Last updated- 11 Jan 2011
What is Experimental aircraft?……The first time I sat in a experimental aircraft about 5 jrs ago, I thought this “experimental” word stuck on the outside with stickers (in clear sight so everyone could see it of course ) reeeaaaally!!! ..not a good thing…LOL..It is just not a good connotation to this aircraft bussiness .Because in my opinion: Once you take off, (And if you are like me ,all the experementation should be done ),You’d better make sure you aircraft flies otherwise you’re sorry heinie falls to the ground thousands of feet. So,there is not much experimenting to be done once you airborne., So you better make sure your aicraft flies ,and fly safe. So to conclude , my definition in a nuttshel is: “It is handbuild aircraft that flies well and safe. Since my first flight in an experimental I have to say that experimental aircraft is very safe (if not safer than commercial aircraft.).And only for this simple reason:The owner will fly in it every time.
So how do you know that your aircraft is going to be safe and will even be flying? Well..that is exactly what this page is about.I am a kinda person that would like to know what I am treading on before I put one foot in front of another , thats just the way I am. The experemental aircraft world is something I am progressing in very slowly.Good thing, because at the moment it is problably the last on my bucket list.(but the one I am most eager to do.).It’s good to start now to get all the research an lisencing done.Of course the Snyman version will be a true experimental (never been done before),So I hope to build a radio control scale model for real flight and wind tunnel testing to alleviate structural and aerodynamic defects to some extend before commencement on the final full scale plane.
So this is what I have in mind. My requirements (and priorities in that order)as follows :
1-Inexpensive, of course only to a point where I do not sacrifice my safety.
2-Have to be able to build with local materials. (In my workshop)
3- 2x- Seater, to seat at least my 220lbs(100kg) butt, another similar buttsize, and at least 20 or so extra cargo kg..So were talking 220kg or 500 lbs wich is a lot to pull up in the air with sticks and fabric!
4-(This is the hard one) Has to fit in mobile trailer for safekeep and mobility. Hanger cost can be an arm and a leg.This would be the hardest challenge.By the time a 2x seater plane fits in a trailer, it is right on the verge af maximum tralerable size for our roads(8 ft wide).
So that’s my initial requirements ,#4 can be changed if absolutely neccesary.
So what Have I done so far, … not much!..LOL..At least I have talked about it a little.
No seriously ,I have at least opened the paintcan !!! (Like the saying goes).
1-Did enough research to know what type of plane I want to build. Antique plane, topwing with new composite material Based on the Pietenpol aircraft design.
2-going to use a old chevy (1965) corvair 6-cylinder aircooled engine, Engines that old in good shape is hard to find.I finally got one last year from a EAA member in good shape for $ 650 -00, already stripped and cleaned (Alotta parts gets pulled of for weight saving.).
- Shown here with a FORD MODEL A ,Yeah! thats how old this design is and there are thousands flying (mostly with modern car engines)”] The richest source of information is without any doubt through the Experimental Aircraft Association of America (E.A.A).If you ever decided to build a plane you will somehow in one way or another join or use the EAA. many times over.They have test results by the bookfull, so you are already many steps ahead.So before we go on ,let’s define a handbuilt aircraft : In the eyes of the FAA,and CASA in Australia, an Experimental Homebuilt Aircraft is not constructed by a licensed aircraft manufacturer. Instead, at least 51% of the aircraft is constructed by a private individual; the remaining 49% can be purchased from a kit manufacturer. In the past, far less than the allowed 49% of the kit was assembled by the manufacturer of the kit.
- Please read more in Detail on the Pietenpol /corvair conversion page here.
- Experimental Aircraft:
The neat thing about experimental aitrcraft is the variety,I spoke to many dozens of owners and each one wil give a different answer. Here I will discuss the pros and cons of my conclusions so far.And you will just hear yet another different answer.The choice of plane is mainly based on these, and mainly in that order too:
1-Budget (range from probably about $5,000 to the “sky”)
2-Handyman’s ability( Anything more than two thumbs will start to handy cap you,But dont be discouraged,I know guys with ten thumbs that build there own planes. They don’t know wich end of a hammer to use ,yet I give them all the credit for their perseverance ,I even envy them because they got so much further than I am now, I just wouldn’t fly in there planes though.)
If youre one of them ,look into a 95% kit plane, they are very well illustrated and most of the work is done, it’s actually even hard to make a mistake,its mainly assembling, (Only two thumbs needed)..Then all you need is perseverance. By the way I have seen guys with no thumbs that have build some georgeous planes.). Remember success is made up of equal parts of Learning and Yearning
3-Availability of materials
4- Space available to built. You don’t Need a workshop,build your fuselage in your living room and the wing in the hallway…you just need a understanding wife!…LOL.. Like Cuck Gantzer with NX770CG Now here is a guy that was determined to finish his plane against all odds (AND SPACE).He build the solid woodwing in his hallway ,Also check out his site,It is awesome and his craftsmenship is very good :