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Datson

Should I Build 'n Fly?

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Hi all, Richard here, one question plus some advice please, I'm confused. With my background and facilities I have no problem with the thought of building a kit aircraft like the Sierra 200 Sierra Two Seater | Wedgetail Aircraft Pty Ltd , incidentially is that asuitable aircraft for a no licence no flying experience newb? A single seater would be fine but two would allow an instructor initially.

 

The other thing is personal. I'm not a youngster and up until recently have had no interest in light aircraft, I enjoy speed and ignorantly thought that they were all slow and boring. I live in the country where it's ideal for flying, the sky is so big and open and I'd like to see more of it. Don't want to start a project and not finish it so I'm wondering if this urge is just a passing thing or if anyone else has had a similar later in life urge. I like to do things, have a suitable work space plus there is nothing else that appeals. What do you think?

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Learn to fly first..... see if you like it.

 

There are kits and there are kits.....

Some kits come with no more than the raw materials. Some come with machined, fabricated and drilled components.

Don't forget hardware such as bolts, pins, wheels, tyres, brakes and instruments. What's included?

The price SHOULD reflect the different kit states of pre assembley and completeness.

 

There's a saying along the lines of, if it's not built in 12 months it might be build in 12 years...

You need to look at your own personallity whether you have the persistance to complete or not.

 

I decided to buy factory built and "service the debt" rather than build. I'm happy with that, but have alot of respect for those that do build.

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Very good advice from Downunder, definitely learn to fly first that will help you decide what kind of aircraft you want. It might be boring to build a RV or buy a RV or C172 but you will be able to sell it.

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Yes, learning to fly first makes a lot of sense, prior to that I may try to find someone with a similar aircraft.

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I live in the country where it's ideal for flying, the sky is so big and open and I'd like to see more of it.

 

first - learn to fly! There are so many ways in aviation, and before you choose you should understand what is it, and which one suits you. It can be slow soaring in the cheapest ultralight around your home base or aerobatics in expensive sport machine, cruising between big cities with huge airports or exploration of wilderness with small seaplane... you choice can change 10 times when you get experience. "Just to fly!" - you satisfy this wish after first 50-100 hours, but projects like kit building are for years (several hundreds hours, if you can spent 10h pw this is a year or two). Try different options with club/rented plane, try to look what is going on, then decide.

 

It will be your most expensive toy, so do not hurry to make any strategic decision from the very start.

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Each to their own of course but I disagree about ‘slow and boring’ my CH701 is distinctly slow, but definitely not boring. As an example, the Rutan Longeze is indisputably fast but pretty much needs a long, smooth, preferably bitumen runway. The CH701 on the other hand can land almost anywhere, beaches, rough small paddocks, you name it. Have a look at the BFDU (Bush Pilots Down Under) group on Facebook for examples, The River Country Muster is worth a look and the STOL (short take-off and landing) contests are a real test of flying skill. Tim Howes would tell you that you should fly a taildragger, his own one is a modified Slepcev Storch which he lands almost anywhere. Anyway, it will be interesting to see which way you go. If flying is your thing then buy a finished aeroplane because building will take a while despite what most kit companies will tell you, but the satisfaction is tremendous, flying something you built.

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if the plane is slow but can land anywhere - and really does it regularly! - its good. But I do not understand how it is possible to fly on machine which can not do anything except flying as is. Takeoff and land only on its own base, fly only 50 miles around as it does not have more fuel and even these 50 miles require an hour, can not be a sporty toy or carry joyful company, etc etc - nothing. It is funny to fly when you start, birds fly over the rainbow, SO CAN I! - but this is not for long.

 

Unfortunately it is impossible to collect all these special possibilities in one machine, at least if you are not a billionaire and can afford a full zoo of different planes, but at least some of them must be available and used. 200+ knots cruiser, bush stol, seaplane, aerobatics, 4-6seater (or possibility to take your bike with you), para dropper, what else - everybody can choose his favorite way, in accordance with money of course. But to choose, not to sit in the middle. And the choice requires knowledge/experience.

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Posted (edited)

if the plane is slow but can land anywhere - and really does it regularly! - its good. But I do not understand how it is possible to fly on machine which can not do anything except flying as is. Takeoff and land only on its own base, fly only 50 miles around as it does not have more fuel and even these 50 miles require an hour, can not be a sporty toy or carry joyful company, etc etc - nothing. It is funny to fly when you start, birds fly over the rainbow, SO CAN I! - but this is not for long.

 

Unfortunately it is impossible to collect all these special possibilities in one machine, at least if you are not a billionaire and can afford a full zoo of different planes, but at least some of them must be available and used. 200+ knots cruiser, bush stol, seaplane, aerobatics, 4-6seater (or possibility to take your bike with you), para dropper, what else - everybody can choose his favorite way, in accordance with money of course. But to choose, not to sit in the middle. And the choice requires knowledge/experience.

50mph is really slow. We tend to talk in knots and my CH701 cruises around 70kts, it has enough fuel for around five hours which is more than my bladder endurance anyway and we can travel in a straight line without traffic lights or speed cameras. 70kts, 80 mph, 130 kilometres per hour, faster than the road vehicle speed limit anywhere in Australia apart from the Northern Territory and as I said, in a straight line.

Edited by derekliston

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Below is the information I heard from a flying instructor who has seen a lot of owner builders bend their new toy quite early on. This is not my opinion or advice, its just information.

 

She said

Building a plane doesn't inform your hands and feet how to fly it. In fact the more time a builder spends away from flying operations, the more likely they are to have an ownership ending accident quite soon after they return to flying. Most of these are runway loss of control, especially in tail draggers.

 

What I tell people ... and I am sick of repeating it ... is that any significant time away from PIC flying for any reason needs to be followed by review and evaluation where a pilot's competency is objectively determined and educated decisions can be made about going on the next mission.

 

Personal minima/minimums may need to be changed for a period of time. This is no more than objective risk assessment.

 

I've seen a lot of really nice birds end up in the bin, predictably and for no good reason under these circumstances.

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Thanks all for the really useful information, it has certainly acted as a reality check which I need from time to time :cheezy grin:

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Thanks all for the really useful information, it has certainly acted as a reality check which I need from time to time :cheezy grin:

No worries that is what this great site of Ian's is all about.

 

One thing at the top of the deciding list is that the aircraft performance must suit you at your stage, experience, ability; being new etc, to flying.

 

Cheers

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Two things already mentioned by others in various places here:

First, a lot of the build times bandied around bear absolutely no resemblance to reality for the first time builder. And even with a very complete kit, there is a real cost for essential extras.

And second, a lot of us don't fly much when we are building.

 

If, as you say, you are 'not a youngster', then go out and learn to fly (as everyone in this thread says), from that you will develop an informed idea of what sort of aircraft would suit you. You may then find that you could buy that aircraft second hand for far less than a build may cost.

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All good advice. The longer you look around and see things,( and perhaps fly them as well), meet and and talk to people, the better your final decision will be. Buying something a bit different can be a real worry, so always get advice from people who have been involved with that particular type of plane. . I think I would learn to fly first and don't complicate it by involving your own plane initially.. You can lose a lot of money owning planes, and while building your own is certainly educating and interesting ,you may let a fair part of your life pass by without getting it completed, and NOT doing any flying. Doing it entirely on your own is a bit lonely and soul destroying too if you are unlucky. with it turning out to be much more complex than you thought.

Flying fairly low you think you are moving ok, but go high enough in any plane and you think you are just crawling at 480 knots even. The faster and higher you go the more you spend. Good luck. Nev

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Thanks all for the really useful information, it has certainly acted as a reality check which I need from time to time :cheezy grin:

Hey Datson, I note your location is quoted as Warwick. Where exactly? My little aeroplane is at Warwick, maybe you should come along and have a look. If you want to learn recreational certificate style then Lone Eagle at Clifton would be your best bet, PPL then probably Darling Downs Aeroclub at Toowoomba.

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Thanks for the invite, I see that Lone Eagle have a $100 one hour intro flight which seems like a good thing to do for someone in my situation.

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Thanks for the invite, I see that Lone Eagle have a $100 one hour intro flight which seems like a good thing to do for someone in my situation.

Thoroughly recommend that. In the hangar where I am there is also a BD4 which is a fast American high wing four seat design and if Lou, the hangar owner has his aeroplane here that is a fast, four seat low wing design, all available as homebuilt designs.

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Posted (edited)

When it comes to building, I’m a “repeat offender”. So here are a couple of observations from personal experience.

1. You don’t build if you want to save money.

2. Double the kit supplier’s indicated/suggested build time, then add 20%.

3. Build if you want to build, buy if you want to fly.

4. Over the years, people have told me they wouldn’t want to fly a plane they built themselves. My reply is, why would you want to fly a plane someone else built?

5. Airplanes are more akin to tractors than Swiss watches.

Edited by Guest
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Posted (edited)

At the risk of repetition you blokes have helped me sort things out in my mind so thanks again all of you ?

 

It seems best to do that one hour intro flight first, if I like it then go for a licence pending my suitability. The ability to remain calm in any situation while evaluating options in an emergency seems crucial. If a licence is obtained then look around to buy ASAP so the skills gained are not lost by waiting too long to buy, hiring would just dissipate funds. Which means building is out. Make sense?

Edited by Guest

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Datson:

I agree with the others that you should learn to fly first before you start to think about building or buying.

From my experience, building an airplane (and doing it properly) will cost nearly as much as buying the equivalent, second hand. However, building will give you a very thorough understanding of your airplane and demystify a lot of things about airplanes and what is critical to flight safety and what is not.

FWIW, here's my two cents worth, and this comes from someone who started to learn to fly in his late fifties.

 

1) First and foremost, learning to fly is a mechanical skill like any other. There is no "right stuff" without which you won't be able to fly. The act of flying is about concentration to the flight parameters and building the muscle memory to control the aircraft much like you do when driving a car. That said, recognize that if you are starting later in life, you have forgotten how long it took you to become properly proficient with your driving abilities. Because of that, a lot of people (myself included) hit a point in their flying training where they think "It's not working. I can't make the airplane do what I want it to. It's no use, I'll never learn to fly." This is a critical point where a lot of people give up. Unless you have real physical or intellectual limitations, you CAN learn to fly. But you have to be committed to it and keep going. Trust me on this, if you keep going, you'll also reach a point where you think "Ahhhh! I got it!" and you will suddenly realize that you CAN fly.

 

2) Expect the first few years of flying to not be what you expected. What you think it will be is almost invariably the feeling of unrestrained freedom roaming the skies in three dimensions, soaring effortlessly among the clouds without a care in the world. It gets to be sort of like that but it takes quite a while to get to where you are comfortable managing all the systems, radio, traffic and situational awareness of flying. In the beginning it is a large and stressful workload and it will be easy to say "This is not how I thought flying would be." and give it up. DON'T! Keep going and going. It gets easier with time and experience, as everything does. Recognize that and don't give up once you've started.

 

3) Building vs. flying: I know a lot of people who really enjoy building airplanes; flying not so much. I know a lot of people who enjoy flying and not so much the building. I was one somewhere in the middle. The point is, if you choose to build an airplane, go and talk to other people who are building that kind of plane. Take note especially how long they have been building it. I personally know of a number of people who took on airplane projects and spent years building the plane. In the mean time, to keep current, they have to rent airplanes. That all adds to the expense of flying and can be a big deterrent, especially as when you want to rent a plane and go flying, so does every other Tom, Dick and Harry. So you get to your favorite flying school to find all the airplanes are already booked. That's another roadblock. Think about the easiest way to do what you want.

 

In my case, I settled on a kit plane that I knew would be very quick to build and there was an experienced distributor here in Oz for support. I wanted to build a plane, but I also wanted to get up flying quickly and be independent of the rental scene as soon as I could. In the end, my choice of kit worked out very well and I had many happy hours flying it and building my flying skills. I also had a great time building the plane and I learned a lot about the Rotax engines along the way. I have since moved to a factory built airplane, but the things that building taught me have been very useful for maintaining my aircraft and the safety of myself and my wife.

 

Welcome to the forums. Welcome to the flying addiction. I wish you fair skies and tail winds in whatever you choose to do. But never give up!

Here's some videos that I hope will inspire you

Building my Nynja

My Nynja's first flight

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The ability to remain calm in any situation while evaluating options in an emergency seems crucial.

 

500395426_AhJeez.jpg.d73f71ebf52e03c0e617a52153926b36.jpg

 

Here we go again. Before he has even put his arse in a plane he's been fed the "It's so dangerous" line. That means that he'll never learn that a properly designed airplane for non-aerobatic or fighter combat roles is inherently stable and will self-centre if given a slight knock by turbulence. He'll be hearing all sort of unusual noises allegedly coming from the engine. Give-us a break! He's not going to be flying a bamboo and canvas kite with a primitive engine. He'll be fearing that the wings are going to fold or there will be some other unexpected catastrophe.

 

If he can drive his car to the airport, he will have been evaluating emergency situations for the whole trip.

 

There are two things I suggest for at the early stages of learning to fly:

  1. Take a sort flight with a competent aerobatic pilot and experience all the positive G manoeuvres. This will show that, even though the aircraft is climbing and falling through 3 dimensions, it is fully controllable and can be returned to straight and level flight with ease.
  2. Take a cross-country flight of about one hour out, one hour back. That will show what a relaxing way flying is to go places and see scenery. No mucking about; just fly A to B at a steady speed and constant altitude.

Positive And Negative Manoeuvres

Positive aerobatic manoeuvres are those involving backward movement of the control column (pull up) to induce a pitching up motion where the G force pushes the pilot into the seat. Note that the terms 'pitching up' and 'pitching down' as used here are relative to the airframe and not necessarily to the ground. G loads act in the same direction relative to the aircraft as lift.

Negative manoeuvres involve a forward movement of the control column (or push over) and a pitching down motion which results in a negative G (-G) loading which tends to lift the pilot off the sea

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Datson. If you have no flying experience and you build it would need to be a two seater. I would also go along with those who say, learn to fly first. You also say you enjoy speed, you must realise that you will not experience speed in the air the same way as on the ground. You will experience speed during the take off and landing, but when you are cruising along above 500" the ground will be passing slowly.

A single seat plane is no place for a pilot with little experience and is impossible for learning in. Even a two seater will be hard to learn in unless the instructor is happy with the build and design and from my experience many are not happy.

I would definitely recommend that you take up Dereklistons offer.

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[ATTACH type=full" alt="Ah Jeez.jpg]42353[/ATTACH]

 

Here we go again. Before he has even put his **** in a plane he's been fed the "It's so dangerous" line. That means that he'll never learn that a properly designed airplane for non-aerobatic or fighter combat roles is inherently stable and will self-centre if given a slight knock by turbulence. He'll be hearing all sort of unusual noises allegedly coming from the engine. Give-us a break! He's not going to be flying a bamboo and canvas kite with a primitive engine. He'll be fearing that the wings are going to fold or there will be some other unexpected catastrophe.

 

If he can drive his car to the airport, he will have been evaluating emergency situations for the whole trip.

 

There are two things I suggest for at the early stages of learning to fly:

  1. Take a sort flight with a competent aerobatic pilot and experience all the positive G manoeuvres. This will show that, even though the aircraft is climbing and falling through 3 dimensions, it is fully controllable and can be returned to straight and level flight with ease.
  2. Take a cross-country flight of about one hour out, one hour back. That will show what a relaxing way flying is to go places and see scenery. No mucking about; just fly A to B at a steady speed and constant altitude.

Positive And Negative Manoeuvres

Positive aerobatic manoeuvres are those involving backward movement of the control column (pull up) to induce a pitching up motion where the G force pushes the pilot into the seat. Note that the terms 'pitching up' and 'pitching down' as used here are relative to the airframe and not necessarily to the ground. G loads act in the same direction relative to the aircraft as lift.

Negative manoeuvres involve a forward movement of the control column (or push over) and a pitching down motion which results in a negative G (-G) loading which tends to lift the pilot off the sea

I’ve been reading this thread from it’s beginning and the only place I’ve seen the ‘it’s so dangerous’ statement is in your post. Everyone else has been encouraging and helpful vis a vis learning to fly first or building. I, along with everyone else who flies KNOWS it CAN be dangerous but so is driving.

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Something that I have seen in my area - and I’m speaking from perspective of an active builder in the Sport Aircraft Association ( the GA home build Arena) is that in the current age demographic that mostly makes up recreational aviation you really have to consider never finishing a build as a very real possibility.

You say you’re not that young any more ( but didnt say exactly how old) but statistically more of our members aircraft projects don’t get completed than do.

The other statistic is that ( published about 5 or so years ago) the average time for a completion of a home build was 7 years)

 

 

The reasons for failure to complete are mostly health and age related but also economic ( and as age increased economics of health problems increased)

 

Generally people start to build and then have a health crisis and never quite get back to it. I personally have known several who ended up capable of flying ( with a safety pilot ) but their health changes made them decide continuing the building was no longer a viable option.

 

Nowadays my advice to older new pilots with a bent on building is not to. Just buy something now and go flying.

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I’ve been reading this thread from it’s beginning and the only place I’ve seen the ‘it’s so dangerous’ statement is in your post. Everyone else has been encouraging and helpful vis a vis learning to fly first or building.

 

You've misinterpreted my side-tracking comment. In Post #19 Datson said:

The ability to remain calm in any situation while evaluating options in an emergency seems crucial.
Then I said, "Before he has even put his **** in a plane he's been fed the "It's so dangerous" line." In my Post #21, I was lamenting the fact that people persist in trotting out this falsehood that flying in small aircraft is a recklessly dangerous activity, when we all know that idea is a load of crap.

 

I am in complete agreement with those who are encouraging Datson to get stuck into getting his certificate as soon as he can and then go fly someone else's plane. If a person is of moderate age, and can expect to be able to give several years to the project and still have years left to fly the product, then go ahead, build your own.

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