Lately I have become enamored of the idea of a simple little aircraft designed around the 14hp Radne Raket 120 Aero RD-ES engine. This engine is quite popular with paramators, toecutter powered hang gliders and nanolight trikes. See the manufacturers web page or download a brochure with performance curves and dimensions (2.3MB .pdf file) for more info and specs. The good news is that the engine complete with starter, redrive and basic exhaust is available from the factory for less than $1,100. Even with a prop, battery and optional tuned exhaust, the total powerplant runs less that $2,000.
I would like to adapt this engine to an existing airframe or design a custom airframe to suit. I know that the latter is an ambitious undertaking, but I have been around light aviation for many years and have a good general idea of what that would entail. I am not in any hurry and I'd like to keep the cost down, ideally shooting for around $5,000 in materials and equipment, as an exercise in low-cost flying.
I already have some clear ideas on how I might tackle this, which I will share later, but first I'd like to hear ideas and suggestions from the members here. A few basic criteria:
1. Payload (pilot & fuel) of 250 lb
2. Performance within European microlight limits (40 mph stall, 660 lb gross weight) and preferably closer to U.S. Part 103 ultralight limits (27 mph stall, 254 empty weight). Full compliance with Part 103 is not required.
3. Fixed wing design (not Rogallo wing trike or powered hang glider)
4. Two- or three-axis controls
5. Not foot-launched and with some crash protection for the pilot
6. Suitable for building in a small workshop (single car garage or less)
7. Easily assembled/disassembled (less that 30 minutes) for transportation on or in a small trailer
8. As the Raket is already set up as fan-cooled pusher, the engine should remain in that orientation
I have deliberately not specified any configuration, construction method, etc. as I want this to be a brainstorming session. Like I said, I have some ideas that I will share later, but I want to hear yours first. Word concepts are great, sketches are better and pics and references of actual aircraft to use as inspiration are best.
What do you say?