilant I but they don’t meet the outlined requirements
Sorry, please tell me which requirement I missed? You said it needed to be a 'plane' (so, no balloons, which would have been simpler yet), needed to carry a 1000 lb "load" (?), and be able to stay airborne for three hours. The evaluation criteria was 'ease and speed of building the aircraft". The word "building", in common aviation parlance, does not include designing.
I think the unstearable Rogallo Barge wins the prize unless there's some other requirement.
 
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Vigilant1

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A wing without flaps for a plane with a 1000# payload would have to be excessively large or have impractical operating speeds. Either one of those cancels the simple requirement.
Why? Takeoff distance isn't specified, or stall speed, or installed HP, or rate of climb. Go with a tiny wing and build it of whatever you want, since weight isn't an issue. Just make it very simple. A carved solid wood wing could probably be made on a band saw in very short time.
 

Pilot-34

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Even if you get frustrated, don't make it personal. See the HBA Code of Conduct.
A wing without flaps for a plane with a 1000# payload would have to be excessively large or have impractical operating speeds. Either one of those cancels the simple requirement.
I think there are a lot of aircraft owners You are going to have a ttough time convincing that is true .

Moderator Edit: Removed completely unnecessary personal attack.
 
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Pilot-34

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Vigilant Two requirements are specified simple and 1000 pounds of load
Also I use the word plane
Your design is commonly called a wing and I think by the time you design it for 1000 pounds of bloat and make it steerable it will be Neither simple north quick.
 

Pilot-34

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Bloat was a typo but I like it where it came out and I’m gonna leave it there
 
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