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Ready to pursue dream

Swede

Live from Caracas
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May 26, 2004
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And it's a simple one... to actually fly for fun, when I want, to wherever the urge takes me. After 20+ years of flying for a Boss of one type or another, I want to enjoy flying again.

I am moving into a DFW-area Airpark. 50' X 40' hangar, taxiway access to a very nice grass strip. I have the tools and the motivation to construct an aiplane like an RV or perhaps a composite kit. I have no burning desire to simply go for a $100 burger at 115 knots and 45 degrees of bank max. Whatever I build will have to have one (or more) of the following traits:

1) Go FAST
2) Fly upside down
3) Be colorful / vintage, like a Bipe or a warbird
4) Be capable of soaring (I love soaring; my first flying was solo at 14 in a 2-22)

My problem is that I haven't decided yet on which characteristic to pursue most strongly. Got to be 2 seats, or the wife would beat me. I am leaning towards a tandem RV right now, but I'd really like to get some input on designs that may not be as well known as the RV series. Budget moderate; no 4-seat pressurized jobs. No wood either, I like woodworking but want the durability of aluminum or composites. I have never built an airplane but have machine tools, hand tools, and the skills to put them to use.

Finally, I have NO taildragger experience but plenty of soaring experience where rudder is pretty critical. What would be a recommended way to get comfy with taildraggers?

A lot to ask here but I welcome comments and suggestions. The next 3 months will be spent getting the hangar/shop into shape and doing a bit of research!
 

PIO

Active member
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May 18, 2005
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sonex = aerobatic, sorta fast, all metal, two seater, affordable and they have an aerobatic motor glider if you decide do go more towards soaring.

http://www.sonex-ltd.com
 

EagleRJ

Are we there yet?
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Nov 27, 2001
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Steen Skybolt. It'll have at least the first three covered.
 

Almerick07

Professional Surf Bum
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
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407
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.02
RV-4 (tail wheel)..........a dream to fly; upgrade to the constant speed prop and bigger powerplant, an EFIS system is nice too. Just watch the neg. g's or else oil will pour out on the belly.
 

Swede

Live from Caracas
Joined
May 26, 2004
Posts
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I've been in hell for the last two weeks moving a decade's accumulation of junk, one flat-bed trailer at a time, into the new home. I have no idea why I am doing it that way, other than being a cheap SOB. About the only things I'm going to need professional help with are my two machine tools, each about a ton.

I'm leaning towards aluminum construction, mainly because that's what I'm used to. Having a hangar, though, will keep the sun off of a composite aircraft. I'm just not sure I have the patience for the finishing stage of a comp. airplane. I'll do some research on the suggestions. Thanks!
 

DustMaker

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Sep 7, 2005
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Swede said:
Having a hangar, though, will keep the sun off of a composite aircraft.
no need to worry about the sun - people have stored their fiberglass planes in the arizona desert for 20 years with no ill effect - just make sure it is painted and painted a light color where the sun hits it.

As far as what to build

build what you LOVE - you may finish it (80% do not finish)
build what will be most useful - most experimentals do not get flown much after the first year or two - most get bored with just boring holes in the sky
if you buy a kit - buy it all day one, then if they go out of business - you have what you need
Vapor planes - don't build one that is not flying already
Designers lie - do nor believe what a designer/manufacturer tells you - it WILL not go as fast and it will take longer to build, only believe finished fliers

AND

most importantly

enjoy the build, I am
 

sstearns2

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
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596
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9000
Be sure you want a to build an airplane first. It sounds like you want an airplane, not a multi-year project. The CJ-6 is a really fun airplane.

If you want a project then, as a builder of one of the less common kits, I'd highly recommend getting either an RV or a Lancair and get the fast build options. It sounds like you'd be very happy with the RV-8.

Have fun,

Scott
 

DustMaker

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mmmm multi year - there have been a few that have built their cozies in under 18 months, nights and weekends. depends how motivated you are. oh yeah - they had NO experience. Home builds are funny - most kits take longer than some plans built planes.

the only way to know is to find builders and ask them, on the finishing - some new techniques are substantially reducing the sand/fill/sand/fill routine

but don't believe me - i'm just a cozy builder and my mind is jaded
 

sstearns2

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Yeah, I hear ya. I know people who built their long-eze's in less than a year, but the RV and lancair kits are so good now that it's hard to reccommend otherwise.

Scott
 

DustMaker

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for me it is easy to recommend otherwise. the cozy is a 2+2 and is capable of taking 2 with allot of baggage just about anywhere. the plane is also inexpensive - compared to the RV10. the other RV are 2 pas with no room for storage. the 10 also takes a 300 hp to go slower than a cozy on 180 hp. the fuel bill for the extra 120 hp is quite a bit.

you can build a cozy airframe for around 16 to 18 grand, then spend what you want on engine and avionics, they have been completed for 35,000 recently. i am spending about 80 or 90 on mine, but that is by choice.

is the lancair 2 or 4 passenger and how much is the cost? i believe the rv10 starts at about 50,000?? not sure.

but most important - you gotta love it to finish it
 

banned username 1

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Nov 29, 2001
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412
RV-7. Tex has a great RV community and the support you'll have is second to none. It's a great airplane that you'll never lose money on when you go to sell it. Your wife will like the side by side aspect.

Check with Vans, if you want a nosewheel model, you lose only a few knots of airspeed and the tailwheel aspect is gone.

It's really what you're describing in your needs list. You won't be sorry.

Good luck.
 

Swede

Live from Caracas
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:( Hmm, looks like some posts were deleted... Must have drifted from the topic.

The more I look at the RV series, the more impressed I am. Other AC may be cheaper, or faster, but I don't think they have the support and the available networking of Van's.

I'm down to the RV7 or RV8. Basically tandem vs side/side seating. I'm trying to talk my wife into tandem, and so be able to enjoy that awesome panoramic view, although not so awesome in the back seat!

There's an excellent forum for RV's:

http://www.vansairforce.com/community/index.php

So much info, my head is spinning a bit. This looks to be one of those projects where it is best to start plugging away on the easy stuff (empennage), and absorb by osmosis enough knowledge to make sound decisions on powerplant, airframe mods, and avionics.
 

DustMaker

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Swede said:
:( Hmm, looks like some posts were deleted... Must have drifted from the topic.

but I don't think they have the support and the available networking of Van's.
mmmm - know you are set on aluminum, but have to make point where needed - 1700 canards flyin and the support is there, i know, i'm part of that support network
 

Swede

Live from Caracas
Joined
May 26, 2004
Posts
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DustMaker said:
mmmm - know you are set on aluminum, but have to make point where needed - 1700 canards flyin and the support is there, i know, i'm part of that support network
I don't disagree. Most of the composite designs out there are works of art. They are lighter and more efficient than aluminum. I've had Lancair lust for years. It's too bad they seem to have evolved into a high-priced, high-powered company. At least from what I've gathered, they dropped their original design. Their "low-end" Legacy uses a lousy IO-550! What happened to the 160 HP Lancairs?

I do like the canards... I just prefer the traditional configuration a bit more.

In the end, my decision is based mostly upon my own background as a metal guy. It's probably like a wood and fabric mechanic from the 1920's being asked to work on newfangled aluminum plane in 1935. There's going to be some resistance! Aluminum is just what I'm used to.
 
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