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Posted: 7/9/2008 9:18:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/9/2008 9:19:35 PM EDT by ChiefPilot]
So why the big hang up on experimentals? Sure, as a whole they have a higher accident rate - they are experimental, after all - but that's painting with a bit of a broad brush.

Someone without an aerospace engineering background who designs and builds their own plane is at a higher risk than the average experimental. Unless they are very careful and know what they are doing, they are likely to bend some metal.

The same can be said of folks who try auto conversion engines - sure, it can be done, but a number of experts in the field recommend against it and one kitplane manufacturer went so far as to do a side-by-side comparison against a lycoming and found the auto conversion to have lower performance, higher weight, and a similar overall cost.

Something like an RV6A or RV7A, with a Lycoming engine, will run rings around your average Cessna while burning less fuel, will have a far more advanced avionics stack, will cost less to keep, and has a similar safety record. It will have a better safety record than several certified light twins.

How many V-tail Beech Bonanzas have broken up in flight? How many RV6s? The answer may surprise you. Yet one is certified, the other is not. Hmmm....

ETA: full disclosure - after owning a Piper Archer and looking around at other aircraft, I sold it and am working on an RV....
Link Posted: 7/10/2008 8:07:48 AM EDT
ChiefPilot

One of the reasons I decided to build an RV6 was the shape of rentals out there.
It seemed like every time I wanted to fly something was broke or about to.
Of course i could have bought something and maintained it well but the performance is unmatched.
The nice thing about RVs is they are designed with aircraft materials and engines.
I'm not nocking if someone wants to do a one off design, They know the risk, as we all do.
Everyone has a different level of acceptable risk.
Will you be at Oshkosh?

Frank
Link Posted: 7/10/2008 12:12:19 PM EDT
ChiefPilot,

I purchased a 177RG, not because it was my favorite airplane, but because it was both a certified aircraft I could afford and that it carries 4 persons. Sure I would love an RV-10, but I cannot afford it.

Any comparison of 2 seat homebuilt/experimental to 4 seat Cessna/Piper/Beech/etc is not valid.

Compare 4 seaters! I think you will find that experimentals cost more in some cases.

By the way, I fly around in the back seat of an F1 Rocket (an RV variant, slightly wider). It is as uncomfortable as can be. I could not imagine being in the back of that thing for hours on end.

And, you are right, the RV series of aircraft have a better safety record than most experimentals. If you discount the accidents caused by true pilot error, they compare well.

Link Posted: 7/10/2008 9:16:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By cujet:
ChiefPilot,

I purchased a 177RG, not because it was my favorite airplane, but because it was both a certified aircraft I could afford and that it carries 4 persons. Sure I would love an RV-10, but I cannot afford it.

Any comparison of 2 seat homebuilt/experimental to 4 seat Cessna/Piper/Beech/etc is not valid.

Compare 4 seaters! I think you will find that experimentals cost more in some cases.

By the way, I fly around in the back seat of an F1 Rocket (an RV variant, slightly wider). It is as uncomfortable as can be. I could not imagine being in the back of that thing for hours on end.

And, you are right, the RV series of aircraft have a better safety record than most experimentals. If you discount the accidents caused by true pilot error, they compare well.


I agree that it will be more than a 30 year old 172 or Archer, but then comparing a brand new aircraft to something with several thousand hours on the airframe isn't really valid either, is it?

If we're going to compare the RV10, I think the only fair comparison is to a new 182 or SR22 - all of them are 4 seat, IO540 powered, traveling machines. You can build an RV10 yourself for well under what it costs to purchase either of the other two new, or you can buy a nicely equipped, flying RV10 for about half of what a two year old SR22 costs.

Link Posted: 7/10/2008 9:17:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 164fj:

Will you be at Oshkosh?

Frank


Yep, hopefully this will be the last year I fly there in the Arrow. Are you going to park in the RV land?
Link Posted: 7/10/2008 9:32:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/10/2008 9:42:45 PM EDT by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:
So why the big hang up on experimentals? Sure, as a whole they have a higher accident rate - they are experimental, after all - but that's painting with a bit of a broad brush.

Someone without an aerospace engineering background who designs and builds their own plane is at a higher risk than the average experimental. Unless they are very careful and know what they are doing, they are likely to bend some metal.

The same can be said of folks who try auto conversion engines - sure, it can be done, but a number of experts in the field recommend against it and one kitplane manufacturer went so far as to do a side-by-side comparison against a lycoming and found the auto conversion to have lower performance, higher weight, and a similar overall cost.

Something like an RV6A or RV7A, with a Lycoming engine, will run rings around your average Cessna while burning less fuel, will have a far more advanced avionics stack, will cost less to keep, and has a similar safety record. It will have a better safety record than several certified light twins.

How many V-tail Beech Bonanzas have broken up in flight? How many RV6s? The answer may surprise you. Yet one is certified, the other is not. Hmmm....

ETA: full disclosure - after owning a Piper Archer and looking around at other aircraft, I sold it and am working on an RV....


Some folks are just comfortable with 'traditional' stuff...

Also, a good number of experimentals are built by folks who couldn't afford to own or maintain a certified bird (like myself)... 40yo plans-built designs, with avionics out of one of the aforementioned 30yo Cessnas, and an engine Lycoming doesn't make parts for anymore....

For example... My T-40AS, with an O-290 and 300/400 series ARC radios....
Link Posted: 7/10/2008 9:39:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:
So why the big hang up on experimentals? Sure, as a whole they have a higher accident rate - they are experimental, after all - but that's painting with a bit of a broad brush.

Someone without an aerospace engineering background who designs and builds their own plane is at a higher risk than the average experimental. Unless they are very careful and know what they are doing, they are likely to bend some metal.

The same can be said of folks who try auto conversion engines - sure, it can be done, but a number of experts in the field recommend against it and one kitplane manufacturer went so far as to do a side-by-side comparison against a lycoming and found the auto conversion to have lower performance, higher weight, and a similar overall cost.

Something like an RV6A or RV7A, with a Lycoming engine, will run rings around your average Cessna while burning less fuel, will have a far more advanced avionics stack, will cost less to keep, and has a similar safety record. It will have a better safety record than several certified light twins.

How many V-tail Beech Bonanzas have broken up in flight? How many RV6s? The answer may surprise you. Yet one is certified, the other is not. Hmmm....

ETA: full disclosure - after owning a Piper Archer and looking around at other aircraft, I sold it and am working on an RV....


Some folks are just comfortable with 'traditional' stuff...

Also, a good number of experimentals are built by folks who couldn't afford to own or maintain a certified bird (like myself)... Which adds quite a bit of risk to the equation...


I'm shopping for a cheap Glasair III kit on the experimental side and a Swift on the built side... The way gas prices are going... I think I might spend the next few years building instead of flying (though the prices of factory aircraft are coming WAY down due to the price of gas).
Matt
Link Posted: 7/10/2008 10:12:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/10/2008 10:12:33 PM EDT by ChiefPilot]

Originally Posted By valheru21:
I'm shopping for a cheap Glasair III kit on the experimental side and a Swift on the built side... The way gas prices are going... I think I might spend the next few years building instead of flying (though the prices of factory aircraft are coming WAY down due to the price of gas).
Matt


Glasair IIIs rock - the insurance costs are astronomical though. Before I decided on an RV, I was torn between a PA-30 and a Glasair. Insurance for the Glasair was almost twice what the TwinCo was for me at the time, which I thought surprising given that a multi is usually much more expensive to insure than a single.

Link Posted: 7/10/2008 10:17:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:

Originally Posted By valheru21:
I'm shopping for a cheap Glasair III kit on the experimental side and a Swift on the built side... The way gas prices are going... I think I might spend the next few years building instead of flying (though the prices of factory aircraft are coming WAY down due to the price of gas).
Matt


Glasair IIIs rock - the insurance costs are astronomical though. Before I decided on an RV, I was torn between a PA-30 and a Glasair. Insurance for the Glasair was almost twice what the TwinCo was for me at the time, which I thought surprising given that a multi is usually much more expensive to insure than a single.



details, details Convincing the wife we "need" a 2-seat, 6G, 300mph aircraft is the first hurdle. haha!
Matt
Link Posted: 7/11/2008 12:29:30 PM EDT
I dont think that a experimantal aircraft is for me because I dont want to spend a few years building an airplane...I want to spend that time flying! And I wouldn't want to buy an experimental that someone else built because I wouldn't trust it. I just want to fly, not turn wrenches for like eight years.
Link Posted: 7/11/2008 12:54:49 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/11/2008 5:40:17 PM EDT
height=8
Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:
height=8
Originally Posted By 164fj:

Will you be at Oshkosh?

Frank


Yep, hopefully this will be the last year I fly there in the Arrow. Are you going to park in the RV land?


Unfortunately I havent flownoff phase 1 and had surgery today so it looks like Ill be driving, but Ill be there all week.
Is there a group gathering?

Frank
Link Posted: 7/11/2008 6:18:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AeroE:
Matt,

If you want a cool two place now that will run 200 knots, try to find a clip winged Wittman Tailwind built by Jim Clement from Baraboo, Wisconsin. Fast and pretty with Jim's engine cowling.


I've seen those at OshKosh before. I liked them. While fast is good, I'm not sure how they'd be with aerobatics (or other aerial buffoonery).
Matt
Link Posted: 7/12/2008 1:02:03 AM EDT
Why the hang up? IME, many homebuilts are about as well made as a Yugo or Trabant, and a lot of licensed aircraft maint people share that opinion. Few 145 repair stations will even touch a homebuilt. A nearby shop owner has a oft repeated phrase. “Homebuilders are the only people I know that can screw up an anvil”.


Now, I completely agree with your reasons for building vs buying. AND, I have seen some very well made homebuilts. But they seem to be a minority.

I think many of the folks who opt to build, are really getting in over their heads, even with the fast-build kits.

Years ago, I decided to help some homebuilders with their projects. I have 10+ years of structural repair experience and about every sheet metal tool known to mankind.

What I found were people who thought building an aircraft was no big deal, because they were a successful doctor/lawyer/pilot, etc. Few had any engineering or aircraft maint experience. Their arrogance prevented them from acknowledging their lack of knowledge and building skills. I swear, these guys would buy a do-it-yourself brain surgery kit, just because they had convinced themselves they could do absolutely anything.

I found most projects in a pretty sad condition. Fabric surfaces you could poke your finger through, steel frame fuselages “welded” by dropping hot slag into the joints, riveting that was beyond horrible, MLG and wing attach points with severely elongated bolt holes, all manner of automotive parts slapped on, etc.

What really blew my mind, was these folks felt the kit instructions were merely suggestions, and they made all sorts of mods to make their aircraft unique. One guy replaced the copilot seat with a 30gal plastic fuel tank. I asked him what happens when a hard landing cracks the tank and he has all that gasoline on the floor and running down the skin to a hot exhaust stack. He just shrugged his shoulders.

I tried to explain the problems I saw, very diplomatically, but these folks wouldn’t listen to me or anyone else. And they refused to redo work they had “completed”. I gave one builder a 3-page letter describing all the problems I saw, and ended it by saying if he tried to fly his aircraft, he would die. Didn’t change his mind one bit.

I think it should be mandatory for newbie homebuilders to view 25 accident reports, complete with big color photos of shredded and fried homebuilt pilots. Perhaps that will help them appreciate the potential consequences of their undertaking.

Tony Bingelis has written a number of do-it-yourself books for the homebuilder. While they are quite helpful, they reduce many tasks to the simplicity of building a go-cart. I think this convinces people with negligible mechanical skills that they CAN build an aircraft. In addition, if you follow much of his advice, it WILL take you 11+ years to complete your aircraft. His suggestions, like using an oversize drill bit to debur holes, help reduce costs but substantially increase build times.

I went to the local EAA meetings, and the arrogance there was incredible. Few had actually completed an aircraft, but just a minor experience in helping build one was enough to make them experts on aircraft construction. I offered to help on several projects, but some folks were reluctant to show their work, probably in fear of exposing less-than-stellar workmanship. I eventually gave up on the homebuilder scene. If I ever build one, it will be for myself only.
Link Posted: 7/12/2008 1:40:41 AM EDT
If you have to ask about experimantal or ultralite flying there is no need to answer as you would not understand it anyway.
Link Posted: 7/12/2008 11:08:31 AM EDT
i started building an rv-8 some years ago. i started with the epp kit. about 1/2 way through my building the proto type crashed with a van's employee in it. it was an inflight structural failure. i was concerned about the design and my skills.

i wanted to make sure i was doing everything right; as i am an attorney, and according to most of you, i am an arrogant self centered egoist who is incapable of putting a nail in the wall straight. well i called in an expert. the eaa had a group that would come and inspect your project for a fee. often times lunch would do for the fee. not in my case.

well the inspector looked at my build logs and wanted to know what was taking me so long to do things. after i told him i wanted to do it right he said, "it's just an airplane". then after looking at the sections i had built he told me, "this is not going to be in a museum, it's not a work of art, it's an airplane". to my query he responded, "your rivets do not have to be perfect. next time you fly a cessna or piper pull up the carpet or set aside the plastic moulding and look at their rivets."

well i did, and havn't flown since. not really, but i was very surprised. more failed the test with the rivet test tool than passed in the sections that i looked at. i will say that the commercial airlines that i've flown in have a greater pass fail rate than the cessna's and pipers that i checked. but, there are some poorly driven rivets in these planes also.

i finished this section and stopped. life and family demands on my time got in the way. also, my desire for a pitts superseded my desire for an rv-8.

i will tell you that i'm no airframe mechanic but i will challenge my aluminum working skills to anyone's out there. that includes aluminum welding with a oxy torch(just something i got interested in along the way).

Link Posted: 7/12/2008 2:09:15 PM EDT
If your in the WNY area, I will take you up on that challenge
Link Posted: 7/12/2008 6:31:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/13/2008 8:24:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/13/2008 8:27:30 PM EDT by kc8ard]
I think the heart of experimental aviation lays in building something that you can be proud of. I wouldn't build otherwise. That said, there are many things that scare me away from buying an experimental. Hell, in my own experience, I had to plunk down quite a bit of stuff to replace automotive components after I bought my certified piper. Sometimes, things can be missed during a prebuy. For instance, an alternator out of a chrysler Newport should not be on an airplane and automotive store bolts should not be found anywhere near anything structural or otherwise.
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 4:56:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By joedapro:

i will tell you that i'm no airframe mechanic but i will challenge my aluminum working skills to anyone's out there. that includes aluminum welding with a oxy torch(just something i got interested in along the way).



Well, I *am* an Airframe mechanic... And you can do some shit I'm not even trained to do (oxy-torch weld, for instance)....

As for rivets... I can definately see a production bird having quite a few buggered up heads... Just the way rivets are (Army side, you get them 'right' or you drill them out & re-do)... Bucking solid rivets has taught me to *love* all things CherryMax...
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 5:04:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dave_A:
As for rivets... I can definately see a production bird having quite a few buggered up heads... Just the way rivets are (Army side, you get them 'right' or you drill them out & re-do)... Bucking solid rivets has taught me to *love* all things CherryMax...


Really? Granted, it takes an evening or two to learn how to drive rivets, but after that it's a piece of cake. I think the hardest part is learning how to hold the bucking bar, but after that....
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:53:30 PM EDT
height=8
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
If your in the WNY area, I will take you up on that challenge joe
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