Rob's Cozy IV
This page is dedicated to my Cozy Mark IV (Serial #870) experimental aircraft. Some time ago, I decided that it would be nice to own my own airplane. Checking around I found that anything that was big enough to be worthwhile (that is hold four people) was way out of my budget. A typical used Cessna would run somewhere around $70,000. Then of course there was the maintenance involved. The cost to have a certified A&P mechanic to do work to the thing was very high (which sucks, because you know that the guy doing the work isn't driving the BMW home). So I started researching acceptable 4 place experimentals. Essentially, an experimental aircraft is an aircraft that is built for "education and recreation". Don't worry about the education part, you learn something new everyday, but the recreation part? Well, it isn't all fun, can be very frustrating at times, but when you step back and take a look at what you created, it is worth it!!
A Cozy Decision
There are lots of companies out there willing to take your money for a four place kit and many of them have very nice looking aircraft. My criteria was simple. First, no expensive kits, I didn't have $20,000 in cash waiting to be spent on a kit. No partial kits, too many of these companies go out of business. It is hard to put a wing on the fuselage if the company that sells the wing is bankrupt. So it had to be plans built (this really narrowed the field). I was down to two real choices the Cozy IV and the BD-4. I liked the BD-4 and the way it went together, it was all aluminum (a plus since I have experience with metal aircraft), and supposed to be easy to build. Drawbacks included, not a lot of support available for builders, hard to obtain items like the main spar (6" OD 2024-T3), metal cutting is loud and annoys the neighbors.
So why the Cozy? Well, first it was based on Burt Rutans Vari-Eze, which I fell in love with the first time I saw one. It was composite (which I was told, was better than riveting (NOT!!!)) so it is more forgiving than aluminum, it is fast (cruise at 200mph!), had excellent range, support is awesome!
A Sticky Situation With Epoxies
Something about composites that you should be warned about well in advance of working with them. They are not body friendly, that is you will be taking daily baths in toxins. Many people are allergic to the chemicals! If you are not when you start, you can develop an allergy to them later. That happened to me, I always wore latex gloves to work with the epoxies. Three months into the project after a long layup on my canard my fingers would not stop itching, swollen red and very painful. Hmmmm....doctor says, stop working on it...Hmmm no way, I am going to finish this thing. So I start using invisible gloves, cotton liners, nyplex gloves, and latex gloves...man your hands get hot in there. Still have some problems but greatly reduced. Also I limit the hours of exposure (i.e. no long layups). I am doing okay for now... I have been told that the chemicals used for the epoxies can seep through the latex, and the nylex and the invisible gloves. I know of one builder who puts on butyl gloves and latex gloves to protect them. He says that works, I might try that. For those with sensitive skin the dust from the foam can also act as an irritant, and can make you itch like you rubbed up against fiberglass insulation. So be ready for these problems when you start!!
A Builders Log Saga
Building an experimental aircraft requires that one keep a log book describing what work they have done, and a date that they performed it, along with some pictures. No problem, being a computer programmer by trade, I kept mine on my computer. Log and images stored digitally for easy recall and printing. Until, of course, I upgraded my hard drive and the WESTERN DIGITAL disk utility program fdisk'd my drive. I don't think that I have ever cursed so much in my entire life! Next day I was on the phone to my local FAA FSDO, inquirying what to do. No problem, document what I can remember and then keep the book up to date. Apparently, this log book isn't as critical as I thought.
It Does A Builder Good!
This paragraph is dedicated to my wife Beverly! Without her, this project would not even be started. She is extremely understanding of the nights and weekends the plane consumes. Although my progress slowed down during the fall due to a new addition to our family, she still makes sure that I get time to keep working on the plane! She is truly a pilot and builders dream! My children are very understanding as well, and even though they don't care much to help, they are excited about the idea of building an airplane!
|My Favorite Cozy Sites|
|The Official Cozy Homepage
|Unofficial Cozy Homepage (lots of good stuff!)
|John Slade's (The best builders Cozy Site!)
|4||Bulkheads and Firewall||Completed||6/15/00||49|
|8||Headrest, Seat Belts, Heat Duct||Completed||4/22/01||5|
|9||Landing Gear & Brake||Completed||6/12/02||168|
|19||Wings & Ailerons||Completed||08/19/01||184|
|20||Winglets & Rudders||Completed||09/02/01||62|
|24||Covers & Fairings||Not Started|