Open-source airplane could cost just $15,000
July 29th, 2013
02:31 PM ET

Open-source airplane could cost just $15,000

By Jason Paur, Wired

There’s an open-source airplane being developed in Canada, and now its designers are looking to double down on the digital trends, turning to crowdsourced funding to finish the project.

The goal of Maker Plane is to develop a small, two-seat airplane that qualifies as a light sport aircraft and is affordable, safe, and easy to fly. But unlike other home-built aircraft, where companies or individuals charge for their plans or kits, Maker Plane will give its design away for free.

The group behind the project consists of pilots and engineers who are designing the airplane, allowing it to be built using the kind of personal manufacturing equipment somebody in the maker community might already have at home or can easily purchase. The idea of a home-built airplane is nothing new. It dates back to the earliest days of flight, after Orville and Wilbur made and flew their own airplanes (and engine), the homemade plane movement — literally — took off.

Today, the home-built movement continues, and this week tens of thousands of pilots and fans of home-built airplanes are descending on the annual Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

This cross-section shows the wing's design.

In the spirit of the open source and maker movements, the Maker Plane group is including components from many designers and builders outside their circle. As they focus on the design of the airplane (fuselage, wings, etc.), the Maker Plane team helps connect those interested in building their own with other open source components such as an air data computer and radios. They even show you where you can get plans to build your own traffic and collision avoidance system.

The structural parts of the airplane, including the fuselage, will be built from composites. There are many home-built composite airplanes already taking to the skies, so the techniques are well proven. Smaller pieces such as knobs and handles will be made using 3-D printing. And after a year and a half of design, the Maker Plane team has started to build the first prototype. That’s why they’re turning tocrowdsourced funding to help the project along.

The basic specifications of the airplane follow the guidelines of the light sport aircraft regulations. The aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration created the LSA category to encourage more people to fly. The airplanes are limited to two seats, a maximum weight of 1,320 pounds, and a top speed of 120 knots (138 mph).

Maker Plane says they expect their design will fall within these requirements and have a range of 400 miles. More ambitious: They hope the cost to build the airplane will be under $15,000, including the engine.

The aviation world is filled with optimistic ideas that don’t always get off the ground, but the Maker Plane is the first attempt at sourcing the entire airplane from the open-source community, which should help keep costs down, assuming you have the skills to build the various components. And if they succeed, Maker Plane hopes to fly the first prototype in 2015.

See the original article at Wired.com.


Filed under: Innovation • Science • Tech
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. In home Personal Training Long Island

    I love Kickstarter. It's the best crowd sourced funding site to help you to finish your project. I would buy one if the range is 400
    miles and under $15,000. I would love to fly around

    December 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  2. sdfgsgdfgsdghjfgh

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    August 25, 2013 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • thefreakingenius

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      September 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  3. sdfgsgdfgsdghjfgh

    HUMAN RACE ORGS CHOOSE POLITICS HAVE NO POLITICAL STATISTICS THAT ACCEPTANCE OR OTHER PLANIFICACIONES.

    CAHOTIC SITUATION IN VENEZUELA.
    CAHOTIC SITUATION IN VENEZUELA.
    CAHOTIC SITUATION IN VENEZUELA.
    CAHOTIC SITUATION IN VENEZUELA.
    CAHOTIC SITUATION IN VENEZUELA.
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    FISIC EVENTS AND ESTADISTIC STUDIES.

    DO YOU BELIVE WITH A FARADAY CAGE AN AGENCY CON IRRADIATE YOU.

    ELECTION MANIPULATION IN VENEZUELA WITH NANO TECNOLOGY.
    AFTER THE CRIMES THAT HAVE DONE DIFFERENT ENGLISH IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES WORKING NOW HAVE TO MI6 satelitely IN VENEZUELA.
    ORGANIZATIONS STUDY OF THE HUMAN RACE CHOOSE HAVE NO POLITICAL STATISTICS THAT ACCEPTANCE OF PEOPLE OR OTHER PLANIFICACIONES.
    WE HAVE DONE SEVERAL TIMES BUT CRIMINAL ACTIVITY REPORTING AGENCIES ARE ALLOWING THEM CONNECTED VENEZUELAN.

    FOR DEVELOPMENTS IN THE AREA OF AERO DYNAMICS AND TECHNOLOGIES IN JETS.

    MANY OF ENGINEERS IN VENEZUELA HAVE DIFFERENT ELEVATIONS TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS.
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/

    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/
    http://pgiorg.blog.com/

    REMEMBER INMAGINIERING ITS NOT MENTAL NORMAL STRUCTURE.

    SO MANY HAVE IT.

    AC360 GENOCIDE PROJECT.

    THERE ARE A LOT OF HUMAN RACE ORGANIZATIONS IN LATIN AMERICA, LIKE BLUE BEAN BUT PRESIDENTS KIRSHNER, RUSEF, CHAVEZ, MADURO, SANTOS, ENGLAND PRINCE, GERMANY, SPAIN, SWITZERLAND, ARE SELLING THE BEST HUMANS TO PROSSES GENETICAL INFORMATION.

    WHY I SAY THESE.

    BE CAUSE THE PERFECTIBLE MODEL BANK.

    They are hammer our organs and hipotalamus when publish.
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    August 25, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
  4. efghrert213

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    August 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    August 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  5. Wuffo

    How to make a million dollars in aviation: start with ten million...

    August 2, 2013 at 4:12 am | Reply
    • Orgetorix

      You're not too far away from reality...

      August 2, 2013 at 5:56 am | Reply
  6. USAFflyboy207

    I fly small Cessnas and Gliders, my step dad sent this page to me I'm thinking to myself im going to have to get myself one of these! This looks like a great aircraft. Great design and looks like a fun sporty style aircraft with a price I'm happy with. My next toy!!

    August 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  7. legendale

    Can't help but wonder if the worlds first 'open source 3D printed plane' will lead to the worlds first 3D printed coffin.

    August 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  8. Homebuilder

    Always a funny article to see a "Tech" Journalist write about aviation.

    Best quote (Paraphrased): "It will be cheaper because the design/plans are free". I have about $65,000 US in the homebuilt airplane I'm flying today. Plans were $450 of that. Not going to be a big savings component.

    Second best quotes are around total cost. If these guys can produce a reliable engine for Light Sport Aircraft for 1/2 of their total quoted cost, they will be the darlings of the aviation community. Forget the airplane design... just tell us about that engine!

    And, as with almost all "Journalism" these days, the article just consists of re-printing the press release. No questions, no challenges, no analysts, no call from Mr. Paur at Wired to an aviation specialist?

    August 1, 2013 at 10:05 am | Reply
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    August 1, 2013 at 9:12 am | Reply
    • That Guy

      Talk about open-source.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  10. septacraft

    I would never fly a light aircraft because it is risky: low HP means higher stall speeds. Wing structure also needs change – this is still the old design. Also, there needs to be a mandatory anti-gravity protection feature.

    August 1, 2013 at 7:52 am | Reply
    • Ancient Mariner

      Horsepower is no factor in stall speed. Stall speed is determined by Angle of Attack, airfoil design, and airflow across the wing. If horsepower determined stall speed, how would unpowered gliders be able to fly?

      August 1, 2013 at 9:06 am | Reply
      • John

        Don't confuse him with facts – he's on a roll.....

        August 1, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  11. rosie

    Oh yeah a plane for everyman. Wheee. I can see NO problem with this.

    July 31, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Reply
    • Freddo

      You still need a license, and getting a pilot's license is not a cake-walk like getting a driver's license.

      So, while anyone may be able to build one of these, they won't be able to fly them. But, if you know anything about building your own plane, you know that it takes an insane amount of time to build a plane from scratch. Most who start a project never complete it.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:27 am | Reply
      • JoeP

        I agree with Freddo.My brother built a "Starduster" and it took years and buckets of money.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  12. Kevin

    I'd love to know what they plan for an engine. A Rotax would set you back about 15k alone, depending on size. Certainly they can't be suggesting auto conversions. Even that would set you back 5-10k

    July 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • Freddo

      The basic version is called the "Fred Flintstone" – pedal as fast as you can.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:29 am | Reply
  13. real rob lawson

    Well, it looks a lot like a piper cub with winglets?., this is a very basic design, well proven and should be good for home builders etc,..I do question the 15,000$, though,..I would think maybe twice that would be more realistic, and that is well in the "ready to build" kit category,..personally? I would rather build an Helo, not as fast, but far more usefull, and very easy to "park" ahem? LOL,..Robinson,s r-22 or even the -44 would be my choice,..how about an open source Helo, anyone?..technically they are very basic, and one who has the basic skills can build one, it is mostly a matter of time and finding the right engine,..All the druggies around here use Robinsons, so that must say "something" about their craft?..ha ha ha,, hey, we take the data where we finds it, no?? LOL,..

    July 31, 2013 at 9:36 am | Reply
    • Lynda

      At $15000 including the engine, I question what type of engine they have in mind..A gerbil in a wheel and a rubber band?

      July 31, 2013 at 10:52 am | Reply
      • Engineer

        It's all about horsepower, physics can do the rest... All you'd need is a small 4 cylinder engine the same as a small car.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
      • Brett

        Engineer .... actually, no it isn't all about horsepower, because in light sport aircraft you are limited to 100hp. WEIGHT for the engine is going to be critical ... not just any auto 4 banger will do at all ... too much HP, WAY too heavy, and rev way way too fast for a prop.

        July 31, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
      • Charlie

        @Brett, engine limited to 100hp? Since when? Not in the U.S. http://www.sportpilot.org/questions/afmviewfaq.asp?faqid=1714

        August 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Fake Rob Lawson

      Looks like a Piper Cub? Yeah, accept for the side by side seating, tricycle gear, empennage, vertical stabilizer, engine, metal prop, etc.
      Did you mean a Cessna? Maybe a 162 Skycatcher?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  14. are122

    I'd rather have a Jetman system. I wonder if you need a pilot's license to fly using yourself as the vehicle.

    July 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  15. Brant

    I built an airplane just like it. It's not just the cost of the airplane, The engine, instruments, ballistic chute, and electronics can cost quite a bit more than the airplane kit itself. Figure $30k+ for a $15 airplane kit that meets LSA.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  16. trydashfecta

    Reblogged this on Trydashfecta.

    July 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  17. us_1776

    I'll wait until the 1st 10 fatal crashes and fixes before I would get into one of these things.

    .

    July 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Reply
    • we_2013

      Wuss.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
      • rosie

        wuss yes, but a smart wuss.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Freddo

      Each plane will be different, since they're not built assembled by trained workers in a factory.

      Just ask John Denver about the dangers of homebullt aircraft... oh wait, you can't. He died in one he bought from someone.

      He was taken down by a hacked installation of a fuel shutoff valve ... couldn't reach it.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:32 am | Reply
  18. ed rooney

    If it flies, floats or fox ;-), RENT IT.

    July 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • harharhar

      Will you be my financial adviser?

      July 31, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  19. thefreakingenius

    Attention to the designers. I strongly suggest that in view of the intended pilots that you consider a canard wing configuration so that should they ever stall the plane they don't end up as grease spots on the ground. email me if you don't understand,,,,

    July 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • Dr.Wilbur

      Dufus!

      July 30, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  20. Marine57

    I would never spend 5 or 10 years of my spare time building my own airplane. Why?
    I would prefer to take that same 5,000 hours to actually pilot an aircraft and add those hours of experience to my log book. This is wisdom.
    Many, with only 1,000 hours of flight experience, spend that 5,000 hours building their plane and then crash and die for lack of piloting experience trying to fly their home-built. This is foolishness.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • ed rooney

      Funniest and most pathetic thing I ever saw was my derpy neighbor nearly crashing his new single-seat homebuilt on his first flight.

      He had to pay a guy to come help him build it because he was usually drunk by 6pm every night.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Reply
    • Engineers Designing This Plane

      Thanks for the tip. I'm sure you are much more of an expert than we are and we will make your suggested changes.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  21. Badly-Bent

    I don't suppose anybody has yet proved you can glide land the thing?

    July 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  22. harrisonhits2

    Most Americans can barely keep their car on the road and are terrible drivers. I can only imagine the chaos and death in the skies that will occur if inexpensive planes become commonly available.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      You still have to get a pilot's license. Not exactly cheap or easy in this country.

      July 30, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Reply
      • upsilone

        Not to mention the lack of parking space available when all the airfields become full

        July 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • Not exactly

        Tell that to the family's who lost loved ones on 9/11

        July 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • rosie

        No, I am sure that every person that flies their own home built plane has a license. *wink, wink* Part of the home built allure is to cheat the system.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Michael

      The cost of the airframe has little to do with it, as long as it meets FAA requirements, passing the annual, etc. It is the experience and knowledge of the pilot that matters. Even with an LSA permit, one must have a certain amount of training and will not be allowed to fly unless prificiency can be proven. Unless you fly and have an understanding of the rules and regulations, you cannot understand ...

      July 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  23. el gato

    All this talk about cost. My neighbor just had a garage built for $15,000. I build the same one myself for $4,800 + my labor. Most people who bark about downfalls and costs are not willing to do any work. Pity...

    July 30, 2013 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • Orville Wright

      Those are the same people who insist on hiring an "expert" to do even the most trivial things. Call the electrician because a lightbulb is burned out. Take their car to Ripoff-Lube for an oil change. Call AAA when they get a flat. Rely on a GPS because a map confuses them.

      They're proudly ignorant of how to do anything for themselves and by themselves. And they love the idea of government telling them what to do. Then they're surprised and angry when they find themselves in a Red Cross shelter after a storm, being told to shut up and appreciate their cots and MREs.

      The hysterical responses they're tossing out the the idea of an "open source" airplane is more of the same. It's not like there is anything all that complicated or mysterious about a small aircraft of this sort. It's little more than a motorcycle engine and some fabric over a frame of metal tubing. People have been building aircraft like this since before WW I and the sky hasn't fallen on us yet. All "open source" means is that the plans are reviewed and modified by hundreds of interested people who have to "sell" their proposals to other interested people.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Reply
      • IncognitoX

        @Orville I was following right along with you until you opened the blame the government troll box.

        July 31, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  24. Pete

    Open source doesn't mean it's designed by a kindergarden class for aa art project. Read the article. These are actual airplane designers. They just don't want to pass the design costs along to make the build more expensive. Let's see... open-source.. you mean like Linix competing with Windows? If they came up with a design and sold it for $10,000 everyone would think that's OK. Just because someone gives something away for free doesn't mean doesn't mean it's worthless. Just someone trying to give back to the aviation community.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:04 am | Reply
    • Orville Wright

      The people complaining here are the same folks that stand in line to buy the latest version of Windows.

      It's newer, so it must be better, right?

      July 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  25. moribundman

    It looks like a modern version of the Fieseler Storch from the mid-1930s.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:09 am | Reply
    • John Healey

      John Healey
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      What? Are you having a laugh? 10/10 for spelling 'Fiesler' correctly. Thats how close you are! The Storch had a conventional layout undercarriage not a tricycle one nor did it have wing tiplets. The only likeness is that they are both high wing monoplanes with a tractor engine, that's it. I've yet to come across a more inaccurate description of an aircraft!!!

      July 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Reply

      July 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply
      • Michael

        Well, he DID say "modern version" ... which could easily account for the nose gear versus tail dragger. Lighten up, Dude, at least he could even make a comparison to the Storch ... most would have criticized a perceived misspelling of "Stork". I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and even a "Huzzaah !!"

        July 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • Brockster

        I'd like to see an open source version of the Blohm & Voss BV 141. Now THAT would be interesting!

        July 31, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • James

        Did you see Rob Lawson's comparison to a "Piper Cub with winglets"? I'd say that's as inaccurate as the Fiesler reference.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • moribundman

      Hey John, I said "it looks like..." I didn't mention the technical differences, especially the blatantly obvious ones. You don't get 10/10 for either reading or comprehnsion skills, but you do get 10/10 for niggling! :-P

      July 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
      • moribundman

        "comprehension"

        July 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  26. vbscript2

    While I would love to be able to buy a new airplane in the $15k ballpark, I'm not holding my breath.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:43 am | Reply
    • skytag

      You won't be able to buy it. You'll have to build it yourself.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:18 am | Reply
  27. Morgan

    There are Harley V-twin engines that produce 90 HP and 90 ft lbs of torque with just a few modifications to the fuel and exhaust. I have seen them for sale at $1900-$3500. The factory has rebuilts with warranty available also. The engine with the counter balance shafts is vibration free. The engine has been cleared for aviation use according to a video I watched on youtube.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSTRlAx_YSc&w=640&h=390]

    It's aircooled and produces sufficient hp and torque, and it can be bought at a sensible price. Harley has a program that lets you ship it to the factory when it needs rebuilding and the price is usually less than any shop will charge.

    July 30, 2013 at 1:50 am | Reply
    • Easy Flyer

      Potato potato potato potato potato...

      July 30, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply
    • real rob lawson

      Good idea, I have one[in a bike] and it is 106hp, and with the sequential port injection, is very reliable and huge torque,..The newer HD engines have to be the best they have ever made,, I would never strip my sled to build an aircraft, but I would definitely consider buying just the engine from HD for any home built plane/helo,..I believe they can be pumped up to 160 hp?, but reliability suffers of course,,and it is probably half the weight of a subaru boxer engine[also one of the best for what it is],..even more if we count the water cooling system etc,..hmmm.. thanx, grey cells are churning??. HMMM??.. LOL.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
  28. aan

    It's a security risk..don't release it!

    July 30, 2013 at 1:49 am | Reply
    • Michael

      How is an open-sourced aircraft a security risk? Are you even aware of how many home built aircraft there are in the US, much less the world? To one that flys but would never be able to afford his own aircraft, this is Totally Awesome !! Now, if the wings would fold so that I could trailer it home fromt he airport and put in my garage, I'd be all set. Being able to fly to my folks instead of the 2 1/2 hour hassle? Any day !!

      July 30, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  29. greg le duc

    Don't you guys know that APPLE is working on three plans to get us into the air, one, the iPlane, then the iJET & the
    iFLYINGCAR. There is now a rumor of a fourth skybound venture, the iFLYING.F–K. NO GOLDEN PARACHUTES
    allowed. See ya in the clouds. Greg "Jetson" signing off.

    July 30, 2013 at 1:48 am | Reply
  30. d

    GOOD, I NEED TO GET UP AND FLYIN CHEAP. ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET A OVERBOOST CONTROL VALVE AT WALMART?

    July 30, 2013 at 1:15 am | Reply
    • dbs

      Walmart?

      July 30, 2013 at 1:38 am | Reply
    • mrkeetz

      Hmm... obviously you know noting about aviation, or mechanics for that matter. In fact, you wouldn't know an over-boost control valve if it acted like a pressure relief valve and released some hot air to cover your own. Most GA experimental aircraft are not turbo charged. Hence .....

      July 30, 2013 at 1:46 am | Reply
    • Pete

      It's amazing the number of people who don't recgonize humor when it slaps them in the face...

      July 30, 2013 at 7:55 am | Reply
      • d

        lol thanks Pete.

        July 30, 2013 at 8:05 am |
      • d

        glad someone got a laugh

        July 30, 2013 at 8:07 am |
      • bob

        Aren't they next to the heart valve section?

        July 30, 2013 at 8:55 am |
  31. Falco Builder

    Good luck. I built a Sequoia Falco from plans (to save money, ha ha), and it still cost me almost $50K for the airframe. That did not include the avionics or the engine, which were another $80K. However, the Falco is a complex aircraft with retractable gear and bubble canopy. Even so, I know several RV (a fixed gear bird) builders who have spent close to $100K on their planes.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:38 am | Reply
    • Chris S

      Must be nice to have all that money lying around to put into a "project" airplane. What, are you one of the 1%? That money would have helped a lot of orphan children or something....

      July 30, 2013 at 7:26 am | Reply
      • Pete

        Well Chris, maybe you should take all the money you spend on your computer and connection costs and buy food with that. You drive a car? Sell it and take a bus. Better yet, hitchike. Take all your money and buy food for the hungry. It amazes me that because someone has money to do something you can't, you have to assume they are not already giving to charity.

        July 30, 2013 at 7:54 am |
      • el gato

        Chris, you are a sad fellow.

        July 30, 2013 at 10:59 am |
      • Michael

        Some of us are true, died-in-the-wool WingNuts, PropHeads ... born to fly. If you don't, can't or won't then don't criticize those of us that do. If you've never felt the freedom of piloting an aircraft, then wait until you do. THEN you can say something about it. Me? I'd sell my mother to have the opportunity to own my own aircraft, even if it is LSA.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • Orville Wright

        Must be nice to be such a sanctimonious assshole, Chris.

        Why are you wasting time commenting here? Couldn't you be making gruel for those orphans? Or working a job to provide them food?

        Maybe you should just hang yourself - with a reusable biodegradable hemp rope, of course - so you'll stop stealing the oxygen those poor little orphans could be breathing?

        July 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  32. Staf

    I sense a forthcoming purchase of agricultural real estate. I.e., somebody is going to buy the farm, or perhaps auger into it.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:27 am | Reply
    • SilentBoy741

      The bar far getting your video on "America's ______iest _______" just got ratcheted way up.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • Michael

      You still have to get training. Watch people that drive in your area ... the ones that pay attention to their surroundings and make the better drivers are likely pilots. We're used to scanning our instruments and surrounding airspace. Unlike most drivers ... Put down the smart phone (oxymoron?) stop texting and surfing the web ... or talking ... whilst driving ... turn off your turn signal (after three miles?) and come off the brakes ... after the same three miles ... THEN we'll talke.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  33. rad666

    I'll make one with my 3D printer.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:22 am | Reply
  34. Really?

    Really, an open source plane? I wouldn't fly in one.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:15 am | Reply
    • Reggie

      Agreed. I feel much safer not actually knowing how the plane works.

      Nikola Tesla for example, refused to ride elevators. He knew exactly how they worked.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:02 am | Reply
      • vbscript2

        It probably works the same way as nearly every other subsonic airplane... go fast and deflect some of the airflow downwards to push the plane up.

        July 30, 2013 at 2:24 am |
      • robinbobcat

        Interesting statistic: There has been a grand total of ONE complete failure of an elevator and its safety systems, resulting in a free-fall situation. In the Empire State Building, no less. The falling car's descent was cushioned by the air under it, to the point that the hapless woman riding at the time suffered only a broken arm.

        Other interesting statistic: Elevators are the safest method of transportation. Deaths and injuries per miled travelled are a fraction of any other mode, including walking. You are more likely to trip and die than be injured in an elevator. A LOT more likely.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:11 am |
      • Sean

        Galileo refused to use a telescope because he knew how they worked.

        July 30, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  35. Flying high again

    Just what this country needs...FLYING NUTS,

    July 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Reply
    • Dr.Wilbur

      You gas passer.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  36. Homer10

    Interesting idea. Who will be the first to build an actual paper airplane that can carry a person. How's that idea crowd?

    July 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Reply
    • Homer10

      I know! Crumple up 100,000 sheets of paper, and enclose with plastic netting. It forms a ball of crumpled up paper 40' in diameter. Now crawl inside of the ball of paper, and have a helo lift you up to 50,000' and drop you. You will fly straight down, but all that paper will cushion your stop when the flight ends. Well there's a start.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • Klipsan

      Interesting that you bring this up. It is amazing how strong we can now make paper. The company I work for makes a paper that I can not tear. It is increadibly(sp) strong . . . OH MY STRONG! Would I trust my life with it? Yes, if it was coated and the strength tests were proven for flight. So, a paper airplane? Could be . . .

      July 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Reply
    • Klipsan

      Interesting that you bring this up. It is amazing how strong we can now make paper. The company I work for makes a paper that I can not tear. It is increadibly(sp) strong . . . OH MY STRONG! Would I trust my life with it? Yes, if it was coated and the strength tests were proven for flight. So, a paper airplane? Could be . . .

      July 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  37. Homer10

    Hmmmm.... So you download and print out your new air plane. You get er up and running, and go out for your first flight (never mind it might involve you learning how to fly at the same time your learning if the plane actually will fly). Now you have a bad time, and you crash into somebody's house, and you get killed. Who will the lawyers sue? The crowd?

    July 29, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • John Stone

      Just remember, it's not the fall that kills you it's the sudden stop ! Doh ! As for the lawyers, for them it's a field day as they get to sue everyone :)

      July 30, 2013 at 9:24 am | Reply
      • SilentBoy741

        So remember kids, if your aircraft fails, try to aim for a lawyer.

        July 30, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  38. Tom

    Ok open source plane who's got the balls to fly it first and find the bugs? OOPS version 2.1 aileron lockup bug fixed, fixed uncontrollable aileron roll at 75ft :|

    July 29, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Reply
    • Homer10

      Hay. You get to learn how to fly at the same time you are going to learn if the aircraft will actually. Fun Fun Fun! Brings new meaning to face plant. But in all seriousness, it could re-energize civil aviation. You may also see thousands of new designs that could actually be built and tried out. The good designs will bubble up to the top. You may see some really strange but useful new crafts. Things are going to get real interesting.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Reply
      • Michael

        FAIL. Even with an LSA, trainging is required. The FAA requires a qualified pilot to flight test a homebuilt aircraft. Your first flight doesn't go to 15,000 anyway ... much less out of ground effect. If you don't know what that is, you're not qualified to fly anyway ...

        July 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  39. Mark Peterson

    I made my own plane with my 3D printer. In fact, I'm flying it right niw!

    July 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Reply
    • martin

      Me too, i'm flying like a dog

      July 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  40. sam

    In related news, a group of medical technicians is working on an open-source ambulance...

    July 29, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  41. Arick

    I'm still waiting for the flying car, nothing will do more good for the gene pool.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Reply
  42. SteveinMN

    Doh!

    Cheap planes!

    July 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • Trevor Bryant of Flagstaff, AZ

      lol, it can be done for a lot less than 15k. mythbusters built the wings out of duct tape and it worked ok (not great), was slightly heavy. a motor from a decent v8 or motorcycle could probably power the thing for 1k for the motor, a simple aluminum frame, 1k, flight control systems routed into a laptop 2k, some controls and levers 1k. lattice work for the airfoil, 500. Other odds and ends including gas tank etc. 500. that's 6k by my count. even if i am off by those numbers 1k, i am still half their price. Either way, i wouldn't get in a plane, built by the lowest bidder, with bargain basement parts, even if I built the thing and it SHOULD be airworthy.

      July 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  43. Bhawk1

    If people start flying instead of driving they won't be allowed to vote in the South. They require a drivers LC with photo. Pilot LC are not acceptable.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Reply
    • anonymoose

      I'm no expert, so this is just a guess here, Pilots drive cars also.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Reply
      • Trevor Bryant of Flagstaff, AZ

        burn... and BUMP

        July 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • James OD

      Another low-info (no-info actually) partisan dingbat heard from.

      No state requires a driver's license to vote. Every state that requires photo ID to vote accepts non-driver ID cards, which typically cost $5 and take only a few minutes to obtain.

      If ID to vote is an "infringement" then so is requiring ID to buy a gun.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:41 am | Reply
    • Chris S

      Yes, and with GOOD reason do states in the South require photo IDs. Are you stupid? Ever hear of voter fraud? Most of the illegal aliens in Georgia don't have valid photo IDs, and guess what? They ALWAYS vote Democrat. Yet the Dems don't care about voter fraud, because the illegals always vote their party. Thank God for photo ID requirements!

      July 30, 2013 at 7:30 am | Reply
  44. John Wayne

    Avionics alone cost somewhere between 5k to 10k. I guess a radio and simple dials would suffice for less than 2k.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      That number is way high. I could put together a GPS, Altimeter, Compass, Air Speed indicator and a tablet to view it all on for < $500.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Reply
      • choward5400

        I could do it for half that. 14" display, HD

        July 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
      • us_1776

        And none of that would be qualified to work in an aircraft as primary instrumentation.

        .

        July 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Pier

        Us-1776: As a home-built experimental plane, NOTHING in it must be FAA certified. The plane will require inspection by the FAA or a designated inspector before the first test flight. If it's determined to be constructed in a satisfactory manner, you're good-to-go. Read something like "Kitplanes" magazine - you'll se a LOT of aircraft with beautiful (non-certified) instrument panels that are much more capable and reliable than the ancient vacuum-driven stuff in my FAA-certified Mooney. (And as for a post of yours farther down, laughing at the possibility of building a plane for $15K, check out http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/ten_grand.html.)

        July 31, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  45. Some guy

    15 grand sounds cheap, but it includes zero support.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • cptdondo

      I've been involved in a number of open source projects, and I can tell you that with the exception of a couple of companies, open source has far better support than the vast majority of commercial products. I've had fixes within hours of reporting issues while commercial support companies bounced me from level 1 to level 2 for days without providing a solution (or even acknowledging a problem).

      So yes, you have zero support – except that this is designed by thousands of people who do this for the love of the art, not a paycheck. If you want an example, look at flightgear.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Reply
      • Alex

        Difference is that it is very difficult to kill a human with your flightgear project. And it is very difficult NOT to kill lots of people with heavy objects flying is sky.

        July 30, 2013 at 12:13 am |
      • Chris S

        Good point about open source verses closed source projects. It's the same as Apple verses Android. Android is more innovative and offers faster fixes because it's open, thousands of developers working on it. Yet the drawback is that its easy to be malicious, because everything is open. That's why the Google Marketplace is full of viruses and malware apps, while they're virtually non existant in the Apple iTunes store. I wouldn't trust a "open" designed plane, too easy for someone to purposely do something bad and create a design flaw.

        July 30, 2013 at 7:34 am |
  46. Shawn

    a VW engine in the sky? I drove one and needed to pull over every 50 miles to make adjustments. No Thanks!!!

    July 29, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • mlblogscbgoldsmith

      Shawn do you hear voices or do you realize that you are answering a question no one asked of you?

      July 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • Danmark

      The VW engine is actually the same design as they use for airplanes today
      A 4 or 6 cylinder air cooled boxer engine.
      It has been used in many home built airplanes

      July 29, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Reply
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  48. Sharkmann

    More tiny craters in the middle of nowhere. Fabrications skiills and piloting skills do not always go together.

    July 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Reply
    • John

      Oh what a joy you must be at parties.

      July 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
      • Dr.Wilbur

        The guy's a dufus.

        July 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • bs1

      Teamwork... a pilot and a fabricator.

      July 29, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Reply
    • anonymoose

      The article is correct when it states that people have been building and flying their planes since planes were invented.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  49. Awesome

    This is awesome. I need one of these. Great idea guys, keep it up.

    July 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  50. wrm

    Good luck getting one of these together for $15k. When it's all said and done expect 3x that. I guess "open source" has become a buzzword. As the article points out, LSA category as well as countless kits are and have been available for some time (well, not LSA). Can't have too many though. I wish them well.

    July 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Reply
    • wrm

      ... and buying/building one is the cheap part :)

      July 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  51. Eric

    Rotax 582 for ~$5000?

    July 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  52. Person

    Key feature of any GPL license is no warranty whatsoever. Let the flyer beware.

    July 29, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Scott

      However, the design/construction would still have to pass airworthiness inspections by the FAA in the U.S. and its equivalent in Canada.

      Scott

      July 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply
      • Dave

        I didn't see any mention of it being certified.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:19 am |
  53. BK

    Wouldn't it be Great IF I could use my 3D Printer to make a Plane ? ! ! Better than the guns I can make – -

    July 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Reply
    • Dr.Wilbur

      Great idea.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  54. us_1776

    The issue is that usually the engine, avionics, interior, exterior paint will cost 2-to-3 times the cost of the plane kit.

    .

    July 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Reply
    • us_1776

      The only engine that they could get for any type of reasonable price would be a high-time used Lycoming or maybe use one of the VW engine kits that only give you about 70-80hp.

      .

      July 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Reply
    • Justin Franks

      "They hope the cost to build the airplane will be under $15,000, including the engine."

      July 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
      • us_1776

        Yeah, pretty humorous.

        We'll see. Gonna take some magic to make that number.

        .

        July 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • Lynda

        At $15000 including the engine, I question what type of engine they have in mind..A gerbil in a wheel and a rubber band?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  55. Will

    The Pietenpol Air Camper is an "open-source" airplane built in the 20s. The EAA biplane was, too. Plans are floating around if you look.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • John D Daniell

      My dad picked up a Pietenpol Air Camper back in the 70's cheap. Fun plane until we figured out the weight and balance were incorrect.Super Cub wing not positioned correctly, Tail heavy. So rather than try to fix the problem, he sold the wings to one guy, and the airframe to another. Problem solved, lol.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Reply
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