Can I build an AeroCanard from the plans only?
Yes, the AeroCanard kit plane offers the best of both worlds, it is available as a kit plane, and also available as a plans build aircraft, which gives you the option of buying as few or many pre-fab fiberglass kit parts as you want to help reduce the building time. The AeroCanard FG Plans include: Manual-Sections I & II. Section III Flight Training Manual. Full size CAD M-Dwgs (36 - 18” x 24”).
How long does it take to build an AeroCanard?
Building an AeroCanard averages as low as 1200-1500 man hours, with two-thirds of that time on the kit. The finishing, engine installation, addition of electrical and avionics, and doing cosmetics takes the remaining one-third time wise. The AeroCanard is constructed modularly (two wings, canard, and fuselage) and can be completely dismantled at any future time by removing approximately ten bolts and some screws in the cowl. The quick-build AeroCanard option will reduce building times approximately 800 hours. See the Quick Build Options page for more details.
How much space do I need for building?
You will need at least a 2-car garage to construct the subsections, which consist of fuselage, wings, and canard. The maximum width of the fuselage, without the wings attached, is 12 feet. You will later take it to a hangar or airport to bolt these components together; the fuselage can be towed or trailered to an airport, while the wings and canard can be moved in a truck or trailer.
How much will it cost to build an AeroCanard?
The AeroCanard line of aircraft is the value leader in the kit market, with the lowest cost for a four-place kit available. The price for the top-of-the-line, retractable gear AeroCanard kit including engine, prop and VFR avionics is less than a third of a new Mooney or Bonanza. Affordable new Cessnas and Pipers are unlikely to be offered anytime soon, so homebuilding is the best alternative for many pilots.
With a mid-time used engine, a two bladed wood prop and VFR instrumentation, a fixed gear AeroCanard FG can be built for as little as $55,000 dollars. On the other end of the scale, building an AeroCanard with all the fast build options, factory new engine, M-T three bladed constant speed prop, IFR instrumentation, leather interior, etc., etc., expect to put at least $150,000 into your airplane. A new Mooney with similar equipment would sell for at least $450,000.
How difficult is it to build?
Tools to build an AeroCanard can be purchased at True Value, Sears, etc. Power tools, such as spray guns, sanders, saws, and an air compressor, can be extremely helpful, but are not absolutely necessary. There are no special tools needed for the construction. There is neither tooling nor special jigs to build, so all time is spent constructing your aircraft.
Why use composite construction?
The average life of a fiberglass boat is approximately three times that of its aluminum engine and steel trailer. This alone is reason enough to consider composites, which are a second generation use of fiberglass in construction by introducing a foam core which allows the full benefits of the excellent compressive and tensile strengths of fiberglass. The canard configuration and composite construction allow the AeroCanard to be designed and built to +12/-9 G load ratings and still weigh approximately 300-400 pounds less than any other four-place aircraft, which explains its unmatched climb, performance, and efficiency. Every inch of the AeroCanard is functional, both in housing capacity and in lifting capacity.
What engines are available for the AeroCanard?
Since you are the manufacturer of your airplane, you can use any engine that you wish. The factory does recommend certain engines for its models. The AeroCanard SB, FG, RG, and SX, are designed to use the Lycoming IO360 (180 and 200 HP), The SB-Standard Body can also use the IO320 (160 HP).
Why can't the AeroCanard carry full fuel with 4 adults and their luggage?
Our useful load as equipped will be approximately 1100 lbs. With 70 gallons of fuel at 6 lbs. per gallon, we have approximately 580 lbs. left for people and luggage. At 170 lbs. per person we have 680 lbs. of people. So what gives? Well, first of all, it is rare that 4 people will be able to stay aloft the 5+ hours available. Secondly, this represents over 1000 miles in range, well beyond what most trips will take. The obvious answer is to carry less fuel and plan on a rest stop if needed. Remember, a 6 place Piper Malibu has a maximum payload with full fuel of only 535 lbs. The same is true of most high performance, long range general aviation airplanes.
Can I load an AeroCanard to over gross safely?
We test the airplane up to the gross weight as specified in the flight manual. The main problem in an over gross airplane is the canard stall speed. At higher weights, the canard is going to stall at a higher indicated airspeed. This will use more runway for takeoff and for landing and could become a dangerous situation at higher density altitude airports. The use of a constant speed propeller will help in getting the airplane off the ground and flying in less runway than a fixed pitch propeller and should be considered a necessity if gross weight operations are going to be used. The constant speed propellers are also highly recommended for operations from high density airports even when lower.
Does the factory offer anything else to assist in the building of the airplane?
Yes, the factory can provide such things as:
The AeroCad Team is always available to answer questions, and to offer professional builder assistance and support. The AeroCad Company has been prefabbing molded parts and subassemblies for Long-EZs, Cozys, Berkuts, E-racers and other composite planes for over a decade. Our company has also been working at Sun-N-Fun and Oshkosh Workshops for the past several years to show homebuilders how to get higher quality components from vacuum bagging and different finishing techniques. We also offer fast-build wings and fuselage kit options that help reduce building time.
We are also a complete source for all your aircraft parts needs. As a direct OEM dealer for many aircraft parts suppliers, we can get almost any aircraft part you need. Of course, we recommend you purchase an AeroCanard aircraft, if you want to fly like a pro!
Why can't I paint my AeroCanard black? My Corvette is black and its fiberglass!
The reason we don't paint in dark colors is due to the heat buildup in bright sun under the fiberglass surface that will cause the core materials to shrink with this excess heat. A Corvette doesn't use a core material because weight is not as much of an issue. A white painted surface will not absorb nearly as much heat and is well under the critical temperatures of the core material.
What is the accident history of the AeroCanard?
Like any airplane, the more you have flying, the more exposure we have to accidents. We have never had any type of structural failure in the AeroCanard, even at speeds in excess of 135% of VNE. Most of the accidents/incidents in the AeroCanard are of the fender bender variety where a small amount of damage and no injuries occur. A canard airplane is not difficult to fly but is different than any other airplane and we encourage a factory check-out prior to the first flight. Once past the first 10 hours of flight time, the AeroCanard accident rate is no different than most general aviation airplanes.
Why doesn't the AeroCanard have flaps?
The answer is quite simple. Flaps add lift. If we add lift to the main wing, then we would have to add lift to the canard. This would require the use of some sort of leading edge slat arrangement that would not only be difficult to build but also would have to be made so that there would be no way to deploy the flaps without deploying the canard leading edge slats and vice versa. There must be a balance in lift between the wing and canard in order to provide a safe airplane.