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first time builder, whats best to build?

ripmonk

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Hey guys I am brand spankin new to this world. pretty much the only tie I have to this world is the fact that fix them as an AME and would like to start my own project and be able to fly it one day.

I'm looking for something I can have fun in doing loops rolls and all sorts of aerobatic manoeuvres but also have a little bit of luggage space and a 2nd seat so I can take people out and do a few short cross country trips once in a while.

So what do you fine folks think I should get as a first time builder?
 

wandersen

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Hello Rip,

Welcome!

If you wouldn't mind, tell us a little more about yourself. What hobbies have you been involved with? Do you work on your car - change your own oil - tackle a full engine overhaul? Did/do you build model airplanes - as a kid - as an adult? Woodworking, welding, electrical experience? Any mentors in your life that have built airplanes?

Not that you have to do any or all of these, but this might give an idea for guidance from a scratch built vs a plans built, vs a more complete kit.

Ward
 
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Neil

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The cool thing about the majority of the designs built here is that the skill level required for each is about the same. You just have to decide which design you like best. The other truth is that you can find one you like, buy it and fly it home cheaper than you can build it. You have to want the journey if you choose to build. Be prepared to commit no less than 5 years to the build. Also, a project that is pretty far along sometimes shows up and that can be a good jump start to what you want and the cost almost never reflects the sweat equity. If you want it to be uniquely yours then you will just have to start with a set of plans and dig in.

As a primer I would suggest you go to the Acro Sport Topic on the Forum page and follow through on "Chris' Acro Sport 2S" 3 part build thread. I don't know of any better way to illustrate what lies ahead.
 
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EAABipe40FF

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Ditto above comments.

"I'm looking for something I can have fun in doing loops rolls and all sorts of aerobatic manoeuvres but also have a little bit of luggage space and a 2nd seat so I can take people out and do a few short cross country trips once in a while."

Sounds simple enough but you better decide on priorities because many things like "all sorts" of acro and luggage space and x-country are almost mutually exclusive.

Just single vs. 2-place can make for much food for thought. Many 2 place designs are just barely. Two full sized adults, luggage and enough useful load left for serious x-country not to mention even moderate acro capability at gross is beyond many designs. It's hard to get everything.

If you want acro with two full sized adults you want big engine. Big engine means big HEAVY airplane burning lots of gas even when playing around solo....

Me. I prefer a LIGHT moderate sized, moderate powered two place with moderate range to go to relatively close weekend fly ins with ability to do only moderate acro.
Two place need for me and my wife. If I take another guy for ride I'll settle for less fuel load....

Bottom line,

What do you really want?

PS. What I'm now building is not my ideal but I believe it will do......
 
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Lotahp1

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Look into the Starduster Too and Skybolt and Acro Sport 2 and Pitts Model 12 designs. Pic your favorite looking, favorite mission. All will do the Sunday loop ,roll type acro. I have a Starduster Too and picked it based on looks, cockpit size, my mission needs (basic Sunday flier, take to fly ins , give rides to people who want a biplane open cockpit experience). If I was more into aerobatics I'd build a Acro Sport 2, Christian Eagle, Pitts Model 12 or Skybolt. In today's world the Pitts Model 12 has the best resale value and most performance in my opinion. It along with the Skybolt are also supported better...meaning you can buy pre made parts. Starduster Too is Supported by Aircraft Spruce. That's huge to someone that can not weld. But you can always learn. The Starduster Too is a great plane that fills alot of people's mission plans and alot find it to very eye appealing and a good flier with the new style gear and correct engine mount the ground handling is improved from when it was first designed. Id also say it has a larger baggage area than most (in the turtle deck behind pilot)So as you can see its really all on what strikes your fancy. Remember also alot of people say these are not cross county planes...I disagree. They are great cross country planes. Just expect to fly the whole time...no auto pilot..don't expect Bonanza Speeds (most cruise 120mph-150mph depending on engines ) and ENJOY the journey...the journey is almost always better than the destination. Below is a pic of my Ranger engine powered Starduster Too. ImageUploadedByBiplane Forum1391881210.673812.jpg
 

ripmonk

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First off. wow thanks for all the feedback I feel like I'm more or less jumping into this full force as opposed to just getting my feet wet.

to answer your question Wanderson I didnt have a mentor growing up, I just really loved to tinker with things and I was most happy when I could be left alone to spend the time and just create something. the satisfaction of spending all that time and finally at the end being able to look at the end product and be reminded of the journey you took to get there.

as far as experience I did a little bit of welding at school and really enjoyed it, also did some fabric covering and that was alright. I havent really done anything with wood and I dont know if I could push myself to work with an entire project with wood but a few things here and there are ok. But the big one I want to stay away from on my first build is composite.

As for what I want to do with it once I'm done I would sacrifice the cargo space for something I could really wow myself with and do some acro.

Took a look at a few of the A/C you guys were talking about and the acro sport 2 looked the best but I like the fact that Skybolt has really good support and looks pretty slick too.

so knowing a little more about me and what I want you think the plans fit the builder on this one?
 

ripmonk

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that is a real nice lookin girl you got there Lota. I hope mine will look half as good as that :)
 

MTChris

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Sit down and decide what you want to do with your airplane and then figure out what you want your airplane to do for you. Then go through kitplanes website and EAA etc and look through all the designs available and figure out which ones fill your need and your budget. Then decide what materials you can work with whether it be fiberglass/composites, aluminum, wood, steel tube etc and find out what plans/kits can be built using what you are comfortable with. Most importantly look at what engine choices you can use on the design. You will be spending a lot of time building your baby so you need to make sure there isn't going to be any thing in there that will stop you from completing it. This is my third plane that I have started, the first was a parasol design the Acey Ducey, turned out that there is virtually no support and the design was not a good choice for a first time build. then I started on a Wag aero Wag a bond. I completed all the ribs for it and some other misc hardware but while building the ribs I kept thinking about biplanes and the Acroduster Too especially! I decided that if I am going to invest all this time and effort I should build something that is exactly what I want. I am infatuated with the Acroduster and think it is an absolute beauty and one of themost beautiful airplanes ever designed and fills my need of a fun airplane perfectly. Now that I am finally working on the plane that I want there is no questioning my choices and I absolutely love every minute we spend together in my shop. I cannot wait to come home at the end of the day and build something! I know I made the right choice and am very happy perso because of it. It gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
One other note. How is your family(wife, kids etc) going to deal with you spending all the time and money on your airplane? It can cause some problems if everybody is not on the same page. I am lucky that my new wife is all for it and it makes her happy to see me excited working on my plane. she is very supportive and that makes all that difference. Remember that your plane will be a big part of your life for many many years to come so you need to make sure that there is no questioning what you are building. Make sure you have the plane that you want and that will suit every thing you want it to do for you.
 
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MTChris

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Lotah is one lucky man. he has what has to be one of the most beautiful biplanes ever and the only known SD2 with the Ranger. That is what a biplane should be IMO. good flier, good looker and has a personality all its own.
 

crankyklingon

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Acrosport II gets my vote.

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1391958630980.jpg
 

Neil

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+1 for Acro Sport. Also it was designed in part to be used in Project School Flight where it could be built in high school shop classes. May have the best plans in the industry. Decent performance with 150hp too.
 
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smizo

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+1 for acrosport II
 

eiclan

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Look into the Starduster Too and Skybolt and Acro Sport 2 and Pitts Model 12 designs. Pic your favorite looking, favorite mission. All will do the Sunday loop ,roll type acro. I have a Starduster Too and picked it based on looks, cockpit size, my mission needs (basic Sunday flier, take to fly ins , give rides to people who want a biplane open cockpit experience). If I was more into aerobatics I'd build a Acro Sport 2, Christian Eagle, Pitts Model 12 or Skybolt. In today's world the Pitts Model 12 has the best resale value and most performance in my opinion. It along with the Skybolt are also supported better...meaning you can buy pre made parts. Starduster Too is Supported by Aircraft Spruce. That's huge to someone that can not weld. But you can always learn. The Starduster Too is a great plane that fills alot of people's mission plans and alot find it to very eye appealing and a good flier with the new style gear and correct engine mount the ground handling is improved from when it was first designed. Id also say it has a larger baggage area than most (in the turtle deck behind pilot)So as you can see its really all on what strikes your fancy. Remember also alot of people say these are not cross county planes...I disagree. They are great cross country planes. Just expect to fly the whole time...no auto pilot..don't expect Bonanza Speeds (most cruise 120mph-150mph depending on engines ) and ENJOY the journey...the journey is almost always better than the destination. Below is a pic of my


Ranger engine powered Starduster Too. View attachment 6681
Gday, that is real pretty airplane with the ranger engine, the up and down configuration gives it that real period look and the colour is hot. Cheers Ross
 

TFF1

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I think the Acrosport 11 is the way to go. If you have a big budget, a 6 cylinder Skybolt or a Pitts M12. The more prefab stuff you buy, the more budget grows. Buying a partial finished plane is a cheap way to go if the work is good.
 

MTChris

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I think the Acrosport 11 is the way to go. If you have a big budget, a 6 cylinder Skybolt or a Pitts M12. The more prefab stuff you buy, the more budget grows. Buying a partial finished plane is a cheap way to go if the work is good.
some good points here. Once you figure out what you wish to build and own and fly if you can get a good project that has been started with good quality and they stuck to the plans will save you countless hours and headaches. You can buy a pre made fuselage most of the time for less than it would cost you to build it yourself and save the labor hours. I started with a welded fuselage and glad I did because right away you have something that looks like and airplane and it gives you some motivation to keep it going as well as a good reminder sitting there that you can look at.
 

MTChris

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it has the Flux Capacitor! Runs on 1 point twenty one Jigawatts. Just needs to use the glider tow to get it up to speed.
 

crankyklingon

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That's a special prop fashioned out of transparent aluminum. Its a special formula that shouldn't have been photographed...don't guess it matters now that you mention it.

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Little Scrapper

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Here's what I would recommend.

Do an FAA aircraft search in your state. Find people who own biplanes. Look them up and call them, ask to see them. Biplane people LOVE to talk biplanes and LOVE to show them to new people interested in our passion of 2 wings.

Second, locate the nearest EAA chapter and go to a meeting. Somebody at that meeting is bound to know a biplane enthusiast.



Mike

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