Even before I started this blog, I have had it in my mind to construct my own aeroplane much the same way the Wright Brothers or Henry Farman did – except I would have the benefit of 100 years of hindsight.
Being a bit of a slacker though, could I trust myself to actual fly my self-made creation? Well… maybe now I don’t have to quite build my own airplane from scratch… because now for about $15,000, I can get some real help in ensuring I don’t kill myself when I hit the ignition switch.
Founded by the Ottawa-based MakerPlane, John Nicol is the former Lockheed Martin principal engineer, and is offering his self-stylized open-source aviation organization to offer up personal manufacturing equipment and cheap electronics in an effort to develop a safe and reasonably-priced single-prop, two-seater sport plane – a plane he hopes will only cost about $15,000.
Manufacturing equipment? Yes… things like 3D printers or CNC mills.
Cheap electronics? Sure, how about Arduino and Raspberry Pi controllers.
Eventually, Nichol says the goal to to offer the schematics, bill of materials, assembly instructions and open source avionics software available for free.
All a builder would need is to buy their own engine, composite build materials, other electronics… from wherever you wan to buy them from.
So… with all else free… the cost to you, the builder, is a meager $15,000.
Right now, MakerPlane 1.0 comes under the Experimental Light Sport Aircraft category, so each home-built aircraft would need to be inspected – and passed – by the FAA, before you could fly… just in case your building skills do not match your awesome flying skills.
Under the same category, if you did want to fly your home-made aircraft, you would still need to have at least a sport pilot license.
The plan is to have a flight-worthy prototype ready for the 2015 AirVenture Oshkosh show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to be held July 20-26, 2015 – and then to offer final building instructions et al soon enough.
For more information on the group, check them out at www.makerplane.org.