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Waco replicas


Dec 9, 2008
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Hi, I'm a new guy to this forum, but having just found it I'm glad that so many other people share the same love of Waco's as me.
I'm an Airframe/Avionic mechanic in Boise Idaho and currently restoring the 1954 prototype of the 4 seat Taylorcraft 20 #N6669Nas my personal go anywhere machine.
I always like to be thinking ahead to my next project and that has to be a biplane, particularly a Waco YMF-5. I personally think it's the most beautiful piece of machinery ever created and want to have one however I can make that happen.
If I were to win Lotto I would just order one from Waco Classic and that would be my dream fulfilled. However, trying to be realistic, I realizethat I have to make it happen for myself and that usually means restoring or scratch building.
As so many forum members havealready pointed out, scratch building/restoring acertified or replica (experimental)Waco from NASM plans is a task that takesmany years to complete especially if you are doing it all yourself.I have seen many projects and marriages abandoned because ofthe effort required to complete the airplane.

I have been through all thethought processes of how to have aWaco:
1. Buy one for$180K to $300K.....not gonna happen, I'm a mechanic!
2. Buy a basket case for $50K only to get a corroded data plate, a pile of rustand maybe onewater stained log book that tells you nothing, but hey!!!...the airplane's got a 'soul'!....no thanks!sure that would make the FAA happy and would certainly improve the resale value, but I don't want to throw away $50K on a pile of rust, I can buy an engine and all my materials for that much!!
3. I can spend 10years sorting through the NASM plans and building a perfect (better than factory) Experimental Waco YMF-5 and be banned from parking it with the 'real' Waco's and have a poor resale value, and.....more importantly....now that I'm so old after building it, I lose my medical and have to sell it anyway!

No.4 can wait...I need to explain why I want a Waco. It's the beautifulrounded lines of the wingtips and tail surfaces, the bump cowl, the stagger of the wings, wheel pants, paint designs and stripes, the radial engine and wooden prop. I don't think any other manufacturer put it together like this one.....thats what I want....it doesn't have to be genuine 1930 something, it doesn't even have to be full scale or built from the original plans. All it has tohave is that look and sound and I'll be happy. Ifinally realised that you can spend a whole lot of moneyfor the sake of 'Soul' and vanity and then have to give it away because you're too old to enjoy it. So that leads me to No 4.

4. What if we take an already known and proven biplanedesign that fits into the light sport category. Theseairplanes can still carry two people, have a radial engine fitted and with some redesigning of exterior profiles can look so darn close to a Waco that all but the purist wouldn't evenknow. I'm suggesting an aircraft that is currently approx. 75-80% the size of the fullsize Waco. The first I have found is the Fisher Flying products 'Celebrity'...already certified in light sport and known to performvery well with the Rotec 2800 7 cylinderradial engine (in Stearman form)....so......no one that I know of has actaully done a Waco.
From my point of view I would get as much enjoymentfrom this airplane asthe real thing, I could keep flying it on a light sport licence in my senior yearsand it would cost a fraction of a fullsize replica.
Anyone out there who may actually agree with my line of thinking may have a better aircraft that can fit the job. I'm talking about a light sportdesign that is basically the same layout as the Waco that would only require superficial changes to wingtip, fin, tailplane outlines and the rounding of the fuselage profile to blend into the radial engine and cowl design. The time taken to scratch or kit build and modify one of these aircraft would be fractional compared with the full size replica.

I'm interested in anyones input to this discussion, to either shoot me down in flames or help the group with a healthy alternativethat we may all be able to achieveso we can all have our Waco that we dream of.

Thanks Ian

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