|Total Build Time: 3 years, 6 months, 7 days from crates to first flight|
1) You get what you pay for.
2) No matter what decisions you make, you'll end up with a darn good airplane.
When I started my wings, I decided that I'd had enough with P60G2. The reason?
1) It's incredibly nasty stuff (odor-wise)
2) If you apply just a hair too much, it will peel like a tangerine.
3) I'm color blind and I prime outdoors. As is typical, the outdoors is green w/ trees, grass, whatever. It's quite difficult for me to see how I'm applying it as I spray.
I started looking at alternatives. I knew that I wanted epoxy, since even in the RV preview plans it states that epoxy primers *generally* provide better corrosion protection/durability than other primers. I ran down to my local Sherwin Williams store and they showed me several epoxy primers, but I decided against them since many were more than 'official' Mil-Spec'd epoxy primers. So, I decided to go with AKZO Fast Drying Epoxy Primer which many other builders use and have recommended.
Here's a perfect example of an accident that would have probably been a non-event in the tricycle gear.
I guess Piper Cubs & Aeronca Chiefs are for real men too. ;-)
The only real downside to the tricycle gear is that they cost about a thousand more for the kit, but that should be made up in a couple of years flying in premiums since the trike insurance is cheaper (about 10% according to who you ask).
Update: (11/11/2004):Despite my previous reservations, I am now considering building the taildragger -7. The reason? Well, I've had more time to ride in them and I'm more open to the idea. I do think they look nicer and almost everyone I've talked to recommends building the tailwheel. I've also started my taildragger endorsement training...so that's really got me going too. I have to decide before I order my fuselage, which will hopefully be in December. I want to order the fuselage in December to avoid the usual January price increase.
Update (12/07/2004): The fuselage was ordered today and I decided to go with tricycle gear. The main reason? Insurance. To build and fly the tailwheel would require me to get about 50 hours tailwheel time and that would cost me...plus about 15% more in premiums. I had to decide if *I* really wanted to build the taildragger. The answer? It's not worth the extra cost to *me*. Some very well respected and very experienced pilot friends of mine have told me that they think I'm making the right decision...and I do too. I'm not looking back. End of story.
Update (12/07/2004): I've decided to go with the tip-up canopy because of the ease of access behind the panel and the unobstructed 180+ degree viewing. I still haven't flown in an RV with a tip-up, but I've seen several videos of people flying in them and it seems to be the clear winner for me in the flying category. Seems to me that some folks building these airplanes are making decisions based mostly on asthetic reasons. I'm trying to base my decisions on practicality and flying enjoyment.
1) Lycoming (New, Mid-time or Rebuilt)
2) Automotive Conversion (i.e. Jan Eggenfellner)
There are really too many issues to mention here but I think that Jan's package is a little expensive (as are all aircraft engines). I'm still undecided on an engine but I would love to have a good used 180h carburated Lycoming that I can have professionally overhauled.
I ordered Van's pre-punched VFR panel with my fuselage kit to see if it fits the bill. If it doesn't, I have several ideas of what to do but we'll see what happens.
Here is what I'm leaning toward. Very simple, light (except the gyros), proven and inexpensive (relative to the economics of aviation, of course!)
Here is yet another thought I'm beginning to lean toward...using the new Dynon engine monitor. I really like the idea of an engine monitor in terms of safety (the engine monitor will let you know when something's wrong with your engine before your engine will!). At this point, Dynon is claiming to offer major discounts for puchasing the D-10 and the engine monitor as packages. It's still not cheap, but hey...it would get me everything I could want (and be aerobatically suitable, unlike most vacuum gyros), so who knows.
Also, notice the built-in stereo. I'm seriously considering this because I would like to have built-in satellite radio (I hate dealing with cords running through any environment, especially one as demanding as an aircraft cockpit).
When I 'designed' this panel, I was thinking that I would go with the Icom radio, mostly because of the price. Looking at the Garmin SL-40 though has got me thinking that I would really like to use it. Why? Well, there are two reasons -- the standby frequency monitoring feature and it also has a built-in intercom.
If you're not familiar with avionics, most communications radios in aircraft display two frequencies -- one 'active' frequency and one 'standby' frequency. The active frequency is the one that you're listening to and transmitting on and the standby is just that... it's dialed in but your not using it. There's generally a 'flip flop' button that switches the two frequencies. The SL-40 has a fantastic feature in that it has a little 'mon' button that allows you to monitor (listen to) the standby frequency. Why is this soooo cool? Well, it's just like having two radios in the airplane. Most production airplanes (Cessnas, Pipers, etc) have two COM radios and they are generally used in this way...one radio is being used to transmit/receive on and the on and the other is being used to monitor some other frequency (121.5, flight watch, ATIS, etc). The SL-40 gives you this feature in a single unit, and it's not *that* much more expensive than the ICOM radio.
Also, the SL-40 has a built-in 2-place intercom. I can't find any information about the intercom (other than what's in the user's guide), but I'm not sure if I'm going to use it or an external COM. I'm a bit of an audiophile, so I prefer stereo & and audio input for the XM radio I'll be putting in the panel.
I have been mulling over the possibility of going with an IFR panel. If I do, it will most likely look similar to this. This setup should give me adequate IFR functionality with some redundancy (I like the idea of a GPS/COM plus an SL-30. That way if one radio craps out I still have another one by which to navigate, etc. I can always add a Garmin 296 or 396 to this setup later to have a 'pretty screen'.
Ok, this looks like this is going to be very close to my final panel design. Let's just say that you only live once. Jaime and I do not have any kids and I would feel guilty spending this much money on a panel if we did. That's why I think I should do it now. This will give me a decent IFR setup and give me a nice platform to get my instrument rating. I've talked to a couple of CFIIs about this setup and they agree that it should be suitable for training. If I ever decide I need another NAV/COM I can always replace the SL-40 w/ an SL-30 since they're the same size (although I think they use a different tray).
Some features of this panel:
Additionally I may try to find a way to fit a Garmin 396 in there. That's a fantastic handheld GPS!
Update: 03/01/2007: Ok...so in the end my panel ended up looking nothing like any of my drawings. I decided that I was straying from my initial plan of building a cost-effective airplane. My current panel is easily upgradeable to IFR capability by adding an SL-30 to the panel.
|Disclaimer: For entertainment purposes only. Build your plane at your own risk...blah blah blah...|