Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Purpose

I'm starting this blog to serve as a record for my work on a Cozy MK IV aircraft. The project should take me anywhere from 3 - 7 years, and I'm hoping for somewhere in the 5 year range.

I decided to build my own aircraft for several reasons.

First, I realized that renting aircraft has become more and more cost prohibitive.
When I started flying in '98, I could rent an aircraft for about $65 an hour, but currently it is closer to $120 an hour. That's near a %100 increase in cost over the course of 10 years. The only kind of flying I can do at that kind of cost is just enough to keep me current (which, looking at my log book - I realize I really need to go get in the air for a couple of hours soon). That isn't flying, that's just enough to to stave off ground fever (It's a lot like cabin fever, but you end up getting crazy ideas about how to get back into the air and GO somewhere instead of practicing a couple of stalls and chandelles and then doing 13 touch-and-go's like: "if I work an extra month worth of overtime, I could fly to Boston in the fall" or, "I'll build my OWN airplane and forget those FBO rentals!").

So, then one starts to look at the cost of buying and owning a new or used aircraft. A new aircraft is just out of my league, and I don't know that I'd really be happy with what I could afford even on the used market. Why blow 40 grand on an aircraft that can barely travel faster than highway speeds and is on its last legs?

I then had several conversations with people about the idea of building an aircraft, but I thought that there would be no way that I could afford or build a good aircraft. The thought however, continued to nag at my mind so I began to research the different aircraft kits and plans. Almost immediately I ran into the Cozy MK IV and was quite enamoured with it. Although I continued searching, I always kept going back to the aircraft and looking over its specs, time to build, and cost.

After deciding that if I was going to build an aircraft it would be a Cozy, I approached my wife with the idea. Expecting instant rejection or great trepidation on her part, she (once again) amazed me by saying OK. Flat out, she accepted my idea. Of course she wanted more info ("where will you build it?, "how long will it take?", "how much will it cost?... Now where will you build it?... the garage?... Can you do that?!... OK, as long as I can still park on my side of the garage") but really came around to the idea very quickly and even bought me the plans for my Christmas present!

In the bigger picture, I feel that building your own aircraft really gets back to the true spirit and passion of aviation. Law suits almost destroyed the General Aviation(GA) world back in the 80's, and I don't think that it ever really fully recovered. Clinton helped some (can't believe I wrote that!) with some reforms to product liability on aircraft, but still it has become a world in which an average working class Joe such as myself simply cannot afford to purchase a factory built aircraft unless they make some serious concessions in regards to the rest of their life. GA is dying in the US, and I truly believe that it will by the experimentals that help too keep it alive and innovative new aircraft continue to be developed. Aside from the cost and sappy spirit of aviation stuff, I think that it's going to be a blast to work on. I think at least 50% of the joy will come in the creation of the Cozy, with another 50% in the flying once done.

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