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Live from Caracas
May 26, 2004
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!
Steen Skybolt. It'll have at least the first three covered.
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.
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!
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


most importantly

enjoy the build, I am

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