|Frequently Asked Questions
(Things I get asked about at airshows)
|Below are some of the typlical questions people ask about my plane when it is on static display at air shows. The asnwers are mostly true but laced with a bit of humor. These questions are some you might have asked.
This page was updated 07-12-08
1. When are you going to finish it? It IS finished. It just LOOKS unfinished but that is how it should look. Actually, I covered some of the fuselage parts that usually don't get covered: aft cockpit, and cowl area.
2. How much did it cost to build your plane? $5,600.00 is what I spent on materials to get it to the way it is now. This does not include the $1,700.00 for the parachute.
3. Why do you have a rear view mirror? It's a confidence builder. I like to look in the mirror to check and see if those parts that are supposed to be following me still are. I also check to see if anything has fallen off
4. How long did it take you to build it? 650 hours over 16 months (three months of this time building was inactive). It was a fun building project, I enjoyed it so much I really didn't want the building part to end.
5. Why did it take so long, there isn't much to it? This is a scratch-built plane, not a kit. About half of the time was spent scrounging for material. I even cut my own construction sticks from 2 X 6 X 16' Douglas Fir lumber. If I had more time I would have planted tree seeds instead.
5a. Why do you call it "scratch built"? Because when building it I spent a lot of time looking at the blueprints and scratching my head trying to figure them out.
6. Where do you put your feet? They go on those little pedals outside the fuselage up by the firewall. Put them on the ground if you want dual emergency brakes. Put down one foot to turn sharply when taxiing.
7. How heavy is it? Is this an ultralight airplane? It weighs 362# dry including the 20# parachute. It is a FAA registered and N-numbered airplane, not an ultralight. I built it that way by intent.
8. How fast does it go? Cruises between 55 & 60 MPH Indicated Air Speed, and will go 80 MPH (no wind, full power) other speeds vary according to wind speed; I have hit 108 MPH and 36 MPH ground speed with tail and headwinds. If I was in a hurry I would drive my car.
9. How far can you go without stopping? Usually my bladder dictates flying duration, however two hours is my typical range which is about 110 miles. Fuel burn is 4.2 gallons per hour. On long flights, I estimate 4.5 gph for planning purposes.
10. Is this plane good only for local flights?
This ain't no hangar queen! I have made two flights of 1500 miles round trip (Oshkosh). Often I make flights of 200 miles round trip, I make a lot of trips of 50 miles. Most of the time I fly within 25 miles of home.
11. How many hours do you have on your Airbike?
703 on the airframe and 400+ on my replacement Rotax 503 engine (bought it used), this translates into about 39,000 miles on the airframe in 10 years. The critical factor here is having a good seat cushion because there certainly isn't much padding in my tusch! Many thanks to Marty Fisher, my upholsterer.
12. Those wheels look like they belonged to a wheel barrow, why is that?
Well, that's because that's where they came from. Do you know anyone who wants to buy two good wheelbarrows without wheels?
13. Do you have brakes? Yes. A single brake lever mounted on the stick pulls a cable which operates both expanding drum type wheel brakes simultaneously. The brakes cannot be operated independently.
14. How do you keep warm in the winter? I don't. The warmest I will ever be is when I get out of my truck to go to thehangar.. The colder the weather the shorter my flights. My plane has a "biological Stick Shaker" that signals me to land when I get cold, my body shakes so badly from the cold that I have to land..
15. Why do you wear a helmet? It makes it easier to scrape the bugs off ---the back of my head.
16. How do you keep dry when it rains? Generally I don't fly in the rain because I am only equipped for VFR. However, I do wear a "Dry Rider" motorcycle suit which acts as a wind barrier as well as a rainsuit.
17. Do you need a pilot's license to fly your Airbike? Yes, my plane is registered as EXPERIMENTAL and a pilot's license is required to fly it. However, one could build it as an ultralight then a license is not needed.
18. What would you have to do make it an ultralight? I exceeded three rules that otherwise would have made my plane an ultralight, they are: 1) maximum weight of 254#, maximum speed of 60 mph, and maximum fuel capacity of 5 gallons. My plane weighs 342#, will go 80 mph and carries 12.5 gallons of fuel.
19. What type of fuel do you burn? Mostly auto gas from any service station. However, I can also burn 100 LL aviation gas. My wife says everything I eat turns to gas, that's why she gives me Beano at each meal.
20. Your plane seems to generate a lot of interest doesn't it? Yes it certainly does, I think it is because it looks neat, isn't intimidating, is low-budget and looks easy to build. Plus I enjoy talking to people about it and their interests in aviation. Thanks for asking, I enjoyed talking with you!