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Thread: Kit advice

  1. #1

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    Kit advice

    I want to do a kit. I am just in the planning stages, and have never done anything like this before. I am not sure what kit I want. I know that the mission needs to be defined, and I have a rough definition and some thoughts on kits. Any suggestions or information is greatly appreciated. I also apologize in advance as this is a bit of stream of consciousness thinking and not highly organized, but I am just starting.

    First, I fly for a living, and don’t need to get in the air. I don’t care if this project takes ten years. My main goal is to learn and have a fun project. My young children are interested as well. Honestly, I would not care if I did not finish, provided I did not have a ton of money invested. In that sense, plans only kits might be a decent option. It looks to me like there the likelihood of finishing would be low, but the money invested upfront is smaller. (Though I could see it becoming more expensive over the lifetime of a finished project...) there are many kits that look great, but with the cost of those mostly between 20-30k sans engine, if I saved up for one and bought it, it would be a must finish. (However, just with my beginning assessment, it looks like most standard build kits would be fairly easy provided they had good instructions.) I don’t feel intimidated by anything in a kit but cost, while the plans option is a bit intimidating, but I could see it being a cool learning experience.

    So so the first mission for this aircraft is the experience of the build. The next items are preferences. I want cheap to store and cheap to operate (probably folding wings would be best). I think I would prefer tube and fabric construction. I also want something I could teach my son to fly in one day. I also would like some off airport ability, but not looking for a hard core bush plane (though I wouldn’t mind one.) My wife says four seats would be nice, but I think that would take it outside my budget for the build and future operating costs.

    it it seems to me that the Kitfox, just Aircraft Highlander and the Ran’s S20 may fit my bill the best. I also like the vans rv7 and 9. They don’t fit my bill as well, but it seems that their support, manuals and kits are incredible and I like the pricing structure on the kits where you can do a piece at a time so one could save up for the next bit while working on another. I also saw a Bearhawk, and while the kit is out of my price range, it has a plans only option which could make for a good learning experience, and it has the advantage of a lower upfront investment if I feel that it is not going to work out. However, it has higher operating costs etc. later in the build and when finished.

    I would be working out of my small 2 car garage. I am good at working on cars, but don’t have any welding or fabrication skills (as of right now anyway). This might be a negative toward the plans route.

    thanks for any thoughts.

  2. #2
    Auburntsts's Avatar
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    An RV-12 might work as well -- super easy construction, removable wings, plus the vast RV community which you already mentioned.
    Todd “I drink and know things” Stovall
    PP ASEL - IA
    RV-10 N728TT - Flying
    My builder's log (which is woefully out of date): www.mykitlog.com/auburntsts
    WAR DAMN EAGLE!

  3. #3
    DaleB's Avatar
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    I was in a similar situation. I have an airplane, so I don't NEED to finish another one, but I wanted a pay-as-you-go, low pressure option. I don't weld, and don't really want to take the time and spend the money to get good enough that I'd trust a fuselage that I welded myself. That left me looking for either a kit with a pre-welded fuse, or all wood. You might want to look at Fisher Flying Products kits. I'm building a Celebrity, but they also make others that might be closer to what you want.

    Airdrome Aeroplanes makes some one- and two-seat WWI era biplanes. Aluminum and fabric, though some have welded 4130 tube fuselages. Not terribly expensive, with pretty flexible engine options on some.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  4. #4

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    I wonder if I can start one plans only, and if I run into something I don’t feel comfortable doing, then buy the kit.

  5. #5
    Auburntsts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruinpilot View Post
    I wonder if I can start one plans only, and if I run into something I don’t feel comfortable doing, then buy the kit.
    Sure, but it depends on the make/model. Some of the designs, RV's for example, are only available in kit form and don't have a plans only option.
    Todd “I drink and know things” Stovall
    PP ASEL - IA
    RV-10 N728TT - Flying
    My builder's log (which is woefully out of date): www.mykitlog.com/auburntsts
    WAR DAMN EAGLE!

  6. #6
    robert l's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruinpilot View Post
    I wonder if I can start one plans only, and if I run into something I don’t feel comfortable doing, then buy the kit.
    Bruin, I started scratch building the Zenith CH-701 and really enjoyed the process. However, my work took me out of town for months at a time and now, having only completed part of it, I've lost interest. I'm going to sell, or donate what I have built and look for something flying. I ain't gettin any younger.
    Bob

  7. #7
    CarlOrton's Avatar
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    Both Sonex and Zenith offer plans only options. You can still buy any or all parts you don’t want to fabricate. For example, you can buy all the steel weldments if you can’t weld. Or you can still buy the sub kits if you decide you want to save some time.

    Carl Orton
    Sonex #1170 / Zenith 750 Cruzer
    http://mykitlog.com/corton

  8. #8

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    Bob,

    i was really looking at getting something with a tail wheel, but the zenith looks pretty cool. I need to look at it a bit more. How much have you done on it?

  9. #9
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruinpilot View Post
    I wonder if I can start one plans only, and if I run into something I don’t feel comfortable doing, then buy the kit.
    Fisher will happily sell you individual parts, a complete kit, a component (wing/fuse/whatever) kit, or whatever else you want. I suspect most other places will as well.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  10. #10
    Auburntsts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruinpilot View Post
    Bob,

    i was really looking at getting something with a tail wheel, but the zenith looks pretty cool. I need to look at it a bit more. How much have you done on it?
    OK, lets start over then. It would be helpful to know more so we can give you better advice. What's your mission and what characteristics/ performance specs are desirable? So far we have budget of $20K-30K minus engine, plans built a an option, removable wings a plus, and tailwheel. What else?
    Todd “I drink and know things” Stovall
    PP ASEL - IA
    RV-10 N728TT - Flying
    My builder's log (which is woefully out of date): www.mykitlog.com/auburntsts
    WAR DAMN EAGLE!

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