CHOOSING THE RIGHT AIRCRAFT
What aircraft should I build?
We are asked this question daily by those of you looking to build a VW powered sport aircraft. There is no easy answer. Two observations we can make however. Between the age of 20 and 40, faster aircraft are popular. Between 40 and 60, slower aircraft reign. Age, experience, financial, marital and family status all play an important role in the decision making process.
We presume you may have already selected an aircraft to build, because you have ordered our catalog. You are interested in building an aircraft powered with the dependable VW aircooled engine. If you have not gone through the aircraft selection process, we hope the next few pages will aid in your decision making process. We have compiled a list of popular VW powered aircraft that are supported by a company or individuals. This is not a complete list however. There are close to 50 VW powered aircraft designs available to choose from.
Most of the VW powered aircraft listed in the following pages can be built for $10,000 to $20,000 if you scratch-build the aircraft. The Fisher Avenger and Youngster can be built for even less. To help you select an aircraft, we suggest the following criteria:
1. Available Time to Complete a Project. Consider the years you have to complete the project vs. the average time it takes to assemble and complete the aircraft. As an average, most of us can dedicate 300 to 400 hours a year on a project.
2. Skills Available. What are your skills? Are you looking to add new skills or do you just want to get an aircraft flying as quickly as possible? Wood, metal, tubing, welding, composites or a combination of all or some.
3. Plans Type. Are you looking for a scratch built aircraft or a kit built aircraft. Scratch built aircraft are generally less expensive but require more time. Kit built aircraft generally take less time but require more money.
4. Work Space Available. Basement, garage, living room. You get the picture. What kind of processes will you be doing. Will the construction have a by-product of smell, dust, and dirt? Is the construction method compatible with the family environment?
5. Health Consideration. Will the construction process affect you or your family's heath? Epoxy fumes, wood dust, oxacteleyne storage, noise from riveting, sloshing compounds? All have the possibility to adversely affect the health of you or your family.
6. Financial Condition. Believe it or not, this is really the last consideration. Once you have considered all else you will eventually find a way to pay for the project of choice. With most VW powered aircraft priced between $10,000 and $20,000. The eventual cost will not be the up front issue you may first think it to be.
EVALUATION OF AIRCRAFT
To help you evaluate aircraft to build consider the following:
1. Is the company or individual promoting the aircraft involved full time or part time?
2. Can you reach the company during the day or at night only?
3. How long has the company or individual been in business promoting the aircraft?
4. What is the reputation of the company or individuals selling the aircraft?
5. How many plans for your aircraft of choice have been sold? Over what period of time?
6. Has the ownership of the plans rights ever changed hands? If so, under what circumstances?
7. Builder support. Is there any? Is there a newsletter? How about an annual type aircraft get together.
8. Replacement parts. Are they available? This is perhaps the most important consideration, especially if you are considering a kit-built aircraft. What happens to replacement parts, if the company goes out of business?