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Thread: AOPA "Dogfight": Experimental vs. Standard

  1. #1
    EAA Staff / Moderator Hal Bryan's Avatar
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    AOPA "Dogfight": Experimental vs. Standard

    It occurs to me that some of you might want to read this and, in particular, vote in the poll ... (light fuse and get away):


    http://www.aopa.org/members/files/pi...WT.mc_sect=gan

    (Apologies to non-AOPA members if this turns out to be restricted content.)

    Hal Bryan
    EAA #638979
    Online Community Manager
    EAA—The Spirit of Aviation

  2. #2
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    There have been some rather heated discussions on the AOPA forums on this subject. (not to be confused with the other heated discussions regarding the perceived "cowboy antics" of a subset of homebuilt flyers)

    Sometimes I think they get all their story ideas by monitoring the forums

  3. #3
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    The dogfight discussions are almost the stupidest things I've ever seen. They don't even get someone with a clue to write the viewpoints. The one on LOP was a complete piece of drivel.

  4. #4
    As usual, Dave gets it right and Tom just phones it in. The one on LOP was kinda lame.

    Anyone that equates homebuilding to birdhouse building needs to admit a complete ignorance of the subject. At least he realizes he needs to let someone else build and maintain his plane. Many should...... including almost all those posting on the AOPA forum!

    He completely ignores (or is more likely completely unaware of) the tech assistance and huge builder community and forums that help novices. But even given that modern bit of help. look at all the experimentals that were constructed and are still flying prior to the fabulous assistance of Al Gore's internet.....

    Actually I think he does know all this and just plays the dufus. Unfortunately some of these lame remarks could well end up quoted by the media, attorneys, etc. and hurt us, so they need to consider their topics and comments carefully. Perhaps AOPA should monitor a little more closely?

    All in all not a bad way to discuss controversial issues, contary to the opinions of some. IMO as always.

  5. #5
    Anymouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal Bryan View Post
    It occurs to me that some of you might want to read this and, in particular, vote in the poll ... (light fuse and get away):


    http://www.aopa.org/members/files/pi...WT.mc_sect=gan

    (Apologies to non-AOPA members if this turns out to be restricted content.)
    Just voted. 92% went with innovation...
    I'll come up with something profound

  6. #6
    Rick Galati's Avatar
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    Freedom of Choice

    I built and fly 2 RV's so you can imagine where I weigh in on this subject. On the other hand, I know people who think building an airplane themselves is out of the question. By default at least, many of those who fall into the second group are admitting to their own personal limitations and accept that the challenge and commitment of building an airplane as an unacceptably daunting endeavor for themselves to undertake personally. Frankly, we are all better off for it.

    As for the camp I occupy, I will say this. There are homebuilts and there are homebuilts. Because there are no formalized quality control standards as you would find in the production environment, the degree and quality of craftsmanship in the homebuilt community is all over the place. For instance, I worked in aircraft production for decades and am keenly aware of construction best practices. Someone who has a background in law or medicine maybe good at what he does but those skills do not necessarily translate well into riveting an airplane together! This dynamic was on full display one day when the owner of my airport ran one fellow off the field because the "airplane" he cobbed together had no brakes whatsoever. The builder reasoned brakes were too heavy and expensive to install. The airframe was partly assembled using hardware store type bolts. Whew! That attitude did not exactly inspire confidence in those aircraft owners with airplanes tied down nearby. Adios amigo.

    Recognizing this, some kit manufacturers including Van's have designed a product that is comprehensive and forgiving all but the most egregious builder errors. Dramatic and breathtaking advances in CAD-CAM technology have made the growth of experimental aviation possible and the savvy and well funded kit manufacturers have taken full advantage of that. This most certainly CANNOT be said for those who choose to build an unproven design and as a consequence, are largely on their own when it comes to assembling raw materials from a variety of sources, fabricating parts and then putting it all together.

    I find it interesting that some certificated owners bemoan the higher cost of parts for their airplanes relative to the price for replacement parts for experimental aircraft. They must realize that certificated ownership comes at a steep price in regulation and parts replacement costs. Painfully aware of this, I happily sold my certificated airplane after 18˝ years of ownership when my first RV was completed and I never looked back.

    The EAA has done much to promote safe personal aviation and it should gently and constantly remind those certificated airplane pilots who attend AirVenture that the annual event is only made possible because the E in EAA has made it so.

  7. #7

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    Someone who has a background in law or medicine maybe good at what he does but those skills do not necessarily translate well into riveting an airplane together!
    True, but they don't necessarily mean that skills can't be learned.

    Similarly, there is no guarantee that someone with a background in airplane construction and maintenance is going to build a flawless aircraft.

    A couple of bicycle builders and a race car driver did pretty good jobs of designing and building a couple of models of aircraft a few years ago, after all.

    I completely agree there are some folks that should never build or buy an experimental aircraft. My flight instructor and I have had many friendly debates over the subject - we fall on completely different sides of the issue, and I agree he should never attempt to do what I'm doing.

    A big part of the Builder's Delimna is the selection of project, and I think you're referring to folks biting off more than they can chew relative to their skills.

    I knew Jack Nothing about building an aircraft, metal working, etc. half a year ago, but I knew that if I wanted to really fly an airplane I'd have to build it myself. Going after an RV-8 or other complex design is way outside my skillset - but a tube-and-gusset fabric covered open cockpit biplane is well within the learning curve, particularly because there are a bunch of people to reach out for when I'm a little lost.

    However, I have fabricated my own parts and am very confident they are as good as anything that could come out of a factory. Granted, a cut gusset from aluminum stock is a very basic thing, but it strikes at the heart of the generalization about builders "largely on their own when it comes to assembling raw materials from a variety of sources, fabricating parts and then putting it all together," which I think is entirely too elitist.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  8. #8

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    Another option is to buy a completed experimental and maintain it well.

    I have 2 experimentals and do a lot of stuff myself where allowed and it has been a great learning
    experience.

    It has eased me into the experimental world and completely overcome any reservations about them.

    Most people fear them, but it is the fear of the unknown that is driving that.

    I rather prefer experimentals now due to the maintenance options they present.

    I think you do need to be hands on and somewhat technically inclined as you do need to exercise caution
    and use good judgement at all times. I found it always better to err on the conservative side and it has
    always served me well.

    Owning and flying experimental makes you a vested party to the aircrafts well being and you take personal responsibility
    for its condition, enabling you to l catch things others will miss, including your AP IA etc.

    That accountability I believe will ultimately make you a safer pilot.

    I cringe when I see certified aircraft folks just accept an annual at face value and rarely take a hard look on their own.

    In my own case I know how all the parts work together and if something even seems not right I don't fly till I get to the bottom of it.

    For example I recently had a plane annualed and just before takeoff at the end of the runway I had released a tail wheel castoring lock and done routine stick freedom check and felt something "different".

    Following my own rules to err on the side of safety I pushed back and opened an inspection port at the tail to see if there was some kind of binding taking place of the tail controls.

    Sure enough the tail wheel cable had a single wrap around the elevator control rod....right after the annual.

    Something that could have caused a disaster, but if I had blind faith in those servicing my airplane I might be injured or worse today.

    Ray

  9. #9
    Chad Jensen's Avatar
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    Excellent advice Ray, and good catch! Glad you took the time to investigate the "different" feel.
    Chad Jensen
    EAA #755575

  10. #10

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    I really like the idea of flying in an aircraft in which I literally know every rivet, nut, bolt, and wire on.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

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