Viper fan

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Jman

Site Developer
Joined
Oct 22, 2002
Messages
1,881
Location
Pacific NW, USA!
I was amazed at seeing the mock-up of the Viper Fan in Sport Aviation. I wish I could have seen it in person at Air Venture. Has anyone seen the projected cost of the kit and operating expenses? My dreams need some hard figures to become more realistic ;) . Seriously, it really is amazing how far homebuilding has come in just the 8 years I've been watching it. I wonder what sort of creations will be available in the next 8. Any predictions???
 

Holden

Banned
Joined
Jan 18, 2003
Messages
1,319
Location
USA
Jman,

I predict new and advanced seaplanes (amphibs) in the future...

Recreation drives small airplanes, and a great and fast (180 mph+) seaplane that can compete with land planes will be where it is at. Or at least that is what I want...

Holden
 

orion

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
5,800
Location
Western Washington
As with most jet projects that have materialized over the past fifteen years or so, my recommendation is generally, don't hold your breath.

Designing a practical small jet airplane is a very difficult excercise and from what I've seen thus far, those doing the work don't really have the neceassry experience to do the job right. This involves not only the technical aspects of the program, but those of managing the tasks also.

First of all, the actual market demand is not all that significant and it is really a marginal call as to whether one can form a successful company around such a product or not. We have done two market surveys of this industry and our potential customers, and judging by those returns (and those of at least two other organizations), the number of folks who not only have the funds for such a project but are also qualified to fly these aircraft, is very, very small. Furthermore, good luck in getting insurance, especially nowadays.

I know most of us at times envision ourselves making holes in the sky with a sleek jet, but we need to also do realistic assesment of owning one. I know I myself don't always like to be this realistic, but despite the want, I've pretty much resisted even starting on such a venture.

If someone would like to fund the work, sure I'll do it, but I'll make sure we first take a step back and make a realistic assesment of the market, the company and the potential capabilities of such an aircraft, before we start.

Bill H.
 

orion

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
5,800
Location
Western Washington
Diamond has done a good job of evolving into a company with a wide variety of products in order to cover a wider customer base. From what I've seen of their aircraft, their manufacturing is first rate and their design philosophy, for the most part, is sound. They also tend to design relatively pretty airplanes.

If I was to find any flaws in their approach it would be from the standpoint of human factors. Several years ago I was going to take a flight in a couple of their aircraft at a show in Abbotsford BC. Getting in I found the aircraft to be fairly typical as to the cockpit proportions (small) but the structural concet I though was quite good. The problem came in when I tried to close the canopy - no chance! My torso sitting height was about three inches too high (I'm just short of 6'4").

Why is it that designers continue to design airplanes that you need a shoe-horn and a gallon of goose grease to get in?

As far as the jet is concerned, despite being pretty, it too looks to be quite small. The main point I have to ask however, is why they would take such a risk and expense to produce something for a market that is already glutted by well established and reputable organizations?

If I was a corporation looking for a small, entry level jet, I'd probably tend to go to the new small Cessna rather to a new and unproven design.

Certification is no guarantee of longevity nor of any reputation. Despite glowing press, the Eclipse is frought with problems (for instance, friction stir welding is not as successful as they would like us to think - the aircraft has many, many reinforcing rivets) and any new venture of this type is going to have the typical teething problems, especially considering the way most of these programs are run.

I think Diamond's future lies in economical airplanes such as the twin diesel, not business jets. Yes, the profit margins on a jet are much better (profits off a single Cessna Citation are about the same as six months production of single engined 172s) but the market does not seem to be there.
 
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