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Datson

Should I Build 'n Fly?

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Sometimes "fixer uppers" can come along at the right price to make it worthwhile. A bit of halfway between building and buying, but you do need to know what you're looking at and what you are doing. Some can work out really well if the original build quality is good, others can be harder than starting from scratch.

Definitely a good idea to go and do some flying first to see what it is you want.

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Posted (edited)

Wow Scott, that's some home build ?

Cheers, Richard.

Edited by Guest
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I would want something small and as powerful as possible, that's a given. Being good mechanically is one of my skills so maintenance would not be a problem as would allowable improvements but buying would be best for someone in my situation.

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Sometimes "fixer uppers" can come along at the right price to make it worthwhile. A bit of halfway between building and buying, but you do need to know what you're looking at and what you are doing. Some can work out really well if the original build quality is good, others can be harder than starting from scratch.

Definitely a good idea to go and do some flying first to see what it is you want.

Agree, and I believe must add to gain an appraisal by a competent person pre purchase whether it is a fix upper, a 90% finished or turn key and fly.

You need to eliminate surprises. They can be time consuming and costly.

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I’ve been building a kit plane and was surprised at how many things are missing or

Not quite right. I’ve been told this is normal so take into account that sometimes you’ll be on a roll but some parts are missing so then you have to wait a week or two while the factory send you the missing parts.

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I’ve been building a kit plane and was surprised at how many things are missing or

Not quite right. I’ve been told this is normal so take into account that sometimes you’ll be on a roll but some parts are missing so then you have to wait a week or two while the factory send you the missing parts.

That would be a disappointing surprise that you can do without when building. I built a Skyranger Nynja kit like Scott shows in post #20. No missing pieces and in fact some extras so you could choose for example the throttle method (push / pull or lever. Then the build manual was extremely detailed and the product support was top shelf from Greg. I recommend this aircraft and product. Doesn't come in a tail wheel variant though. Cheers

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I started my last home build at 74 years old and being retired I could spend plenty of time building. It took me 3 years to build the RV4.

Building is not hard and if you have any practical ability it should be no problem with one of the better kits. I did consider building a Sierra and it should not be too difficult, the reason I built the RV, was because the exchange rate against the $US was very good at the time. I could not afford it now.

Just consider even if you are sure you will want to fly your own built plane, that you will almost certainly have to learn in something else and then transition to whatever you build. Of course you may have an instructor lined up who would teach in your own plane and that would be the very best way to go. Don't let any comments her put you off, just give it a go.

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It is also worth noting that in terms of doing your own maintenance, it is necessary to be the actual builder of VH experimental, or you have to have the work done by a LAME. Also whilst ‘Experimental’ is fairly flexible and you can build pretty much what you want, once you have your CofA, modifications are not easy to approve. I am not familiar enough with the various RAAus categories to comment but I am sure others on this forum can tell you.

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Thanks for that info Derek, will have to look to see what constitutes a "builder" because maintaining my own aircraft is a must. Perhaps I would be a builder if I finished off someone else's project. Definately don't want to be caught in a situation where I have a licence but no aircraft of my own to fly.

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Thanks for that info Derek, will have to look to see what constitutes a "builder" because maintaining my own aircraft is a must. Perhaps I would be a builder if I finished off someone else's project. Definately don't want to be caught in a situation where I have a licence but no aircraft of my own to fly.

Definitely with RAAus there are ways of doing your own maintenance, might be worth looking into if you don’t want to build VH Experimental. To be the builder in Experimental category you must have built at least 51% of it. Most of the kits are carefully calculated to meet that requirement.

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I’ve just finished building a BushCat tail dragger. Started October and have just been issued with permit to test fly. Factory support from Skyreach was awesome along with excellent documentation and videos which made the build relatively straightforward even for a novice such as myself

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70kts, 80 mph, 130 kilometres per hour, faster than the road vehicle speed limit

 

speed limit but not the transport speed. To get from my place (Sydney, right near KS airport) to WaggaWagga CBD by car - 5 hours, $70 for fuel and a few invisible bucks for car itself. To make the same way by plane - 40 mins (by car, with bus it takes 1.5h) to Bankstown, 30 min at least to prepare, taxi etc, 3 hours to fly, and it ends in Wagga airport, from where I will need some lift, so add another 0.5-1h for final leg. 4 hours in the best case and about $600-700 for plane and fuel. If destination is Adelaide - everything is even worse, I drive there 24 hours (with all rests) for $200 and absolutely do not care about weight and volume limitations for baggage. Slow cruise plane will do it with 1-2 fuel landings (Wagga and Mildura?), 10-12 flight hours so with obligatory good stationary rest in some hotel and for $1500-2000. It looks definitely not as a transport, but as a toy forced to do real job.

 

If the plane can do 200 kn - of course everything is much better, except the price.

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No argument with that. I fly for fun, not transport, but just ten minutes drive from Warwick airfield, around 15 litres per hour at 130km/hr so roughly the same fuel consumption as my Diesel Pajero. Problem is, as you say, if I use it for transport I need taxi, bus or hire car at destination.

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I’ve just finished building a BushCat tail dragger. Started October and have just been issued with permit to test fly. Factory support from Skyreach was awesome along with excellent documentation and videos which made the build relatively straightforward even for a novice such as myself

Wow, that's quick...well done!

I'm just coming to the end of my Savannah build. It's been 3years, though I took a big break, and there have been other periods where did very little.

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If you must get there and back at a specified time, don't fly recreational aircraft. If the weather's doubtful you don't go. Fly RPT or drive. If you are flying for fun, speed 's not THAT important. It seriously raises the cost Makes the plane a lot more complex and outlanding becomes more of a risk. Nev

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I think it was in here the statement was made.." If you have the time fly... If you don't drive" I have filed it in the memory bank with those other Aviation Standards.. 'Old Pilots and Bold Pilots...' and 'the Three Wasted Things....'

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Posted (edited)

Had a look at the RAAus paperwork, couldn't find anything saying a non builder could not do maintenance. It looks like the owner can do some maintenance as can someone with a Pilot Certificate but it does get a bit complicated as to who can do what. Anyway the important thing is it looks like if I bought a built RAAus eligible aircraft I'm not barred from doing (some) maintenance.

 

On speed, how much variation is there between similar sized and engined aircraft? Some designs look less draggy aerodynamically than others so I was thinking this could make a noticeable difference to general performance and fuel burn.

 

EDIT: Oh and the RAAus Pilot Certificate maximum aircraft take off weight is 600 kg. Which should allow something decent?

Edited by Datson

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Lots of good advice here. While I agree about trying lots of things first, it should be recognized that some people really enjoy the construction experience. I sure did, and I think I enjoy the plane more as a result.

If you think this might be for you, my advice is to visit people who are building. Just don't think that building saves you a lot of money.

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I'm in favour of encouraging more building but I've seen it

(a) to take a lot more time than originally envisaged.

(b) call a halt to any or much flying during that time.

and as said, many don't get finished by the original builder. When you take over from someone else you are well into "no mans land".

Also, the more flying and looking at other planes and talking to people experience you have prior to making decisions on what type of plane you build the more likelihood of it being "Right" for your purposes.. Nev

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I’d agree entirely that building makes you know the aircraft way better and helps in later troubleshooting etc.

Equally I enjoyed the build although I found it very frustrating because the early Jabiru manuals were very difficult to follow for a neophyte builder. However their manuals now are light years better ( I like to think it was some of my considered and constructive criticisms that I sent them that changed it. Maybe not but I like to think it.)

 

But everything is a trade off.

No help if it takes you so long you never end up flying it.

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Had a look at the RAAus paperwork, couldn't find anything saying a non builder could not do maintenance. It looks like the owner can do some maintenance as can someone with a Pilot Certificate but it does get a bit complicated as to who can do what. Anyway the important thing is it looks like if I bought a built RAAus eligible aircraft I'm not barred from doing (some) maintenance.

 

On speed, how much variation is there between similar sized and engined aircraft? Some designs look less draggy aerodynamically than others so I was thinking this could make a noticeable difference to general performance and fuel burn.

 

EDIT: Oh and the RAAus Pilot Certificate maximum aircraft take off weight is 600 kg. Which should allow something decent?

Richard:

RA-AUS have a certification called "L1". With that you can maintain your own aircraft. The restriction is that an L1 maintained aircraft cannot be used for commercial purposes, ie rented to a flying school. If your intent is solely to fly the plane for your own enjoyment and take some friends up flying, you're good to go with an L1. As I understand it, an L1 authority allows you to maintain your aircraft, but not modify it, unless you are the original builder.

 

On the question of speed. As you rightly spotted, some aircraft are more draggy than others, depending on the wing profile and the general design and construction. As a general rule, with a 100HP Rotax you can usually expect 78 knots or more (usually more). That translates to about 150Kph at the minimum. Remember that that is in a straight line with no stopping for traffic lights or slowing down through one-horse towns. You can cover a lot of ground at that speed on a cross country flight. If you build something that goes faster than the 78Kts, you'll find that it ultimately doesn't make a huge difference in travel time for the average 1-1/2 to 2 hour flight leg. Plan for that and you'll have comfortable flying. Our current plane flies at 110Kts and we regularly fly with a couple of Savannahs that cruise around the 78 Kts. If we all start together, the Savs arrive around 15-20 minutes after us. Usually, we're still refuelling when they arrive.

 

On the question of fuel burn. The fuel consumption is related to the engine horsepower. A 100HP Rotax will burn around 20Lph at cruise throttle regardless of what it's towing around the sky. What changes with drag is the resulting airspeed and consequently the time it takes to get from A to B, but as I mentioned before, not as much difference as you might think.

 

Finally, in case I didn't make the point earlier clear enough, if you decide to build, I strongly reccomend a quick build kit so that you can get up and flying soonest with the least amount of extra expense renting. Leave thinking about a "flash" airplane for when you've got more flying experience and know more about what you want from your flying. Take the easiest, quickest route into flying. Don't buy a kit that might take you 7 years to complete; you most likely won't finish it. As another shameless plug for the Nynja, mine took me 11 months to build and I took it very slowly. The dealer, Greg Robertson, built his Nynja in 10 weeks, but then he had built a Skyranger Swift before that so he was very familiar with the kit.

 

As always, blue skies and tailwinds.

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Before Jabiru kits, it was said that the aircraft was finished, on average, by the 5th guy to own the project. Jabiru changed that, and I don't know of one that was NOT finished by the first owner.

Once, Rod Stiff lamented that they had been too successful, and that any fool could build a Jabiru and live to make trouble afterwards. I can attest to the accuracy of that comment....

But times move on, and I reckon a matched-hole metal plane would be fun to build. As long as any fool could do it, I would be in there with a chance.

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