Canadian open source two-seat airplane may cost only $15,000
Mike McLeodGeneral Aerospace aeronautics Aerospace
Maker Plane kicks off Indiegogo crowd funding campaign to develop DIY airplane prototypes and detailed schematics for free download.
The idea of building your own airplane from scratch may seem like a crazy idea, but a handful of engineers (and a legion of volunteers) believe anyone with some consumer manufacturing tools, DIY skills and a taste for adventure should have the opportunity to give it a go.
Founded by Ottawa-based former Lockheed Martin principal engineer, John Nicol, MakerPlane is self stylized open source aviation organization that aims to leverage the advent of personal manufacturing equipment (e.g. CNC mills and 3D printers) plus cheap electronics (e.g. Arduino and Rasberry Pi controllers) to develop a safe and reasonably priced, two-seat, single-prop sport plane.
The ultimate goal is to make the schematics, bill of materials, assembly instructions and open source avionics software available for free; potential “makers” would only need pony up the cost of the engine, composite build material and electronics, etc. All told, the group hopes the final price tag would amount to no more than a relatively cheap $15,000.
According to the group, the MakerPlane 1.0 falls under the Experimental Light Sport Aircraft category and each home-built aircraft would require an FAA inspection before it would be allowed to fly. In addition, potential aviators would be required to hold a sport pilot license or better.
To help further the cause, MakerPlane recently launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise a target of $75,000. According to the organization, the money will go toward the material and testing costs of building two prototypes (one static prototype for breaking point testing and one for test flight).
The group plans to have a flight worthy prototype in time for the 2015 AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with final plans, build instructions, etc. to follow shortly after.