To build or not to build

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To build or not to build

Post by pillpoppinpilot » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:50 pm

Hello All

Collective wisdom needed please.

I currently own a Jodel D117 which I particularly enjoy flying. However she's an old girl and needs continual maintenance as everything is old and in decay. Downtime is inevitable with her so I want something new.

The current account manager will not permit our funds to be used souly for my pleasure so the only way I can foresee a new machine is to build one.

So my question is really which one.

The criteria are :-

Cheap to build (ie not kit) so that probably means plans and wood (and the price includes the engine and instruments).
Preferably 2 place but I could cope with single seat.
I don't want to be building for 10 years plus.
I have a single garage but access to a hangar 15 minutes away.
I have a non flying, unsympathetic wife! Disposing of her is not an option.
I work 50 + hrs a week but hope to ease up in a few years time.
I haven't built anything in my life but would like to say " I made that".
Plans should be detailed with a good build manual.
I quite like another Jodel but build times tend to be long unless you can put in the time.

Any ideas? Am I wanting the impossible? Can it be done on a budget with little experience?

Thanks for your input.

Tony Smith

Dave Moore
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Post by Dave Moore » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:39 pm


Building a wooden aircraft from plans, part time in a single garage will take a few thousand hours, probably more than 3000 hours - perhaps significantly more.

If you are working 50 hours a week to earn your daily crust, I suspect you would do well to average 10 hours a week building, (that's if you want to keep the other components of your life going), i.e. approx. 500 hours a year, i.e approx. 6 years.

It would be quicker to build if it could be done as a full time activity.

My humble qualifications to offer this opinion are that I have recently completed a composite kit aircraft (Europa), well over 3000 hours build time, and have followed home-built forums for too many years, where the experience of the plans-builders is that it is a few-thousands-of-hours-task.

If your preference is to fly, rather than build, buy as good a used LAA-type as you can afford. Also, if you haven't already considered it, consider a shared aircraft, even two folk is half the capital cost and half the standing costs.



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Post by Rod1 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:25 am

A build will take you a long time. I built an MCR with a 50h+ job and it took me 3y3m 1800 hours. Why not buy a share, do a complete referb on the Jodel so everything is A1 and then sell the share?


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to build or not

Post by mikeblyth » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:59 am

Hi Tony

Re vamp 117, great plane. recover, newpanel get someone to do the engine
pray for bad weather ( get on with the work). Do it in less than 12 months

Mike :lol:

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Post by ThePipster » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:06 am

I have just been looking at some pictures of your Jodel and I would echo the other sentiments here, a refurb would give you a nice aircraft.

Alternatively you could exchange it with someone for another type, would certainly be cheaper than building an aircraft from scratch.

Phil Hall

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Post by rogcal » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:11 pm

Dare I say it, a VP1 or D18 if you really want two seats!
Roger Callow

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Post by pillpoppinpilot » Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:06 pm

Thanks for the replies, wasn't sure anyone was interested in my dilema!

I have seriously considered doing a refurb of IZ but need to fly something in the mean time. If I could fly and refurb IZ it would be bliss as I really love flying my Jodel.

I may have to join my old club again in order to keep up the minimum hours. Trouble is the expence of flying means nothing left for the purchace of new stuff. It's a terrible dilema!

May have to bite the bullet and seek funds from "the unsympathetic". Anyone got any persuasive lines?

There must be a reasonably cheap to build, quick to build, plane... what's a Pietenpol (?) like to build/fly? Anything else simple ish?

I like the D18 as someone said but what's the build time like?

The VP1 looks scary! (Sorry)

Where did you see the pics Pipster?


Tony Smith

Nick Allen
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Post by Nick Allen » Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:13 pm

Do you want a share in a Jodel D9 to keep your hand in while you refurb IZ? We've got space in our syndicate ... (based at Hinton in the Hedges). (We might, stress the might, consider a non-equity share.)

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Post by Rod1 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:19 pm

I am investigating building / referb / repairing a Jodel. A Friend has built a D18 and his estimate is 5000 hours. I am looking for something in the 1000 – 3000 range but will not be doing anything other than research for the next 12 months. My get a share in a TW to get my hand in though.


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Post by ThePipster » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:40 am

pillpoppinpilot wrote: Where did you see the pics Pipster?

and here:

Phil Hall

Bill McCarthy
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Post by Bill McCarthy » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:05 am

If I had time on my side I'd have a go at building a D9. The build time is often quoted as 500 and 600 hours but methinks there is a nought missing there. For a new Jodel build where would one get hold of the main u/c equipment, or is that made up as well. I always thought the cranked wing would be a challenge to build, but apparently not.

Brian Hope
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Post by Brian Hope » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:30 am

Hi Tony, my D117 (G-BFGK) is also 1957, Constructor's No 644 so could well have been built in the same batch as yours (636) and was registered BIBT, just two later than yours.
I see from the notes on the picture it had a refurb with new wing in 2000 and a zero timed engine and new undercarriage about the same time. I'd say that sounds like you have a good basis for a very nice aircraft with some more TLC and a reasonably limited expenditure.
If you are looking for new everything in the build of a new aircraft, you'll certainly be spending considerably more than you would on bringing the Jodel up to spec. 912s and Jabs are silly money, and if you settle for secondhand you're actually worse off than keeping the Continental, parts for which are far more reasonably priced and working on them more straightforward.
I know logic and reason are only half the story though, if you have it in your head that you really want to have a go at building something then that will probably be the over-riding decision maker, just be sure you have the willpower, finance and time to see it through. You really don't want to end up with a half built project you are fed up with and nothing to fly!
ps I've had my Jodel for 24 very satisfactory years and it has served me incredibly well. I cannot think of any current two seat up to 100hp aircraft I would wish to swap it with. they all cost considerably more, and most do not give more than a marginal improvement in overall performance, if at all. And as Richard Seeley is unlikely to do a 'Straight' swap for his Miles Whitney Straight, I hope the old Jodel will keep going for a few more years yet.

Graham Clark
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To build, or not to build, perchance to dream...

Post by Graham Clark » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:34 am

I think that the answer is staring you in the face. You like flying your existing Jodel. It is just getting a bit long in the tooth.
If you build a new aircraft, it will cost you three or four times more in money and possibly five times more in terms of time, than refurbbishing your Jodel. And unless you build another Jodel, you may end up with something less satisfactory.
If you take the Jodel off-line for a couple of years and do a total refurbishment, you will have an aircraft that is as good as new, and where you will have much lower maintenance costs for the next 20 years, than if you went and bought a used aircraft.
If you have to own another aircraft during the inter-regnum, a MiniMax or in desperation a VP1... Or talk nicely to the D9 people near you.
If you decide to sell your Jodel, in these hard economic times the queue will form at your door.

Jonathan Holland
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Post by Jonathan Holland » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:57 pm

The current account manager
Is that:

a) the manager of your bank "current account" (ie wife)


b) the current person who happens to be female in control of your account (ie you could swap them for another one) :lol:

If it's "a", best of luck. If it's "b", then get a different one!!! :lol:
Last edited by Jonathan Holland on Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Ian Melville
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Post by Ian Melville » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:14 pm

Jonathan Holland wrote: If it's "b", then get another one!!!
Jonathan, He needs to get rid of the old one first, coz running two at the same time can drain the pocket at an alarming rate :wink:

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