I'm going to build an airplane, despite FloatFlyer constantly trying to talk me out of it. It's going to happen and my target kit buy date is next Fall. That means I have the summer to attend OshKosh and Arlington and maybe even visit some factories.
I sold my Cessna 170B for a few different reasons, one of which was to devote some time and money to my new house, but the other reason, and just as important, is the fact that I am no longer interested in owning certified aircraft. I started in the Experimental/ultralight world, and I enjoy it. I want something shiny and new that's configured and rigged the way I want, without jumping through the field approval and STC hoops.
I've become drawn back to the 100-hp class of tailwheel airplanes that are becoming so much more popular these days with the LSA rules, like the Kitfox 7, the Highlander, and the Rans S7. These little airplanes are capable of completing my mission about 80% of the time-- fun flying within 50 miles of home, VFR, and off-airport. They will provide better performance than my 170, come close to or exceed my 170's cruise speed, and do it with a lower fuel burn. Estimated build cost would be around $50k.
What they can't do however is haul the family. No kids yet, but it's on the distant horizon and could be reality by the time I finish the build. Enter the 4-place kits like the Bearhawk and the Dream Tundra. Cost more to complete ($80-100k), larger and thirstier engines add to the operational cost, and the engine selection is the same old stagnant technology large displacement boxer offerings from Continental and Lycoming. No electronic fuel injection or ignition to the best of my knowledge. Right?
Plus, the Tundra is nearly a Skywagon class machine. It weighs over 100 lbs more than my 170 did with not much gain in cruise.
Some will make the argument that a C-180 could be had for much less than it costs to build a Tundra. Well, it wouldn't be new, and it would be certified. Dealbreaker.
It seems like there is nothing in between. Does the 3rd passenger pretty much require an extra 80 horsepower? Is it the absence of a good 150 hp engine for the Experimental market, O-320 notwithstanding? I used my 170 like a 2-place aircraft with a large cargo area, but my wife-to-be told me last night that she was always annoyed that we couldn't bring more people. Even in a Skywagon class machine, hauling human meat is a tall order, especially into mountains. Should I just accept that the cost to get into that realm is too great?
I need 2 airplanes.
PS: I promise to have BCP 2.0 finished before starting a kit.