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$2000 Homemade Airplane

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00 Homemade Airplane

When I was about 12 years old, and still living in Dallas, my dad bundled me into the car one day and drove me out to Love Field to meet my great uncle, Troy, who was, at the time, touring the United States, visiting every city named “Troy,” in a light plane he built himself. I remember the way the plywood skin of the plane looked and smelled from the inside. I remember Troy showing us his “auto pilot,” which was a set of three ropes he could loop over the control stick to maintain level flight while he ate a meal. Troy finished his tour and flew back to his home in Alaska, and five years later was killed in a pile-up on a fog-shrouded highway. Troy was something of a maker legend in my family–besides the plane, he built his lakeside geodesic dome-home and all the furniture in it, including a pool table. He built a fleet of canoes–one named for each of his daughters and grand-daughters–to sail on the same lake. He even built the lake itself, or at least the dam that formed it. That afternoon at the airport was the only time I ever met him.

And although I don’t think I’d ever try to build a functional airplane myself, the experience left me with fair-sized soft spot for those who do. So I got a huge kick out of Chuck Gantzer’s page describing the building and flying of his Pietenpol AirCamper NX770CG. The AirCamper was first designed by one Bernard Pietenpol, who in 1928, with no more than an eighth-grade formal education, set out to build a “common man’s airplane” with hardware store and scavenged parts. Today his son and grandson are still selling plans.

11 thoughts on “$2000 Homemade Airplane

  1. RocketGuy says:

    I’ve done a ton of research, been to airventure and many EAA sport air building workshops (highly recommend those!), and I found that one of the most maker friendly companies is sonex aircraft.

    They’ve been doing some really interesting things lately (e-flight, the subsonex micro jet), but I’m most impressed by their dedication to provide value for their customers. You can plans build a sonex on your own or buy kits or sub-kits, or just parts from them.

    I was divided between doing a long-ez and the waiex (one of sonex aircraft’s kits), and finally decided for several reasons on the waiex.

    So I’ll be building a Waiex in a few years. The most challenging aspect of this is likely finding an appropriate building space in the bay area that doesn’t cost a fortune. My work studio isn’t quite big enough for the major assemblies, nor could I get it out of the back yard afterwards…

    1. Brent Humphreys says:

      While I am building my own project airplane. My EAA chapter has an Aircamper nearing completion.
      You can read about it here.

      It is for sale.

  2. elrodney says:

    Man, I love and admire people like this. Totally inspiring guy!

  3. Simon says:

    I was a little disappointed the link in the article wasn’t about the aircraft in the picture! The pictured one looks really nice. I found this link about it:

  4. Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed the story about your uncle, thanks.

  5. pembquist says:

    $2000 is not realistic. A piet is going to cost over 10 grand to build. The original design has a modified model A ford engine and I suspect you could drop 2000 into that without trying too hard. If you want an excellent homebuilt I would recommend anything from Vans Aircraft. The only downside is that they are designed around real airplane engines which are debilitatingly expensive. Unfortunately auto engine conversions are plagued by problems and realistically the time and experimentation that goes into one has to be taken into account when considering the ostensible cost savings they are purported to provide.

  6. Diane says:

    My brother and I use to talk about building a gyro copter. We would talk about how we would go about building it for hours. But we never did. But my brother went on to rebuild old vintage Piper Cubs and flew them until one day, he soft crashed. His vision was dimming. So he gave it up. He was so brave. He was my brother Don, and I was his sister Diane

  7. Thai Nguyen says:

    Is There No Middle Ground?tỷ lệ cá cược bóng đá anh
    The Rooney England debate has kèo cá cược bóng đá made me think (which is rare) – why do we only seem to judge a player as being either fantastic totes amaze balls, or really quite panty pants.ti le ca cuoc cup c1 Why can’t a player just be ‘quite good’. To me, Rooney gets overly criticised, his achievement for England isn’t incredible (nor is he an incredible player). Nor is his cá cược bóng đá trực tuyến qua vwin achievement ‘nothing in comparison’ to Lineker’s or Charlton’s. No, what Wazza has achieved is somewhere in the middle to upper quadrant (that sounded good in my mind).

  8. nhan says:

    Follow Rumors Closely

    The potential bettor ca cuoc ty le bong da should consult reliable sources to keep track of rumors involving possible transfers of players. There are many Internet sources available keo do truc tiep for use to keep up to date on the latest rumors of what players may wish to be transferred, what teams may be looking to transfer players, and whether possible ownership changes may lead to players being transferred to other clubs or tip free chinh xac nhat from other clubs.

  9. nhan says:

    Another one to expect in January, xem độ bóng đá trực tiế with Manchester United reportedly ready to renew their long-held interest in Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson.

    This comes from TuttoMercatoWeb v (sorry), who claim ‘the offensive of the Red Devils has already happened’ with regards to a winter move. A price of 40million euros, or around £29million, is floated around by the Italianwebsite.

    Tutto. Mercato. Web. That is all.

  10. nhan says:

    Bookies adjust Favourite & Underdog Odds to Public Expectations

    To reiterate: Falling odds for an outcome is a hướng dẫn chơi cá độ bóng đá clear indicator that this is a favourite. Warning! Dropping odds do not indicate that the statistical probability for the favourite winning the game is improving; purely the fact that the outcome is becoming more and more favoured by bettors. This is a betting fundamental, which many gamblers are totally unaware of.

    Falling odds mean bookmakers are effectively raising the price for the product! The product itself does not change in the slightest (i.e. betting on the favourite), but it becomes more expensive to buy. The bettor has to risk more money in order to win the same amount. In this case, you do not get ‘more for your money’, but considerably less!

    Let’s use a different example. A confectionery company launches a new chocolate bar, which becomes an instant success. Demand increases; the company naturally takes advantage of the situation by raising the price. You can certainly make the ti le bóng đá statement that if the price of the chocolate increases it is a ‘favourite’, but the product itself never changes – it’s still a 100g chocolate bar!

    The last word here is that since the books have to be ‘balanced’ (i.e. the payout of all three 1×2 bets combined needs to add up to around 100%), whilst the ‘prices’ for favourites are lowered to take advantage of the demand, on the opposite side, the odds for the underdogs rise.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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