Building and Selling
Two articles in the June edition really hit home for me: “How Long Will it Take to Build” and “How to Sell Your Homebuilt Aircraft.” It took eight years to complete my RANS S-6, far longer than I had first anticipated. It took only two weeks to sell it. For me the building process was a journey to be enjoyed, not a rush to the finish line. The build process was eye-opening, gratifying, and a learning experience. When finally completed, the plane was exceptional and performed better than expected. My dream of building my own plane became a reality. Reality also dictated that I sell the plane as I was moving, and the nearest airport to my new home was over an hour away.
As noted in the article, selling the plane comes with its own challenges. There is the emotional side, which outweighs the financial side in my opinion. The negotiations to sell or buy anything can be difficult. Beware the potential buyer who is only interested in price. I had a serious but annoying caller whose only interest was my bottom-line price. During our discussion, I added $10,000 to my asking price. He was taken aback by the new price. When he asked me if I understood that he was seeking my lowest price, I explained that for me to sell him the plane I needed a premium because I did not want him to own the plane. As the builder, I had the right to refuse to sell my labor of love to someone who would not appreciate it. The next caller was the perfect candidate and became the proud new owner.
The sale took place two years ago, and the new owner could not be happier having flown 200 squawk-free hours. He sends me pictures and videos from time to time to ease my pain of having sold a part of my soul. I guess this feeling is similar to a father watching his daughter walk down the aisle. Life goes on. I will definitely build another plane, but I have not solved the problem of not having an airport. Maybe a helicopter or VTOL is in my future.
Smoke System Battery
In Vince Homer’s article [“The $250 Smoke System,” July 2019], a lithium polymer battery is used to power the system. Due to the unpredictable reputation of these batteries, I find it very concerning that anyone would use them in an aircraft. The fact that it is wrapped in fiberglass and put in a tin box does little for safety as these batteries give off a tremendous amount of smoke when they fail. The box and wrapping also prevents checking for the common “puffed cell” that sometimes precedes failure.
Given the low performance requirements of this application, there are many better and safer battery chemistries.
Yes, LiPo batteries have limitations, which some accept and others don’t. The good thing about Homer’s design is that it is modular in nature, and an individual can substitute any parts that they feel comfortable with.—Ed.
In your June 2019 editorial, “The Homestretch,” you discussed making a list of tasks near the end of the build. I have always used two lists: one for tasks and the other for parts to order. The reality of any project is that you always need to obtain a lot more stuff to finish up.