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UL/LSA for Cross-US Flying?

Posted By:
Steven Caruso
2
Posts
0
#1 Posted: 7/11/2011 13:56:56

Hi all, new member here..

For a long time now, it's been my dream to build and fly an aircraft across the united states. I have never built a kit before and I was wondering if anyone could provide suggestions for a good first-time builder that would be a wise choice for such a long stretch. I originally wanted to use a motor-glider for this purpose but at $60k base, the price tag for the ones I have seen is too steep. While not a requirement, i'd like the aircraft to be 2-place tandem dual flight control with an enclosed cockpit, some cargo space and as optimal range and glide characteristics as I can manage.

My current thinking leads me to the Quad City Challenger as a first choice, and its been recommended to me as a new builder, but i'm wondering if there are any better options? I like the Challenger's design and prolific status in the U.S. which would lead me to think that If I needed any parts or support along the way I could get it.

I also looked at a Minimax Eros, but I honestly don't know much about them at all, ive never seen one or flown one.

If anyone can give me some good advice for this ambitious venture, please dont hesitate.

 



Dick Anderson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
74
Posts
14
#2 Posted: 7/12/2011 20:22:07

Hi Steven.

      Welcome aboard. I had a V-max, a minimax with an 1835 cc Volkswagen engine. While it was a neat, fun aircraft, it was a single-seater and didn't have much baggage space at all. Also, it was a taildragger, and even for this old Luscombe pilot added a little extra excitement to each landing- especially on concrete with a crosswind... I sold it and am currently rebuilding a 1996 Challenger ll long wing. The clipped wing model would probably suit your mission better as it is faster and penetrates turbulence better. If you go to www.challenger.ca you will find several stories about XC flights by Challengers and lots of info about their newest models. If your budget is really tight- like mine- you can find used aircraft to buy that are cheaper than a new kit. Just be aware that rebuilding may (will) take more time than building new. And might even end up costing nearly as much as new. I would definitely recommend that before you buy, sit in each aircraft you might be interested in, fly it to see how it handles and talk to owners. Fortunately, there is this event coming up in a couple of weeks called AirVenture  where you could check out most of the aircraft that would handle your trip. There are many great aircraft out there that will fulfill your requirements. Just take your time to decide which one most satisfies your desires. Good luck and have fun.



Dick Anderson
Jim Heffelfinger
Homebuilder or Craftsman
256
Posts
43
#3 Posted: 7/14/2011 18:30:19 Modified: 7/14/2011 18:32:50

A few thoughts from one view:  The Challenger II is a fine aircraft  - I have 50+ hours in  type.  It is not a good back seat plane.  It's incredibly noisy and with the doors off it's really breezy.   Don't slip one without telling the back seat what you are doing - the cross wind will take off hats - and we know where they end up !!!  With the doors on the back the directional control ( yaw) is quite compromised and there are a number of fixes for this.  The tail moment is pretty short. 

That said - a 2 place plane is not an ultralight and must be registered as ELSA or EAB.  

Some will add their view on 2 cycle engines.  Once set up they run just fine.  

here is a great video - this guy has crossed the US an  number of times in this plane and has racked up an incredible milage.  Note he is totally out in the open here.  Although not officially a UL it has the same flight characteristics  of the single seat. 

You might do a little math -  figure 60 mph over 6 hours ( need to stop and fuel/eat and pee) per day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5EpKHcYvuQ

Turn up the sound = sit back and embrace the joy.     Please read the comments on the youtube comment section.  

I usually have a big lump in my throat when I watch this. 



Dave Roebke
Warbirds of America MemberAirVenture Volunteer
2
Posts
0
#4 Posted: 7/14/2011 23:09:55

Hi Joe and New Member,

I have 10 hours duel time in a Quick Sport II and soloed in a Quicksilver Sprint.  The thrill of open air flying is something I love.  Seeing the pilot's feet in the photo brought back a memory of when I took a picture from my Sprint and got my left foot in the photo.  I was wondering what he put in the right seat to compensate for the weight, unless there was enough weight over the seat to allow it to fly. People who flew a Sport II from my field used to strap a hundred pound bag of concrete in the right seat.  Winter flying is s real challenge.  Up there above 8k it gets cold in the breeze.  I got a flight suit and wore winter boots that fit completely over the heel-stops on the rudder pedals.  Two hundred sixty-five hours and three ultralight types later, I still love the open air.  Take care and safe flying!
biggrin

The Challenger is a good plane, but the back seat is cramped.  You can get enclosures for the two and one seater.

 

Sincerely,

Dave Roebke  EAA #599985

EAA Warbirds Squadron 6

Information Officer

USUA #71757



Ultraflyer
Steven Caruso
2
Posts
0
#5 Posted: 7/16/2011 16:50:02

Thanks for the replies everyone,

As I'm currently in Afghanistan i'll be unable to make this year's AirVenture.. but im planning on making it next year, even if by that time I do not have my own aircraft to fly in with. I dont have much open-air flying experience so I'll definitely have to give that more thought before I settle in my desire to have an enclosed cockpit for the journey. Sounds like a careful weighing of the experience vs being exposed to the elements. The second seat is also pretty flexible and might get dropped due to budget concerns (although I'd like to be able to offer rides wherever I land). Ive been seeing that I might be able to acquire a used Challenger II for $8-$12k USD so in spite of some of the short-comings people have mentioned I think that may be my best bet. When I return to civilization and get my finances sorted out I think I might decide on just spending the additional money to buy a brand new kit so I can say I built it myself, thats definitely one challenge that I want to undertake.

 

Thanks everyone,

Steven



Dick Anderson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
74
Posts
14
#6 Posted: 7/16/2011 18:21:40

Steven.

    First, thank you for your service and good luck. Let us know when you get back, as I'm sure we can get you some open air experience. It's all fun- just some experiences are more fun than others!!!




Dick Anderson
James R Thomas
Homebuilder or Craftsman
48
Posts
10
#7 Posted: 7/16/2011 20:10:08

Have you considered a CGS Hawk? The layout and performance is very similar to the Challenger but it doesn't have the handeling quirks that the Challenger has. It's a solid, well proven airplane. I owned one for 15 years and just sold it a few weeks ago. It was covered with Stits and had Lexan doors and a 503 Rotax and flew every bit as good as it looked. The new owner is every bit as pleased as I was with it. Go fly a Challenger then go fly a Hawk. Every pilot I know that has flown both preferred the flying qualitys of the Hawk. There's certainly nothing wrong with the Challenger so I'm not trashing it but the Hawk is well worth consideration. You can't go wrong with either. You may have noticed that I miss mine already. Good luck with which ever you choose. James Thomas