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Makerplane Aims To Create the First Open Source Aircraft

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the peoples-plane dept.

Open Source 100

cylonlover writes "MakerPlane plans to do for the aviation industry what Firefox and Linux did for computers. By adopting open source design and digital manufacturing, MakerPlane's founder John Nicol hopes to overcome the frustration and disappointment that most kit plane builders encounter. Over 60 percent of all kitplanes started end up collecting dust and those that are finished must overcome the challenges of complicated plans, the need for special tools and thousands of hours of labor with little or no manufacturer support. Nicol believes that a more community-oriented design approach will overcome many of these obstacles. Israel-based aeronautical engineer Jeffrey Meyer is leading the MakerPlane charge to develop a safe, inexpensive kitplane that can be built at home or at a 'makerspace' through the efforts of people volunteering their efforts and ideas. MakerPlane intends to make the plans and avionics software for the plane available for free, but will sell parts and support services to fund the project."

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First post! (-1, Offtopic)

manu0601 (2221348) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186027)

But I do not have anything interesting to tell :-/

EAA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186033)

There's a group called the Experimental Aviation Organization [eaa.org] . They have a whole bunch of local chapters full of people who are obnoxiously willing to help you build an airplane. There are dozens of kitplane manufacturers out, including my favorite Airdrome Aeroplanes [airdromeaeroplanes.com] which has an awesome kit for building a replica (full size or scale) of the Red Baron's DR-1 [airdromeaeroplanes.com] among others. The build time is on the order of 400 hours, vice 2000-3000 for the modern composite designs, and this design needs no tools beyond those from Harbor Freight.

Enjoy

Re:EAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186503)

This is correct and the OP is based on the false premise that such things don't exist. The EAA community support is extensive. I have not personally built a plane but I have several friends who have. Kit plane building is all about knowing a guy who knows a guy who can bead blast a part or you can borrow a special tool from. Few hobbies have as much community support.

Re:EAA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186543)

Well, the article uses all the language you'd expect in a, "look we're doing the open source thing" post. "3d printing", "CNC", "community", etc. They say the idea is to reduce build time and expense by using CNC and 3d print, but these manufacturing techniques are already being used for kit planes. And there are already vibrant hobby communities of owners for each of them. They're also very inexpensive, considering you're going to have to buy yourself a little Rotax engine either way. So what problem is this really looking to solve?

Re:EAA (1)

dssq (2719999) | about 2 years ago | (#41193003)

OMG, has anyone actually bothered to go to the site and read up on the project instead of making stupid uninformed comments?

Re:EAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186995)

Kit plane building is all about knowing a guy who knows a guy

And that's the problem. Individual builders haven't a chance.

Re:EAA (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187565)

That's what you get when your politicians are in the pocket of Big Kitplane. The little guy gets screwed.

Re:EAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41192999)

hence the EAA chapters, posted lest anyone fail to recognize your trolling.

Re:EAA (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187519)

I worked with the EAA in Oshkosh for several years, and we built most of a plane each summer from raw materials. Wood and fabric, all the way. Last one I worked on was an AcroSport II [eaa.org] .

Making airplanes is all about regulation (3, Interesting)

sinij (911942) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186037)

Making airplanes isn't about technology, it is all about regulation and certification of components and complete product. Open sourcing wont help you with that.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (3, Informative)

joelsanda (619660) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186059)

Making airplanes isn't about technology, it is all about regulation and certification of components and complete product. Open sourcing wont help you with that.

Not necessarily in the United States, where the Federal Aviation Administration [faa.gov] "... does not certify, certificate, or approve aircraft kits. Also, the FAA does not approve kit manufacturers." Though I'm sure there are regulations for the person piloting the aircraft.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186093)

Actually kit built airplanes have to be 51% built by one person. It's the main governing rule in the space. Already it's being skirted with quick build kits and with factory assistance where you build the plane using the factory's space and tools, but it's likely been pushed about as far as it's going to go.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186439)

Not 51% by one person. 51% by amateur builder. Hired help / factory cannot build majority of the plane, but there is nothing stopping you from making a party of the build experience with as many of your friends and family as you can gather, joining in on the build.

You can also purchase a partially completed plane, and finish it up, as long as you nor the previous owner used professional assistance to build the majority of the plane. Here, you may run into issues with being able to do your own annuals, if you did not do the majority of the work.

There is also a new category (only one kit that I know of, by Van's in this category). It allows you to build a kit to the exact specifications of the manufacturer (there are other rules about HP, no constant speed props, no retractable landing gear, max weight, etc. that apply to all LSAs), and get a plane where a buyer can do his own annuals etc. and it modifies the 51% rule too.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186125)

Not necessarily in the United States, where the Federal Aviation Administration "... does not certify, certificate, or approve aircraft kits. Also, the FAA does not approve kit manufacturers." Though I'm sure there are regulations for the person piloting the aircraft.

The FAA is in charge of certifying all planes for flight. Your own direct quote doesn't say they don't do the very thing their name implies they do, it says they won't do it for kit planes. No kit plane will ever be certified by the FAA. Now I haven't read the law too closely, and maybe you can get a license to fly a sports plane, or some kind of personal-use plane, but anything that carries passengers or cargo? Forget it.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (0)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186185)

Not to mention that most of us live near some controlled airspace.

The legal places you can fly a kit plane are the same you can legally fly an rc plane. And I imagine we are only 1 accident away from even THAT changing.

Piloting is one of the few vestiges of the feudal system left in the egalitarian world. When the common masses start flying, the "big sky, small plane" theory will get regulated away.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186371)

This is extremely incorrect. Search for homebuilt or experimental airplanes, or the kit manufacturer "Van's Aircraft". There are thousands upon thousands of these "Experimental" planes flying which were built either from a kit or from the designer's own knowledge. They can and do carry passengers, and can and do fly into the most restrictive airspace in the country.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 2 years ago | (#41188223)

They... can and do fly into the most restrictive airspace in the country.

Would it be too much to ask if they could take some better pictures than this one [lazygranch.com] ? :)

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (2)

FreelanceWizard (889712) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186373)

Nope.

Basically, when you complete a kit plane, you get it certified by the FAA as an experimental aircraft. Those can be flown anywhere that's permitted by their equipment and your licensing; for instance, the plane has to have its minimum equipment list to fly at all and navigational aids to fly in IFC. The major restriction on an experimental aircraft special airworthiness certificate is that it can't be used for commercial cargo or passenger operations.

FAA bureaucrats have restricted experimental craft (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186617)

Nope.

Basically, when you complete a kit plane, you get it certified by the FAA as an experimental aircraft. Those can be flown anywhere that's permitted by their equipment and your licensing; for instance, the plane has to have its minimum equipment list to fly at all and navigational aids to fly in IFC. The major restriction on an experimental aircraft special airworthiness certificate is that it can't be used for commercial cargo or passenger operations.

Unless an FAA bureaucrat feels otherwise:

"The Van Nuys Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) has prohibited experimental flight tests and normal operations (Phase 1 and Phase 2 flights) at Burbank, Van Nuys, Whiteman, and Santa Barbara airports."
http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2006/060118experimental.html [aopa.org]

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186777)

Chapter 16.32 UNLICENSED AIRCRAFT

Such as ultralights.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (2)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187613)

Only Ultralights are restricted to E and G airspaces. Kit planes, particularly the sleek, modern, fast ones, are used in normal airspace all the time. I have flown the EAA's Vans RV-6A around Whitman quite a bit, and that is full-on class C airspace, even taking off from Pioneer Field.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (2)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186351)

No kit plane will ever be certified by the FAA.

That just isn't true; you still need a flightworthiness certificate from the FAA in order to register and (legally) fly the plane. The exceptions are for ultralights, sport aircraft, and aircraft which remain tethered to the ground (see: moller Skycar) or never leave ground effect (see: hovercraft and ground effects planes such as the Ekranoplane - which would be registered as boats).

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (3, Informative)

icebrain (944107) | more than 2 years ago | (#41189463)

That just isn't true; you still need a flightworthiness certificate from the FAA in order to register and (legally) fly the plane. The exceptions are for ultralights, sport aircraft, and aircraft which remain tethered to the ground (see: moller Skycar) or never leave ground effect (see: hovercraft and ground effects planes such as the Ekranoplane - which would be registered as boats).

That isn't certification, though. A certified aircraft (anything factory-built, basically) has to meet very particular standards for performance, function, reliability, etc. That takes a lot of paperwork and testing (I know this because I am an engineer at an aircraft manufacturer). It also requires very tight control of the manufacturing process, and requires that any modifications or deviations be approved.

Homebuilt aircraft are given airworthiness certificates, but that is expressly not a certification. There's a little formality to it, but it's basically a quick check to make sure you didn't do something horribly obviously wrong (like forget to hook up your controls, or leave a wing off, or forget your basic instruments). You're also required to perform some level of test-flying. And even after that's done, you can't carry passengers or cargo for hire, or use the airplane for any commercial purpose (like banner towing or aerial photography).

With a certified light airplane, you get a guarantee that the aircraft meets certain performance and safety standards, a proven flight envelope, greater flexibility with use, and a wider resale market. However, you have to pay a licensed mechanic for all your maintenance (including annual inspections) past things like changing your oil, you have to follow the manufacturer's maintenance program, and making changes or modifications (or even buying replacement parts) can be very expensive.

A homebuilt airplane will generally give you better performance for your money in terms of range, speed, payload, maneuverability, etc., and there are many more options to choose from than on the certified market. It is also much more customizable (you can fit any equipment to it that you want), and the maintenance is much cheaper because you can do it all yourself, even if the airplane is secondhand (except for the annual inspection--you can only do that yourself if you were the primary builder). Homebuilts also tend to have newer, fancier "stuff" than certified airplanes, because you don't have to go through lengthy certification processes to add those things.

On the negative side, homebuilts do not come with that guarantee of performance or safety standards. That doesn't mean that they don't meet them (many do), just that they aren't proven to have done so. They are also subject to varying degrees of build quality--some builders produce amazing stuff, others I wouldn't trust to build a Lego kit properly. Designs with many flying examples (or those from established kit makers) are generally less risky than one-offs; airplanes built closely to plans generally have less risk than those with drastic modifications or unusual engine installations. You also lose flexibility with use; you can't use the airplane for commercial purposes, and your resale market is much smaller--fewer people are willing to buy used homebuilts. And finally (obviously), you have to invest the build time--something that's enjoyable to some, and a nightmare to others.

My dad and I (along with a little help from the rest of the family) built an airplane while I was in high school. I'm now looking to build one myself (albeit a smaller, more affordable one) as soon as I finish saving up the money for the kit.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41193941)

And yet, I have right here in my grungy little hands, "FAA Form 8130-6, Application for U.S. Airworthiness Certificate". Section II has check marks in B,4 and 2 for "Special Airworthiness Certificate", "Experimental", and "Amateur Built".

In the US, it is illegal to lift out of ground effect without this form being accepted by the FAA.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187843)

You need to read the direct quote as "the FAA won't pre-approve an aircraft kit or kit manufacturer, as the quality of the build is paramount in the certification process - the FAA will approve built aircraft".

There's no point in approving a kit or a kit manufacturer if the kit is being built by someone who has no idea what they are doing.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (2)

Arker (91948) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186231)

They dont approve kits. They do have to approve the finished airplane before you fly it. And you do have to be licensed, although the 'light sport' licensing is significantly easier.

None of this is specific to this particular project. People have been selling, building, and flying kit planes for many decades now.

Kits planes are heavily regulated by FAA (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186355)

Making airplanes isn't about technology, it is all about regulation and certification of components and complete product. Open sourcing wont help you with that.

Not necessarily in the United States, where the Federal Aviation Administration "... does not certify, certificate, or approve aircraft kits. Also, the FAA does not approve kit manufacturers." Though I'm sure there are regulations for the person piloting the aircraft.

I think all that quote is saying is that the normal certification and approval process does not apply. My understanding is that kit airplanes fall under the category of experimental aircraft and a different large body of regulations do apply. Including regulations limiting where an experimental aircraft can be flown. Of course things may be quite different from long ago when I became acquainted with such things.

Re:Kits planes are heavily regulated by FAA (1)

icebrain (944107) | about 2 years ago | (#41192319)

My understanding is that kit airplanes fall under the category of experimental aircraft and a different large body of regulations do apply. Including regulations limiting where an experimental aircraft can be flown.

The limitations on where you can fly have been eliminated, at least once you are out of the flight-test phase (7 hours for E-LSA, 25 for E-AB with certified engines, 40 for E-AB with non-certified engines). The prohibition on flying for commercial purposes is still in place.

Re:Kits planes are heavily regulated by FAA (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#41192427)

My understanding is that kit airplanes fall under the category of experimental aircraft and a different large body of regulations do apply. Including regulations limiting where an experimental aircraft can be flown.

The limitations on where you can fly have been eliminated, at least once you are out of the flight-test phase (7 hours for E-LSA, 25 for E-AB with certified engines, 40 for E-AB with non-certified engines). The prohibition on flying for commercial purposes is still in place.

When googling around last night I found that regional FAA officials can and have prohibited normal operations in certain areas.

"The Van Nuys Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) has prohibited experimental flight tests and normal operations (Phase 1 and Phase 2 flights) at Burbank, Van Nuys, Whiteman, and Santa Barbara airports."
http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2006/060118experimental.html [aopa.org]

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187601)

The FAA actually does certify the aircraft in the form of an airworthiness certificate and aircraft license/tail number, but only once you have assembled the kit. The aircraft needs to be inspected many times throughout the construction of the aircraft so they can see and sign off that it is being built properly. The experimental/kit planes cannot be mass-produced and sold(as complete aircraft). They can, however, be built one-off and flown by the builder or any appropriately-licensed pilot they certify to fly it. For an experimental class aircraft, to do authorized maintenance on the plane, you must have built more than 51% of the aircraft yourself. This is why many kits are sold as a 49% complete kits.

Alternately, you can fly an 'ultralight' aircraft without any license, with certain limitations, as long as that vehicle:
-Weighs less than 254lbs empty weight.
-Carries less than 5 Gallons of fuel
-Only carries one person
-Meets a specific max speed and stall speed
-A bunch of other small stuff under FAR part 103
A paraphrasing of the regulations is that you don't require a license or any specific equipment on the aircraft, but you aren't allowed in controlled airspace without permission, you can't fly above a certain altitude, you can't fly at night(pretty sure even with lights), and a few other specific no-nos like flying over populated areas or dropping anything from the aircraft.

If you ever do undertake building a plane, the hands-down best place I have ever picked up supplies is AS&S (nice dudes from MN) at http://www.aircraftspruce.com/ [aircraftspruce.com]

Regulation is Confining. So is Gravity. (-1, Troll)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186069)

Open source people don't like regulation, because it confines the creative process.

Gravity is also inconvenient and confining. We need to rally the people to overturn this law.

Re:Regulation is Confining. So is Gravity. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186099)

Open source people don't like regulation, because it confines the creative process.

You're trolling pretty hard there. Many open source licenses depends on regulation. The GPL couldn't exist without copyright law. So no, regulation by itself doesn't confine the creative process; Bad regulation does.

Gravity is also inconvenient and confining. We need to rally the people to overturn this law.

They've been trying, but every time they drop an apple it lands on the ground instead of the ceiling. They've tried threatening the apple with a lawsuit, they've tried applying intellectual property laws saying things landing on the floor is prohibited by law, but the damn apple keeps landing on the ground. One person even tried firing it into orbit with a giant gun, but we're not sure if it worked -- he was later found covered in applesauce and shrapnel.

Re:Regulation is Confining. So is Gravity. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186135)

Gravity is also inconvenient and confining. We need to rally the people to overturn this law.

Repeal the first (or even only the second) law of thermodynamics and we'd get enough energy to beat gravity.

Re:Regulation is Confining. So is Gravity. (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#41216623)

The laws of thermodynamics speak of observations in a closed systems. We still cannot prove the universe is or isn't a closed system and if in fact there is an infinite multiverse, then all bets are off. A great story along these lines if Asimov's "The Gods Themselves [wikipedia.org] ". So a more powerful engine than matter-antimatter might be two closely spaced portals to two universes, a universe about to become a big bang, and a universe on the verge of heat death. You could harness huge flows of energy from both portals and because the effects on our space would be cancelled out by the two opposite universes, our universe would incur no dangerous shift in fundamental physical conditions (read the article to better understand.)

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186431)

Making an airplane is about not killing yourself.

Contributors will get sued ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186483)

Making airplanes isn't about technology, it is all about regulation and certification of components and complete product. Open sourcing wont help you with that.

Making planes is also about getting sued. Lawsuits destroyed the private light aircraft market in the U.S.

You do not even have to make an error to lose a lawsuit. A lawyer merely needs to convince a jury that a "better" design choice could have been made. Your choice may have been the better choice in a broad overall sense but the lawyer just needs to argue that in a specific narrow sense something else would have been better. For example a fuel injected engine vs a carbureted engine. In a specific narrow sense fuel injection might have avoided an icing related crash. Never mind the pilot failed to apply carb heat. Never mind all the complications and issues fuel injection raises in other areas.

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41191169)

Making airplanes isn't about technology, it is all about regulation and certification of components and complete product. Open sourcing wont help you with that.

For experimental aircraft (of which homebuilts/kit builts/etc are a part of) the regulations are far more lax - basically it's just a sequence of inspections to make sure you're doing things "the right way" and avoiding obvious faults. I.e., you plane has a decent chance of flying and you used parts that are strong enough to withstand the rigors of such flight.

After that, it's mostly hands off - you build it how you think it should be built. It's basically anything goes to encourage innovation in aircraft. You're allowed to design your own completely from scratch, buy a set of plans and build it yourself (following as much or as little of the plans as you desire), buy a kit and build it, etc.

Nothing you use needs to be certified - it's why experimental aircraft have much more advanced avionics available (they aren't certified yet - it takes years) and much more advanced technology available.

The only things that need to be certified are certified aircraft - those mass produced in a factory and such, because well, you didn't build it, so you are trusting someone else to have built it right and not produce pieces of crap, so the use of certified materials is mandatory.

Definitely not sure what open-sourcing gives over traditional experimental plane building. Other than perhaps you don't have to buy a set of plans and can instead download them? Or are forced to document all your modifications and publish them?

Re:Making airplanes is all about regulation (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41194031)

For experimental aircraft (of which homebuilts/kit builts/etc are a part of) the regulations are far more lax - basically it's just a sequence of inspections to make sure you're doing things "the right way" and avoiding obvious faults. I.e., you plane has a decent chance of flying and you used parts that are strong enough to withstand the rigors of such flight.

The inspection requirements are no longer enforced; though, highly recommended. There is only one official one at the end.

After that, it's mostly hands off - you build it how you think it should be built. It's basically anything goes to encourage innovation in aircraft. You're allowed to design your own completely from scratch, buy a set of plans and build it yourself (following as much or as little of the plans as you desire), buy a kit and build it, etc.

It is nothing at all about encouraging innovation; though, it does do that. It is about freedom. Do I get to live and die as I choose? Or does the government get to direct my every step to "protect" me? In this particular case, liberty won.

Definitely not sure what open-sourcing gives over traditional experimental plane building. Other than perhaps you don't have to buy a set of plans and can instead download them? Or are forced to document all your modifications and publish them?

Open source adds nothing. I bought my set of plans for $250. A small price to pay the designer/engineer who put literally YEARS into creating them. Cutting ribs with a CNC? Everybody is doing that now anyway. There is a company that will CNC cut all the steel tube for many kits, and charges only slightly more than it would cost you to order it from Dillsburg (a huge steel tube supplier in the US). You've still got to weld it all together.

Problems (0, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186057)

First: Awesome project. Don't let what I'm about to say slow you down if you're interested.

I see a few problems here -- first is that in order to actually fly the plane, it has to be certified by the FAA. A manufacturer can guarantee the process made to create the first plane off the assembly line will result in about the same quality and performance for the 1,000th plane to roll off the line. "Printing" a plane opens the door for a lot of variation, not just in terms of materials and workmanship, but also that there's no way to verify that there have been changes to the design. The whole point of 3D printing is to rapidly prototype and make quick and dirty modifications to designs prior to validation of the components in its finished state.

The other is that you still need an FAA license. That means training, and that training isn't cheap. There's also a whole bunch of medical requirements, not all of which are really fair. For example, did you know taking anti-depressants could disqualify you from flying a plane? I won't even get into the requirements if you've ever been convicted of a crime -- even a trivial one. So even if you have the tools to print yourself your very own plane, it doesn't change the cost by a whole lot. The training and certification requirements can in many cases surpass the cost of the plane itself.

And then there's the problem of being able to build an airplane without the authorities knowing; It's pretty easy to create an explosive device. If it's just as easy to print a delivery system (hello plane!), then you can just add some remote controls and a camera and build yourself a plane bomb. Yes, I know it would be cheaper to build a missile, and more practical, but the authorities (cough, american law enforcement, cough) will always assume the worst. In there eyes, everything is a weapon, or components to build a weapon, and will happily and with great gusto violate every one of their own laws to catch you, the bad guy with a 3D printer, because you possess the capability to create weapons. Nevermind that you don't actually have any, or the intent to do so, the mere possibility that you could if you wanted to seems to be enough these days to get you disappeared in many countries... especially mine.

With all these problems, don't you think you're being a bit naive to think that your open source aircraft will actually get off the ground (literally)?

Re:Problems (3, Informative)

jwold (124863) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186167)

Solutions:
- Experimental-Amateur-Built
- Sport-Pilot
- EAA.org
(and your favorite search engine)

Re:Problems (4, Informative)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186203)

Nothing you listed is a problem. Of course there are requirements and costs for getting a pilots license. As for building your own, that is allowed in most countries of the free world. In the US about 1/4 of all piston powered aircraft are kits or homebuilt. You don't get to fly it until an FAA examiner goes over your paperwork (you must document the construction process to some extent), checks out your plane, and issues an airworthiness certificate so you can begin testing. You don't get a normal type certificate because it is a one-of-a-kind since building it in your garage is not a certified process. Only after the required testing period can you use the plane as normal, and you are free to use it the same as a Cessna except for commercial operations.

Should you manage to build something out of a garbage can that's under 254 pounds that carries no more than 5 gallons of fuel, meets a minimum stall speed and maximum cruize speed, you can legally fly it as an ultralight without a license in the US as well - the specs are different in other places. I do recommend some training though, and leaving design to professionals ;-)

Home building is where aviation started, and it's alive and well. [eaa.org]

Re:Problems (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186667)

Nothing you listed is a problem.

Um, yes, yes it is. You say it isn't a problem, then go on to confirm every single point I made...

As for building your own, that is allowed in most countries of the free world.

Citation needed. At least 95 to be exact, enough to cover half the countries you're claiming this for.

In the US about 1/4 of all piston powered aircraft are kits or homebuilt.

Which still require certification, even if it is only a "technical counselor" of the Experimental Aircraft Association or a "Designated Airworthiness Representative". You cannot simply print a plane out, take it to an airstrip, and yell "Yippie kai-yay!" and bolt into the air. Even the guy who decided to strap a bunch of weather balloons to a lawn chair found out the FAA takes a rather dim view of people fucking off in controlled airspace without clearance and certification.

Only after the required testing period can you use the plane as normal, and you are free to use it the same as a Cessna except for commercial operations.

Er, with a cessna, if you have a license you can take on passengers. Not paying passengers, but you can have them. A license to fly your experimental plane does not cover that. You need to get the plane certified to take passengers up in it, and a kit plane will never get that certification. The FAA has even said as much.

Should you manage to build something out of a garbage can that's under 254 pounds that carries no more than 5 gallons of fuel, meets a minimum stall speed and maximum cruize speed, you can legally fly it as an ultralight without a license in the US as well - the specs are different in other places.

Yeah, and you keep it under 100 feet and only fly it in areas that operate under VFR instead of IFR. Most of these maker labs are in densely urban areas: In other words, IFR. You'll have to drive a hundred miles in any direction from where you built it before you can fly it. And did you read the article -- he's talking about a full avionics loadout. That implies something that runs on something a bit beefier than a lawn mower engine hung out the back and playing Ride of the Valkyries on your iPod.

You don't know what you're talking about (3, Informative)

yabos (719499) | more than 2 years ago | (#41188789)

1. Experimental aircraft can take passengers. After they are built they require a proving period where the builder flies it to prove it's safe. The airplane gets a certificate of airworthiness and is legal to carry passengers after the inspector looks over the plane and the pilot meets the minimum solo hours proving it's safe to carry passengers. Have you ever actually looked at any kit planes? Do you see any with more than one seat? I certainly do, including some of the most popular kit planes in the world, Van's Aircraft http://www.vansaircraft.com/ [vansaircraft.com] . A kit plane does NOT have to be a certified airplane to be able to take passengers. They operate under the Experimental Aircraft category in the US.

2. IFR has NOTHING to do with built up and urban areas. This may surprise you but the big jets you see landing at a major international airport are often operating in VFR. VFR is visual flight rules, it means the pilot is responsible for see and avoid, as well as being required to be able to see at least x miles, which is different between countries and jurisdictions. VFR pilots can operate in controlled airspace, except class A which is 18,000 and above.

3. Ultralights are not limited to under 100 feet. Do you realize how low that really is? Yes you can not usually fly them over congested areas, but congested does not mean IFR. Ultralights may fly in controlled airspace, both class B and C, with prior permission. Ultralights typically fly out of a farm field or grass strip and generally those are in uncontrolled airspace, class G. For the type of flying one usually does with an ultralight, this is generally fine since they go slow and have a small payload. They are really for recreation anyways. I don't know why you would think anyone would WANT to fly an ultralight in IFR conditions. First of all you need expensive instruments which won't likely even fit on the instrument panel in an ultralight. Second, IFR conditions are usually cloud, rain, snow, ice, etc. and ultralights are extremely light weight(duh) and a lot are open cockpit. So what's the issue here? Ultralights fit many people's needs for recreational flying and are quite cheap to build and operate.

4. Experimental aircraft are making great strides forward compared to the FAA certified aircraft such as Cessna, etc. The engines are using half the fuel(such as the Rotax) compared to the certified aircraft engines(Lycoming, Continental). The reliability is also on par with certified aircraft engines. The same thing is happening with avionics. Kit planes are often built with full glass panel cockpits and much cheaper cost than doing it with certified avionics. They are just as reliable as the certified avionics. Having everything require certification makes the price 2-4 times as much and slows down the progress. For commercial operations, I can see the need for certification, and the piece of mind it gives people. But the EAA has shown for non commercial and personal flight, the certification does not give you much if any benefit.

Bzzt (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#41191287)

I'm just going to clarify one point:

Er, with a cessna, if you have a license you can take on passengers. Not paying passengers, but you can have them. A license to fly your experimental plane does not cover that. You need to get the plane certified to take passengers up in it, and a kit plane will never get that certification. The FAA has even said as much.

You can take paying passengers in a Cessna or other small aircraft. Sea plane tours come to mind as a practical example. They are also used for training which is another commercial use.
To take passengers for money (commercial operation) you can not use a plane certificated as experimental (home built) but you are most certainly able to take non-paying passengers. I've been such a passenger. The Young Eagles organization depends on it too.

Bottom line: kit planes are certified by the FAA as experimental, but can be used in just about any way commercially built planes can except for commercial operation.

Re:Problems (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41194077)

Er, with a cessna, if you have a license you can take on passengers. Not paying passengers, but you can have them. A license to fly your experimental plane does not cover that. You need to get the plane certified to take passengers up in it, and a kit plane will never get that certification. The FAA has even said as much.

Why, oh why, did I built a 4-seater experimental airplane, when girlintraining says I can't ever have passengers? And why does Bob Barrows keep selling plans for that six-seater Bearhawk? Maybe, girlintraining just needs more training?

Re:Problems (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187001)

Should you manage to build something out of a garbage can that's under 254 pounds [...] you can legally fly it as an ultralight without a license in the US

I assume that doesn't include the pilot?

Re:Problems (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186235)

Hopefully it wont slow them down because none of it is true, just your own personal assumptions, which are, thankfully, pretty much all false. It is different for different countries... but you mention the FAA, so I assume that you think that you're commenting on how it is in the USA... but that said...

1) anyone can make a plane if they have the skill and the knowledge, and nobody would bother them. it happens all the time, it's happening right now all over the country by aircraft enthusiasts.
2) you don't have to alert authorities about it at all, and it does NOT need to be certified by the FAA if it's under weight guidelines.
3) it's perfectly legal to fly whatever you want, whenever you want as long as you keep it under weight specifications for "ultra-light" aircraft. Seriously, if you lack the skills to build, you can go buy an ultra-light, find some dude who can fly to teach you to fly it... and fly it whenever you want, all legally, all without telling any authority or regulating body. You can actually make an ultralight that can carry a passenger and nobody will bother you.

The most hilarious part of the post is "I wont even go into the requirements" because it's pretty clear that you don't even remotely know what they are let alone well enough to "go over them". Seriously, anyone (at least in the USA) can make a plane and go fly it whenever they want as long as it meets the rules for ultralights. You don't need a license, you don't need to tell a soul and it's still perfectly legal. It's recommended that if you build a plane that you get proper training and have your plane looked over by an engineer, but that's only because people in general don't want others to hurt themselves and give a bad name to aviation. But anyone telling you that you can't do this has no clue about what they're talking about.

So bad was the ignorance of your post that you failed to bring up the most basic of sources that would inform you about ultralight aviation...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultralight_aviation

It's actually pretty cool that it's still legal for people to be able to commit and risk their own lives in the pursuit of invention and flying machines just like it was 1900. ...wikipedia, it's a pretty cool resource to check things before you say dumb things on the internet.

Re:Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186619)

it's perfectly legal to fly whatever you want, whenever you want as long as you keep it under weight specifications for "ultra-light" aircraft

BZZZZ! Ultralights aren't allowed to fly at night. You're not allowed to fly them over populated areas. I'm not sure if conditions have to be VFR, but you'd be an idiot to fly in any other condtions.

Re:Problems (-1, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186689)

it's a pretty cool resource to check things before you say dumb things on the internet.

Well, aren't you a condescending fuck. and a +5 condescending fuck at that. The slashmods must have started drinking early this week to reward such pussant behavior. First, ultralights don't require avionics. That's what the article is asking for. That implies a real aircraft, not a Mighty Puff Jr. Second, I didn't get into the regulations because this is a casual web forum for IT nerds, who probably would not want me to regurgitate 150 pages of text just so I can prove they exist, and are complicated. It's the government. It's airplanes. It's fucking complicated, okay? If it wasn't, Anonymous Coward would have his flying car by now. But he doesn't. All he has is a condescending attitude.

It's actually pretty cool that it's still legal for people to be able to commit and risk their own lives in the pursuit of invention

Yes... and it's somewhat less cool when they're risking your life as their flying contraption crashes into your house at two in the morning while you're sleeping, or makes an emergency landing during rush hour.

Re:Problems (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187021)

Wow, this is like the worst AC ever. How the hell this got modded to +5 is beyond me.

Protip: the plane under discussion is a LSA, not an ultralight.

Protip: ultralight is one word, and it's a legitimate word so you do not need to wrap it in quotes.

Protip: when the entirety of your knowledge on a subject comes from reading some Wikipedia articles (very evident from your post), you are not an expert. Don't jump in a discussion among people who actually build and fly airplanes and spout "check things before you say dumb things on the internet". You're the biggest dummy around.

Re:Problems (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187667)

2) you don't have to alert authorities about it at all, and it does NOT need to be certified by the FAA if it's under weight guidelines.
3) it's perfectly legal to fly whatever you want, whenever you want as long as you keep it under weight specifications for "ultra-light" aircraft. Seriously, if you lack the skills to build, you can go buy an ultra-light, find some dude who can fly to teach you to fly it... and fly it whenever you want, all legally, all without telling any authority or regulating body. You can actually make an ultralight that can carry a passenger and nobody will bother you.

There's a few problems with your argument. Firstly, you cannot fly whatever you want. The requirements for ultralights are basically down to cardboard-and-aluminum style construction. They must weight less than 254 lbs empty, carry less than 5 gallons of fuel, meet certain speed requirements, and obey some serious restrictions compared to regular light sport or private pilot aircraft. Furthermore, it can only carry one person when piloted without a license. If you use a tandem(two-seater) ultralight, the pilot will need at least a recreational certificate to not get bothered. Honestly, as long as you don't crash or annoy people, they are unlikely to come after you about it.

Secondly, you have some serious restrictions on *where* you are allowed to fly. You cannot fly over populated areas, you cannot fly more than a certain distance over the ocean and I believe some of the great lakes area as well, you cannot fly at night, you cannot fly IFR(instrument or non-visual flight). There is also the matter of airspace. While you are not required to have radios or transponders on ultralights, to enter class B airspace, and often class C, you need a Mode-C transponder and permission from the tower. As the airspace extends down to as low as 200' in some areas, it can be really difficult to comply and putt-putt your way out of the controlled airspace right above the tree line. The maneuvering of the ultralight flocks inbound to AirVenture in Oshkosh every year is one of my favorite sights.

Does this apply to drones? (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186307)

Saying you need FAA approval to prototype an airplane is a bit misleading. Do you need FAA approval to fly a model airplane or a drone? Because that is how you prototype an airplane on the presumably open source budget that the project will start with, unless they can get someone like Mark Shuttleworth to sponsor them.

Maybe I'm wrong about the drone part. Still I find it hard to believe that attaching a motor to some flat pieces of wood or fiberglass I'd soon get the Feds knocking on my door and not just the local cops for wrecking the neighbor's lawn.

Start small and scale up. Think first about about how you can send your doll collection up to the clouds before you start worrying about FAA approval to strap your significant other onto the cockpit of your full-size aircraft.

Re:Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186319)

These types of kit / home built aircraft fall under the 'experimental' category of aircraft which has a different set of standards / regulations.

Yes it will cost you tens of thousands of dollars, anywhere around 1000 hours of time and there are certifications you need to fly, both on the aircraft and to pilot.

In comparison to an aircraft with a type certificate, there are (sometimes significant) savings to be made with home built. Particularly if you are looking to own a helicopter.

My neighbor built his helicopter in the back yard and hired a crane to lift it over the house on to a truck when complete. It cost about $100,000, uses a 4cyl boxer engine, carries two people and scored us VIP entry into a V8 Supercar event a few years back. We just flew the thing and landed in the designated heli area, walked straight on over to the grand-stand and enjoyed the days racing. Seems if you can drop in via heli they figure you must have tickets right?

Re:Problems (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#41217113)

Actually planes and helis will get you VIP seating just about anywhere. A good friend of mine has a buddy who trades in helicopters and planes. He in fact built the helicopter for the movie "Blue Thunder" (a film from the 80s starring Roy Scheider if anyone cares.) Anyway we were working in Torrance at the time working for Epson America and he gave the entire crew a bunch of touch and goes around the PV peninsula from a pad just outside what was the 94th Aero-Squadron Cafe next to the Torrance Airport (a tiny muni strip.)

A couple weeks before they were delivering a heli to a new owner in San Diego, and he took it down on the sand to get lunch at Jack in the Box (man that would have made some kind of commercial.) They were surrounded by a crowd and let a few girls in bikinis take a couple short rides. Dave later got to drive a Lamborghini on the Autobahn at over 200 mph for nearly 2 hours. He said flying the copter with his friend was more fun, and usually ended up getting him a date for the weekend.

He also had an awesome little amphibious plane, and he and my friend Dave flew it to Catalina for lunch. They'd been working on it all morning, and decide to skip over to the island for lunch. They pulled right into the dock and walking into the restaurant covered in grease. They were moved ahead of everyone else, and and treated like VIPs. Figure anyone with the stones to fly in covered in grease must be important enough to get away with it.

So yes, flying will invariably get you the bonus VIP rating. Oh, if you're in California, and you like cow parts, Harris Ranch has a sweet little strip you can walk into the restaurant from and enjoy some of the best cow in central California. I've enjoyed this little convenience and its a sublime way to blow a few hours.

Check out the EAA (2)

cozytom (1102207) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186375)

Having built my own plane (https://sites.google.com/site/tomscozypage/) it is something ANYONE can do. Well, not anyone, especially anyone who would rather tell us all that they can't do stuff, but anyone who is willing to spend a couple years out in their garage, basement, or whatever workshop you have getting stuff done. It is not a risky venture, if you either follow the plans, or do reasonable engineering (if you know that discipline) when designing your own.

Any avocation can be expensive. Sure you can pick up fishing for like $15 for a rod and reel at Walmart, but in a couple years, after the boat and SUV purchase, you are talking about real money. Very capable airplanes can be bought (yes factory built even) for the cost of a good used car ($15K probably for a 2 seater). Learn to fly in your own airplane, with a good instructor, and you can learn for very little.

The medical requirements are minimal, and if you are willing to stay with a 2 seater aircraft and not really high performace (Light Sport Aircraft category) you only need a drivers license as your medical certificate. Even a 3rd class medical (if you want an airplane with higher performance or carrying more than 2 passengers, you need that) can be passed by anyone who is willing to get off their butt a couple times a week and move around. (if you want to fly for money, you need a 2nd class medical, and if you want to be a captain of an airliner you'll need a 1st class medical with the whole EKG and all).

The inexpensive airplanes aren't made anymore, Steve Witman designed some wonderful inexpensive fast! airplanes (tailwind as an example). Long-eze was maybe a peak of recent plans designs, by the man, Burt Rutan. Kitplanes magazine does annual issues of various kit offerings, as well a plans designs. Wicks and Aircraft Spruce are reliable suppliers.

The EAA is a little shifty supporting the home builders, but have been the most reliable for over 50 years. The EAA chapter organization is probably the best support group in the world. Use the resourcfes available, don't do it alone. There are plenty of resources available, from tech counselors to flight advisors. Yes you can fly an airplane you built yourself, or you can have someone else fly it for you.

Re:Problems (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187637)

The kit itself isn't certified as airworthy by the FAA, just the actual put-together plane. In this regard, if you want to buy a bunch of spruce and build your own plane from your own plans from scratch, you are more than able to do so. Just keep in mind, if you want that FAA dude to sign off on your plane, there is a massive bible-sized tome of regulations your plane will need to adhere to. Some of them are easy, like it has to have a minimum speed below some certain point, so you don't get a bunch of propeller-driven lawn darts flying around up there. Some are a little more specific like requirements for speed testing and weight and balance configurations.

For example, all of the little arcs and lines on an ASI are customized to the plane, so the Vne is specific to the airframe, the Vmax is specific to the engine, the Vflap is specific to the design, etc. Someone has to do that testing for a plane that nobody has ever flown before. Kits, when followed to the letter, allow you to bypass this as someone has already built a few of them and taken an average of all the critical numbers among them.

Re:Problems (1)

chaim79 (898507) | about 2 years ago | (#41190103)

As someone who is currently studying to be a pilot (22 hours of flight time so far) and who has been around all sorts of airplanes all my life, including ultralights, LSAs (as long as they have been around), classics, homebuilts, kitplanes, original designs, warbirds, etc. I'm as close as you can get to being an expert in this field without being part of the FAA.

First point, homebuilt, kitplanes, and original designs are all under the "experimental" class of aircraft, this means it can't be used for commercial flight (paying passengers or cargo for hire) but this does not restrict recreational flying with passengers or cargo. Once your plane is completed and has gone through the inspections and tests it's signed-off by the FAA and it's free to fly. Flying into controlled airspace ( B, C, D, etc) simply requires the proper equipment on board (transponders, etc), same with flying in IFR conditions (though the pilot also needs IFR rating on their license). If you think that this is a bottleneck that is used to keep the majority out, just go to the annual EAA fly-in in Oshkosh WI, every year last week of July. You'll find at a minimum 1/4 of the airplanes there are homebuilt airplanes, you will even find original designs parked here and there shined and polished and being shown-off by proud owners/builders. The restriction by the FAA is non-existent, they merely regulate and ensure the safety. Judging by the rest of the nation, the FAA is one of the few government agencies that is actually working fairly well to promote freedom and independence.

Second point, yes you need a pilots license to fly. If you want to fly an LSA you can get a sport-pilot license, which has reduced cost (at the expense of increased restriction). Yes it costs more then a drivers license, but by the same token, you driving a car without a license is no less illegal then flying an airplane (other then an ultralight) without a license. Costs for pilot licenses vary, as the majority of the cost is airplane rental and paying the instructor, right now I'm budgeting about $6k for getting my license, that's airplane rental, instructor time, renters insurance, exam costs, etc. That's a lot of money, and it's taken me a while to get that much cleared for the task, but it's not an impossible sum, nor is it an impossible goal. I could go for a sport pilot license, it requires about half the time in the air (20 hours instead of the 40 hours minimum for a pilots license) but I decided to go for the full deal.

Third point, why would you want to? You call up the FAA and tell them you are building an airplane and they'll say "ok, let us know when it's done, oh, and here are some resources to help you out.". You call up the FBI and they'll say "that's nice" and hang up. You call up Secret Service, CIA, TSA, even the IRS and they won't care.

As for the explosives angle, that's a completely different subject and doesn't have anything to do with aircraft. While the 9/11 incident was spectacular it's a fairly isolated incident, most explosives you hear about are driven there in cars or trucks. Explosives themselves can be made from a host of compounds, many of which can be procured just driving past a farm or two, or visiting a hardware store. Other then the TSA playing patty-cake with your privates there is no reason for flying and explosives to be in the same discussion.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, just come to the Oshkosh fly-in, or any local fly-in (call your local small airport to find out when the next one is happening, don't bother the big airports, they are too busy with airliners) walk around, talk to the pilots, talk to the people there, and go for a ride (there's usually at least one giving rides at the local fly-ins). You'll find great people, beautiful airplanes, and frank discussions about the realities of flying in the USA and why these people have a big grin on their faces ever time they leave the ground.

Re:Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190277)

> And then there's the problem of being able to build an airplane without the authorities knowing; It's pretty easy to create an explosive device. If it's just as easy to print a delivery system (hello plane!), then you can just add some remote controls and a camera and build yourself a plane bomb.

Or, you could build a truck without the authorities knowing .... just add some remote controls and a camera...

If... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186065)

If it's not a flying car, I'm not interested.

Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (3, Informative)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186121)

The OpenEZ was to be an "open source" version of the LongEZ. Last I checked, people were making various modifications and there was really no "official" release of plans. The problem is that many people will not build a plane and bet their life on a design that has not been built and tested "as designed" by someone else - nor should they.

Going for open source avionics is a waste of time - you can get a full 6-pack (equivalent) from Dynon for $1500 and install it as a unit.

Kits have been getting better all the time. I know many many people with different backgrounds who built and fly kits from Vans [vansaircraft.com] . There are many plans [aircraftspruce.com] and kits [velocityaircraft.com] available from other sources [murphyaircraft.com] as well - many with support forums and such. If you want a successful open source plane it will have to be easier and/or cheaper to build than anything out there and you will have to build and fly one first. Open source or "free" plans are not the issue. More time and money is spent on parts, supplies, and actually building the thing. For plans-built planes, the cost of an engine usually dwarfs the cost of tried-and-true plans.

So how is this going to be better than what you get from your local EAA [eaa.org] chapter [eaa.org]

Re:Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186391)

Yeah, I don't really see that "Closed source" is that big of an issue here. Even in the experimental world the cost of parts, engine, avionics, and most of all your own time are the dominant factors. Having an "open" plane design doesn't seem to have any real cost advantage. Additionally, the plans for the plane (the source code, if you will) are obviously open in the sense that you can look at the details all you want before you build it, so it's not as if you are now able to look at the inner workings of the plane and decide if it's safe or not. Really the only advantage is that it's designed by a wide range of people... which may not exactly be a good thing for a plane anyway.

Re:Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186415)

And tfa say you need a 3d printer and a cnc machine. So it will cost you tens of thousands to buy the machines to make it... awesome.

Re:Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (3, Interesting)

type40 (310531) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186591)

I saw Makerplane at Oshkosh. I wasn't impressed. Not because it isn't a good idea or isn't full of good intentions. It's just nothing new under the sun in WI. Their basicly reinventing the VP1 Volksplane with CNC machines. For under $100 you can get plans for a Pietenpol Aircamper, Volksplane, or Legal Eagle. Designs that have been around for 90, 40, and 20 years respectively. The cost of materials alone on those fairly basic easy to build designs will easily crest $5000.
Their not doing anything Bernie Pierenpol wouldn't have done if he had a 3D printer and CNC machine.
+1 for good intentions, 999,999 to go till you reach the high score.

Re:Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193343)

Yes, I went to their booth as well and if you had bothered to talk to them you might have found that it isn't just about the plans. I have a set of Pietponpol and volksplane plans myself. The ribs for the Piet take about four hours to build each and after waiting for them to dry in the jig, you will probably be able to do one or two ribs per day. If you want to have consistant ribs, you should only use one jig. So would you rather spend a year making frickin ribs, or would you rather push a button and get your CNC machine to cut them out? If you want to do this then fine. I don't, so love the concept that they are coming up with. Name a kit manufacturer or plans provider that gives you the electronic files to cut out your own parts. Lots of people commenting here that are stuck in the dark ages.

Re:Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41194217)

Where are you getting the CNC mill from?

I spent 6 months building and learning to use my low budget one based on EMC2 and stepper motors. That is added into my 10yr build time for my airplane. I used it to carve my propeller.

Re:Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (1)

type40 (310531) | more than 2 years ago | (#41196589)

Yeah, I did talk to them.
Printable parts, neat idea.
What else you got?

I've been going to Oshkosh for 25 years (Dad dragged the family there when I was 5). Printable parts is a step forward for homebuilders, but its just a step.

Re:Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (1)

dssq (2719999) | more than 2 years ago | (#41197187)

Really? You would say that getting really vague and badly detailed plans for a VP1 or Piet and having to build umpteen ribs and parts by hand is better than free plans and files to allow you to build on a CNC? OK. BTW, Bernie Pietponpol is dead and no-one else appears to be doing what MakerPlane is doing.... sooooooooo what is your point again?

Re:Did they learn the lessons of OpenEZ? (1)

dssq (2719999) | about 2 years ago | (#41193465)

Umm... 6-pack is the only avionics in your aircraft? Other folks probably have radios, transponders, ADS-B receivers, glass cockpits, intercoms etc. Lots of room for open source avionics there. What has the local EAA chapter got to do with it? Have you been to one lately? How many people under the age of 60 are there? How many have 3D printers or CNC machines?

Reinvent the wheel much ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186213)

There are numerous very good kit planes already available.

And many of them have been designed by people who are the very best
in the field.

If these wannabe "maker" people think they are going to improve on what
already exists, they are engaged in self-delusion.

Get back to us when you can beat the airfoil designs of John Roncz, or the airframe
designs of Burt Rutan. This will never happen.

Clueless wannabe wheel reinventing fucktards.

Re:Reinvent the wheel much ? (1)

type40 (310531) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186623)

Add Bernie Pietenpol to that list. Man had an 8th grade education and developed an air foil ideally suited to his aircraft type / flying style..... In the 1920's.

so soon? so the manuals are written? Tell me ... (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186383)

Vim or emacs?

Re:so soon? so the manuals are written? Tell me .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186403)

No manual. Any question about equipment or design will be answered with- WTF do you need that for? What? We have to fly it for you too ? F'ing noob.

Not to burst you bubble (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186459)

Having spent many years envolved in building experimental aircraft I will agree that open source could potentially solve some problems. One barrier still remains however. An inexpensive engine. Any engine manufacturer that has any plans for remaining in business very long will have to insure themselves for liability. This ends up being almost half the cost of the engine. I am not award of an open source solution for greedy stupid people and their lawyers.

Emulating Firefox and Linux... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186467)

Great role models they've chosen, Firefox and Linux. Next stories: "Google introduces MakerPlane competitor" and "This could be the year of the MakerPlane aircraft" followed by "MakerPlane overtaken by Google plane in marketshare" and "The MakerPlane aircraft is dead".

Re:Emulating Firefox and Linux... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187069)

And whatever you do, don't make the wingtips rounded and paint it white.

Important tip for home plane builders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186473)

Do not move the "fuel switch" from the front panel (where it belongs) to an awkward location behind the pilot. Because the person you sell the plane to later will have to stretch around to flip the switch, causing their foot to hit the foot pedals, and then the plane dives down and plunges into the ocean. RIP John Denver.

the problem a lot of people will have (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186491)

...will be getting their build past CAA inspection, which is mandatory before you even get to roll the aircraft onto the apron. Then you got static avionics tests, static engine tests at idle and full power, then you got taxiing tests, takeoff-circle-approach-waveoff-approach-landing and testing systems all the while, while making sure you don't wrap yourself around a building... you'll probably spend more time running tests to satisfy the inspector than you will have done building the thing (IIRC there's a minimum number of hours build time on a two seater that's something like 2500 hours; on a hot air balloon envelope it's 1,000 hours per 800,000cu.ft (that I do know having been there and worn the T-shirt) and the inspection involves a close eyeball inspection of every single inch of stitching. I shit ye not).

Kit aircraft (of any description) is more than throwing bits together and giving it a lick of paint, just bear that in mind if you get the urge to have a garage project... perhaps you'd prefer something a little less involved, like a forty foot boat? The only requirement of a boat is that it floats and is steerable. You might have a river users' licence to get but that's a piece of piss, even easier than getting a fully qualified drivers licence.

Re:the problem a lot of people will have (3, Informative)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186615)

There is no minimum hours. Your have to build %51 of the project yourself to meet the requirements fo experimental certification. If the total project is 10 hours your have to build 6 hours yourself. Even if the kit manufacture sets up a factory to do assembly in 5 hours that would take you as an individual 3000 hours. Your are correct that people under estimate the effort involved in most kits. However you as the builder are the licensed mechanic and assume the liability as such. The FAA will happily let your plow yourself into your own grave aslong as they are reasonably sure no one else will get hurt in the process. There are some basic flight test you must perform to certify your aircraft, High speed taxi - run the aircraft down the runway without taking off and see if the gear falls off an the engine maintains power. Fly the plane a brief period in ground effect to to see if it is controllable in flight. In is called opening the envelope (go read the "Right Stuff"). All in all the requirements are probably scarily minimal when it come down to it. Nad if you are smart enough to build the plane in the first place probably a process you would see as prudent. And for amazingly small amounts of money private test pilots will risk testing your aircraft. After you personally fly your aircraft within 50 or 100? miles of your base airport for 50 hours you are then allowed to be certified as experimental. Engines are the tough part. You cannot manufacture them yourself and they have to be reliable. Liability is an issue for manufacturers so they are not cheap.

Actually for boats the requirements are quite rigorous and enforced mainly because you can usually pile more people on a boat than a home built aircraft.

Re:the problem a lot of people will have (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41188851)

Engines are the tough part. You cannot manufacture them yourself and they have to be reliable

How much do those Subaru conversions cost? They seem like the sweet deal. Those motors are fantastic.

Re:the problem a lot of people will have (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41194243)

Since the CAA was shut down in the 1950's, I guess that will be an issue.

The rest of what you typed is completely misinformed nonsense.

This is not IKEA, its a Airplane! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186495)

Why are there alot of unfinished kits? Because building any kind of kit aircraft takes ALOT of time. Like divorce inducing amounts of time. Even the buying ALL of the quick build options for any major kit still leaves you with hundreds of hours of work. Plus the fact that the generally accepted rule is that the kit is only 1/3 of the total price, with avionics being 1/3 and engine/prop being 1/3.
Being a experimental means FAA certification does not come into play, but its the effort required of the builder that kills most kits/projects.
People simply have no idea of the time investment when they spend their money.

HUGE Security Resource+ - version 6000 - 8/31/12 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186517)

If builders built airplanes... (1)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186519)

There's an old saying, "If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization."

Buildings, at least, don't fly. You won't catch ME in that airplane!

Re:If builders built airplanes... (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187585)

And somehow you assume it's Open Source programmers that make this. As someone involved in the Ultimaker, which is partial OpenSource 3D printer. This 3D printer is developed not by software engineers, but by mechanical engineers. This might sound odd to you, but OpenSource (or OpenDesign) extends beyond software, and thus beyond the software profession.

similar 103 legal open source project (3, Interesting)

Mostsigbit (799407) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186523)

I'm gonna shamelessly plug my own open source project http://sourceforge.net/projects/pbfthunderbolt/?source=directory [sourceforge.net] here. I'm looking to connect with anyone that might be interested in this. It is an FAR103 legal aircraft, for the sole purpose of flying for enjoyment or pleasure, not necessarily intended to be used as a means of transportation. I really hope to put some time and effort back into this project again in the near future. I have flown this aircraft, and it did exactly as I expected; http://www.pbthrust.com/ [pbthrust.com] I've tried to drum interest from kickstarter and various open source hardware oriented cliques like The Open Source Hardware Association and OpenDesignEngine.net, but no interest from them- I'm admittedly not good at marketing...

Airlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186661)

I can't help but think of "If OS were Airlines:" http://www.webaugur.com/bazaar/53-what-if-operating-systems-were-airlines.html

Specifically, "Unix Airlines":

Each passenger brings a piece of the airplane and a box of tools to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, they build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations. All passengers believe they got there.

Let me be first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41186677)

You had to do what with the seat?!

I am building a RV-8 (1)

hax4bux (209237) | more than 2 years ago | (#41186791)

I wish this effort well, but I don't think it answers any problems. I don't believe I would be tempted. Building an airplane is just too damn much work to not be certain of the results.

There are many excellent kits to choose from. Like anything else, you have to finish the project to reap the rewards. If your main goal is to fly (and not to build) then just buy a nice used airplane. I expect to have spent over $100K (plus labor) to complete my RV8. In the current depressed market, $100K will buy a very nice used single. Note that Van's only got about $30K for the kit, the balance of that money is mostly engine and avionics.

Experimental aircraft are not treated the same as certificated aircraft. It is true the FAA does not approve experimental aircraft designs but if your kit is on "the list" then your test flight requirements are reduced. An experimental aircraft is legal to fly anywhere a certificated aircraft can be, including class "A" (which implies a IFR clearance). An experimental aircraft must be inspected and approved prior to first flight/starting test flights.

What you cannot do w/a experimental is commercial operations such as flight training, air taxi, etc.

Whoever mentioned the EAA is spot on. Actual help depends on the chapter but there does seem to be an abundance of retired people who want to take over your project.

Re:I am building a RV-8 (1)

Mostsigbit (799407) | more than 2 years ago | (#41188847)

Nor should you be tempted. An RV is a completely different type of aircraft, satisfying a different set of goals. As stated, the PBFThunderBolt's goal is simply to create plans for an aircraft that is for recreational purposes only.

Re:I am building a RV-8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41189729)

Oh look, it's a retard who doesn't understand threaded discussion systems.

PROTIP: anyone whose reply isn't under your post probably isn't talking about your project.

Re:I am building a RV-8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41197163)

Why won't anyone on this site actually go to the frickin MakerPlane website and find out what they are trying to do? Geezus, you are making statements about how fricken much work it is to build an aircraft and that there are kits..... so what problem are they trying to solve!!! They say it on their frickin home page!!! In fact they basically say that building an airplane is too hard at the moment and it costs too much. Yep, lots of projects for geezers to finish because IT IS TOO FRICKEN HARD TO BUILD A PLANE!! Why don't you just wait and see what happens. Best of luck to them. With support like this, they are going to need it.

The big peroblem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41187299)

How are we going to keep this open technology away from the Muzzies?

Re:The big peroblem (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187309)

How are we going to keep this open technology away from the Muzzies?

Realistically the Muzzies are more likely to steal a light aircraft if they need one or hijack an airliner than spend hours building an open source one.

Gyrobee, anyone? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187379)

The Gyrobee (http://taggart.glg.msu.edu/gyro/gbplans.htm) was open source long before the term became known in combination with other things than software. They are at least 10 years too late for the first open source aircraft.

Re:Gyrobee, anyone? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#41187477)

Nae king! Nae laird! Nae yurrupiean pressedent! We willna be fooled again!

You forgot "Nae Underpants".

Re:Gyrobee, anyone? (1)

Mostsigbit (799407) | more than 2 years ago | (#41188831)

Yes, there have been many. Whilst these are gliders, please don't forget the GOAT and the PIG. http://m-sandlin.info/ [m-sandlin.info]

Won't really help - plans are the easy part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41187793)

There are plenty of kit manufacturers that sell plans [only] at reasonable prices, and there even free versions of plans for popular aircraft (eg. Piper Cub) around.
Have a look at the part count on any aircraft though. It is not small.
The biggest problem of actually building a plane is cost, cost, cost, measuring and fitting, drilling holes in the correct place, drilling straight/non-ovalled holes, accurately complying with the plans (without making expensive mistakes, and having to re-make parts), and understanding the standard of workmanship that is expected (ie. how tight should bolts be, what are tolerances for grinding bushings, how much chromate primer should i spray on it ...). No open source aircraft plans will ever make this easy, although I welcome any interesting new design. Then, of course you need an engine - prefereably one that won't kill you. Modifying an engine for aircraft use is not a job for a home builder. Aircraft engines have specific cooling requirements, so you can't just slap any old installation on the front of your aircraft. Usually, even an automotive conversion is not cheap. Then you have avionics. A radio/transponder alone will cost upwards of $2000.
It is relatively simple to build a rag and tube microlight, with a small two stroke, but a small group A aircraft, is probably 400-1500 hrs work, regardless of how you design it.
I'd disagree that kit makers offer poor support. Currently, as I work on an aluminium kit plane, we have actually found the manufacturer to offer very good support, and assembling it with the stubborness of a software developer, expect to complete it in pretty resonable time [about 40% done, currently].
The completion rate for kit planes will not change, open source or not. People will still make the decision to attempt something that they do not have the perseverance or time to actually achieve. Building a plane, is like building software. There are times of frustration, times when everything seems to be going well, unexpected problems, it takes lots of time, and it costs a lot of money. Good luck if you want to try. It can be a very rewarding experience, but choose carefully.
A lot of kits now, are much easier than they once were, with match drilled holes and laser cut skins. Today, you have a much better chance of success than previous builders.

Does Not Say They Are Building The First OS Plane (1)

dssq (2719999) | about 2 years ago | (#41193237)

This post is misleading. Nowhere on the MakerPlane site does it say they are aiming for the worlds first Open Source Aircraft!!!! They don't claim that at all!! This from their site if anyone has actually bothered to read it: MakerPlane Aim “The mission of MakerPlane is to create innovative and game-changing aircraft, avionics and related systems and the transformational manufacturing processes to build them. As a result of this aim, aircraft can be built with consistent, repeatable and highly accurate processes which create safer flying at lower cost. ” Objectives The objectives of the Open Source Aircraft project are: Foster a new wave of innovation and creativity in aviation which will lower the overall cost of ownership; Provide new ways of building aircraft that the average unskilled builder can comfortably achieve success with; Create innovative, popular, safe and modern aircraft designs; Provide free and open source based files and plans for low-cost airframes; and Create accessible and affordable open source avionics systems.

The Mountain Goat (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#41217501)

Has anyone here flown or know anything about the Mountain Goat? Stall speed 26 mph, top cruising speed over 175 mph, and able to take off on flat ground in less distance than the length of a 747. That and able to carry over half a ton in cargo safely. I just want to know this isn't too good to be true. I saw a film of this thing flying over cow pastures on the Monterey Coast at about 20 feet, then floating at about 2,500 ft. as it hovered over a hilltop in a 30 mph headwind. Weirdest thing I've ever seen a plane do. Any time you can jump out of a moving plane with better than even odds of surviving, the plane is going really slow.

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