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slowflyer5

Building a Cozy in Thailand?

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Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of building the Long EZ. I'm in my forties now, living in Thailand, and I'll be testing for my PPL next month. I've spent the last 10 years building everything from wooden houses to rowboats to a backhoe (welded from scratch) to a CNC machine that can cut 8'x4' plywood sheets.


I finally have the time and resources to build a plane, and I've been thinking about starting with a traditional kit (Kitfox, Zenair) as a first plane to accumulate some hours on, but my heart keeps coming back to the canard designs, with the Cozy IV looking like a great fit for the kind of building I'd like to do.

Since most people on this forum have more flying experience and Cozy IV experience than I do, I was hoping to ask a few questions to help me get started:

1. The Cozy IV seems like a good plane for the kind of flying I'd like to do (cross country around Thailand with my wife and sometimes a 3rd passenger), and the airfield near my home has a nice paved 3000' runway. But my concern is whether my flying experience level is a problem. I figure that by the time the plane is built, I will likely have about 300-500hrs of flight time. What kind of plane is the Cozy to fly, and are there any pilot skill level requirements that you'd recommend? I may go simple with fixed landing gear at first and any other variations that might sacrifice a bit of performance for simplicity, but I was hoping those with better insight on the matter could offer suggestions.

2.  I am a slender 6'3" tall. From what I've read, this plane is a good fit for taller folks. But given the current COVID-19 situation and restrictions on international travel, unless any of you know of a Cozy in Thailand (do any of you know of one in Thailand?), I likely won't be able to travel to sit in one before I intend to start building. Is this a bad idea? How important is it to sit in a completed plane before deciding to build? As I am looking forward to the build even more than the flying, I'd like to begin and figured from what I've read that minor adjustments in the seating position, etc can accommodate me well enough.

3. I have access to a fair amount of computer controlled machine shop tools. Are the plans available in any digital format, ideally ones designed for CNC cutting? Or will I likely have to start with paper plans and do any of the computer drafting myself?

 

I know that my post is a little general, but I'm just getting started and am trying to get over the "should I do it" hump and on to the "how to do it" phase. 😁

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There are Cozy/EZ builders in Australia?  That help? I would look at the materials and see what the shipping would cost to Thailand.  A pallet of materials (foam & fiberglass mainly) could be shipped from Aircraft Spruce West but there are CozyGirrl parts, canopy, landing gear struts and other important parts that don't come in a kit and have to be separately acquired and shipped.  I would think a true, complete kit airplane would suit you better and get you in the air quicker.

You could fly the airplane OK and you are not too tall.  I am not familiar with any Thai homebuilding. 


-Kent
Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

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Hi Kent,

Thanks so much for your response. I've been to the EAA Thai chapter house and talked to Jim, the chapter vice president (who does some amazing airplane restoration work). I haven't yet met with any plane builders, though, but I see listings for home built planes here in Thailand, so I'll find a way to meet some.

I've actually been thinking to buy a second hand pre-built plane to fly in while I'm building my own plane, which is why (for now) I'm figuring I can really look forward to building the kind of plane I want to build and fly someday (the Cozy) while I fly the kind of plane that I can fly now. (There are a surprising number of CH-750's around Thailand, some for sale, and these seem like gentle, easy to fly planes for a less experienced pilot like myself to get experience in.)

But there is a really good GA community here in Thailand, and I've found everyone to be extremely supportive of newcomers. The laws and regulations are based on the USA so much that the textbook my school gave me to study for the theory exam was actually the USA Jeppeson book. (Other than filing flight plans and the restricted areas around Washington DC, everything else was applicable here.)

If I start building the Cozy to see how I like it, maybe once the international travel restrictions lift, I can check out the Cozy community in Australia. Any Australian Cozy builders/flyers open to a visitor from Thailand?

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On a random side note, I would like to ask about the "hot box" for setting the resin.

Being in Thailand, the temperatures are quite a bit warmer than you all might be used to. I just measured the temperature at very closer to 95F in the shade outside at 10AM in late September (definitely closer to cool season than hot season), and last night it was about 85F at 10PM in my bedroom with decent ventilation.

From this link:

http://cozy.caf.org/epoxy-hot-box/index.shtml

He mentions that setting to 90F worked best for him.

Am I correct that I should skip the hot box here?

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13 hours ago, slowflyer5 said:

http://cozy.caf.org/epoxy-hot-box/index.shtml

Am I correct that I should skip the hot box here?

Ha!  That hotbox might be why Charles is selling his half-finished project.  Build airplanes, not hotboxes! 

But the hotbox is needed IMO.   Don't they have a Winter in Thailand?  I made mine too large (pic) but I generally left the light bulb plugged in during the period I was building.  I guess I kept mine over 100 deg.  I used a Michael Engineering pump on the Cozy but on my EZ project it was about as fast to use a digital scale and a spreadsheet.  I kept the epoxy in the cans, pierced a hole in the can to dispense and sealed it with a screw.  The plastic pumps are OK but you can make a spreadsheet for different kinds of epoxy and use the digital scale.

IMG_2033.JPG

IMG_2034.JPG


-Kent
Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

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Hi Kent,

Thanks so much for the pictures and the advice. I'm so tempted to just buy the plans and begin watching the videos and building test parts. It looks like an incredible project with a lot for me to begin learning.

As for winter in Bangkok...🙄

We have something called "winter" here, but I'm not sure it means the same thing here. As a friend of mine sometimes calls it "come and experience the blazing heat of a Bangkok winter". In the past decade, I do remember 1, maybe 2 nights where the coldest temperature in the wee hours of the morning got down to about 60F (for an hour or two). I'm not sure if I've experienced a day where the afternoon temps weren't at least 80F.

I enjoyed this quote from the following link:

https://en.climate-data.org/asia/thailand/bangkok/bangkok-6313/#temperature-graph

"December is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging 78.1 °F."

This average includes overnight lows. The average daily afternoon highs in December is 89F.

And if you're ever planning on visiting Bangkok, I would recommend avoiding April (summer). 🥵

In some ways, Bangkok is itself a giant hot box.

But on a more serious note, do you think overnight temperatures never below about 78F for 9 months of the year (and never dropping below 70F for the whole 12 months except a few days at the most) warrants a hotbox? If so, I'll trust your greater experience and judgment.

 

Edited by slowflyer5

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Also, with regards to the chapter specific kits referenced above, how much of these kits contain generally sourceable materials and how much of it is specific "Cozy" stuff? I understand that the canopy and landing gear parts will almost certainly need to be imported, but I can source polystyrene foam at various densities here in Thailand (many of the factories that make the stuff are within a few miles of here), as well as various types of resins, fiberglass fabric, and plywood in any grade.

It just seems like a wasted round trip to source materials from the US, dealing with shipping and customs, when the materials may actually be manufactured locally here and in many cases exported to the US.

(I laughed at myself pretty hard when I imported several high end computer monitors from the USA almost 20 years back because my trusted brand was hard to find in Thailand, when I saw the "made in Thailand" sticker on the back. Turns out, they just sold them under a different brand name here.)

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You can always build a hotbox later if you see the need. 

As for the materials, I have no idea if you could find them in Thailand.  The "kit" is mostly an airframe kit and there are lots of other pieces to buy to complete the airplane.    Before you go too far, I would start determining where you can get these materials (pic)  I will copy the page and post it if that will help.  Get an Aircraft Spruce catalog.   https://www.aircraftspruce.com/   However, there are lots of other bits and pieces to acquire, for example, is there a canopy on the list?  I don't think I see one.  See also http://www.cozygirrrl.com/aircraftparts.htm  and http://www.eznoselift.com/

A fair number of parts have changed.  We mostly use Matco brakes vs Cleveland.  A better fuel valve than the Weatherhead model.  Electric noselift vs manual lift.  The materials have not been updated to reflect that.  You mostly learn that by reading canard sites and builder sites.

I really think you would do better with a complete kit by another manufacturer or you would probably save money by buying a Cozy or Long-EZ in the states and shipping it to Thailand in a shipping crate.  Check my "sales I've seen" thread.  Below is Marc's list of Cozys for sale.

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Cozys for sale 8:20.png


-Kent
Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

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You've given me quite a bit to think about. Much of the materials on that list looks sourcable here. The brakes, nose gear and other airplane specific stuff, probably not. (But I'll check anyway.) I will look into this a bit, as well as looking into hiring a freight forwarder to simply take all the kits at once, load them onto a shipping container, and I'll deal with customs and delivery at the port of Bangkok.

But you've also gotten me thinking about building vs buying. I'm a builder at heart, but I also need a "point in". And maybe more importantly, I assume I will need training in flying an already flight tested plane before I begin dealing with flight testing my own build. And maybe that training would be helpful prior to build, too? And not having a community here for in person support (at least in the beginning) sounds like it might be a problem.

If I could request some advice:

Would it make more sense to wait the year or two before international travel gets back to something resembling normal, and then make the trip to the USA (where it looks like most of the Cozy's are), and spend a week or two training with someone there?

Even if I could get a basic set of kits imported here, given the difficulty in shipping replacement parts, spares, accessories, missing pieces, etc... would it really make more sense to buy an inspected, well built complete plane and just ship that over? I'm assuming I'll still be struggling with replacement parts, etc, but at least I'd be starting with all the pieces.

I'm looking forward to building about as much as I'm looking forward to flying. But at the same time, it might make sense to have experience with the plane before building.

I know these are newbie questions, as much for me to figure out myself as to ask advice from anyone else. But any opinions, judgments, thoughts, advice or suggestions on the matter would be quite welcome.

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I met a German fellow at Oshkosh who bought planes in the US and sold them in Europe.   He ferried them (and unfortunately died on a ferry flight) but he said he made a decent return on those airplanes.   So, yeah, I suspect it would be cost-effective to buy an airplane here and ship it or (gulp) ferry it.  🙂.  
 

The Rutan airplanes are not hard to fly—just a matter of learning speed control in the pattern and landing.  A competent seller could probably get you comfortable in 2-5 hours.     These airplanes vary in quality.   Most are safe but some safe ones are ugly or need updating.    The main thing is to get good pictures from the seller and a pre-buy inspection from a person familiar with them.    See www.burnsideaerospace.com  Or www.jetguys.co

we just had a chap here turn down a Cozy project after he saw it close up.   I think he could have seen the problems in the pictures, though.    A lot of the value is in the engine so you want to see copies of the logbooks and question the seller about how often it was flown and how it was maintained.   If they want to sell, they will accommodate you.   If they’re not forthcoming, find another airplane.

yeah, building is fun but so is refurbishing an airplane and getting it the way you want it.  


-Kent
Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

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Hi Larry.

I'm in New Zealand, not Thailand, but we share some similar problems. 

I'm building a (modified) Cozy IV, but haven't ever flown a Cozy. I did get to see a couple and fly in a Berkut and Velocity while in the States a couple of months ago (pandemic spamdemic!). If the design / configuration is one that excites you and you have a passion to build, go for it! It is a lot more time and effort than one of those kits, but to me it's worth it - I look forward to flying it very much, but I really enjoy the building too!

I'm 6'4", and am confident I can build the canopy to suit.

I have sourced equivalent materials here for much of the raw stock. Foam, BID, epoxy, no problem. Hardware, Cozy-specific parts, and UNI glass I have imported from the USA so far, though I haven't had to get any 'big' parts yet. Colan in Australia has some some good glass options, and I believe is the new spar tape supplier for Spruce anyway.

You're clearly the 'builder' type. Have you done much composite work yet? I hadn't, so I did a couple of small projects with the stuff first to make sure I enjoyed it. I did!


Aerocanard (modified) SN:ACPB-0226 (Chapter 8)

Canardspeed.com (my build log and more; usually lags behind actual progress)
Flight simulator (X-plane) flight model master: X-Aerodynamics

(GMT+12)

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Thanks so much for the information. It is good to know that I'm not going to be too out there building this far away from others. I'm just curious whether you find that you get enough support via questions in forums and pictures, or do you often find the lack of a human being that can come by and discuss issues with a real limiting factor?

I have a very limited amount of experience in composites on a small boat project I built recently. I'm actually thinking about reordering my next two projects and doing a larger composite sailboat first before the Cozy. It looks like a significantly easier project, would get my hands dirty so to speak with composites, and would probably complete around the time that international travel restrictions start to lift and I could try to get some practice flights in a Cozy somewhere around the time I'd begin building the Cozy.

I'll definitely check out your build log online. Thanks again and good luck on building!

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Build log is broken - on the to-do list!

I haven't found the distance from other canard builders to be a big deal. Online support is really good and with a little research most things can be figured out.


Aerocanard (modified) SN:ACPB-0226 (Chapter 8)

Canardspeed.com (my build log and more; usually lags behind actual progress)
Flight simulator (X-plane) flight model master: X-Aerodynamics

(GMT+12)

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To address some of your questions:

I built most of my Cozy without ever sitting  or flying in one.  Almost done and it went great.

There are no other homebuilt airplane projects or builders anywhere close to me, but the internet support is fantastic and its all you need.

These canards are ez to fly... things just occur faster.

A secondhand small tabletop fridge with a lightbulb makes a great (free) hot box.

Don’t try to incorporate computers or CNC into the build.  The plans teach you to handcraft the plane... follow the plans if you ever want to finish.  Its very fun and rewarding to build one.  CNC only makes sense if you plan to build many planes.  


Andrew Anunson

I work underground and I play in the sky... no problem

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It is good to hear from someone in a similar situation that internet support is enough for this kind of project. Thanks for sharing your experience.

As I've been researching home built aircraft here in Thailand, I just found out that there is in fact a completed Cozy MkIV in Thailand. Sort of. 🤨

It turns out that a number of years ago, an engineering professor started a program to teach high school kids about engineering by building an airplane. Which plane? A Cozy MkIV. It took 7 years and had some contribution from over 3000 students. 

After completing the plane, they didn't even test fly it, though. (If 3000 high school kids built my plane, I'd be afraid to test fly it too. Not sure how you'd sufficiently QC everyone's work.) They donated it to the National Science and Technology Development Agency for display.

Here is a link:

https://www.nstda.or.th/th/news/5238-201760508-cozy-mark-iv

Text is in Thai, but there are a handful of pictures.

I actually have a number of contacts in this organization, so I'm going to see if I can take a look at the plane and hopefully sit in it to see how it feels. On the ground.

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Nice looking airplane.  Post some pics if you go to see it.


-Kent
Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

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Just a quick update:

I've spent the past few weeks working my contacts and I've gotten in touch with someone that invited me to come by and look at the plane sometime in November. I'll try to post some pictures here.

If the cockpit feels like it fits, then it might be time for me to order the plans. 😁

Side question: from a casual observer standpoint (i.e. not taking the plans apart and looking inside), are there any points on the plane I can look at to get a sense of the quality of construction of this plane? Are there any connections that are hard to get to line up perfectly, or lines hard to get straight that would give me a very rough sense of how much care they put into building it?

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There are many builder sites that show good workmanship.  You could look through the pics on my "Sales I've seen" thread.  Good workmanship is fairly self-evident and most builders are pretty careful.  Some are too careful and never get to the end.  But when I see ragged lines of fibergalss tapes in the corners, aluminum with sharp un-smoothed edges (all pretty rare), it is disheartening but even ugly airplanes can be sound.  It is very hard to build a beautiful Rutan airplane unless you have looked at a lot of them and see good workmanship.  Even mine, Plans #350, is rougher than I would build one today.  Not bad but I see things I would do better.

An EZ:    http://www.aryjglantz.com/p/blog-page.html?m=0 

http://cozy.caf.org/propeller/index.shtml

and "other folks Cozies" here   http://www.cozybuilders.org/

Edited by Kent Ashton

-Kent
Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

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I mentioned previously that I serendipitously stumbled across what is almost certainly the only Cozy MkIV built in Thailand. It was high-school student built under supervision by university engineering professors, and it was never certified to fly after completion.

It is now sitting in a workshop at a university in Bangkok. So last week I managed to get an appointment and go down there to check it out. Here are some pictures I took around the plane:

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So now that I've gotten a chance to "get my hands on the real thing" (even if it doesn't fly), I have a few questions to ask you guys about moving forwards with a Cozy project of my own...

1. I'm guessing the plane I sat in was built to Asian body sizes, because everyone I was with fit perfectly. But my legs barely fit through the hole in the front panel to reach the rudder peddles, and once through, the peddles were probably a good 4-6 inches too close to comfortably fly. (I'm about 6'3" tall.) These spacings are adjustable at build time, correct? (Maybe move the front seat back and sacrifice leg room in the back? Or might the peddles have a few inches to move forwards?)

2. When I tried to close the canopy while I was in the pilot seat, it hit me in the head. :) With the help of others, we found that the canopy was about 4" from fully closed when I could feel the top start to touch my hair. The seats are fairly low to begin with, although I can see way over the top of the dashboard. (My eyeline is a little over a foot above the top of the dashboard... is that normal?) I do have access to custom acrylic shops that can produce a custom canopy, but does changing the shape of the canopy cause any significant aerodynamic concerns? Are there other people in the 6'+ height range that have been able to sit comfortably in a Cozy MkIV? What did you guys do?

3. The professors at the university seemed like they regretted that no one ever took an interest in trying to certify the plane for airworthiness. They sort of asked me if I was interested enough to partner with the university to get the plane to the airworthy stage. At this point, it has been sitting in storage for a few years, so it has quite a bit of dust, and a few linkage issues, etc. (The ailerons seemed to move freely when adjusting the flight controls, but the elevator didn't feel connected at all.) All the wiring was in place behind the control panel but I didn't try to turn it on. The engine hasn't been started in a few years (and then I think it was only started once or twice and run up a few times while the plane was parked) so it presumably needs an overhaul. But this plane has a fully equipped brand new Garmin glass cockpit, a brand new engine and propeller, brand new landing gear and brakes, Insight strike finder lightning detection, etc. Since I was thinking to build a Cozy from scratch, I'm wondering whether this might be a reasonable "smaller project". Although I'm not sure what would be involved in restoring a derelict brand-new plane built by a bunch of students. If I were willing to take the plane completely apart and evaluate the entire thing piece-by-piece to evaluate the build quality of each individual piece and connection and repair what needs repairing, rebuild what needs rebuilding, and put the plane back together... is this a project that would be less or more work than building a new Cozy from scratch?

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It would probably be half the work of building from scratch.    There is no good way to check if all the proper layups were done correctly.  You mainly have to look at the airplane and decide if you trust the student workmanship.  Inspect their builder-log and compare it to the plans.  For example, winglet attach layups are a biggie.  You want them done correctly.   Canard attach tabs: inspect them closely.  Did they take pictures?  That would help a lot.   Make sure you can get it licensed in Thailand.

Your cushions look very thick.  Substituting one or two layers of 1" Temperfoam might help there.  A thick seat-back pushes you forward so it will help to go thinner there too.  I suspect the canopy will not be tall enough either way, but try the thinner cushions.  Pedals can be relocated forward.  With thinner cushions and longer brake pedals, you could get away without moving the seat-back, which is a big job.  The plans-style brake pedals are not used much these days.  Most people are using a so-called "lay-down" master-cylinders.     Example here:   http://ljosnes.no/cozy/step-7-installing-the-master-brake-cylinders/

It'd be a fairly big job to raise the canopy and turtledeck but it could be done.  There are layups that overlap the turtledeck and firewall so the firewall would have to be exposed to replace them.    The old canopy might be removed from the frame and reused.    Larger canopies are often used these days.  Several guys on the Cozylist doing them.  I do not think a larger canopy would make much difference in the aero. 

The plane looks rough.  See around the nose.  In your last picture, notice the waviness in the leading edge of the strakes.  So you have a fair amount of refinishing to do but the joint work looks good and the flight surfaces look pretty even.  Yeah, I imagine the engine will need a teardown, possibly rebuilding.  Personally I wouldn't partner with the school.  Either buy it leave it be.


-Kent
Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

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