Here are some of the most common questions people have asked over the years in constructing their own homebuilt aircraft from Pazmany, offered here in an interview-type format.
Question: What type of person constructs their own “homebuilt” aircraft?
Answer:There are all kinds of people in recreational flying. From every walk of life. Professional people like doctors, dentists, lawyers, businessmen, mechanics, engineers –
but also enthusiasts in a wide variety of jobs – from all parts of society, and from all over the world. America. Canada. South America. Australia, and Asia. They have all used our designs. They can read a plan, enjoy construction, and of course, (what they all have in common) they love flying.
Question: Is that why you are developing the PL-9 Stork today?
Answer: Yes, first, it’s for the pilot. To provide the amateur builders a professionally designed STOL aircraft which will please the sport pilot, the “nostalgia” pilot, and the “bush” pilot. Secondly, of course, there are very practical reasons for the Stork. It is ideal for a number of functions such as border patrol, fish spotting, highway patrol, forest fire detection, property surveillance, farm work, pollution detection, missionary work, and more. Thirdly, the welded chrome alloy steel tube fuselage,. the aluminum metal/ fabric covered wing and empenage, seem to be very popular with amateur builders, even though it’s a 50 year old technology.
Question: Was that true for the PL-2 and the PL-4A?
Answer: It really started with the PL-1. With the idea that homebuilt aircraft could be
safe and simple. It was designed that way. And improved. With the Pl-2 the cockpit was widened; better canopy, and fuselage lines were engineered; increased the wing dihedral; with the possibility of larger engines; and instead of built up-spar caps we used a special extrusion fabricated exclusively for the improved PL-2. This feature alone, eliminated 800 rivets. That was over 35 years ago. But the same standard of improvement is being applied to the PL-9 Stork today. Retaining the best parts of an outstanding WW II aircraft, but streamlining it for the builder. You’ll find that quality in our books, like Light Aircraft Design, and Landing Gear, both inspired by our engineering process. And its also in the plans for all three of the planes too.
Question: How self-explanatory are the plans?
Answer: Everything is in the plans.They’re complete from A to Z, and unlike many “sketchy” approaches we sometimes see, ours are famous for their detail. Our goal is – just follow the directions, and everything is explained so you can come out with a perfect airplane. The detail of how each part works, and works together in order, placement and assembly, is shown clearly. There are no gaps. No need for you to imagine what to do. The detail makes it possible to build it yourself.
Question: What about the books, what do they contain?
Answer: They’re unique. Almost all the photos, text, and illustrations, except in a few instances were done by the author himself, Mr. Pazmany, during the years that he developed the engineering procedures that are so valued by amateur builders. The overall principles that were appreciated in general for light aircraft were practically developed , hands- on, building the Pl-1, PL-2, and PL-4A. The books have proven themselves to be classics.
Question : Is building a plane hard?
Answer: It’s a labor of love. People do it for that reason. And other aspects – and challenges like construction, engineering, testing, and flying. Being self-sufficient. Trailering your own plane, with its foldable wings from your garage to the clear blue skies can be a real achievement. That you did it yourself! What it requires is a simple knowledge of plans. Some parts are easy. Some parts, perhaps are hard. It depends on your background and skills. If, for instance, you are experienced, it can take about 4000 hours, and if somewhat inexperienced, it can take about 5000 hours or so. Overall its probably similar to the challenges people have in rebuilding cars, or building their own home.
Question: So is there any good way to start?
Answer: Sure. Start with something simple. That you can do instantly. Like the horizontal tail. That’s something you can do in two weekends. It’s easy from the drawing, and straightforward in constuction. From this type of start you’ll gain experience, and graduate into other parts that are a bit more complex. Step by step you’ll build on your own experience.
Question: How can I tell the quality of a set of plans ahead of time.?
Answer: Track record. Experience. The performance and safety records indicate a reliability that is probably important to you in building your first plane. Our plans are famous for their detail. Completeness.They always have been based not just on problem-solving, but rather on innovations that actually improved the plane. On flight results. And wound up as changes in the plans. We think it is important to you, your time and investment.
Question: Do you provide kits?
Answer: No, but we do encourage kit fabricators. They can be an ideal solution for builders who don’t necessarily have a home shop with a drill press, lathe or other tools to make their own parts.
Question: If I buy a kit do I still need plans?
Answer: Yes. Absolutely. The plans show you how the plane is constructed, independent of the kit, and carry the designer’s original specifications – and standards – for safety and performance, that should not be compromised by any modification. The plans are a form of quality control. And they are based on over 50 years of light aircraft engineering experience.
Question: So, should I get the plans first?
Answer: Yes. Before you buy anything – buy the plans. The plans are always issued with a serial number that allows you, the builder, the legal right to build your own plane. It also identifies us as the holder of the copyright. So there is in this a mutual protection, legally, for both you the buyer and us, the seller.
Question: What about changes in the plans?
Answer: We notify all plan holders of changes with an ECN – engineering change notification, by mail, fax, or e-mail. We also refer people to the newsletters, which the PL-2 and the PL-4A have, and the PL-9 will have eventually when the number of planes built grows.
Question: Is it okay to substitute materials?
Answer: It depends. Almost everything in the plans has been designed for optimum performance, in weight, strength, durability, and working efficiency in flight. As such, with material questions,we suggest that you be careful and check into aircraft and supplier catalogs for compatible substitutes.
Question: What about materials that require molds?
Answer: There are a number of fiberglass parts in the PL-9 such as fairings and cowling, landing gear and struts, which may be available from kit manufacturers.