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Thread: Build, then fly?

  1. #31

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    I'm not a builder, but I have owned a couple of planes. Two things come to mind about building before learning to fly.

    First is, how do you know what you want? When I was learning I thought a C150 would suit me fine. After enough hours of going slow, I wanted a Grumman. After taking people up with me and needing to carry a little luggage, I wanted an Arrow. After seeing the maintenance requirements I wanted a Warrior. After trying a few small airports with rough grass strips I wanted a C172. What I ended up with was a TriPacer. Funny thing is I never thought about them when I started looking, and I can't think of anything else I'd rather have now. All the other planes stopped me from doing at least one thing I later found I liked doing. Deciding what your mission is when you have no experience seems a little odd. Same for spending years building a high performance traveling machine and finding out you like slow cruising to little airstrips for pancake breakfasts.

    Second is, how do you know what the cockpit should be like or what "improvements" you'd like to make? If I had a nickel for every RV builder that stuffed their panels with enough gizmos to make a 747 driver jealous, only to find out they just use the gps, I'd be rich. How do you know what the sight picture for landing is like before you decide to build the seat with a few extra degrees of tilt? Is a constant speed prop worth it to you? Really? Or are you just going by what other people said? Do you want to be one of the cool kids with a taildragger or a girlieman with a tricycle that has never had to worry about a groundloop? As a builder you are free to make changes, but it seems like a waste to spend months getting something perfect only to find out a different configuration is needed.

    For me, getting a different airplane just costs money. For builders, I'd imagine there would be a little pride lost in realizing you built the wrong plane. Maybe to the point of suffering through it's drawbacks instead of selling or building another?

  2. #32
    Fly Universal's Avatar
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    Jo, Me being 14 I think I know how you feel. But with everyone I meet my age and older than me, I try to encourage them to take a Discovery Flight and fly a plane around a bit so they know what they are getting into. Some people or I should say most people fall in love, while a very few percent of others dont.
    Olan Rom: 14 & Aspiring Pilot

  3. #33
    Anymouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Langlois View Post
    I have to put my 2 cents in here. Do not do what I have done!!!
    This is about building before not knowing how to fly.
    There is a way and I took that way. It is worse than any of your resolves here you have training available for many of the planes you would build.
    I not only chose to build before learning. I chose to build from scratch and design my own.
    Now I am stuck being the test pilot and no training .How is this you say, THE U/L needs no certificate
    I am scared! I am concerned ! I wish I took training before I built! I had money problems so I told myself why pay for training if you haven't anything to fly. Because you should that's all and for me mostly back when I began, it was available now its not.
    I will fly it and its a seaplane. I bit off more than I can chew. I hope I live through it and hurt no one doing it!!!

    I do have the help of a CFI but its at a distance. I am very thankful for even that.
    Just curious... Do you have a test flight program planned out??
    Someday I'll come up with something profound to put here.

  4. #34
    Norman Langlois's Avatar
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    Yes
    There is a plan layout for the taxi test
    For now I am not to get airborne. After I get comfortable with handling it. It moves to skimming and progresses very slowly,to short hops.
    Its all written down as discussed with the cfi. All was interrupted by control problems and the testing is on hold till I finish the new tail.
    A suggested ground school reading .See How It Flies .was the beginning and now its been a year and I will need to revue all that before I start again.
    You can fallow my progress its posted in the ultralight Strip in these forums I keep it up to date. Norms flying boat by Grant Smith
    I was comfortable with the low speed handling it was a bit more like jet skiing with bad control at the half throttle.
    there are video links on the post.
    Still Scared I can only hope I have better control the next time.

  5. #35
    Anymouse's Avatar
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    Someday I'll come up with something profound to put here.

  6. #36
    Norman Langlois's Avatar
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    Thanks I will

  7. #37
    highflyer's Avatar
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    Building and flying are both neat things to do. Many people prefer one to the other! For what that's worth ...

    My recommendation is this.

    Step 1: Go out to the airport and RENT an airplane and take lessons until you have Soloed. By that time you have a pretty good idea if this flying thing is something you want to do or not.

    Step 2: Buy an inexpensive airplane. It can be anything from an old Chief or Taylorcraft to a Cessna 150. The Cessna 150 will probably be the cheapest! Then learn to fly in it.

    Step 3: While you are learning to fly in your own airplane, go ahead and start building the airframe of your choice. Do NOT buy an engine now. You will probably spend several years building the airframe.

    Step 4: By this time you are probably a fairly competent pilot with some experience under you belt. By this time you will have reached the point on your homebuilt where you have to go out and buy an engine. There is no such thing as a cheap aircraft engine. So, sell your trainer. Use the money you get to get the engine you need.

    Step 5: Finish your homebuilt. Now you are capable of flying off the flight test period yourself. Make sure that you actually do flight test the airplane while you are doing that. Then you are good to go. Enjoy ...

  8. #38

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    Search the homebuilt market for a good inexpensive basic trainer. You will find they may be less expensive than you think. Do not purchase, however, unless you can find an experianced pilot, instructor, mechanic and airport bum to give you an oppinion. Then make your decision and offer your price, not the asking price.
    If that does not work, reconsider going the build before you fly route forwarned by Norm's comments. I am working with Norm and togeather we will make it happen. Bottom line, do what you want but do it wisely and carefully. It will take much more time and effort than you can imagine but it can be worth it in the end.
    Last edited by jedi; 04-26-2012 at 11:20 AM.

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