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Building a Velocity, Cozy, or similar?

Posted By:
Jonathan Lovegren
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
4
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0
#1 Posted: 7/27/2010 02:17:03

Hi folks,

I thought I'd start a thread for those who want to build, are building, or have built a canard-pusher aircraft like a Velocity, Cozy, or AeroCanard.

It would be great to build a local community of builders with similar interests, questions, and problems.  I'd like to build one myself one day and would love to hear feedback about these designs.  Some questions to comment on:

What are your thoughts on a Velocity (kit) vs. Cozy (plansbuilt)?  Please try to be objective and unbiased. 

Why did you choose the design you did?

What has been your overall build experience?  Highlights?  Issues?

Are there other competing canard configurations that I missed?  The newest I've found is the V-Raptor Orion, which will make it's debut at Oshkosh this year.

Happy flying,

Jonathan



Chad Baker
Homebuilder or Craftsman
2
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0
#2 Posted: 8/2/2010 08:39:24

Hey Johnathan,

 

Looks like I'll be your first reply here.  I'm just now about to start a Cozy MkIV.  I've about completed all the garage prep and practice work ( included in the plans to familiarize you with the glassing techniques), obtained the tools I need for now, and have all the materials to start Chapt 4.  Chapt 4 is the 1st chapt were you begin to build actual aircraft parts.

I chose the Cozy for a few reasons.  One was fact that being a plans built aircraft, you have the ability to buy it as you build so you don't have the entire outlay of cash for the kit at one time.  Nothing against kits, I just don't have the 30-40k it takes to purchase it all at one time and I wasn't willing to take out a loan.  Another was that I've simply always liked it.  I can remember seeing the Cozy for the first time many years ago and thought that if I ever did make the leap to build a homebuilt, that might be the one.  I've also always like the canard aircraft.  Despite the safety aspect and clean efficient design, it has that space age look to it that's great for taking to fly-in's.

So far I've found the plans fairly easy to understand but of course I'm just starting.  It helps greatly that there is a large mailing list of other Cozy builders ready and willing to offer you guidance and advice for those times when there is something you just don't understand.  Many of thier build logs are online so you can review what others have done before you start each chapter.

My $.02

 

 



Chad
Reiff Lorenz
Homebuilder or Craftsman
26
Posts
3
#3 Posted: 8/7/2010 12:12:20

Jonathan,

Thanks for starting this conversation! I'm not (yet) a builder, but have been doing lots of research.

I want a 4-person, high-performance, cross-country airplane; something that will go 800nm (920sm) in 4 hours at 10,000 ft with IFR reserves. (That's a trip from Ohio to Florida without stopping to fill the tanks or empty the bladder.) As a first-time builder, I wanted a proven design with lots of completed aircraft flying and a very active builders' community.

The Cozy Mk IV is the top-of-the line plans-build canard aircraft. With over 350 flying, and hundreds more under construction, there is a very active community of builders and enthusiasts. (see http://forum.canardaviation.com/ )  The Cozy is fast and very efficient, burning just 10 gal/hr at top speed. Unfortunately, the 165 kts cruise (~190 mph) didn't fit my trip profile.

The Velocity has the performance numbers, but is expensive compared to most kits and all plans-built airplanes. There is a very active builders' community at http://www.velocityxl.com/ . See the Wiki and the Reflector (combination of online forum and group email list.) The fact that there are over 500 Velocities (SE and XL combined) flying makes it the top-selling 4-place kit manufacturer. (Lancair and Glasair are tied for 2nd with around 390 each) Unlike many other kit manufacturers, Velocity has never gone bankrupt, never defaulted on a customer deposit, and never stopped providing support.

Subjectively, my wife and I like that the Velocity has doors instead of a canopy, and that it doesn't park with its nose on the ground. It is the only small airplane that you get in-to and out-of like a car; no climbing up on (or ducking under) a wing, and no dropping down into the seats from a hatch-top.

(Aside: build a plane that your family is excited about – I've heard from too many builders who never completed their project because their family got tired of the time and money that was going into it! In my case the promise of vacation weekends -- leaving Ohio after lunch on Friday and having dinner in Ft. Meyers, FL -- was a big selling point.)

AeroCanard seemed like the worst choice. Not many flying; as expensive as a Velocity SE (although you don't have to buy everything at once), doesn't hit the performance targets, not a big builder community, canopy instead of doors, and it parks with its nose down. The wrong airplane for me in all respects.

I also considered the Lancair models, but they were even more expensive and I could not find an active community of builders. It seemed like a large percentage of Lancair builders did all their construction (or had it done for them) at the factory's builder-assist center. There were surprisingly few online builders' logs. Also, Lancair is shifting its focus to their new model, the 300+kt, $500,000 Evolution. I may re-consider this if I win the lottery.   :-)

Tangentially: I'm a big fan of Vans Aircraft. They may have the easiest-to-assemble kits in the world, and that makes them the top-selling 2-place kit manufacturer - over 3,000 flying! The RV-10, though, doesn't approach 200kts and can't go 800nm with reserves; those are important numbers for me. RVs also don't have the WOW-factor that the canard aircraft do.

You asked for an objective analysis, but nobody builds an airplane to satisfy objective criteria. Each of us wants something different: easy-to-build vs one-of-a-kind, high performance vs. low/slow/fun, historical replica vs. futuristic design, IFR transportation vs. open-cockpit thrills. In the end, you have to build the airplane that you (and your family) want!

I'm not sure what the new V-Raptor will offer. I'm still weighing my options while I build a workshop.

Let me know what you decide!

 



Thomas Biggs
Homebuilder or Craftsman
1
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0
#4 Posted: 8/12/2010 01:20:08

 I too am getting ready to build and have not made my decision. I want to be able to fly fast as I can for as long as I can for a reasonable amount of work....... ah the unreasonable dream. Reality, I want to go as fast as I can from Houston to Chicago from a grass strip. I want to be able to hold 2 grown men with golf clubs or me and girl friend with her luggage. I would really like 4 people with an overnight bag each.

I really like the velocity, but can't afford the big up front cost.  The have some very good builders logs and seem to have their act together though.

The cozy has the pay as you go spreading of the cost but the 400 lb front seat limit concerns me.

Lancair and Glasair are a step up in price and performance but there is a smaller community of builders.

The RV 10 has to be considered even though not a canard.

So here are my random thoughts:

Composite does not show fatique like aluminum. I worry about unseen failure.

Composite is lighter therefore faster.

None of the kits / home built can be compared apples to apples. The RV10 is "complete" till you get into the specifics. (take a gander at this lovely list   http://www.myrv10.com/tips/options.html   ) Hard to pin down the missing items.

I have a 2 car garage that I plan on building in till I have to move to a hanger for final assembly. How far along is "final assembly" for each kit. One with 100 hours left at the hanger is better than one with 1000 hours to be done at the hanger.

I have access to a hanger on a grass strip. The price is right on this hanger usage. How well does each of the canard designs handle grass. (keep hearing that they have problems lifting off and that the wheels kick up debris into the prop.)

I keep strange hours and will be working from say midnight till 3am. It will just be me. How much does each require more than one person. AND... How much noise (riveting) will I be making at night?

 

I have no idea what I am going to do. I really would like the velocity but the up front is a deal killer for me. Cost for Lancair and Glasair kill them. That really leaves the Cozy and the RV-10.

That is my thoughts on the matter.

 



Larry Stewart
1
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0
#5 Posted: 10/28/2010 15:41:34

Hi, I just purchased a previously built Velocity.  I went for flight training at their HQ in Sebastian, FL.  I picked up the plane in Phoenix and flew it back to San Luis Obispo.  It was great to fly, but a little challenging to land.  We had a 20 knot crosswind and had to make a couple of missed approaches.  Does anyone on this forum know of someone on the west coast with experience flying these birds?  I would like to hook up with another pilot so I could build confidence for landings.

Thanks

Larry




Reiff Lorenz
Homebuilder or Craftsman
26
Posts
3
#6 Posted: 11/1/2010 11:24:12

 Larry,

Congrats on your plane. That's very exciting!

A lot of Velocity owners and builders monitor the Velocity Builders Forum (AKA the Reflector). This is probably the best place to start asking about Velocity-trained pilots in your area. You can sign up at:
http://tvbf.org/

These same conversations are mirrored at the unofficial Velocity site, where you can also find lots of other great resources for owners and builders:
     Reflector mirror
    http://www.velocityxl.com/forum  

     Velocity Wiki
     http://www.velocityxl.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page ()

     Back issues of Velocity Views, a newsletter that ceased publication a while ago
     http://www.velocityxl.com/downloads.php?do=cat&id=51 ()

Hope this helps!

By the way, I've seen a number of Velocities for sale recently. Which one did you buy? How do you like it so far?



Steve Fabiszak
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
103
Posts
32
#7 Posted: 11/1/2010 18:45:44

I think you'll be lookin' at the roots instead of the shoots before aluminum fatigue in an RV-10 becomes much of an issue.

 



Charles Tomes
Homebuilder or Craftsman
4
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#8 Posted: 12/1/2010 18:31:36

I have Cozy plans #1473. Haven't built anything yet, and I'm not a pilot.  That said, I've been reading and researching this for about ten years, and about five years ago I decided on the Cozy.

 

From what I understand, you determine what, if any, changes there are to the published operating limits when you do your flight testing.  If you want to modify that 400# front seat limit, you test it when you're flying your 40 hour test period.

 

 

The problem is CG location and total weight.  Too much too far forward and the canard won't lift off the runway soon enough, you might run out of runway before stopping unless you have bigger brakes than plans.  Too far aft (which is well documented in the POH, online forums, and CSA newsletters) and you're more at risk for a main (rear) wing deep stall, which is unrecoverable. If the canard lifts the nose (when cg is well forward of aft limit and the question is whether there's too much weight in front), you're good to go.  Fuel is burned off in front of the CG, though, so what's within the allowable range on takeoff might not be on landing depending on load and fuel burn.

 

This is why many (most?) canards end up with ballast in the nose, especially when flown light or solo.

 

Many Cozy (Cozi?) have flown with more than 400# in the front seat.  Including one I flew in that put it over 400# in the front seat.  The original designer and wife wouldn't have broken 300# in the front seat, from what I know.  Maybe if each had a 60# dog on their lap they might have broken 400#...

 

 

 

Deciding between the two (Cozy and RV-10) might come down to just a couple of questions...  How much money are you willing to spend on engines and overhauls (RV needs a 6 cylinder, Cozy a 4 cylinder) and what kind of runway is available at the airports for your intended mission?  Mission needs to be defined before performance, I think.

 

The Van's site shows ~60 completed RV-10, and htere are >3* that many Cozy, many times more than that Long-Ez, flying.



Edward Kranz
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#9 Posted: 12/16/2010 09:33:05
Charles Tomes wrote:

 

 

Deciding between the two (Cozy and RV-10) might come down to just a couple of questions...  How much money are you willing to spend on engines and overhauls (RV needs a 6 cylinder, Cozy a 4 cylinder) and what kind of runway is available at the airports for your intended mission?  Mission needs to be defined before performance, I think.

 

The Van's site shows ~60 completed RV-10, and htere are >3* that many Cozy, many times more than that Long-Ez, flying.

 

Actually, Kitplanes buyers guide shows that there are 323 flying RV-10's, and just over 1000 kits sold. RV's also have an amazing community at both vansairforce.net and the Matronics email group.


I was really taking a close look at the Velocitys for the same reasons that everyone else is... fast and very efficient. The things that moved me over to looking at the RV10 was that I do want to use grass strips (I'd just worry too much about a pusher prop taking a rock), and the Velocitys like longer runways. The RV-10 was almost as fast and efficient, is great on soft field and short field runways, and it's metal (which is just a personal preference). 



Jonathan Lovegren
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
4
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0
#10 Posted: 12/16/2010 13:21:24

Edward,

Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head regarding the primary tradeoffs between the RVs and the canards.  Everything in aerospace comes at a price, and here, with canard efficiency comes poorer runway performance. How you plan on using the aircraft really dictates which is better.

I am still impressed, however, that the Velocity can carry the same load as the RV-10, over a longer range, at slightly faster speeds, and using a much cheaper IO-360 versus the RV's IO-540!  But alas, grass runway ops would be hairy at best.