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Thread: Seeking Project Suggestions

  1. #1
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Seeking Project Suggestions

    I'm trying to figure out what to build, and I could use some suggestions. My basic requirements are:

    • Small, one or two-place E-AB aircraft
    • Preferably conventional gear
    • Folding wings to allow towing and garage storage
    • Available as a complete kit
    • Total budget for VFR a/c: $30,000

    Missions that interest me include:
    • Dawn patrol-type low and slow flying
    • Cross-country flights for $100 burgers, fly-ins, etc.
    • Perhaps Sportsman or Sprint class Sport Air Racing

    So far I've looked pretty hard at the Belite and OneX. The Belite has the advantages of low cost, relatively fast build, and low/slow fun, but lacks speed/range and uses a noisy two stroke (one flight review described it as deafening). The OneX is more expensive and complicated to build, but has more typical GA speed and range with larger tanks and a four stroke, and it could be raced.

    I seem to recall that at least some of the Kolb aircraft have folding wings, but their website is down as I write this, so I can't confirm it. Are they still in business?

    I've also looked at the Loehle 5151 and P-40. They might be race-able, but their wings/tail come off rather than fold, so setup, takedown and trailering would be difficult to do by myself.

    I enjoy both low/slow and cross-country flying, but I don't have room and can't afford to build two aircraft! Are there any other kits I should look at that might fit one or more of my missions, while meeting my basic requirements? Thanks!
    Last edited by Eric Page; 08-17-2011 at 03:08 PM. Reason: Add budget
    Eric Page
    Member: EAA, AOPA, ALPA, NRA
    ATP: MEL / Comm: SEL, Glider / ATCS: CTO
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  2. #2
    Commodore's Avatar
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    Mini-IMP partially satisfy your requirements. Plans included with CAD drawings, so you can cut your own sheet metal kit by CNC service. But it is high-speed aircraft. If you want to fly low and slow look for Poor Boy. IMHO two folding wings aircraft might be stored in single car garage without serious problem.
    Last edited by Commodore; 08-17-2011 at 02:52 AM.

  3. #3
    Chad Jensen's Avatar
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    Have you had a look at the Just Aircraft Highlander? Seems like it may fit your profile...

    http://www.justaircraft.com/page.php?25

    A buddy of mine is getting ready to start one...really cool airplane!
    Chad Jensen
    EAA #755575

  4. #4
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Thanks for the ideas, guys!

    Commodore: That Mini-IMP is a gorgeous little thing, and the website claims completed cost of $10-15k plus engine. I'm guessing ~$25-30k flying. They do offer some parts packages, but there isn't really a complete kit. Very interesting...

    Chad: The Just is a cool a/c. It's a nice classic design, but I fear it's beyond my budget. A quick calculation comes to $42,650 plus freight, paint, avionics and tools, and that's using the cheapest engine and no quick-build options. It looks like it could easily pass $50k once completed.

    I should have mentioned budget limitations in my opening post. Now edited to add this requirement.
    Eric Page
    Member: EAA, AOPA, ALPA, NRA
    ATP: MEL / Comm: SEL, Glider / ATCS: CTO
    Map of Landings

  5. #5
    Eric Witherspoon's Avatar
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    Per your requirements, I think you would be really happy with a Onex. Ok, I'm biased. I've built the better part of 2 Sonex - one I sold before it flew, and the other I saw through to completion and have been flying for the past 3 years. Reasons I would recommend Onex by Sonex (based on your criteria): They are a good-size, going company. They have an ever-increasing base of completed customer airplanes (just passed 350 Sonex designs flying), so there will be a LOT of support. Even though Onex customer builds are just getting started, a LOT of the Sonex knowledge base from fellow builders will cross over. So there are loads of people both online and in person to ask how to get things done. Their Onex kit is "more complete" than even the Sonex kits. With the Onex, they have ventured into match-drilled construction - can cleco together some parts right out of the box, so it will be reasonably quick to build. The wing fold is very quick and robust. The performance WILL be what they say - they don't exaggerate. Their way of doing conventional gear will be very easy to handle. I expect it will cruise a bit faster than the 2-seat Aerovee-powered Sonex due to the narrower fuselage, and lower gross weight allowing less wing area and less drag in that respect. Probably pretty close to the 3300-powered Sonex. In watching the flight video, the numbers they were seeing were not quite as fast as my 3300-powered Sonex, but still really good. It definitely looks like a lot of fun for the money.

    Actually, since you don't mention LSA as a requirement, they did have to add area-increasing wingtips to meet the LSA stall speed. If you don't need that, leave those off (end the wings at the metal, not sure if they are offering "flat" close-out tips, but metal close outs are not that hard to build - that's what I have on my Sonex). Then you would also be free to tweak the prop a bit for more speed. I don't know, but I suspect they will be issuing a "Light Sport" engine RPM limit for the Aerovee to keep the Onex slow enough. So without those limitations (shorter wing, more cruise-ish prop, and no artificial rpm limit), my guess is (and you might want to contact the company on this) that the Onex is pretty easy to build in a form that is too fast to meet LSA. In that form, I can't think of anything currently available and supported that could give that much speed for your sub $30k budget... You can always throttle (way) back if you want to slow it down...
    Murphy's 13th: Every solution breeds new problems...

    http://www.spoonworld.com

  6. #6
    Chad Jensen's Avatar
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    The Onex is going to be a VERY popular airplane I think!
    Chad Jensen
    EAA #755575

  7. #7
    Dana's Avatar
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    All of the Kolb line (except the early twin engine Flyer) have folding wings. 10 minutes to set up. Great for buzzing around, but not exactly racing planes (I have an early Kolb UltraStar). The Sonex line looks attractive (though to some eyes ugly) too.

  8. #8

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    "

    • Small, one or two-place E-AB aircraft
    • Preferably conventional gear
    • Folding wings to allow towing and garage storage
    • Available as a complete kit
    • Total budget for VFR a/c: $30,000 "



    One possibility came to mind, though my understanding is, not a "kit" - The Thorp T-18

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by David Darnell View Post
    "
    One possibility came to mind, though my understanding is, not a "kit" - The Thorp T-18
    I believe the Sunderland S-18 version is available as a kit.

  10. #10
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    David and Ron: The T-18/S-18 is a great design. It's a beautiful plane and has great performance. I spoke to an owner once and he couldn't say enough good things about its flying qualities. The S-18 is indeed available as a kit, though it would be difficult to finish within my budget. The kit is just over $20,000 + freight, and it uses a certified engine.

    The OneX is looking better and better the more I learn about it. I've watched both of the Webinars that the Sonex guys put on, and it's truly a game-changing design. The matched-hole type kit is very appealing to me, as I don't have the tools or know-how to do a lot of fabrication. I think I'd really enjoy constructing a plane, and I'd be proud to say, "Yeah, I built it." That said, I don't want to invest a decade in the project; I want to fly!

    I'm still open to suggestions. I'm sure somebody knows of another type that will work for me...

    Thanks to EAA for putting this thread in the eHotline!
    Eric Page
    Member: EAA, AOPA, ALPA, NRA
    ATP: MEL / Comm: SEL, Glider / ATCS: CTO
    Map of Landings

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