2000 RG questions

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Bad_karma
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:13 am

2000 RG questions

Post by Bad_karma » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:50 pm

I've been reading up on the Express and I'm really impressed with the performance and handling from what I read. Don't know why anyone would buy a Cirrus for 3-5 times the completed cost and less performance. I hope someday I can build one. I have a few questions about the RG. I'd call or email the factory but this is so far into 'pie-in-the-sky' land that I don't want to waste anybody's time (they are still making RG kits, right?). But people come to internet forums for this sort of thing.

I'm looking at starting a traveling sales job, and there's a possibility I can get mileage reimbursement from my employer for flight time. So I'm trying to figure speeds and operating costs to see what airframes would fit my mission. I'll be serving all of Texas, and likely a few neighboring States. I'd guess a 500+ nm radius. Have a wife and a 9 month old. Will likely have 1-2 more kids in the next few years. Can the Express be built with seating for 3 kids in the back?

What kind of costs are you guys seeing? By my best guess, insurance would likely run about $3,000/year for a $200k hull value (assuming some pretty choice avionics). What are your insurance requirements? Instrument rating and 500tt? I know the Lancair is about impossible to insure, but the Express has much more docile handling. It isn't as well known, however. Other than hangar, it looks like the Express is just a matter of fuel and oil burn since I'd be doing my own condition inspections.

Is Vne 230 knots on the 2000 RG, i.e. the same as the other models? I'd assume so if it's control flutter that dictates this. This is KIAS, right? How fast (KTAS) can I expect to go at altitude with a turbocharged io-540 or 550? The website states 215, is that typical? Would more horsepower (i.e. a turboprop) make it cruise any faster?

What is the turboprop performance like with a Walter 601 or comparable engine? What kind of TAS is achievable at altitude? Are such installations desirable or sane?

I know this is a fast cross-country airplane, but it sounds like the soft/short field performance is pretty good. Can a competent and current pilot safely operate a moderately loaded (or even at max gross) 2000 RG with a turbocharged 540/550 out of a 3,000' grass strip (800 msl or so, but Texas heat in the summer)?

I saw from the manual that chandelles and lazy 8's were tested, but no spins. Obviously this is not an aerobatic aircraft, but it does have a reasonably high G-limit and control rod actuated flight controls. Are there any 'gentleman aerobatics' that are safe (or even remotely sane) to attempt occasionally (i.e. loops, aileron rolls, etc)?

Sorry for the 1,000 questions,
-Dan

kevin
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Re: 2000 RG questions

Post by kevin » Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:43 am

Ok, here goes. I am a CFI with an express, 100 hours or so in type, and I give transition training if you buy one. I have flown several in various states of completion and condition. If you get a kit, it will be an older kit and may or may not be complete so keep that in mind. The fixed gear version with an IO 540 cruises at 160 knots on around 14-15 GPH. Like Cirrus and Cessna found out, no need for retracts. They add weight and increase your cost to insure. The IO-360 version cruises at 140-145 on 9 gph. Both take off and land the same, just more speed for more fuel on the 540 version.

The condition inspections have to be done by an A&P or the builder, not just a buyer. Even after its built, the builder would have to go to a class to be able to do the inspections.

If you get a kit, figure between 1500 and 2000 man hours to build the kit. And, things like the interior trim you have to make the molds and then make the part which takes a bit longer. Just FYI.

Kevin Alderman
239-896-7576

Bad_karma
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:13 am

Re: 2000 RG questions

Post by Bad_karma » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:48 am

So I take it, then, that the factory is no longer in business? I know several Express companies have gone under, but I've seen posts as recently as last year saying the current company is still in business, and the website is still up (albeit not updated recently).

282ex
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:59 am

Re: 2000 RG questions

Post by 282ex » Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:16 pm

Not sure what direction you went but Composite Aircraft Technology is still in business. Just had a conversation today with someone that works there. It is a small operation, they dont really have an IT/Web development team staffed so the site is outdated. I would give Darrell a call if you're still interested in a new kit.
Erik Petersen
Wheeler Express Series 90 Auriga
Everett, Wa

Bad_karma
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:13 am

Re: 2000 RG questions

Post by Bad_karma » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:34 am

This is great news!

jchisolm
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:56 pm

Re: 2000 RG questions

Post by jchisolm » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:32 pm

I'll add a few things. My express CT has been a work in progress for years. I bought my first set of wings back in 1989. The project sat for many years. I was not happy with my wing construction so I was able to pick up another wing kit about 5 years ago. It's still a work in progress. I've been through, 3 or is it 4 bankruptcies and change of ownerships.

Ask yourself if you really want to fly or really have a life long dream of building your own. If your real desire is to fly for your job and fly with your family, go buy a spam can or completed kit. Trying to build a kit in a reasonable time frame is going to suck every single free minute you have and then some. You have to work on it each day otherwise the next thing you know weeks or months have gone by.

If you search around you may find an express for sale. It's probably going to be in the 60k-80k range. It will probably need an avionics upgrade and most likely ADS-B update.

If you do decide on someones Express kit know that you will have to fabricate a lot of parts even if the kit is fairly complete. I don't think any of the older kits were 100% complete. Seems everyone was missing something. Some of the parts on the current 2000 series are the same but the wings, tail, controls, etc are different. You can get the windows from LP Aero and the main gear from Grove. Landing gear brackets seem to be the same. Bell cranks and such are easy to deal with as are bearings and such. The bid glass is 7781 but I'm not sure about any of the uni glass. Derakane VE resin you can get from Aircraft Spruce or other suppliers. I get mine from www.sherfab.com. Foam core you can get from multiple places, most is 4.5lb foam. The 40lb stuff used for Rib R,J and hard points can be hard to find. Daryl may have it. I got some from Glasair. G10 hard blocks you can buy from E-Plastics (I think it is).

The last kit price I saw from Composite Air was almost 66K for the 2000 fixed gear. That does not include the IO-540, prop or avionics and interior. I'd have to look at my price list but I think my 3 display G3x I want is over 20K. For that money you can get a reasonable Piper Archer that you can fly today. While I'm building I have a Cherokee 140. Cheap to insure (less than my car) and annual and cheap to fly. I spend less than $1500 a year on insurance and annual. It's not a rocket but what would be a 8 hour road trip is a 3 hour flight.

I'm not trying to steer you away from the Express. I'm really looking forward to the day when I can fly mine. Just go into this with eyes wide open.
Joe Chisolm
Express CT builder
Marble Falls, Texas

Bad_karma
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:13 am

Re: 2000 RG questions

Post by Bad_karma » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:15 pm

Thanks for the input, you have some excellent points.

-Dan
Georgetown, TX

jchisolm
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:56 pm

Re: 2000 RG questions

Post by jchisolm » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:34 am

You are welcome. Those are just points from what I have learned. I watch many of the builder channels on youtube. A lot of these guys are airline or emt or retired where they have consecutive blocks of days off to work on the project. Juggling daily work, family, house hold chores and other things can leave little time to work on the project. Been there done that. Back when I worked as a contract programmer I could adjust my schedule or project time lines and get a full week a month of dedicated plane building time. Now that I'm a corporate drone I have trouble finding time to just go fly the Cherokee.

If you do decide to go the kit approach decide how much you can spend on day 1. I dont know if Composite Air offers wing,fuselage, etc kits or you just have to get the entire thing. In any case, for the 2000 I would only buy if I can get the entire thing. If I was doing a Vans RV-10 that's a different story, I'd have no problem doing the different kits as I could afford them. Why? Van's sells a boat load of kits. Their web site says 1.5 new RV fly every day. Over 10K currently flying. Van's has solid financials. I watched the whole kit building industry in the 90's and saw too many people with partial kits, $$$$ spent and no way to complete the kit - not just Express.

Just sharing lessons learned over the years.
Joe Chisolm
Express CT builder
Marble Falls, Texas

282ex
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:59 am

Re: 2000 RG questions

Post by 282ex » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:45 pm

jchisolm wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:32 pm
I'll add a few things. My express CT has been a work in progress for years. I bought my first set of wings back in 1989. The project sat for many years. I was not happy with my wing construction so I was able to pick up another wing kit about 5 years ago. It's still a work in progress. I've been through, 3 or is it 4 bankruptcies and change of ownerships.

Ask yourself if you really want to fly or really have a life long dream of building your own. If your real desire is to fly for your job and fly with your family, go buy a spam can or completed kit. Trying to build a kit in a reasonable time frame is going to suck every single free minute you have and then some. You have to work on it each day otherwise the next thing you know weeks or months have gone by.

If you search around you may find an express for sale. It's probably going to be in the 60k-80k range. It will probably need an avionics upgrade and most likely ADS-B update.

If you do decide on someones Express kit know that you will have to fabricate a lot of parts even if the kit is fairly complete. I don't think any of the older kits were 100% complete. Seems everyone was missing something. Some of the parts on the current 2000 series are the same but the wings, tail, controls, etc are different. You can get the windows from LP Aero and the main gear from Grove. Landing gear brackets seem to be the same. Bell cranks and such are easy to deal with as are bearings and such. The bid glass is 7781 but I'm not sure about any of the uni glass. Derakane VE resin you can get from Aircraft Spruce or other suppliers. I get mine from www.sherfab.com. Foam core you can get from multiple places, most is 4.5lb foam. The 40lb stuff used for Rib R,J and hard points can be hard to find. Daryl may have it. I got some from Glasair. G10 hard blocks you can buy from E-Plastics (I think it is).

The last kit price I saw from Composite Air was almost 66K for the 2000 fixed gear. That does not include the IO-540, prop or avionics and interior. I'd have to look at my price list but I think my 3 display G3x I want is over 20K. For that money you can get a reasonable Piper Archer that you can fly today. While I'm building I have a Cherokee 140. Cheap to insure (less than my car) and annual and cheap to fly. I spend less than $1500 a year on insurance and annual. It's not a rocket but what would be a 8 hour road trip is a 3 hour flight.

I'm not trying to steer you away from the Express. I'm really looking forward to the day when I can fly mine. Just go into this with eyes wide open.
I've been building a take over project for 4 years. The above is solid advice. I joined a flying club for $200/mo of which $175 goes to wet hours.

I know the last price list is old and Darrell will be making some updates to the site soon along with the price lists.
Erik Petersen
Wheeler Express Series 90 Auriga
Everett, Wa

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