another month…

Nieuport 17 - I want to build one, just not nowAnother month has gone by, and I am Slacker Man! You may ask why, or you may not, how would I know. Anyway, the point is I have not been posting here as often as I would like. It’s not that I am not writing or doing anything, it’s that I haven’t had anything to post about that has anything to do with aviation, except for a few tweets, my aviation world has been a bit sparse.

Since my last post I have managed to get out to a couple of Wings seminars and participate in a couple of webinars, but that’s about it. Certainly no flying, teaching, or building which of course makes me sad and frustrated.

What I have been doing is thinking a lot about how to get the ball rolling in the/my current economic situation. I have a plan. It is a complicated and intricate plan, cunning even, but it requires resources that I just don’t have right now. To get things going I have reduced things down to a collection of in-kind/money possibilities, any variation of which, can get things moving forward. At the core of all of it is a basic financial “nut” to crack, it is a $50k base. This covers all the necessities to get things off the ground, figuratively and literally. This of course is assuming that it is all out of pocket cash and I don’t have sponsorships of any kind.

In the grand scheme of things this is a fairly small nut to reach to get things up and running, particularly when you consider everything that is included in that basic number. This is all of the operating expenses and materials for six months, at which time I am flying. This covers a lot of ground media throughout that six months and some aerial media towards the end.

So far, I have been rather vague as to what the plan actually is. I have been trying to keep a majority of it under wraps but I don’t think I can move forward from this point with out making things a little more transparent, so I have started making some changes to the website. You might have noticed the change of graphics and colors on the website, this is the first step in that direction. I am in the plans phase of the project so it seemed appropriate to use blueprints as the foundation of the site’s appearance. I will most likely keep the blueprints look through the build process. Not that I won’t jazz things up a bit now and then.

I need to start fundraising and at present I have three options: Individual Sponsors, Company Sponsors, or a Partner(s). Sponsors, individual or otherwise, only contribute to projects when they know what the project is all about. The next step in the process is making this whole project more public.

There are some specifics in mind and I am currently working on the fine details but the rough numbers are done, hence the inclusion of the $50k listing above. I do know that I need at least $6k hard cash to be sure that I can meet the “six months to takeoff” time frame. Outside that, it’s all open as to the arrangement of the cash/in-kind mix. With a good tail-wind, I will be able to work out a 10/40 split, or better. Cash is always more flexible than in-kind, but in some areas it makes no difference for me ether way.

Over my years of involvement with non-profits I have found that it’s a lot easier to get a sponsor to sign on and give you what you need if you can buy it right then and there. You walk into a manufacturer and say “I want to buy this, for this project. Oh, and I was wondering if you would like to sponsor us?” and walk out with 50% or better sponsorship covering what you went in to buy. Sadly, it rarely works if your not actually there to buy the product. It’s one of those “if you have the money for it, someone will give it to you” examples. Just a fact of life I’m afraid.

Now that I have been rambling for a while, here is the basic outline of the plan. I am going to build an airplane, document the entire build process in photos, video, and lots of blogging. After the airplane is built the flight testing process will be documented in the same way, lots of pictures, video, and blogging, including a good deal of in-flight video (in-the-cockpit and out-the-glass.) The idea is to get the airplane from raw materials through the the first 25 flight hours in 6 months.

I can hear it now, “How the hell you gona do that? It takes years to build a plane!” Well, yes… and no. This is going to be a full time gig for me. If I only worked Monday through Friday, 8 hours a day it will give me a little over 1000 hours. This is a realistic build time for the airplane I have chosen. Under certain conditions the build time can be significantly less. I have a fair amount of skills in the workshop with wood, sheet & stock metal, plastics, and even a little composites time, and 8 hours a day 5 days a week is conservative. I will have to force myself to walk away from the shop, a lot, to keep those hours.

This is just the beginning. There are many more in-flight projects and missions to do once the airplane is build. I have a lot of plans in the line-up, I just need an airplane to get it all started.

Hell or high water, it starts… it starts here, and now.

For any individual or business sponsoring types out there, this can be great opportunity for access and/or exposure. Contact me for more detailed information.

For any one interested in this as a business opportunity, I am also looking for a partner(s). This prospect is a flexible, low-in, medium/long-term, high-risk venture. Lets face it, nothing in aviation is low-risk. I’m just being up-front. There are some interesting side benefits that are available with this opportunity as well. contact me for more detailed information.