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Am I buying a deathtrap?

So this one is still for sale and I need some cold, honest advice please.

https://www.planecheck.com/?ent=da&id=48242 planecheck_OE_CHC_48242_pdf

Met with a nice pilot who has built and currently builds the same model and he says it’s a good, strong airframe.

Also called the original builder, Heino Brditschka, who says the same.

Apparently it is built for 4,5g with 3,8g listed in the POH.

Did lots more DD (google turns up 2 crashes due to the engine reduction belt gear malfunctioning after maintenance errors).

I guess that it was built by HB and not an individual homebuilder is an advantage?

Planning a pre buy using the experienced builder mentioned above, then a prebuy at the HB factory (I’d like to check for any corrosion on spar, engine using a boroscope and compression check of engine).

Would you fly in such a plane or is it a death trap?

Make Aviation Great Again
Europe/Austria

Under what C of A is this airplane flying? Experimental or regular?

It looks nice for sure and the price also appears ok. If you are in the market for a 2 seater and the ppi goes fine with both places, I would not see any reason to why not.

LSZH, Switzerland

It has an Experimental placard in view.

I wish I could comment specifically on this particular VW based engine conversion, because it looks to me like an attractive plane and 535 hrs in service is encouraging. This might be a VW Type 4 based engine based on 2.4 L displacement and some of the description on the web, that would be worth understanding as it’s not as common a basis for conversion as the earlier engines. More generically, VW conversions are not in my experience as reliable as a Lycoming etc. However, the devil if it exists is very much in the details. People have flown well developed conversions and factory-built VW derivations successfully for years when the ignition, carburation and reduction equipment is properly done. Companies and people doing conversions come and go, and quality of engineering is not uniform between them. I have been in a VW powered plane and ridden it to the ground after engine failure. The one thing I would say is true even with a proven VW conversion is the need to look at the engine periodically: valve adjustments and cylinder head retorques at 25 hrs are typical on VW conversions, and depending on the details of the propeller and hub, prop bolts may need retorquing too.

The same goes for electrically controlled variable pitch propellers. I fly behind an MT certified prop of this type, bought with the plane, and it had issues as installed by others. It took a while (and some potentially hazardous test flights) before I found an intermittent control problem and corrected it. It now works without issue, but does need to be inspected (brushes and wiring etc) regularly because it’s not the most robust design. So I think you’d need to be careful here, checking installation quality/condition and operation as you became accustomed to the plane, at least based on my experience. I think with an electrically controlled propeller of any kind, the pilot needs to understand how the plane will fly in the event of a propeller control failure. Typically they lock in place versus going to fine or coarse pitch, so the available range of pitch control and effects if stuck at max or min pitch are worth understanding.

Maybe somebody else will have specific knowledge on the aircraft and engine conversion types. I would be tempted by the plane, but would tread carefully. Experimental does mean something even after 535 successful hours, if only that safe operation requires you to have a higher level of understanding of the planes engineering. If you’re aiming for Lycoming-style ‘fly it and forget it’ ownership, I’d think and investigate details carefully before buying a VW conversion with reduction drive.

PS interesting photo of fan cooled, dual carb engine installation here, showing the belt reduction setup.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 16 Oct 14:47

Snoopy wrote:

Would you fly in such a plane or is it a death trap?

Aren’t all planes by very definition death traps

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

If you’re aiming for Lycoming-style ‘fly it and forget it’ ownership

LOL YMMD – have yet to experience that. And this while other folks tell me my engine (io540, type and my specimen) are pretty robust.

If you have it checked by Brditschka, and talk to him about it reg. maintenance requirements, that would put my mind to rest.

Range was a problem for me when I looked at a HB207 in the past.

...
EDM_, Germany

My comments on ‘fly it and forget it’ we’re for example in reference to my aircraft engine remaining in current service after having never been disassembled since 1971. One valve spring has been replaced.

Previous experience with a VW conversion (not this one) had the cylinders replaced at 50 hrs time in service, although having said that they were very inexpensive to purchase.

This conversion is atypical in that it looks a lot like the original car installation (e.g. VW 412) with dual downdraft carbs and fan cooling. I think I also see an automotive style ignition coil. No carb heat? Interesting stuff to me.

The link in my post above seems to indicate 78 L or 20 US gallons fuel capacity.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 16 Oct 16:04

Thank you! Fly and forget → is there even a plane like that?

Some impressions:
































Last Edited by Snoopy at 16 Oct 15:39
Make Aviation Great Again
Europe/Austria

The wheels and mechanical brakes are interesting. It would be worth checking on spare parts availability.

The prop pitch control appears to be mechanical versus electrical, with lever behind reduction drive and actuator rod down the center of the propeller shaft.

A lot of moving parts under the cowling. I’d keep a close eye on all that stuff.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 16 Oct 16:16

Silvaire wrote:

The prop pitch control appears to be mechanical versus electrical, with lever behind reduction drive and actuator rod down the center of the propeller shaft.

Interesting, the ad claims electrical pitch prop.

Make Aviation Great Again
Europe/Austria

Mooney_Driver wrote:

Under what C of A is this airplane flying? Experimental or regular?

It looks nice for sure and the price also appears ok. If you are in the market for a 2 seater and the ppi goes fine with both places, I would not see any reason to why not.

Experimental.
Thanks for your input.

Make Aviation Great Again
Europe/Austria
36 Posts
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