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jjrreett

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Sep 21, 2014
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Florida, USA
I would like to build an Ultralight, I have a generic Wheelchair (10-20lbs) and thought what if i made an ultralight with it? I was thinking along the lines of a Kolb Ultrastar but maybe with two engines and large props. Are there any plans that I might be able to use? Can I do this under $500 (w/ or w/o engines and prop)?
 

cluttonfred

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Welcome to the group. There are a couple of different ultralights that might be suitable for a disabled pilot seeking to fly and carry a lightweight, folding wheelchair along, but the cost is likely to be $5,000 or more, even used. A lot depends on your mobility and physical limitations. You might also want to consider a powered paraglider (PPG).
 

bmcj

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Apr 10, 2007
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Nice thought, but I doubt if a wheelchair is even remotely close to strong enough to be used as part of an airframe, or strong enough to stand up to supporting you when exposed to higher G loads.
 

bmcj

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Another thought... I think you could rig a powered parasail that would also carry the wheelchair with you, but make sure the harness secures you along with the chair. That way, the chair does not have to support the flight loads. The biggest hurdle might be laying out the sail for takeoff.
 

Riggerrob

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Sep 9, 2014
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How about starting with the wings, engine and empennage of an existing ultralight, then re-building the forward fuselage to accept a wheelchair?
You will probably want to keep the original main-wheels to help with shock-absorbsion. Any but a perfect landing will feel like rolling off a sidewalk. When approaching for landing, junior pilots often level off a yard (meter) or two too high, then drop the airplane the last yard when they stall. That sort of vertical deceleration is hard on the human spine and will aggravate previous spinal injuries.
If I sound overly cautious, it is because I suffer from two herniated discs in my lower spine, the second was damaged during a King Air crash.

This raises the question of how athletic you are and how much a vertical drop your wheelchair can absorb. I have heard of wheelchair athletes breaking sports wheelchairs by trying too hard. Are any sports wheelchairs designed to absorb a vertical drop of two feet?
Do they make BMX wheelchairs?
Has wheelchair parcours been invented yet?

The need for shock absorption will require suspending your wheelchair a foot above the main-wheels. The easiest way to load a wheelchair would be to roll it up ramps, backwards into the cockpit. Folding the ramps up vertically would lock the wheelchair in, but you would still need an air-frame anchored seat-belt to keep you in your seat during negative G maneuvers.

A lighter alternative would be leaving the ramps on the ground, though that would limit you from attending fly-in pancake breakfasts at other airstrips.

Probably the lightest alternative would be to install winches to lift your wheelchair the last foot or two up into position, then clamp the wheelchair into the airframe. Winches would be the most complicated, but lightest weight way to insert a wheelchair into an ultralight airplane. Maybe you could attach winch cables to your tail tie-down point and taxi forward a short distance. Use the engine and forward movement to lift your wheelchair. Pause to lock your wheelchair to the airframe, then release the tail tie-down from the cockpit. For comparison, lots of small planes have glider tow-hitches to allow pilots to hand-start engines without worrying about their airplanes leaving without them.
 

jjrreett

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2014
Messages
5
Location
Florida, USA
Hi guys and gals, for starters my legs are fine. I have been toying around with an old wheel chair and thought can I make a plane with this. After some thought it is probably easier to design the seat as well instead of using a wheel chair. I like the idea of large wheels but now see the problem with no shock absorbers. I believe I can design the entire plane except for the seat. I am a fanatic of kolb ultrastar, firefly, and the quicksilver designs. More specifically pusher prop style. I think like a minimalist and believe that I can make something that can carry me in the air for under $800. What are your thoughts on this? Can someone help me with the fuselage design preferably wood or something easy to work with. Though currently I am looking into a counter rotating tilt rotor heli. Is there any hho gas engines for ultralights? By the way I am only 16 and about to start pilot license training. Never flown an ultralight though. Aerospace engineering is an always will be my life.
 

JamesG

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Feb 10, 2011
Messages
2,408
Location
Columbus, GA and Albuquerque, NM
Get pilot training.
Get engineering education (not necessarily in that order).
Get life experience and wisdom that will keep you from posting silly questions on the Internet.
Design your airplane.

Donate the wheelchair to a charity.
 
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Victor Bravo

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Jul 30, 2014
Messages
7,460
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Don't be offended by the previous post. This forum welcomes beginners, because we're all beginners in some area.

However, please also understand that there are some experienced people here in a number of aircraft design areas, and that some people will run out of patience quickly if you are not using common sense.

As an example, you mentioned the Kolb aircraft series. These are good airplanes with a good record of safety, and they have been successful for a long time, especially in the ultralight world.

So spend a lot of time studying and learning about the Kolb design, as well as other successful designs like the CGS Hawk and the Quad Cities Challenger. Why do those aircraft not use wheelchair parts? What is is about those aircraft that have contributed to 20 and 30 year safety records where other types of aircraft have not lasted that long?
 
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