How Difficult is it to Build 2 Kit Planes?

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by Jonathan Pavel, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    Johnny Boy the Pilot
    I'm only 14 and turning 15 (and starting flight training in 1-3 years) and my friend Tom, who use to fly for American Eagle Express, finished building with help from my dad, a Murphy Rebel (regristry N8499Q) and it really boosted me to the Experimental/Homebuilt side of avaition that I've never seen before and now I'm thinking of building a kit plane in the future.

    I always loved STOL aircraft like the Maule or Piper Super Cubs and I really would like to build something that can take-off in less than 200 feet and isn't too complex. I always loved the Zeniths ever since I learned what one was and if I were to get a Zenith, it would be the CH-750 because it has more room than the CH-701 (Bubble windows added to the CH-750). Although the Zeniths dont seem very fast and are a bit small and I would like to have something fuel efficient, roomy, and has 4 seats (bring family or friends flying). The Only Zenith with 4 seats was the CH-801 but Zenith doesn't sell the kit anymore and the CH-750 only has 2 seats.

    So this left me with 2 other kitplanes I've seen, the Van's RV-10, or Glasair Sportsman. The Glasair looks awesome and sleek but the 2 back seats seem kinda small and even though I've seen some Glasair Sportsman's with STOL modifications, I 've read or heard from some where that the Sportsmen had a stall speed of 50-60 knots and that seemed too high.

    The RV-10 is another sweet looking plane and seems much more roomier than the Sportsmen. On top of that, the RV-10 airframe only kit was around $50,000 while the Sportsman was around $110,000.
    So I'm not really considering the Glasair anymore and came up with the thought of owning a Zenith CH-750, and a Van's RV-10 for nice long cross-country trips. But that idea to me sounds a little too spendy and crazy and would need LOTS of time and attention to the kitplanes.

    But if I get a CH-750, I'm gonna put a very basic VFR panel and it will be only VFR with simple gauges while the RV-10, is gonna have the left side of the panel with gauges and the right side with a glass cockpit screen. I'm estimating that both planes will cost around $200,000 - $250,000 but I may be wrong.

    No experience with money or finances but just want to know whats a better option when it comes to building kitplanes so that I'll know in the future if I ever consider building a plane.

    Any Suggestions?

    Happy Flying! ;)
     
  2. PilotRPI

    PilotRPI Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I started flying at 14 and have been doing it for 20 years, enjoy the journey! The Zenith 700-series may not be the fanciest of planes, but they have a very loyal following. I bet you could build one for a lot less than $200k, probably even a good bit less than $75k if you keep things simple. Build parts off plans using raw materials, get a used engine, basic paint, and you can probably be in around $50k. 4 seat experimentals often come in a lot more than the 2 seat ones. If you are interested in a true STOL airplane, an RV10 might not be the best option, but they are amazing planes. I just started building an RV7 myself.

    A great 4 seat STOL plane to consider would be a Bearhawk. To help keep the costs down (but allow a big increase in build time), you can buy plans I believe and build the thing from raw materials.
    But before you go crazy on a 4 seat plane, consider your mission. Build for what you will fly 95% of the time. I know it will be me and my wife with some baggage or folding bikes, so the RV7 fits my needs well. No need for the extra expense of a four seater. Something like the 750/701, or a Just Highlander will have plenty of baggage room for two people and all their gear. You could always rent something if you want to take a 3rd or 4th person on the occasional trip.

    Find some local builders in your area. Check out their projects, take an EAA build class and get some hands on time with sheet metal, fabric, composites, etc.

    Jesse
     
  3. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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  4. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    Like any plane decision figure out what you want to do mission wise and then check out the options. What you pick will determine the cost and the challenge of building it. Having almost completed the major structures to the RV-10 I would say I've learned an immense amount over the last year... some which might translate over to building say a Carbon Cub, some which won't.

    One point to be made though no matter what you thing you're going to put in it at the start of the project will change through out the project... sometimes back and forth.
     
  5. tinerj

    tinerj Cleared for Takeoff

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    I fly for fun, so my rule is to find a plane for the mission, or change the mission to match the plane.

    Taking up family and friends is fun, but they dont have to go up all at once. A Z-750 would do fine.
     
  6. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    I think my very first homebuilt would be the CH-750 because it seems like a very basic plane. And I would add only a very basic VFR panel with your basic instruments and radios (Altimeter, VSI, Attitude, Heading indicator, Air Speed Indicator, transponder, basic radio stack) And I wouldn't have a huge expensive engine.

    I've seen the highlander on youtube and its an epic stol plane. I also never heard of the Bearhawk and looks like it meets my mission but I think I'll just build a very basic CH-750 for my first Homebuild. Maybe if I'm able too, I could consider the Bearhawk or go buy a used Maule M5/M7. Thanks for the suggestions!
     
  7. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Yup. Best 750 panel ever: http://www.zenith.aero/photo/ipad-panel
     
  8. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    I've seen some people go that route too. I'm gonna buy an ipad as well with buying The Foreflight app and it will be ONLY for flying. But I think I'll stick with my basic panel idea.
     
  9. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    My mission is a kitplane that is fun, 4 seater, not too complex, relativily easy to build, STOL performance, about under $50k for the airframe, and will have easy maintance.
     
  10. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    Two things you need to understand.

    1- Most "kits" are not simple, snap-together airplanes. Most require specialized knowledge and tools. If you don't possess those skills and tools make sure you have easy access to somebody who does and who's willing to help you. It sounds easy. It rarely is. Nor is it cheap.

    2- Be careful which kit you buy and consider the market value of that model when it's finished. Some kits sell well, like Carbon Cubs. Some will sell for a fraction of what you have invested.

    When seeking advice about buying, building, and owning a kit? Go talk to guys who've done it. Then when you think you know what you want to build, find and talk to guys who've built that particular plane themselves.
     
  11. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    Thats why I don't want to build a Glasair, because I read somewhere that Glasair went out of business and builders were left without parts until Glasair was bought and re-opened.
     
  12. PilotRPI

    PilotRPI Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good that you have a mission defined. Double check yourself on the 4 seat aspect. A lot of people think they need 4 seats, but end up only using 1 or 2 seats 95-99% of the time. If you soul search and find you really need 4 seats, then that's your answer. If 2 seats will do, the Zenith 750 is a very respectable choice. You can also build more than one plane if your mission changes as you get older, married, have kids, kids leave the house etc. There are many repeat builders out there. Some even build the same type of plane more than once!
     
  13. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    I know Just Aircraft, Zenith, and Van's are pretty popular, espiecally Van's. So those 3 I don't except to go out of business.
     
  14. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    For now I don't think I would need more than 2 seats but I'm very confident on the CH-750. And if I do ever get married and have kids, I'll go buy a 4 seat kitplane like a Bearhawk.
     
  15. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    So I went on other forums and for my mission, the Bearhawk and Maule are the best options for me if I were to get married.
    Even though they use fabric skin.
    Only other option I have besides the Maule or Bearhawk is the RV-10 but its much more expensiver than a Bearhawk. Actually, I also read that the Maule and Bearhawk both have a cruise speed of about 150-160 knots and the RV-10 also cruises 150-180 knots.
     
  16. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    CH-750 is my best option for my first build and I think the Bearhawk is my best option if I get married sometime in the future.
     
  17. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    I guess when I really think about it, your 100% right. If some of my family members want to go flying for the day or on a short-cross country, rent a cessna 172 or piper pa-28. Besides, when I start flight training, my dad will more than likely buy a used Cessna 172 or Piper PA-28. So my family will already have a 4-seater for a long time so I guess that basically gives me the green light that the Zenith CH-750 is officially my choice of kit I want to build when the time, and money comes.
     
  18. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have a lot of building experience and have built or helped build almost all of the airplanes mentioned. A Zenith would be a good choice for a first build. Pretty simple to build with good instructions, It is not the most exciting airplane to fly but they sell for about what it costs to build one. One other thing nice about the Zenith is you can buy it in sections so spred the cost out as you build. I also did the majority of the work on a Glasstar the slightly smaller brother to the Sportsman 2+2. Great kit with very good instructions. 165 mph cruise and down in the 40s stall speed with a very good useful load. It is a very good all around airplane. RV series are all excellent kits and are very nice flying. I have built a 7, and helped build a 6,7,8 and 12 and have several hundred hours in all models except the 3 and 14. Built a Backcountry Supercub and it had poor instructions but a nice kit otherwise for an experienced builder. Start young and you can build a bunch of airplanes by the time you are as old as me. Don
     
  19. RV10flyer

    RV10flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Wish I could have one of each too! My family and I built our RV-10 per plans and really enjoy it. We plan on keeping it after the kids move out, because we can then haul bicycles, yarn and camping gear. You can cruise at 160 kts on 10-11 gph or for local flying 135 kts on 7-7.5 gph. My top speed down low is 188 kts. It is not designed for rough grass. It is not comfortable under 2000' paved runways at gross wt. We can fly 4.5 hrs safely on our 60 gallons. If you want an IFR bird with everything new, you need $200,000. Don't ask my solo vs family trip hours during our present economy. Build a 2 place. Rent a Bonanza for the family trips. Have fun and fly safe.
     
  20. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Was just looking at Zenith 750s for sale. The asking prices run from about $55-$85K and that price is dependent largely on what the panel is. You won't make money on it but you can get a great plane capable of real backwoods operations.
     
  21. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    My friend's 750 kit was $65,000 and that was with a UL 350 engine, whirlwind prop, interior and Dynon Skyview with Garmin SL40, transponder and the smart buss connections. The Skyview and smartbuss were overkill. Could have done it $10,000 cheaper without that.
     
  22. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Zeniths are very formidable backcountry planes, I also wouldn't think twice about fabric, some of the best backcountry planes are fabric.
     
  23. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    What do you do for a living? Or did you build kits since you were able to fly because thats a lot of kits you built and I would like to build 3 kits in my life but I think I will only be able to build 1 due to money and time in the future.
     
  24. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    CH-750 with very basic items is gonna be my first build, but the following are kits are kits I wish I could build:
    CH-801, Bearhawk, Highlander/SuperSTOL, Glasair Sportsman, Van's RV-9A, Van's RV-10, and the Upcoming Raptor if it is very successful and its projected price remains low like they said it would.

    I don't think I would want to build exactly that many (maybe 2-4 out of the list) but those are some of my favorite kits.
     
  25. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have a dental lab for my primary work and have been building and working on airplanes for over 35 years. I work about 25hrs a week in the lab and 25 or so out in the hangar. Airplane stuff is not work to m as I enjoy building and now I get paid very well for what I like to do. I have owned a SNJ, Nanchang CJ6, RV7 and Supercub. I have always helped friends on their projects so have done everything from fabric to composites. I finally got my A&P last year and I'm rebuilding a Supercub at the moment and have another Supecub rebuild coming here tomorrow. I am fortunate that I get to fly everything I work on and gained a lot of experience on that side. I'm telling you this so it will motivate you into following your dream Jonathan. It would be good if you can find a mentor to help you along the way. Look up 212MD and 646CH on the FAA site and you'll see my name as builder of both of those airplanes so you know I'n not BSing you. Don
     
  26. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    The RV-10 kit is only $50K because it only includes the airframe. Add an engine (IO-540), avionics, plus misc items like paint & interior and typically you are in the $150K to $175K range easy.

    And don't discount the effort required to build-- a plane like the -10 is a monumental project.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  27. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the advice! And good to see your very successful and I do believe everything you said so far. I have basically 3 people who encoraged me to get into aviation (ok the moment I saw a plane the first time, aviation was in my blood) , my dad, my uncle, and our friend Tom (You can see his Murphy Rebel he built in my VLOGS on my Youtube Channel and in my profile picture I have for these forums) . Tom will probably be the most helpful for me when it comes to building my first kitplane (Already decided on the CH-750) since he has experiance on building his Murphy Rebel and I also might look up any mentors like you mention to help me along the way.
     
  28. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    Be happy to help. I've done a 750 so I know all the pitfalls so when you start I can give you lots of advice. But you know what free advice is worth. Don
     
  29. PilotRPI

    PilotRPI Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Having a mentor that built a Rebel should be very helpful. A lot of the skills (sheet metal and pop rivets) will carry over nicely to the Z 750, and I think it has very good plans as well. I would recommend the EAA sheet metal class if you can arrange it. You learn a lot of little tricks in a weekend. As someone else mentioned, don't be afraid of fabric in the future either. It is not the dope and fabric of the 20's anymore. The new synthetic fabrics will last 20 years or longer in a hangar, and provide a nice light weight structure for a bushplane combined with a steel cage. But again, I wouldn't try and dissuade you from a Z 750. When they fit your mission, they are supposedly very good planes. Good luck and enjoy the addiction.
     
  30. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    The bearhawk was based loosely on the Maule and the Maule based loosely on the Piper Pacer. Neither of those planes are going to be going 150 knots, maybe 130 at best.

    Keep in mind that just because its a 4 place plane and you dont fly 4 people doesnt mean you dont need the space a 4-place plane provides. Taking out the back seat in any 4 seater gives cavernous room for camping gear etc. That 2 seaters could never provide.

    If you go the certified route, also keep an eye out for Cessna 170's and 180's, they both make for some fast bush planes!
     
  31. Jonathan Pavel

    Jonathan Pavel Filing Flight Plan

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    Yes I know the Bearhawk was based on the Maule but never knew the Maule had roots to the Piper Pacer. Cessna 180s aren't too bad, and I actually really love them because they're just awesome planes, especially the loud "buzzsaw" sound of the prop on take-off. Only dislike to the 180/185 is that I think they have a geared engine to reduce the prop's speed (because the 180/185 prop goes near-super sonic) and that sound like a maintance hog.

    If I ever get a 4-place kitplane, it's gonna be a Bearhawk, Zenith CH-801 (if they still build it), Van's RV-10 (Love Van's aircraft espiecally the RV-7/RV-9 and RV10, just wished they better STOL capabilities), or the "Raptor" (If its a successful kit).
     
  32. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Good thought! But the engines are direct drive so no gearing. But yes you're absolutely right that 185's get near (and over) supersonic if they have the long seaplane-prop equipped.