I'm doing this because I have a passion for sleek sporting aircraft. The super car of the sky look. I don’t think every airplane is amazing like a lot of the aviation guys I know. And unfortunately, while there are some sexy sleek aircraft out there in both the certified and experimental world, there simply isn’t the combination of features that I want. Reread "The Wants" page and you’ll understand.
I’m choosing experimental simply because of the freedoms allowed in this category. And I mean that in two ways. Financial freedom and regulatory freedom. I don’t have millions of dollars for certification and I don’t have ten years to spend on red tape. I want to get this thing built and into the air. After that the benefits keep on coming. Some examples are lower maintenance costs, annuals and parts cost. Experimentals are shady huh? Remember, even the certified aircraft all start out as experimental.
Carbon fiber is simply the most advanced building material that money can buy. Not only is it incredibly strong and light, it allows me to design any curved shape I can dream of and form it perfectly. I don’t want a square airplane. I don’t find them attractive and they’re not as efficient as they could be. How many aluminum, square, boxy sailplanes do you know of. Heck, how many aluminum, square supercars are there?
Is CNC the best? You bet it is. Am I using it? No. And the answer is very simple. Its expensive. I’ve been following the kitplane industry for over 20 years and you know what the number one killer of these companies is. Debt. And its the one thing I don’t have. So while Icon is out there cnc’ing every jig, part, and mold, they’re 100 million in the red and well, I’m not.
It seems like the american way. More horsepower, bigger is better right. Trucks, muscle cars and v-8 everything. And all getting 8-10mpg. If this is you, that’s fine. Enjoy buying something else. Not only is it expensive, here’s the other problem I have with big horsepower. Big horsepower means heavy engine and high fuel burn. High fuel burn means more weight and larger fuel storage. Larger fuel storage means larger, stronger air frame and again more weight. So now we need more horsepower. Its a never ending cycle that leads to a heavy aircraft that can’t fly or land slowly thereby limiting my options for safety, exploration and fun. Basically you’re flying an expensive, dangerous, brick.
I’m one man. I'm building the plane. I make the money for the progress. I film and edit the videos. I take and edit the pictures. I design and build the website. I’m working as fast as I can with the money and resources I have.
I won’t take deposits until I know I the design is sound and that I can actually produce the thing. Getting a prototype flying is only one of the challenges. Setting up an operation to efficiently produce it is another. I’m absolutely shocked when companies in the prototype phase, no flying aircraft mind you, are selling slots for airplanes that not only don’t exist but that won’t be built for 10-15 years even if everything goes perfectly. Come on guys, its real life, nothing ever goes perfectly.
Although pushers can be super sexy and may have drag reducing properties, there are a few reasons this aircraft is a tractor configuration. Having considerable experience with pusher aircraft of my own design and use, I've learned the hard way about the limitations that no one likes to talk about. First off there are tremendous heating issues that have to be resolved with pusher aircraft. Most cool well while flying at a low power setting, but struggle to stay cool during climb and run especially hot for both occupants and engine during ground operations. Second is the propeller location. Having a sleek pusher means absolutely no off airport operations. The nose wheel kicks up an unbelievable amount of gravel and debris. Coupled with the suction of the propeller, almost everything goes right through the prop. Propeller damage is inevitable with these designs, even when limited to hard surface operations. Third is the noise. Pusher aircraft suffer from disturbed air entering the propeller disk. This creates a distinct loud slapping noise, heard both in the air and on the ground.