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Thread: One Design DR107??

  1. #1
    Panhandler1956's Avatar
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    One Design DR107??

    What ever happened to the One Design? When I was flying to OSH in the early '90s it was all the rage, although only the proto was built. Fast forward 20 years and I don't think there are too many out there. I did find a website that seems to have some activity, but it looks like it didn't really catch on. Maybe the fact that it is plans-built and you can pickup a nice used S-1S for $40K killed it.
    http://www.dr107.info
    Thoughts?
    Brent Owens
    EAA 9 Flight Advisor/Tech Counselor
    Flying my RV-8
    Columbus, OH

    my blogs:
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  2. #2

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    They are flying contests that I go to. As a very specialized aircraft they have a smaller population of builders than a lot of other designs. Someone who builds a 1D has to believe that they are both a builder and an aerobatic competitor, not a common combination. After all, there are maybe 400 active competitors in the US.

    There is a 1D project getting ready for its first flight not far from me.

    You comment on the availability of Pitts' is partly right. Many folks out there are pilots interested in aerobatics. A subset of those are interested enough to look to buy an airplane for aerobatics. And the Pitts, in all its manifestations, is the most obvious choice after the Decathlon. Thank you Curtis.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS
    Last edited by WLIU; 04-22-2012 at 05:18 AM.

  3. #3
    RetroAcro's Avatar
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    The "one design" concept had a couple flaws, IMO. First was the hope that there would be significant numbers of folks willing to commit years constructing a plans-built airplane for the sole purpose of participating in aerobatic competitions against others who would be flying the exact same plane. Interesting concept, but maybe not exciting enough to spark the interest. It's hard enough to get folks to participate period. This was just not something that people were going to put the effort into to make viable. The other flaw is that the DR-107 is competitive in the existing Primary thru Advanced categories. Unless there were separate "one design" categories for different skill levels, it would either exclude lots of DR-107 pilots, or become boring for others. If the concept worked, it would be a challenge to fit in these additional categories into the current contest structure that already includes 5 categories that can be hard to get finished in the standard 2 days as it is. You would really need a dedicated "one design" contest, and that would be a little isolating from the rest of the folks in the sport.

    But the DR-107 is a decent little plane on its own. There are a number of them out there, and still being built. The 750 lb. empty weight listed by the designer is not quite honest, and most of them are between 900-1000lbs. empty, which makes them a bit of a sled, considering the wing area and airfoil. They don't corner as well as a Pitts on the same power (180 hp), but make up for it by rolling almost twice as fast. The net resulting performance is on par with a 180hp Pitts. They're tiny airplanes, and like the S-1 Pitts', can be a little hard to judge when high in the box, but they're a great bang for the buck airplane. I would much rather have a Pitts, though.
    Last edited by RetroAcro; 04-22-2012 at 05:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Panhandler1956's Avatar
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    Makes sense! I had my heart set one of those as a younger man.

    Thanks guys!
    Brent Owens
    EAA 9 Flight Advisor/Tech Counselor
    Flying my RV-8
    Columbus, OH

    my blogs:
    http://iflyblog.com
    http://fixedwingbuddha.com

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    So if you built and RV-8, you can continue your educational experience by welding tube and sawing wood to make the 1D you wanted. If you really want to push the envelope, there is a two seat DR-109 and a very few of those are starting to see the light of day. After all, if your RV is done, what are you now doing with all of the time you have to spare?

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RetroAcro View Post
    The "one design" concept had a couple flaws, IMO. First was the hope that there would be significant numbers of folks willing to commit years constructing a plans-built airplane for the sole purpose of participating in aerobatic competitions against others who would be flying the exact same plane. Interesting concept,
    Even more interesting when you consider the number of existing "one designs." A 7ECA, even the lowly C-150 aerobat. Also interesting is that a competition could be designed where the "one design" airplanes are available for rent. This would encourage a lot of entry level participants. Imagine, one could take the requisite training and then enter a contest without buying/building his/her own airplane. No large cash outlay required, other than some dual instruction and airplane rental costs. Design a basic routine and everyone plays on a level field, no fat wallet advantage. But silly me, what am I thinking, IAC is not interested in that.

    If the concept worked, it would be a challenge to fit in these additional categories into the current contest structure that already includes 5 categories that can be hard to get finished in the standard 2 days as it is. You would really need a dedicated "one design" contest, and that would be a little isolating from the rest of the folks in the sport.
    Once upon a time we used to brainstorm this idea during hangar flying sessions. It could be made to work, easily. If it became popular, make it a stand alone event. If not, it could be incorporated into a regular IAC event. Maybe start a day early and get down to the final round on day 2. Even as an 'isolated' event it would encourage interest and participation in aerobatics but then again, what am I thinking. In the end, support for entry level aerobatics and grass roots participants isn't there.

  7. #7

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    I think that there is actually a sort of one design contest within the current IAC contest structure. The Grassroots Medal is almost universally awarded to a Decathlon driver. Aviat used to sponsor a trophy for the highest scoring Pitts driver too.

    As for making contests a day longer, I will hazard a guess that you have not been a Contest Director or delegated to handle the logistics of a contest. Many contests already take 1 practice day plus 3 competition days. Most folks are already stretching their vacation from work budget at that. And some airports can't handle any more disruption from their normal routine.

    If you really have never tried to set up a contest, please volunteer. Every IAC chapter needs more help with buying trophies, contracting for food and catering, renting hangar space, etc.

    Thanks,

    Wes
    N78PS

  8. #8
    RetroAcro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post
    Even more interesting when you consider the number of existing "one designs." A 7ECA, even the lowly C-150 aerobat. Also interesting is that a competition could be designed where the "one design" airplanes are available for rent. This would encourage a lot of entry level participants. Imagine, one could take the requisite training and then enter a contest without buying/building his/her own airplane. No large cash outlay required, other than some dual instruction and airplane rental costs. Design a basic routine and everyone plays on a level field, no fat wallet advantage. But silly me, what am I thinking, IAC is not interested in that.
    I think what we're really talking about here is not a "one design" category, but a category that's friendly to non-inverted system aircraft. IMO, this will only be viable if it got a decent number of Vans RV pilots involved who would not otherwise...considering there are now over 7,000 of them flying. Regarding your mention of 7ECA's and Aerobats, I would offer this perspective: I recently looked up the percentage of all U.S.-registered inverted-system Citabrias that participated in competition acro last year. Most Citabrias don't have inverted systems, but the 7KCAB does. Of these, only 2.3% competed (6 of 266 registered). Considering the 7KCAB is well-capable of winning the current Primary and Sportsman categories, I just don't feel there would be more than a handful of non-inverted system Citabria or Aerobat pilots across the country who would participate if new sequences/categories were created just for these types. If these same non-inverted system Citabria and Aerobat pilots had enough interest to get involved, they would, they can, and they have flown the current Primary sequence at contests. They just need to get over the fact that the engine may hesitate for a couple seconds and may get a little oil thrown on the belly. But these are not real problems.

    There have been a couple of Chapters who have held "one design" contests for RVs and Decathlons. They were not IAC-sanctioned events, and the organizers designed a sequence that did not require negatively-loaded lines or a spin. The IAC magazine ran an article on one of these in the last few years. But I'm not sure if there was enough interest to make this type of event sustainable. Again, I think the real untapped "market" is RVs. Unfortunately, of the over 7,000 now flying, only about 3 per year compete - and they don't even really need inverted systems to fly up to Sportsman, which is all they're really suited for anyway. If we got only 5% of RV's involved, that would be a big boost to the sport, and help with sustainability.

    Bottom line, I think you have to be a "self starter" to find your way into this sport. If you really want to do it, you'll use what you have...or even modify it if you really need (experimentals). In general, the Citabria, RV, Acro Sport, Aerobat, etc. pilots who may only do the occasional lazy loop, roll, or spin don't even understand the issues with inverted systems as it relates to contest flying. That's not much of a factor for many of them. If asked about competition, most will simply say they're not interested...even if they have zero knowledge or experience with it. There are lots of reasons for folks to be disinterested...and these range from informed, legitimate reasons to very misinformed, ignorant reasons. Some may just lack the confidence. It sounds bad to say, but I think ego prevents others from getting involved. I flew an RV for 5 years, and have tried to stir up interest in the RV community. Competition aerobatics (in any form) is mostly a non-starter. There needs to be a significant show of interest before changes can be made. But to be clear, I am all for restructuring our sport a little if it would truly bring in significant numbers of new folks.

    Eric
    Last edited by RetroAcro; 04-23-2012 at 09:26 AM.

  9. #9

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    Actually, when you talk about the folks who do not want to or can not own a dedicated aerobatic aircraft, we typically see those pilots come to the contests with an acro school rental. I will offer the suggestion that making entry easy is not really the job of IAC. Avoiding creating barriers to entry is a good task for IAC and then we see the flight schools providing the opportunities to learn acro and then compete. It is a complementary relationship and in my part of the US it works.

    As noted above, if you are not a self starter, and do not have a high level of confidence in your skills, you are probably not the person who will be going 202mph straight down at 2000' AGL while rolling. And frankly, I think that there is just a small population of pilots who are able to arrive at that point in space, time, equipment, and $$ and do it safely. "Average" pilots just don't do that, which is OK. There is something in aviation for everyone. And as I get older, I have come to believe that helping someone get into a dangerous activity is not a good idea unless they have the level of self motivation such that they will find the time and $$ to make it work without your help.

    So if you really really want to fly acro at a contest, it costs just enough that you have to think about it, but not so much that you can't find the means. For folks who are just musing about it because it seems like an exclusive club or merit badge that they think should be in their logbook, then they will continue standing on the outside looking in. We admit ourselves to this club. All it takes is one dive into the box on contest day. Of course the effort of getting to that one roll, pitch, and wing-wag is what we are talking about.

    So rather than talk on the internet, go fly.

    See you at the box,

    Wes
    N78PS
    IAC Intermediate competitor

  10. #10
    RetroAcro's Avatar
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    As always, well said Wes!

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