Thorp Air Command - T18.net

Supporting Owners, Builders and Pilots of the Thorp T-18 and its variants.
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Shaner1
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:34 pm
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Hello all from a new plans owner (#3068)

My name is Shane and have been reading around for a bit here and decided I better get in the party and say hello! I hope to start building around February as She Who Holds The Checkbook(I've gotta get a hold of that thing sometime) has given authorization for the project to begin with the arrival of the tax return check.

Asking around a few ambassadors from the site and a couple of EAA chapter meetings, everyone is saying "No, don't build, buy one!!!" Maybe too many years working on old Datsun Z's and customizing motorcycles has gotten to me, but I think I have the building urge. I was wondering if anyone that has built could give me a "Wish I would have bought" story. I have time on my hands and love working on things(former C-141 crew chief). I've done WAY too much research about which plane I would want and seem to keep coming back to the Thorp. If you have bought one and built one, which would you do again and why? I expect a certain amount of going Wookie and wanting to smash things with a hammer in any project. There just seems to be too many plans built aircraft out there for it not to be within the realm of a person's ability. You can always tell when the bugs have been worked out of a subject when you can find most of your answers with the search button!

Anyway, thanks for having a great site and I look forward to contributing where I can.

Shane


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fytrplt
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:19 pm 
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Location: Lakeland, Florida, USA
Welcome, Shane.

Building is great fun and very satisfying. It does take a lot of time, however. You can put as much time in an older plane to rebuild as you would if you start from scratch. Whatever you decide, this group is a great help.

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Bob Highley
N711SH
SN 835
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Hagle347
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:25 pm 
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Greetings Shane,

Ah, The decisions..So much of what you have to decide is when you might want to fly. Bob is right in that you could by an older Thorp and then update. There are also some projects still out there in various stages. Most of it just depends on where you want to start. I'm right at 2 years into a restoration of a mid-80's Thorp. It has about 660TT, but I found a handful of items that weren't done correctly in the original build. Those have been corrected and 66WT should fly in the spring. It will be a 'steam gage' airplane.
I also have a second project that will be 218TH. The plan for it is Grand Rapids HR or HRx, Lyc IO-320 w Constant speed prop. It's at the stage now where I could spend 3 days and it would look like an airplane. But it still requires - Windshield, Canopy, Panel, Engine, Cowl, Electrical sys, Fuel Sys.
Brake sys, prop, engine- you get the idea. Oh yeah, It needs paint as well.
There's lots of support here on the board. If you need more ideas, I'm sure that Lee Walton or Jim Grahn would be a good touchpoint.
Keep the board updated - Come visit at Sun N Fun 2015.

Terry A. Hagle
Niceville, FL
N66WT
N218TH
FL17


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Derek Fritschle
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:11 pm 
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Hey Shane,
I am also a pretty new to Thorp world relatively speaking (alot of these guys have been living the Thorp dream longer than I have been alive). It was just a few years ago that I was in a similar position to you. I had become completely enamored with the thought of owning a Thorp. At the time buying a flying Thorp was out of the question since I already had a 150 that I was using to get my PPL. So my plan was to start building one and by the time I was a "real" pilot I would be getting close to having the best flying machine known to man (I may be slightly biased). Literally hours before I had planned to contact Richard about buying plans I stumbled across a T-18 That had just hit the market that needed a little repair and some TLC. Needless to say I bought it, drug it home with the intent of fixing what was broke, massaging a few rough areas and flying it. I had planned 6 mos. to a year. 3 years and almost 1500 hrs. later partially due to a couple of pretty significant life changes but mostly because I didn't realize the magnitude of the project I had embarked upon it is sitting covered in dust in the back of my hangar behind a shiny, flying, T-18. Once I got started replacing and redoing I couldn't quit. Not that it wouldnt have been a great airplane just fixing what was broken, it wouldn't have been MY airplane. All that being said Bob is absolutely correct, a fixer er up er may save you a few dollars because of what you get with it engine, gear, canopy, etc. but in the long run can take just as long. Sorry for being so wordy, but that is my story and my advice to you make sure you know what you are in for, beacause, although it is a very accomplishable goal no matter which route you take it will be an extremely challenging, time consuming, but rewarding road ahead. A road in which I was not prepared to fully travel but hopefully someday I will be able to pull my project back out and forge on. Anyway good luck.

And by the way get to as many Thorp fly-ins as you can. Not only are they a blast, but you will learn so much from these guys. They are the experts and willing to share!


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jrevens
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:53 am 
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Welcome Shane. This doesn't really address your request, but if you do decide to build, you will have one of the most economical to fly & maintain, truly enjoyable high-performance airplanes known to man. It can pretty much be exactly what you want, and you'll never have to pay someone else, who probably knows very little about a Thorp, to perform or sign off an annual inspection for you. Of course, many of those things can be true if you buy one also. Good luck!

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John Evens
Arvada, Colorado

T-18 N71JE (sold)
Kitfox 7 SS N27JE


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Hagle347
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:58 am 
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Here's 2 flying to consider and 1 partial project. Also, Jim Grahn has a T and S-18 fuselage hanging up in his hangar that would give a good boost toward having something nice to look at.

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Doug S
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:35 am
Posts: 106
Location: Daytona Bch, FL
If you need a plane, buy used. If you like the satisfaction of building do it! I bought 99KK & even though I made new wings, panel & interior, it's not 'mine'. The plane I am building now will be. Realize that the build itself has to be the satisfaction. It takes a commitment, but I find there is no better therapy for the soul than to craft something. The plans are some of the most detailed out there & this support group (forum) is one of the best resources available.
Either way you go the Thorp is still one of the best bang for your buck performers out there.


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stevehawley
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:30 pm
Posts: 77
Location: USA
Welcome to the group Shane. I've been flying my T-18 for over 35 years and live near Saint Matthews, SC. Where do you live?
Steve Hawley


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Shaner1
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:34 pm
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They say you always know the answer to your question before asking it. Thanks for the greetings and bringing some clarification. Looks like I'm going to need to get a good rivet gun here soon. I've always thought that skills can be learned while learning is a mindset. I have SNF on the calender and hope to get to meet some of you there. Steve, I'm in the Charleston area Summerville actually, I've been flying rentals out of Mt Pleasant off and on for a couple of years. You are about an hour by road. If you want to get together sometime let me know. Beach flying is something you all should do sometime in your life!!!


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Ryan Allen
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:15 pm 
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Shane, welcome. I don't have any advice for you as I am a buyer, not a builder. I have owned a Thorp now for about 4 years. Like others have said, whatever path you decide, you will not be disappointed once you get her flying. Especially now that we some cold weather here, I cant hardly keep mine from climbing at 2000fpm and busting the airspace overhead of my airport, then being told to "slow it down" for the Cessna traffic....I love it!

I have been tinkering with building a T18 fuselage, but its more of just an educational/fun thing I do when I get some free time. I do get some satisfaction out of the thought of building a plans built plane.


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