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Lets make something fly! How to build a plane

  1. Aug 15, 2010 #1
    Okay so in my brain, I want to do something thats like BAM!! Makes people want to do it themselves instead of watching T.V want to get out and be like, if he could make that, what's stopping me from doing [random thing they've always wanted to do]. What i want to do is build a flying machine, [time inserted for you to gasp], I really want to fly and i think that all the wonderfull people here can help me do it! So yeah basically, Does anyone one know how to build some kind of plane here? While I have your attention, maybe you don't know how to make a plane, but maybe a glider? If you have any ideas on any of these two projects, i would GREATLY APPRECIATE your imput.

    P.S My budget for this project is not one cent above what I have to spend, so if you can incorporate things that can be found around junkyards, it would be awesome! Thanks! :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2010 #2
    Parachute is the cheapest way to stay aloft.

    I have/had some RC planes that can fly at 80MPH, have enough thrust to climb vertically, and pull 12-g turns. You ain't in them but you're still flying it.
  4. Aug 16, 2010 #3
    What scale are you talking about? Why don't you find a local club?
  5. Aug 16, 2010 #4
    Aluminium tube, tig welder, sails. Then you've got yourself a Hang Glider.

    Would be cheaper to just buy a second hand one though.
  6. Aug 16, 2010 #5
    Case Ace, I hear you! I have to caution you, though - flying is both inherently dangerous, and terribly unforgiving. Often death or being maimed are the result of not getting it right.

    I love to fly, and have several thousand hours in jets, turboprops, and props, both military and civilian. I even have a couple of hours in a helo, some hang gliders, and a parasail. I began with R/C models in high school, because your basic R/C model, engine, and radio will run you less than your typical Saturday afternoon flight with an instructor in a real plane.

    There are practical considerations, as well, primarily involving the FAA.

    No one's going to stop you from running down a hill with a hang glider or parasail, but unless you learn how to do it right, you'll probably wind up hurting yourself. That's just the nature of the game.

    If you'd prefer to build a glider, no one will give you a tow unless you can present to them your FAA pilot's license. And if you'd rather build a powered aircraft and decide to go flying without training, you'll soon wind up behind bars for a long time.

    So, regardless of which route you take, proper training is a must, as are any certifications coming out of that training, but it's not particularly cheap.

    I hope you found the above grounding, rather than discouraging, as I can tell you've caught the bug!

    If you're in college, consider taking some ground classes. They count towards your ticket. If you're still in high school, ace the grades and apply to the US Air Force Academy. They always need pilots.

    If you just want to "get in the air," go to a local flying club and take your first instruction ride.

    I earned my private pilots license and instrument ratings very cheaply and in record time, but only after I very thoroughly researched exactly what I needed to accomplish. I studied ahead of time, made dang sure I knew what I needed to know, forwards and backwards, laid out a detailed plan of precisely what I was going to accomplish on each flight, and stuck to the plan.

    Here's what I recommend for you:

    1. Go to your local aero club and purchase a FAR/AIM. ASA is the publisher.

    2. Look in the first couple of pages, and find the Suggested Study List.

    3. Read each and ever FAR and AIM required for Recreational/Private, and keep a log of what you've read.

    4. Take an intro flight with a CFII at your local field, but take your FAR/AIM with you and show him what you've read. That'll let him know you're serious. But just take the intro flight, for if you're motivated, you can do the ground school on your own:

    5. Go purchase the Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA 8083-3A) and Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA 8083-25A). http://sportys.com/pilotshop/product/13299"for less than $40.

    6. Buy the latest copy of MS Flight Simulator or X-Planes and install it on your computer. I'd recommend the latter.

    7. Disable the fancy graphics for now, as what you'll want to see is the runway and basic terrain. Disable all the "real world" stuff like turbulence and engine failures, as you'll be learning how to fly at this point, and that'll throw you off.

    8. Work through the two FAA books in step 5, keeping a log of what you worked through (initialing and dating each section in the table of contents is good), practicing the maneuvers in your computer flight sim. Don't get sidetracked! The key is to practice the maneuvers, not buzz your neighborhood...

    9. By now you should know enough to take the FAA written exam. Go back to the instructor and request the exam. Show him the documentation of what you've read and ask him to schedule you for a test about two weeks from that day.

    10. Next, go back and study the FAR/AIMs, which means memorizing them!

    11. Take the test and ace it.

    12. Go back to your instructor and say "Here're the test results - when can we go fly?"

    13. Get ready to start shelling out the real money, as even your basic plane+instructor will run you more than $100 an hour, and you'll need 40 hours worth.

    Don't think I'm blowing you off, Ace, as I'm not. That's simply how its done so that you don't wind up in jail, killing yourself, or killing others.

    And if the instructor things you need some stick time before you take the tests, go with his advice. Most people who start flight training never finish because while they enjoy flying, they never hit the books very hard. If you do that first, and get it out of the way, you'll pay a LOT less for flight instruction, will solo sooner, and will get your ticket sooner.

    Doing it ^ this ^ way took me 3 weeks to earn a private pilot's license, and another 3 weeks to earn my instrument rating. The FAA examiner was a hard-nosed former military and corporate pilot who told up front, "no way - it can't be done."

    He passed me on both check rides with flying colors, so yes, it can be done, but only if you have the determination and the funds lined up to do it.

    Realistically, I HAD to get it done that quick as I was moving overseas and I had a deadline. If you're serious about it, expect to take about three months for each rating. I know most people don't get their instrument rating, but if you can afford it, I'd recommend it, as it'll help hone your flying skills while making you a safer pilot.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
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