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Thread: New Member Looking for Ideas

  1. #1

    New Member Looking for Ideas

    Hi Everyone,

    I am researching the feasibility of building my own airplane. The first thing I found is that there are thousands of plans and kits out there, and no real discernable way to narrow the search down. I think I have a pretty good idea of what I want the plane to do, but no idea how to narrow down the selection. If anyone could suggest kits or plans that suit what I am looking for, I would really appreciate it.

    Plane specs:
    Bi-plane or low wing
    Easy to build for first time builder
    Easy to fly/land
    2 seats
    Safe
    Must be able to easily communicate with passenger
    Low cost-like fly baby cost but 2 seats
    If open cockpit, Easy to add a removable canopy

    Uses:
    Local site seeing solo, with my son, or with another adult
    $100 hamburger runs with my son
    Occassional x/c. Willing to make fuel stops if needed

    My skills:
    Woodworking
    Home construction
    Automotive

    I cannot:
    Weld
    Paint very well

    If I have omitted any useful information needed for a suggestion, please let me know. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    827
    Your level of pilot experience and license? MOST important would be your realistic budget, availability of a hangar and your realistic budget.

    Oh, and your realistic budget?
    "Don't believe everything you see or read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

  3. #3
    Ppl, but currently with low time and no extra ratings. I am planning to get instrument rating, though I don't necessarily expect this plane to be ifr. If I need to, I could also get a tail wheel endorsement.

    For a realistic budget, I am not 100% certain because of the mountain of kits and plans available. I think $20-$25k, but don't know how realistic it is.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    827
    A single place Aerolite 103 Ultralight kit runs a little bit over $20,000 - https://www.uflyit.com/aerolite_103_prices.htm . 2 place aircraft kits like say an RV come close to doubling that number? I'll let others chime in as I'm quickly getting beyond my personal knowledge base.
    "Don't believe everything you see or read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
    Eric Page's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Toledo, WA
    Posts
    253
    Youíll be hard pressed to build any of the aluminum 2-seater kits for less than $50k, all-in, unless youíre extraordinarily good at scrounging, and willing to install a used engine.

    A Pietenpol Air Camper might fit your criteria, but itís a parasol wing and I havenít seen one with a canopy.

    You might keep your eyes open for an unfinished Kitfox, particularly one of the early ones (Model 1 - Model 4). Theyíre pretty popular right now, so finding one at a reasonable price could be a challenge. Rotax has stopped (or soon willÖ) making the 582, so unless the project comes with an engine, that could be another hurdle.

    Amother possibility is the Double Eagle design by Leonard Milholland. Itís a high wing also, but it can be built pretty cheaply, has two seats, and is usually powered with an economical VW conversion. Itíd be hard to find another 2-seater that could be built or operated as cheaply as this one.

    Fisher Flying Products has a wide range of budget-friendly models, including some 2-seaters and biplanes.

    The only aircraft I can think of that meets your 2-seat, low-wing, low-cost criteria is the KR-2S. Itís a wood and fiberglass kit with a pretty attractive price and is also powered with a VW conversion. I donít know what the current status of this kit is, as the old website (http://www.fly-kr.com/) now directs readers to another site (http://www.nvaero.com/), which appears to be dead.

    For any aircraft type you consider, look for an online buildersí group or forum where you can ask about realistic build times, complexity and cost. Good luck!
    Eric Page
    Building Kitfox Series 5
    Member: EAA, AOPA, ALPA
    ATP: MEL / Comm: SEL, Glider / ATCS: CTO
    Map of Landings

  6. #6
    Thank you for the input so far. I really like the KR-2S, but it looks like the website hasn't been updated since 2004.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    827
    I would suggest you check out the Zenith 650 - their website has all the pricing info you'll need for a realistic new kit budget with engine package. Add SEVERAL hundred $$ (or more than a couple $1000) for the necessary tools to do the build.

    https://www.zenithair.net/purchase-kit-stol-ch-650/

    This guy built his Zenith high wing and at the end of the video suggests a total cost of about $75,000.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6vwV2AMR_o
    Last edited by CHICAGORANDY; 08-17-2021 at 09:25 AM.
    "Don't believe everything you see or read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

  8. #8
    That is a really nice airplane. He mentions in the video that his engine is around $13k. Should I expect the average engine to be in that price range, or is that more like an upgrade? I don't think I mentioned, but I do expect the power plant and instruments/avionics to be additional costs above the $25k. From what I've seen, the instruments/avionics vary by what you prefer.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Chicago
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    827
    I would not be shocked to learn that many builders have spent as much on the firewall forward and avionics as they did for rest of the airplane kit. You're kinda asking how much does a car cost? I was once wisely advised that if I had to ask the price of something? I couldn't afford it. And they were right - LOL - but that's just ME, not anyone else.
    "Don't believe everything you see or read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

  10. #10
    Lol, that certainly could turn out to be true. For now, I'm just trying to gain an understanding of the costs involved. I guess it's a side effect of my day job.

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