The Fravel TundraHawk Conversion is moving along well. The paper-only STC is currently available, for anyone who wants to use OEM Cessna parts. I have made one sale to a man who had collected the Cessna parts.
This morning I was at the water jet cutter, making a final adjustment to the CNC files for the inboard gearbox bracket, and to the upper "spar cap" for the forward gearbox bulkhead. I'm really proud of the clever-ass way that part turned out... mucho less money, 20% stronger part, mucho easier installation.
To answer the most common question, related to the 172TW versus 170B selection question... I cannot yet accurately guess the price for my proposed parts kit. I know the cost of the materials and processes... far less than OEM parts... but I do not yet know how many banks and liquor stores I will have to rob to get it through STC and PMA approval. Unless some extinction-level event happens, I WILL win this battle sooner or later, the kit WILL be approved, and I WILL offer a parts kit. It WILL be far less expensive than OEM parts, because if it is not then the entire effort won't have been worth starting.
It may indeed be more money to convert a 172 than it would be to buy a B model 170... even with my dedicated slashing of the upgrade costs. But it also may be reasonably close. But the number of low time, un-broken, not bent, not abused 170B's out there is far less than the number of reasonably good old straight tail 172's.
Everyone is always quick to point out that a 170 or 172TW will not ever be a 180, with the moveable tail. They are correct... a 172 TW will NEVER be able to match the macho fuel flow, insurance cost, maintenance cost, acquisition cost, and heavier feel of a 180
In response to previous comments about how big and expensive of a project the conversion is... I will be making VERY significant reductions in the amount of disassembly and surgery required. This will have a very large effect on the costs if you have to take it to a shop to do.
At the discretion of the forum admin, I will be glad to address any specific questions or flaming arrows here, or on the previous Fravel thread, as directed.