Building a plane from scratch.
We have all heard this on TV do not try this from home we are professionals. Well were does that leave people like me.I have always dreamed of flying and never had the money to do it.I will never have even now.With but one accept ion. That is to build my own plane. Not being an aeronautical engineer. That would likely mean I must adhere to someone else s design plan. So does that mean I am foolish to attempt the whole thing on my own ? I suppose in the eyes of of at-least some I am.
I had skills many builders have only part of . I didn't like the status of the available plan form.I think I can do better and I also think I may well have done better.
The Ultra light Plan form is the only path I would choose .
I still feel very humbled and meek about what I have done and also unsure. Taking as much care to educate myself as I went along. Still left me uncomfortable to speak with those that know more than I.As well as to confront them with new Ideas. I had one good Mentor in Mark Stull .He was a good source and a comfort to move along with my plan form. He is painfully missed. His invaluable input filled the void where others feared to go .I felt from the beginning that getting information carried liability and sealed the lips of many.Its to bad,but thats the way it is these days.
The main tool I used to achieve my end was to buy a set of plans. Even though I did not build that plane I used the example to define and place . The rest is an evolution of trial and error parts constructed and cast away not because of failure. mostly because being to heavy. The struggle to build light and stay stronger than the typical plan form was and is my goal still.I explored none typical methods .The tube and cable was being avoided . I looked for ways to construct with sheet aluminum and ways to lighten and use geometry to gain an edge on the typical UL plan form
I searched for plans I evaluated the appearances always found the typical UL to be a bit short coming .Even as I found out later that cable make all the difference. At the beginning they did not look safe to me. I concluded that if that were true for me it was also true for the general public,even reflecting the displeasure of general aviation pilots to be less that acceptable to fly.
I set to make a difference in this area, to build a more acceptable plan form .that the GA and the general public would not look upon as unfavorable .
Who am I to be the one to make this happen? Maybe it needs to be someone who doesn't know not to go there .Someone that thinks outside the box. and even though short on funds one that has no limitations. Why is this because I build machines and I can make virtually any metal parts.Machined , formed ,welded As well as machinery to make it happen. that's why the evolution began .I needed no one to say for a plane, no way I m not going to be held liable. I had not only the skills but the work place that allowed me access to the machinery to build my own machinery. As well as the plane.
And so after 7 years I have a plane.I spent the first year making the most crucial item to my plan form this was a roll forming machine. It takes coil aluminum and roll forms it into channel. after that I had to develop other forming tools to work the channel. Originally I intended only to use this channel for ribs my latest work has shown me much more is possible. Another tool was a pressure flare die. It allows deep ashtray like flare that enhances the diaphragms of the triangle mono spar and fuselage boom . The triangle mono spar is the limb I dared to go out on if I may. I will say it is and isn't. I used it wrong on this first plane.A hint that maybe. The spars failing now is resolved with the single flying wire per side it has a 4G plus .The V-tail was an effort to reduce weight one of the only things so far that I consider a failure . the other was an attempt to make the rear floats steerable. On my last taxi Murphy's law came into play and an excess length of strapping that holds the fuel tank found its way into the cable pulley for that steering. With pulley stuck in an extreme turn I had to shut down the engine and struggle to free the system restart and limp back to the launch. With the float system being redesigned it was eliminated turned out to be a substantial weight saving with the float rebuild.
A new tail was designed a horizontal stabilator was chosen . Because I had the design and method to support it,cantilever to boot,and Its lighter than you would believe.
Spring will be here soon. A return to the testing and eventually flight.
For any that never fallowed my build blog in the EAA. forums This is also a huge hurdle.Not yet knowing how to fly
I began my dream build the year before the end of the UL training exemption was to end. For financial reasons I avoided the expenditure to learn to fly expecting that some alternative would be in place by the time I was finished.
That has not come to pass I have had some good advise and I have taken it. being self taught is not the best way to go even with the books. I suppose though i am not the only one take to the sky in this way.
I pose to all of you Am I foolish are any who would dare . ? I personally see any one who sits on a motor cycle as a fool who risks more than I But that's just my view point.
Regards a fool and his dream designer builder of Norms flying boat