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Grumpy Cynic
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Nov 14, 2009
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7,195
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Rocky Mountains
I'm starting to remember why I haven't been back to this place in months. Nothing can be done. Nothing is possible. Do you guys actually get out of bed in the morning?
Your profile says you are an architect. That means you know there is more to properly building a home than simply ordering a package from the local lumber store (with the appropriate engineering stamp) digging a hole, pouring some concrete and than commence hammering nails.

Some people have done it this way, even without buying the package deal and not have the bedroom floor fall in when the waterbed was topped of the first time. The same situation exists with homebuilt airplanes. Some people get lucky. Others, like one that hired my architect grandfather to figure out how to put closets in the house he designed himself because he 'forgot' that little detail, aren't so lucky.

Aircraft are every bit as complex and full of little 'gotchyas' as any building. There are some very smart BTDT individuals here on HBA. Their advice may seem like they are saying "don't bother" at times but that advice comes from experience. It is offered not to dissuade but to prepare.

I'm going at it from the perspective of how much is it going to cost to get started and into production before I decide how many units I will need to sell
You can't separate the number produced from the manufacturing/startup cost. Selling only 10 widgets means that manufacturing methods and materials that would be cost effective if selling 10K widgets are not possible.
 

geosnooker2000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
133
Location
Somerville, TN
Sometimes you have to pay to play. I'm just asking the question. You know?
It's like...
"Hey, how much to get my transmission rebuilt?"
"Aww, you don't wantta do that. It gonna be Hiiiiiiii...."
"How do YOU know what I want to do? Maybe I LIKE this truck."

Never have understood that mentality.
 

pictsidhe

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Joined
Jul 15, 2014
Messages
8,075
Location
North Carolina
The Raptor project has so far gone through several million dollars. The first prototype is not looking promising. With someone else at the helm, it may well have done better. But cheaper? Probably not significantly.
 

geosnooker2000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
133
Location
Somerville, TN
Your profile says you are an architect. That means you know there is more to properly building a home than simply ordering a package from the local lumber store (with the appropriate engineering stamp) digging a hole, pouring some concrete and than commence hammering nails.

Some people have done it this way, even without buying the package deal and not have the bedroom floor fall in when the waterbed was topped of the first time. The same situation exists with homebuilt airplanes. Some people get lucky. Others, like one that hired my architect grandfather to figure out how to put closets in the house he designed himself because he 'forgot' that little detail, aren't so lucky.

Aircraft are every bit as complex and full of little 'gotchyas' as any building. There are some very smart BTDT individuals here on HBA. Their advice may seem like they are saying "don't bother" at times but that advice comes from experience. It is offered not to dissuade but to prepare.
Some of their bedside manner sucks. Referencing "Dunning Kruger" is a cleverly veiled insult.

You can't separate the number produced from the manufacturing/startup cost. Selling only 10 widgets means that manufacturing methods and materials that would be cost effective if selling 10K widgets are not possible.
I feel like you are just restating what I said. Here, I'll state it a different way: I need $100,000 to develop a prototype widget. When I am ready to sell, I need to be able to sell those widgets for 20% less than the competition (let's say that translates to $10,000), then I need to figure in my production and shipping costs, materials, etc. and mark that as a percentage of each sale. Let's say I have $5,000 of expenses per unit. If I want to break even in 3 years, I need to be able to sell about 7 widgets per year for the first 3 years. There is no sense in my mind finding out how many people want a 4 place XC until I know IF it can be done. Market research is not my favorite thing to do. Very nebulous. Best not do it until there is a reason.
 
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geosnooker2000

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Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
133
Location
Somerville, TN
The Raptor project has so far gone through several million dollars. The first prototype is not looking promising. With someone else at the helm, it may well have done better. But cheaper? Probably not significantly.
Comparing what I want to do, to The Raptor is.... I'll hold my tongue. I'll just say you are exaggerating to make a point that need not be made.
 

Marc Zeitlin

Exalted Grand Poobah
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
698
Location
Tehachapi, CA
Sometimes you have to pay to play. I'm just asking the question. You know?
Toobuilder said $300K for the design. That sounds about right to me. A friend and I were approached a year ago with a request for an estimate on designing and building a two seat tandem airplane not dissimilar from a Thunder Mustang, IIRC. Medium complexity. We spent a few hours going over the time required and came up with about $400K in design costs and maybe another $1M to build a prototype. +/- 30% numbers.

So there's one more data point, for what that's worth. Others have given you paths that MIGHT be a fair sight cheaper, if you get lucky and find the right person/people. If you have to pay for it, it's going to be expensive. If you can get someone to work for love or because they're bored of doing nothing, it might not be.
 

Pops

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USA.
Designing and building is the easy part and it's far from easy. IF you want to make a profit, you had better master marketing first. Then decide if you want to take the risk. We are not saying it can't be done, just be aware of the size and cost of the job. If not, failure is assured. That is the cause of most of the new business start-ups failures.
 

Mad MAC

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Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
653
Location
Hamilton New Zealand
The time / cost required to design is highly dependent on how you go about it. Who you hire to provide design capacity & how they interact with the rest of your team (fabricators, machinists etc) will be the biggest determinator of program cost. Then there is the supporting elements whos doing the drawings, CADCAM, etc, etc. A cheap design phase may not be the start to a cheap complete program.

I would be warily of the using larger consultancies your works likely to get fobbed off to a junior with great grades but doesn't know which end of the rivet goes in the hole.

There is a lot of sense starting with a existing design or two, you will still have to do the engineering, but one can copy the detail design features with a know service experanice, get access to the Service bullitens, Service letters etc. Buy a dead airframe or two then they can become mockups, structural test articles, iron bird & something to rob parts from (add chemical spot test and harness tester to id part material for reverse engineering).

For the Large aircraft programs, marketing costs are esimated as the same as the development program.
 

WonderousMountain

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Joined
Apr 10, 2010
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Clatsop, Or
A). Pick an eccentric college kid.

B). Pick an actual successful builder.

C). Pick a polymath who can do it all.

D). Find an architect with over thirty
years experience, who knows you intimately.

F). Join the sullen never done hobby crowd.
 

Victor Bravo

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Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
7,763
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
My comment was not necessarily aimed at disparaging you or your airplane idea 'snooks. It was to illustrate the overall concept that a lot of people have gone down this very same path (whether it was a 157 kt or 175kt airplane), and got mouse-trapped, and many of us are curious about what are you going to do that is different to make it through the minefield. That was it.

Truth be told, many of us (me included) have some idea for a revolutionary or clever or less expensive kit airplane solution... a better mousetrap, as it were :)

If I was trying to insult or demean you personally, rest assured it would have been quite a bit more direct.
 

J Galt

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Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Messages
18
Location
KMAN, Idaho
I will add some info that you will soon find out, DAR is going to be quite high. Some of their personnel are much higher in $/hour than the figures mentioned here. If you are good with Solidworks then you can save some money. If you know your preliminary design (conceptual design) (I recommend Gudmundsson) then you can save even more and then send it off for stability analysis and structural analysis, etc. Abbott Aerospace out of the Cayman Islands does structural analysis at reasonable cost but I can't vouch for the quality.

Don't let the naysayers get to you. Everyone has heard the saying that "people who say something can't be done need to get out of the way of the people doing that thing" and yet some people don't realize it is them who is the naysaying obstacle. Just about anything worth doing is difficult.

That said many, many kitplane companies have went bust so as you know prudence and forethought are advised. I will say that I'm fairly certain that if you built a 182-ish kitplane that you'd sell all you could make. Rans is killing it with their S-21. Good luck!
Justin
 

Saville

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Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
122
Location
Boston Ma
The Original Post started with:

"If you want someone to do your calculations/structural design with letters behind their name?"


Well first off, in my opinion, looking for someone with "letters behind their name" is not necessarily what you want to do. I have an Aerospace Engineering degree and I know I can't design an airplane. Also, none of the professors in the Aero department, with one exception, could even start to design a plane - either aerodynamically or structurally. The one exception worked for a major aero company and he ran the department shop.

Having a Phd in aerodynamics means you are focused on a tiny part of the field. There are, and were, people who got their hands dirty on the shop floor, or worked their way up from drafting, and ended up getting an advanced degree but those are few and far between. Having a Masters in Aerodynamics means very little when you are talking about aircraft design. Even within the aerodynamic aspect, there's performance and there's stability and control. Degrees don't necessarily say you know anything about any of that for real world design.

You need someone who has done it for real regardless of degrees.

Having said that, if your plan is to re-work an existing design then maybe the 1000-3000 hours suggested won't be necessary.
You won't have to do a structural analysis of every part and substructure.

Unless your "re-work" of the design is to take the overall dimensions and design an entirely new structure. Then you have essentially a clean sheet of paper.

Just my opinion.
 

anvegger

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Jul 6, 2015
Messages
523
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LACONIA NH USA
If you want someone to do your calculations/structural design with letters behind their name? Next, and most important question - how much will I expect to pay for an all-metal design similar to a Piper Cherokee 180, but needs to be able to have NEAR ... I said NEAR ... RV-10 speed. Okay, let's just say it. It needs to be able to handle 180mph (157 kts) cruise. A ballpark figure would suffice.
In our software world we are using the magic word "OUTSOURCING" where we are utilizing the power of distributed rapid design development and deployment It always creates a huge window of opportunities (and BTW The Raptor project is using that form of power with much much less budget that is suspected by many) The real expense on that case is PM (or project management). The big question is your point of view:

 

Andy_RR

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Joined
Sep 29, 2009
Messages
248
Location
Melbourne, Australia
This guy has designed some EAB airplanes: Ken Krueger
Indeed! Ring Ken and have a yarn about your ideas. Ken was chief engineer for the RV-8 onwards to the RV-12, I think. He's also done his own KK-1 and is the engineering brains behind the Vashon Ranger. He seriously knows how to design stuff and is a really top bloke to boot. I'm sure he'll give you an honest answer and viewpoint to your project ambitions.
 

BJC

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Oct 7, 2013
Messages
11,558
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
The big question is your point of view:
Got a chuckle out of that, and mentally substituted the title blocks to read: “How the newbie at HBA asked the question”, “How BJC answered a different question”, “How [insert well known HBAer’s name] answered”, “How [insert HBAer’s name] thought the question should have been asked” ...... “How the moderator explained how off topic we were”.


BJC
 

Dusan

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Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
98
Location
Canada
And there, just up ahead, is a nice smelly piece of cheese sitting on top of something that looks like a new, revolutionary, 175 knot 4 place kitplane
Oh, amazing! If it can do VTOL I might bite!
 
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proppastie

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Feb 19, 2012
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NJ
to me it is a hobby, a retirement project, something I always wanted to do,....my failures are opportunities to learn new skills.....As an architect I assume you know basic stress analysis......if it is a metal design get a copy of Bruhn and have fun. (there are PDF copies floating around) If you find the right guy willing to work with you by the hour it might not be much to check your work as regards stress analysis for the prototype.....I personally would not market anything without a static test to destruction, for liability considerations come the inevitable law suit.

I know metal manufacturing but not aero. or stress.....always wanted a matched hole tooled aircraft like was done in WWII by Ford. (my uncle built one of the punch press dies) Van now finally has done it and Thorpe did it before we had Numerical Control machinery.

Good Luck
 
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garnaut

New Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
2
Location
Coldwater
I'm starting to remember why I haven't been back to this place in months. Nothing can be done. Nothing is possible. Do you guys actually get out of bed in the morning?

LOL, I've been here for ten years and have only posted once. Mostly it's more fun to just spectate.

Go to my website and use the contact form to send me an email. I'd like to hear about your idea and will give you some feedback, and perhaps put you in touch with other aero guys that might help too.

Some of the advice here is valid: it need not take a penny out of pocket if you can get a group of guys who know what they are doing and want to do something together for fun, and perhaps some profit down the road, although few such endeavors actually pan out that way. But some actually do. Makes no sense to start paying a lot of fees to guys that need to be on the clock so they can put dinner on the table.

 
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