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Old 04-30-2021, 05:30 PM   #1
spidermonkey
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Default Who’d a thunk it?

My nephew is building a plane (experimental aircraft) and needed some Tig welding done. He did a jam up job of cutting, fitting, notching, etc, before I even got there. So my job was easy. He had to build his own chromoly frame cuz he’s going with an engine that hasn’t been used yet. So no pre-made engine frames to order. Which the way this boy is, he’d rather have it that way. Kinda like his uncle (but WAY smarter ) in always inventing one off stuff cuz he wants to do it “his way”. I said all this to say, I never dreamed I’d be welding on a dadgum airplane, welded on tons of weird crap over the years, but this takes the cake! A little nerve-racking honestly. Thinking bout MY welds holding an engine on the front of an airplane however many 1,000 feet above the ground! But, it welded up good, and turned out nice. Been doing this a long time, and I guess there’s always an opportunity for something new! Here’s a few pics... Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:31 PM   #2
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#2
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:32 PM   #3
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Couple more...
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:41 PM   #4
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Last few after we finished, re-installed engine, and turbo. Just temporary at the moment, cuz he said he’ll have the engine assembly off no telling how many more times before it’s bolted in place the final time. LOTS of work yet to do. May be a good thing he’s up in the panhandle with the majority of my family, cuz I’d be over there way too much! We’d prob both be in the doghouse!! Just an interesting experience all together bout this experimental aircraft building niche. May be going back soon for some intercooler retro-fitting, cuz porting needs to be relocated and welded back in its new spot (aluminum). Thanks for tagging along. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:49 PM   #5
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Pretty dang cool. Keep us updated how it turns out
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:56 PM   #6
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Will do the best I can. Thank ya sir.
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Old 04-30-2021, 06:03 PM   #7
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Great work!
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Old 04-30-2021, 06:14 PM   #8
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Awesome project! Keep us updated with the build!
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Old 04-30-2021, 07:06 PM   #9
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Thank y’all brothers. But my only contribution so far is the welding on the engine mount frame. He’s the main man, and ramrod of this whole project. Like I said, if he wasn’t 8 hrs away in the panhandle, I’d prob be over at his shop too much! Plus, I guess I got plenty of projects here at home. Although now, none of em seem too cool anymore! Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 04-30-2021, 07:56 PM   #10
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Cool stuff. What kind of motor is that?

I guess the welds that really matter the most, are the ones the hold the wings on. If the motor falls out at least you can still glide. If the wings fall off, the motor is only going to run as far as the scene of the crash.
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:29 PM   #11
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The motor is an 1100 CC Yamaha snowmobile engine, made to go in a racing arctic cat sled. Turbo charged, fuel injected, 3 cylinder. I think he said it puts out 160-180 hp (?), more if you wanted to juice it up, but it’ll have a gearbox on the output since the prop doesn’t need and won’t be rated for 10-15,000 RPM. Think it’s a 3.83-1 gearbox. Course the plane doesn’t weigh nothing, like less than a 1000 lbs w/full (50 gallons) fuel. I believe he said he can “cruise speed” at 150 mph. I may be off on some of my specs, so I’m not 100% on all I’m telling ya. But I’m texting him now to make sure I ain’t out in left field on anything. Cuz I am getting old as he’s pointed out a time or two. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:37 PM   #12
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Cool stuff Rusty. Not my cup of tea but I bet those welds hold brother.
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:42 PM   #13
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That's awesome, my dad built an experimental plane. It's a blast.

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Old 04-30-2021, 08:54 PM   #14
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And Hoggslayer, he did tell me that this thing is so balanced, that if the motor portion did break off, it would be tail heavy, and not glide at all. Comforting. Oh well, it does have a fuselage mounted parachute that can be deployed if things ever got that bad. But he said the plane might not be in too good of shape! Course I told him “at least you would be!!” In reality though, in the way he designed the frame, most every weld is in compression. Not to mention his motor he’s using is 100 lbs lighter than the typical Rotax engine used in this type plane. But his frame is engineered/built for an engine as heavy, or more, than the traditional Rotax that’s usually used. He just text me and said “empty” weight will be 800 lbs. And I’ll get more CORRECT info as I hear it. So don’t take everything I’m telling ya as gospel, cuz I ain’t the builder! But he calls/texts me a lot asking opinions on different ideas. Last problem conquered was a push/pull throttle linkage that needed to be a 3:1 ratio. Got that taken care of as well. Even though it’s all up to date, EFI, etc. He wanted a good Ol manual throttle for super finite control of what was going on. It also had to have an opposing spring setup to combat the throttle body spring cuz it would’ve been way too stiff to operate. More info as I think of it, and when he tells me of updates. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:59 PM   #15
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Thanks Joel! And Chase, I do know that this one is a Rans S-21.
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:03 PM   #16
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Is the fuselage mounted parachute a requirement in a experimental aircraft?
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:04 PM   #17
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Ultra-lites and experimentals are pretty cool. I had a former employer who was a dealer for BlueMax (and one more) in Crowely Tx. He was also a fight instructor. Bought and sold quite a few while I was there. And met some of his flying buddies. He bought one plane that was like 60lbs total. And we shaved some more wight off it before he sold it. He also has an annual supported trip he does with several people over a couple of days. One feller flew his plane upside down from Kansas to Ft. Worth. He was 72, an old Nam vet, did wheelies on a Kawasaki Ninja, and known as "Crazy Bob" .


Your Nephew stands to meet some pretty incredible people if he sticks with it. And make some memories for life.



(My Grandfather was a barn Stormer.)
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:05 PM   #18
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Generic pic, this is a Rans S-21, so this is somewhat of what it’ll look like. Bush plane kind of look. Very short takeoff and landing type plane. Doors open up w/gas assist, Lambo/gull-wing type.
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:07 PM   #19
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Some of those Ultra_lites run on 3-5hp motors.
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:08 PM   #20
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You know Jay, I don’t know bout the parachute. But I’m betting it may be a requirement.
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:23 PM   #21
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And one more thing... I’ve tigged very little chromoly tube. I’ve done race car parts here and there through the years, but never like a full frame, or cage, or whatever. Anyway, this stuff is amazing on how light, but how strong it is! The strength to weight ratio is through the roof! Most all of the tube I welded was .049 wall thickness. Only where the tie bolts go through the fire wall is it thicker at .125 (1/8”). That and the actual motor mount brackets. They were .125 as well. When I first got enough weld stitched on it for us to feel comfortable it would stay put enough to remove the motor, then we removed the frame from the fire wall. It was crazy how light it was! Course it is thin wall so it goes without saying as to why. When we bolted it back to the fire wall after final weld up, it was SUPER strong and rigid. And by the way, where the part of the engine frame butts to the firewall, there are flat spacers to make a larger footprint on the attachment point. Then behind the thin stainless sheet firewall, there is a mating fuselage frame attachment that essentially sammiches the stainless firewall between them, if that makes any sense. Very strong. I’ll try and get a pic.
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:36 PM   #22
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Hopefully this shows what I’m talking about. The yellow circles are where the long bolts go through the short piece of 1/8” wall tube on the engine mount frame, through the fire wall, and through a mating short piece of 1/8” wall tube on the cockpit/fuselage frame. Six bolt attachment points altogether.
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:48 PM   #23
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Latest info I got from him. Still a work in progress before arriving at final numbers. But this is close. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-01-2021, 04:09 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoggslayer View Post
Is the fuselage mounted parachute a requirement in a experimental aircraft?
Quote:
Originally Posted by spidermonkey View Post
You know Jay, I don’t know bout the parachute. But I’m betting it may be a requirement.
Parachutes are not required in experimentals.

The rans are nice planes, pretty similar to dad's. (He built a kitfox). 160-180 HP is crazy on a plane that light. Dad's is about 100lbs lighter, and is rated for 100-120HP if I remember correctly.

If you have any interest at all in this type of stuff, and especially in building one off parts, you should check out Mike Pateys "scrappy" build on youtube. It's incredible, but be warned, you can spend hours there. He also had a build called draco that was really cool.

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Old 05-01-2021, 12:34 PM   #25
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Chase... I’ve been burning up videos bout these things since I got back! �� I’ve watched several on Draco, Scrappy, and Steve Henry and his 300 hp Highlander. Blew my mind when I first watched Steve take off in SIX FEET, and land in less than 25’!! Crazy stuff!
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:31 PM   #26
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That’s pretty cool! I’ve spent a little time in an F1 Harmon Rocket. Always makes you tingle a little climbing into something that has “experimental” on it!
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Old 05-03-2021, 07:47 AM   #27
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The highlanders are pretty impressive planes.

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Old 05-03-2021, 08:04 AM   #28
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Thats a cool azz project for sure. Since it is "homemade" and "experimental" do you still have to have a pilots license and all that to fly it ?
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:48 AM   #29
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Yes, you do have to have a license. And there are different kinds as well. My nephew has a PPL SEL (private pilots single engine land) and that gets him licensed up to a gross weight of 12,000 lbs, so it’s all he needs. You could fly this type plane with a “light sport”, but it would restrict your gross weight (1350 max) you’d be licensed to carry, as well as top speed/hp, you would be licensed for. The way he is building it, a light sport license wouldn’t be sufficient. There’s also the “ultralight” category you can fly without a license, but that’s limited to 254 lbs or less empty weight, and carry less than 5 gallons of fuel. Also limited to 63 mph top speed. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:53 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spidermonkey View Post
Yes, you do have to have a license. And there are different kinds as well. My nephew has a PPL SEL (private pilots single engine land) and that gets him licensed up to a gross weight of 12,000 lbs, so it’s all he needs. You could fly this type plane with a “light sport”, but it would restrict your gross weight (1350 max) you’d be licensed to carry, as well as top speed/hp, you would be licensed for. The way he is building it, a light sport license wouldn’t be sufficient. There’s also the “ultralight” category you can fly without a license, but that’s limited to 254 lbs or less empty weight, and carry less than 5 gallons of fuel. Also limited to 63 mph top speed. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
I've heard some chatter about the faa wanting to raise the max weight on lightsport to 3400lbs I think. This would get the cessna 182 in the lightsport class. I think it's going to the board (whatever that means) in 2022 or '23. You heard anything about that?

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Old 05-03-2021, 12:27 PM   #31
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Freakin cool!
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Old 05-03-2021, 12:59 PM   #32
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Chase, all the precise type spec info I’m giving, I’m asking my nephew. Since he’s the pilot, and the one well versed in all this. I’ll text him later and see what he’s “been hearing”...
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:01 PM   #33
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But what you’re saying would definitely open up the upper end of the “light sport” for sure!
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:09 PM   #34
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Yes it would.

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Old 05-03-2021, 01:20 PM   #35
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Ok this right here takes the cake for DIY projects.


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Old 05-03-2021, 02:48 PM   #36
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Ok this right here takes the cake for DIY projects.


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Yea, so much for making fishing lures, this guys building a plane. That's cool.
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Old 05-03-2021, 03:55 PM   #37
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Hold the phone brothers! This guy (me) was just a grunt helper that did some tig welding on a plane motor frame! The real builder is my nephew! I just help when I can, or give any mechanical help when asked. Which ain’t very often. My nephew, the young man actually doing the build, has a pretty level head on him, and patience in spades. Prob why we mesh so good, I can mess with an invention or mechanical idea forever till I finally get it like I want it. He’s also doing this the “Johnny Cash Cadillac” way. As he gets extra money from side gigs, play money, he spends it on plane stuff. So it may take him a little longer since he doesn’t want to go in any debt on any of it. Doing it the way he’s doing it, plus saving money in multiple areas, he said he should be able to get er built for way less than what this plane usually would cost. For starters, the Yamaha engine was way cheaper than the Rotax usually ran in these planes. But it comes in lighter, is EFI, and bout twice the HP. But like I said, he’s gonna have it to where when he’s done building it, he’s done paying for it. Obviously outside of upkeep, etc. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:34 PM   #38
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The cool thing about building your own is you can do your own annual, which saves a ton of money.

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Old 05-03-2021, 11:32 PM   #39
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The motor is an 1100 CC Yamaha snowmobile engine, made to go in a racing arctic cat sled. Turbo charged, fuel injected, 3 cylinder. I think he said it puts out 160-180 hp (?), more if you wanted to juice it up, but it’ll have a gearbox on the output since the prop doesn’t need and won’t be rated for 10-15,000 RPM. Think it’s a 3.83-1 gearbox. Course the plane doesn’t weigh nothing, like less than a 1000 lbs w/full (50 gallons) fuel. I believe he said he can “cruise speed” at 150 mph. I may be off on some of my specs, so I’m not 100% on all I’m telling ya. But I’m texting him now to make sure I ain’t out in left field on anything. Cuz I am getting old as he’s pointed out a time or two. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
Sounds pretty interesting.
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:39 PM   #40
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So this thing has a chrome moly frame with a aluminum skin? Are the wings, rudder and vertical stabilizer also going to have a aluminum skin?
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:44 AM   #41
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How old is your nephew? This is a really cool project, lots of math and stuff...
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:46 AM   #42
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Riflepistol, yes chromoly frame with aluminum skin. Wings will be aluminum frame with aluminum skin. He hasn’t ordered his wing kit yet. That’s still a ways down the road. And my nephew is in his early 30’s. Typical guy, I am, I don’t know his exact age. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:57 AM   #43
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Forgot to put this one in the other day. After I left that day he did get the running gear installed. Now at least he can pivot the plane around to different spots. I helped him set it on a sawhorse that he put right at the firewall/where the motor frame bolted. I grabbed the frame and just picked it straight up while he slid the sawhorse under it. Granted, it was balanced on a pivot point, but still amazing how easy it was to pick the whole front of the plane up by myself high enough to get it under there.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:06 AM   #44
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That would be cool to build and own a bush plane, style plane. I would be moving to Alaska for sure, if I got it built.



So what size tubing is the frame built out of, diameter and wall thickness? Then what thickness is the skin?
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:33 AM   #45
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This is awesome. Can't wait to see the final results.
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Old 05-04-2021, 10:19 AM   #46
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Riflepistol, all I can vouch for for certain, is the motor frame I welded up. The majority of the tubing was 1.25 OD, .049 wall thickness. Motor mount plates were 1/8” (.125), and the smaller OD (3/4”) tube where it’s bolted thru the firewall is also the heavier wall .125 like the motor mount plates. But, the biggest portion of what was welded together was .049 wall thickness. Didn’t even pay attention to the thickness of the aluminum he already had riveted on, but it’s thin, definitely thinner than .049. And didn’t ask bout the fuselage frame he bought pre-made.
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Old 05-04-2021, 10:50 AM   #47
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I was thinking the aluminum skin was around 22 ga. (.025) just going on what the thickness felt like when I handled a couple of pieces he had laying around. Just had him tell me it’s .020 (24 ga.) 6061 T6. So my redneck hand measuring method wasn’t too far out in left field. It helps having to use my decimal/fractions daily on my full time job for the last 30 yrs. Most times I can get close. But when ya start getting into the super thin gauge stuff, I don’t have to deal with it quite as much. Also, it messes me up sometimes cuz the same gauge # steel will be thicker than aluminum. Always gotta be something to confuse us I guess!
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Old 05-04-2021, 05:43 PM   #48
Man
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Very Cool! What this going to set him back when all is said and done?
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:12 PM   #49
spidermonkey
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Man, don’t know for sure, but I know he’s saving hisself thousands by doing it the way he is. Meaning, using a “non-traditional” engine instead the Rotax that most everyone else uses, getting his “brand new/old stock” turbo for $600, instead of the $2000 Yamaha was wanting, and the list goes on. Yeah, his brand new Yamaha crate engine didn’t have the turbo in the package, even though it’s designed for it. He’s also getting a discount from Dynon on his avionics instruments. Dynon is evidently a main/big supplier for the experimental/light sport airplane segment. They are partially sponsoring him as long as he puts some of their stickers/logos on the plane. Said he was saving bout 6K on that since they are “sponsoring” him, even if it is partially. Hate to know what it was full price! I guess building a “one off” that hasn’t been done yet has a few perks. I’ll fill y’all in as best I can. But, I know since he’s doing this slowly, meticulously, and as he has funds available, it’ll be awhile till completion. Says he’s shooting for next spring. For one, he said that Dynon wants to use it at some air shows next spring. Soooo, guess that means my dirt-dobber welds will be on full display for all to see! Also, evidently there’s a big gathering air show at Oshkosh Wisconsin every year. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:51 PM   #50
RifleBowPistol
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Dang, Oshkosh is the BIG DEAL in aviation every year.

If they turn this into a kit, that would be pretty cool deal. I like the power to weight ratio and the fact is has a boosted engine. Would make for one hell of a bush plane, or just very fun plane, to do stupid stuff in.
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