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(Gizmag)   DIY folks come up with inexpensive, open-source kit that lets you build your own aircraft, to be marketed under the name "DarwinPlane"   (gizmag.com) divider line 42
    More: Obvious, Makerplane, aerodynamics, cross-sections, computer files, CNC, open source, landing gear, working time  
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2463 clicks; posted to Geek » on 31 Aug 2012 at 8:48 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-31 09:00:25 AM
My friend's Dad built an airplane in his living room. He had most of it done but never finished it before he died (old age). My friend told me that he never finished the plane because he was afraid if he did, someone would expect him to fly it.
 
2012-08-31 09:01:21 AM
i522.photobucket.com

Awesome!
 
2012-08-31 09:05:28 AM
I take it subby isn't familiar with kit planes nor the number of one off planes flying around built by all sorts of people.
 
2012-08-31 09:10:36 AM
Came to snark, but this is actually pretty farkin' cool
 
2012-08-31 09:13:01 AM
Cool idea, but if someone wants to see if they'll progress in building one, they should take a test run with a model scale or some such. If they make that, then consider bigger.
 
2012-08-31 09:18:00 AM
One of my kids considered building a boat this summer then abruptly announced he would build a plane instead. Confident he couldn't do it, I said "Okay, you do that."

My husband freaked out. He was afraid our kid would figure out a way to do it. He said "No, if you figure out a way to do it, no."

So, I find this headline very amusing.
 
2012-08-31 09:27:45 AM
By inexpensive you mean having to buy a 3D printer and CNC machine? Okay then.
 
2012-08-31 09:32:54 AM

Lunaville: He was afraid our kid would figure out a way to do it. He said "No, if you figure out a way to do it, no.


Should've found it amusing. If I knew at 14 or 15 what I know now about the first human powered planes, I'd have likely tried my hand at building one. Granted with a human powered plane, odds are the worst you're looking at is a bruised butt, so not the same as an engine powered plane, but still.
 
2012-08-31 09:40:31 AM

Lunaville: One of my kids considered building a boat this summer


Point him here: Chesapeake Light Craft. Cool boats, and cool people. Haven't had the time, money or skill to build one yet, but will some day. 

/ sure, I'd fly in a plane a friend built.... why not?
 
2012-08-31 09:45:42 AM
Note to self, in 2014 walk down the street to see Makerplane 1.0
Seriously, I live a block away from EAA, and it's awesome.
 
2012-08-31 09:52:31 AM
My neighbor built his own airplane back in the 90s this is not new nor is it significantly dangerous. You still need a runway to take off and they tend to be pretty strict about you having a pilots license and all that.
 
2012-08-31 09:55:36 AM

abhorrent1: By inexpensive you mean having to buy a 3D printer and CNC machine? Okay then.


if there's a techshop type place near you, you could rent time there

near me is TXRX labs
 
2012-08-31 09:56:47 AM

abhorrent1: By inexpensive you mean having to buy a 3D printer and CNC machine? Okay then.


Yeah, that kind of equipment isn't cheap. If you have a project that requires it, however, you can usually find that sort of gear at a reasonably advanced technical trade school or community college. They get donations and grants to purchase gear like that, and usually a part of their mission is community outreach. You probably can't afford it yourself, but renting time on the gear (with appropriate supervision/checking) is occasionally possible.

And hell, if you have the time, you can take the classes in that particular field and you'll probably have at least a few student-led projects that can be turned towards something like this. I knew guys who were building out Formula SAE cars as part of their coursework in mechanical engineering. I've also known guys in community colleges who were turning their own aluminum pistons for mud racers as part of a machining class. And community college classes are usually no more than a couple hundred bucks an hour.
 
2012-08-31 10:04:03 AM

Egoy3k: My neighbor built his own airplane back in the 90s this is not new nor is it significantly dangerous. You still need a runway to take off and they tend to be pretty strict about you having a pilots license and all that.


I'm pretty sure that kit planes and ultralights don't need a pilot's license in most cases. I'm not sure if this one fits in there or not.
 
2012-08-31 10:07:07 AM
You can already buy experimental kits, you can already design and build your own plane and have it certified Experimental by the FAA nothing new here move along.

/I've considered one of these, although I would have to reinstate my pilots license which I may do anyway since my 7 year old wants to go flying my wife and I took her up between the ages of 2 and 3 and she remembers.
 
2012-08-31 10:11:07 AM

phyrkrakr: I'm pretty sure that kit planes and ultralights don't need a pilot's license in most cases. I'm not sure if this one fits in there or not.


That looks like it would be of the LSA (Light Sports Aircraft) designation so a Sport Pilot certificate is probably necessary.
 
2012-08-31 10:11:49 AM

phyrkrakr: Egoy3k: My neighbor built his own airplane back in the 90s this is not new nor is it significantly dangerous. You still need a runway to take off and they tend to be pretty strict about you having a pilots license and all that.

I'm pretty sure that kit planes and ultralights don't need a pilot's license in most cases. I'm not sure if this one fits in there or not.


You need a license to fly this.
 
2012-08-31 10:12:11 AM

JohnnyC: My friend's Dad built an airplane in his living room.


Like, wings and all?
 
2012-08-31 10:12:36 AM
Yeah.. If I'm going to waste money on a kit plane it would be on something like the Lancair Evolution and its 330kt, 4000fpm awesomeness.
 
2012-08-31 10:25:38 AM

Tom_Slick: phyrkrakr: I'm pretty sure that kit planes and ultralights don't need a pilot's license in most cases. I'm not sure if this one fits in there or not.

That looks like it would be of the LSA (Light Sports Aircraft) designation so a Sport Pilot certificate is probably necessary.


Insatiable Jesus: phyrkrakr: Egoy3k: My neighbor built his own airplane back in the 90s this is not new nor is it significantly dangerous. You still need a runway to take off and they tend to be pretty strict about you having a pilots license and all that.

I'm pretty sure that kit planes and ultralights don't need a pilot's license in most cases. I'm not sure if this one fits in there or not.

You need a license to fly this.


I stand corrected. The horrible horrible FAA page finally gave up its secrets, and ultralights are the only ones that you do not need a pilot's license to fly. And ultralights (FAR 103.1) have to be less than 254 lbs (powered), no passengers, no flying over towns or inhabited spaces, no flying at night or in clouds, and no commercial operations.
 
2012-08-31 10:30:08 AM
How can we be expected to teach people to learn how to fly if they can't even fit inside the airplane?
 
2012-08-31 10:34:22 AM

phyrkrakr: I stand corrected. The horrible horrible FAA page finally gave up its secrets, and ultralights are the only ones that you do not need a pilot's license to fly. And ultralights (FAR 103.1) have to be less than 254 lbs (powered), no passengers, no flying over towns or inhabited spaces, no flying at night or in clouds, and no commercial operations.


Then again, you really, really shouldn't be flying in clouds anyway, unless (a) you have all the necessary equipment for instrument flight, and (b) are instrument rated.
 
2012-08-31 10:36:23 AM
Is it the John Denver model?
/I'm leaving on a jet plane
//Don't know when I'll be back again
 
2012-08-31 10:40:27 AM

Fubegra: Then again, you really, really shouldn't be flying in clouds anyway, unless (a) you have all the necessary equipment for instrument flight, and (b) are instrument rated.


Even with an IFR I never liked flying in clouds.

/Hood time sucks
 
2012-08-31 10:40:46 AM

WhyteRaven74: I take it subby isn't familiar with kit planes nor the number of one off planes flying around built by all sorts of people.


Article is about an effort to make an OpenSourced Kit plane whose parts are 3D printable and is "supposed" to be easier to build as most kit planes aren't easy. Personally I'd be afraid to fly in a 3D printed kit plane more than a regular kit plane, and I'm not willing to get in either.
 
2012-08-31 10:53:16 AM

MindStalker: WhyteRaven74: I take it subby isn't familiar with kit planes nor the number of one off planes flying around built by all sorts of people.

Article is about an effort to make an OpenSourced Kit plane whose parts are 3D printable and is "supposed" to be easier to build as most kit planes aren't easy. Personally I'd be afraid to fly in a 3D printed kit plane more than a regular kit plane, and I'm not willing to get in either.


Kit or not, small planes are absolutely terrifying. I once made the mistake of riding along in a four-seater while a friend took a first flying lesson. I'm not usually weak stomached, but it is a miracle I didn't puke. I gave up praying that I wouldn't die or be paralyzed in favor of praying that I wouldn't soil or otherwise humiliate myself when we crashed not because I am brave, but because I had lost my mind. When the plane landed and we dis-boarded, the earth seemed to be violently rocking. I couldn't keep my balance. So, I laid down on the asphalt and tried to hold onto it.

As this post makes me look like a complete coward, in fairness to myself, I must add that the other rear seat passenger and the flight instructor both looked nearly as bad as I felt. Only the student thought the outing was a rounding success.
 
2012-08-31 11:03:41 AM

Lunaville: MindStalker: WhyteRaven74: I take it subby isn't familiar with kit planes nor the number of one off planes flying around built by all sorts of people.

Article is about an effort to make an OpenSourced Kit plane whose parts are 3D printable and is "supposed" to be easier to build as most kit planes aren't easy. Personally I'd be afraid to fly in a 3D printed kit plane more than a regular kit plane, and I'm not willing to get in either.

Kit or not, small planes are absolutely terrifying. I once made the mistake of riding along in a four-seater while a friend took a first flying lesson. I'm not usually weak stomached, but it is a miracle I didn't puke. I gave up praying that I wouldn't die or be paralyzed in favor of praying that I wouldn't soil or otherwise humiliate myself when we crashed not because I am brave, but because I had lost my mind. When the plane landed and we dis-boarded, the earth seemed to be violently rocking. I couldn't keep my balance. So, I laid down on the asphalt and tried to hold onto it.

As this post makes me look like a complete coward, in fairness to myself, I must add that the other rear seat passenger and the flight instructor both looked nearly as bad as I felt. Only the student thought the outing was a rounding success.


The best ride you'll ever get is the jump seat of one of the planes at a skydiving facility. Especially if it's something like a Skyvan or Twin Otter. Soon as the jumpers empty it's a nice hard bank and max decent back to earth and you are usually touching down on the runway before the last of the skydivers get down.
 
2012-08-31 11:09:59 AM

styckx: Lunaville: MindStalker: WhyteRaven74: I take it subby isn't familiar with kit planes nor the number of one off planes flying around built by all sorts of people.

Article is about an effort to make an OpenSourced Kit plane whose parts are 3D printable and is "supposed" to be easier to build as most kit planes aren't easy. Personally I'd be afraid to fly in a 3D printed kit plane more than a regular kit plane, and I'm not willing to get in either.

Kit or not, small planes are absolutely terrifying. I once made the mistake of riding along in a four-seater while a friend took a first flying lesson. I'm not usually weak stomached, but it is a miracle I didn't puke. I gave up praying that I wouldn't die or be paralyzed in favor of praying that I wouldn't soil or otherwise humiliate myself when we crashed not because I am brave, but because I had lost my mind. When the plane landed and we dis-boarded, the earth seemed to be violently rocking. I couldn't keep my balance. So, I laid down on the asphalt and tried to hold onto it.

As this post makes me look like a complete coward, in fairness to myself, I must add that the other rear seat passenger and the flight instructor both looked nearly as bad as I felt. Only the student thought the outing was a rounding success.

The best ride you'll ever get is the jump seat of one of the planes at a skydiving facility. Especially if it's something like a Skyvan or Twin Otter. Soon as the jumpers empty it's a nice hard bank and max decent back to earth and you are usually touching down on the runway before the last of the skydivers get down.


The plane would have to be hosed out after they pulled my noodle-like body out of it.
 
2012-08-31 11:13:15 AM

WhyteRaven74: I take it subby isn't familiar with kit planes nor the number of one off planes flying around built by all sorts of people.


Many years ago I built all of the wing ribs and welded up a fuselage for a Hatz Biplane. If I remember right there were 23 parts for each rib. I had to move on before the plane was finished so sold it to one of my bosses. I heard that he completed it and flew it for many years before he had to give it up due to age. The Hatz was NOT an airplane for someone without patience and skills but it doesn't seem to me that the plane in TFA is really any different than some of the kits available today.
 
2012-08-31 11:15:56 AM
/I'm leaving on a jet kit plane
//Don't know when I'll be back again


Sounds like the Oshkosh Air Show will be newsworthy in 2014.
 
2012-08-31 11:20:39 AM

eyeq360: Is it the John Denver model?
/I'm leaving on a jet plane
//Don't know when I'll be back again


You got the lyrics wrong.

/I'm leaving in a prop plane
//Don't think that I'll be back again
 
2012-08-31 11:23:54 AM

Death_Poot: Cool idea, but if someone wants to see if they'll progress in building one, they should take a test run with a model scale or some such. If they make that, then consider bigger.


I'll make sure the FlightGear community knows about this. They can have 3D & flight dynamics models made in pretty short order and tweak them as the design matures. It's not the same as flight testing a full scale prototype, but should provide useful clues as to performance.
 
2012-08-31 11:51:23 AM
I always wondered about the resale prospects for a home built aircraft.

Not too sure I would be interested in trusting the fabrication skills of somebody building an aircraft in their garage, no matter how talented they are. Where is the quality control? Is there a third party inspection process at each stage?

Having the FAA give you the ok to fly it doesn't count either. I'm talking about someone checking your work at the end of each day.

John Denver's death is a perfect example. The guy who put together that aircraft made a design change to the aircraft that made it difficult, if not impossible, to switch tanks in flight. Do you think you would have to worry about Cessna pulling a stunt like that?

Link
 
2012-08-31 11:58:38 AM
I just realized John Denver died just about 15 years ago.

jebus, I'm getting old.
 
2012-08-31 12:51:22 PM

sxacho: JohnnyC: My friend's Dad built an airplane in his living room.

Like, wings and all?


Yeah. The wings and the horizontal stabilizers were separated from the fuselage/tail rudder assembly. They had a really big "great room" and the portions of the plane took up most of it.
 
2012-08-31 05:02:14 PM

Tom_Slick: Fubegra: Then again, you really, really shouldn't be flying in clouds anyway, unless (a) you have all the necessary equipment for instrument flight, and (b) are instrument rated.

Even with an IFR I never liked flying in clouds.

/Hood time sucks


When I was a crew-chief on a Chinook, some of the most fun flights we had were pilot IFR training. We'd go out over the ocean and practice "Unusual Attitudes". One pilot would put on the hood, close his eyes, and the other would, for example, put the tail up, at a 30 degree angle, and at a 20 degree list, while flying backwards at 40 knots. Then he'd tell the other pilot to open his eyes, and using only the gauges he'd have to regain control. Military pilots rock. Especially the Warrant Officers.
 
2012-08-31 06:46:36 PM

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: When I was a crew-chief on a Chinook, some of the most fun flights we had were pilot IFR training. We'd go out over the ocean and practice "Unusual Attitudes". One pilot would put on the hood, close his eyes, and the other would, for example, put the tail up, at a 30 degree angle, and at a 20 degree list, while flying backwards at 40 knots. Then he'd tell the other pilot to open his eyes, and using only the gauges he'd have to regain control. Military pilots rock. Especially the Warrant Officers.


Sounds like fun, I loved flying but had not intended to get my IFR, my wife talked me into it so she did not have to fly left seat in the B200 all the time. I met her as my IP when I decided I wanted to fly a 172 after riding with a friend it's amazing how having a flying partner will push you through more flight training than you ever intended, never got my commercial ticket though.
 
2012-08-31 07:23:44 PM

Tom_Slick: UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: When I was a crew-chief on a Chinook, some of the most fun flights we had were pilot IFR training. We'd go out over the ocean and practice "Unusual Attitudes". One pilot would put on the hood, close his eyes, and the other would, for example, put the tail up, at a 30 degree angle, and at a 20 degree list, while flying backwards at 40 knots. Then he'd tell the other pilot to open his eyes, and using only the gauges he'd have to regain control. Military pilots rock. Especially the Warrant Officers.

Sounds like fun, I loved flying but had not intended to get my IFR, my wife talked me into it so she did not have to fly left seat in the B200 all the time. I met her as my IP when I decided I wanted to fly a 172 after riding with a friend it's amazing how having a flying partner will push you through more flight training than you ever intended, never got my commercial ticket though.


That's cool!

You had a good point about flying IFR though. It's scary and NOT fun. We once attempted to fly from Hilo, Hawaii, to Pohakaloa Training Area, in the middle of the Big Island, Sea level to 7,000 feet, in heavy cloud cover. We started out fine, but the clouds got lower and lower, and the weather got rainier and rainier, until we were reduced to following the Saddle Road, about 20 feet above the ground, at no faster than 30 knots.. We got to within about 10 miles of our destination, and it just got thicker. Finally, the pilots gave up, and we had to cancel our mission, and return home.

We were in Hilo living in GP Medium tents for 30 days, and it rained every day, including one day that we got 12 inches of rain in 24 hours. Talk about miserable...
 
2012-08-31 07:43:06 PM

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: We were in Hilo living in GP Medium tents for 30 days, and it rained every day, including one day that we got 12 inches of rain in 24 hours. Talk about miserable...


You forgot to mention that was the driest day of the month.

/In Hilo
//Moved here not long after the time this side of the island got 27-37 inches of rain in 24 hours.
 
2012-08-31 07:53:30 PM

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: You had a good point about flying IFR though. It's scary and NOT fun. We once attempted to fly from Hilo, Hawaii, to Pohakaloa Training Area, in the middle of the Big Island, Sea level to 7,000 feet, in heavy cloud cover. We started out fine, but the clouds got lower and lower, and the weather got rainier and rainier, until we were reduced to following the Saddle Road, about 20 feet above the ground, at no faster than 30 knots.. We got to within about 10 miles of our destination, and it just got thicker. Finally, the pilots gave up, and we had to cancel our mission, and return home.


We were flying her B200 into CGX (Meigs Field Chicago) back in 2002 when I was doing my last bit of instrument training, fog rolled in off the lake complete zero visibility down to the deck of course I didn't know I was under the hood. Once we landed we decided taking off would be insane, I have never flown when it was that bad and she did not know it was rolling in until we were in the pattern.
 
2012-09-01 02:23:47 AM

dbirchall: UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: We were in Hilo living in GP Medium tents for 30 days, and it rained every day, including one day that we got 12 inches of rain in 24 hours. Talk about miserable...

You forgot to mention that was the driest day of the month.

/In Hilo
//Moved here not long after the time this side of the island got 27-37 inches of rain in 24 hours.


Other than Molokai, Hilo was my favorite place in all the islands. Friendliest people anywhere. Mahalo, Hawaii, I had a great three years there.

Tom_Slick: We were flying her B200 into CGX (Meigs Field Chicago) back in 2002 when I was doing my last bit of instrument training, fog rolled in off the lake complete zero visibility down to the deck of course I didn't know I was under the hood. Once we landed we decided taking off would be insane, I have never flown when it was that bad and she did not know it was rolling in until we were in the pattern.


Dayum, I get scared flying around Chicago as a passenger on commercial flights. That's some of the most congested flying in the world, and nowhere to emergency land. I would imagine that Chicago could sock-in pretty fast, with the lake right there. I admire you and your wife. Flying IFR in Chicago, I'd be more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.
 
2012-09-03 07:50:22 PM

Basily Gourt: I always wondered about the resale prospects for a home built aircraft.

Not too sure I would be interested in trusting the fabrication skills of somebody building an aircraft in their garage, no matter how talented they are. Where is the quality control? Is there a third party inspection process at each stage?

Having the FAA give you the ok to fly it doesn't count either. I'm talking about someone checking your work at the end of each day.

John Denver's death is a perfect example. The guy who put together that aircraft made a design change to the aircraft that made it difficult, if not impossible, to switch tanks in flight. Do you think you would have to worry about Cessna pulling a stunt like that?


Having flown in some experimentals and in some certifieds (as a passenger, I'm still doing hours on the simulator because my husband won the coin-flip,) I have to say it really does depend. Some of the Rutan designs are significantly safer than a lot of certified aircraft, even with unusual mods, and if you consider using a more reliable engine than those antiquated Lycomings, the safety potential does increase. Most of the air-cooled aircraft engines flying these days are using 1940s-1950s technology, and because the cost to have something newer, safer, lighter, more reliable and generally awesomer FAA-certified is so much more than the potential earnings within the tenure of any aviation company CEO, nobody's really innovating all that much outside the Experimental category. Toyota was actually designing a Lexus-type engine for one of the Rutan airframes back in the Eighties and the fact that it was going to cost so much to get it certified made them abandon it. Meanwhile, there's a guy who's built a canard-pusher with a Subaru snowmobile engine that's got thrice the reliability, four times the power and eight times the gas mileage of an equivalent-weight Lycoming.

There will always be people willing to trade risk for potential improvement. I married one. You don't want to know.

I like the idea of 'crowd-sourcing' that the plane-builders in TFA mentioned. It's exactly the kind of 'checking your work at the end of each day' that experimental builders need. If nothing else, it'd give the experimental-builder pilot guys somebody besides the ten or so AARP-member pilots that keep each GA airport running and their wives to talk about their projects with. I have no aviation background whatsoever, but if you marry a GA enthusiast, especially the rare under-50 kind, you hear about this a LOT.
 
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