is it even possible?

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Alexia

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as some of you may know, i have plans to build a homemade plane.
well, after calculating the cost of such a project i came to a conclusion that i can't do it because i can't afford the engine so i almost settled on a lame hang glider until i came up with a briliant idea to use a rocket because it's literally a hundred times cheaper (yes literally, i did the math) and a hundred times cooler.

anyway, i'm not a rocket expert so i asked for some guidance on a rocketry forum and immediately got bombarded with about 50 replies saying crap like "this is a horrible idea, you'll kill yourself, i bet this guy is a troll, don't do this.."
among those were also a bunch of comments saying how i need certain high level certificates and FAA permits to launch just a rocket on its own with no cargo and how a manned flight would require a whole shitload of additional paperwork on top of all that.

now that i know all that i'm wondering something: is it even possible to legally do what i'm planning? i mean, i don't think any aviation administration would ever approve a launch of a manned rocket boosted aircraft that was entirely homemade out of hardware store materials.
i'd have to waste years of my life just to acquire that damn "L3" certificate thing to legally launch unmanned rockets, even more years for flight training, and on top of that another bunch of years to get the license to operate a real manned rocket. that's at least a decade of time wasted and i already spent two decades just dreaming of such a project.

all that crap convinced me it's impossible for me to do it "by the book" and that it'd be a whole lot faster, cheaper, and actually possible to just do it my way and worry about the government later
 

LittleSissieJolie

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cool. There's one more, you probably looked into it but I'm going to look into it, a monogyro. Like the one in "Road Warrior". If it's still legal it'll be barely. It looks like a lot of fun. Some have no sense of adventure. There's a show on TV called "Outrageous Acts Of Science" which is on youtube as well, dude in England made a rocket bicycle. I can visualize that applied to a Gyro.

There's a way to find out what is or not possible. If it's forbidden it can be done. Like there's no law forbidden to flap your arms and fly to the moon.
 

Alexia

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i wouldn't ever fly a gyro. that thing makes me anxious just by looking at it ever since i found out it's not actually a mini helicopter.

anyway, i did check the amateur aviation laws of my country and there wasn't anything written about rockets. but regardless of that i'd still be breaking a bunch of other laws by launching this thing. i really don't think it's possible to do it legally
 

RubberJin

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I'd have to ask what your level of experience / education / skill is before you attempt something like this?

Also, I'd be curious as to your budgeting on this?

I don't want to teach you to suck eggs but there is a massive difference between a piston or jet engine and a rocket, and they are used very differently for very good reasons.

Small piston-engined planes can be home-built pretty economically as far as I'm aware, with relatively minimal and well-understood approval systems to allow you to fly them.
 

dogboy

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Don't rockets use a lot of fuel in a short span of time? Why not take flying lessons and get your pilots liscense. You'd be flying a real plane while you trained and then you could get a job flying commercial planes. In every scenario, someone else is supplying and paying for a plane.
 

Alexia

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I'd have to ask what your level of experience / education / skill is before you attempt something like this?

Also, I'd be curious as to your budgeting on this?

I don't want to teach you to suck eggs but there is a massive difference between a piston or jet engine and a rocket, and they are used very differently for very good reasons.

Small piston-engined planes can be home-built pretty economically as far as I'm aware, with relatively minimal and well-understood approval systems to allow you to fly them.
my experience on this field is non existent, my "education" would probably sit on a level a bit beyond of understanding every single thing that some professors would preach to the crowd at a science fair, and my skill is debatable. i just kinda have a talent for naturally being really good at such things.

anyways, the budget for this project was never determined. i don't wanna go into details because of personal reasons but just to give you some perspective of how low it is, i couldn't even afford the cheapest of the cheap underpowered single cylinder engines and i'm using foam boards and pvc pipes for construction materials because that's the best i can get on such a laughable budget.

Don't rockets use a lot of fuel in a short span of time? Why not take flying lessons and get your pilots liscense. You'd be flying a real plane while you trained and then you could get a job flying commercial planes. In every scenario, someone else is supplying and paying for a plane.
well, the rocket is a tradeoff. it's 100x cheaper at a cost of being 1000x less practical but unlike a piston engine i can actually afford it so that's what sealed the deal.

there are a few issues that prevent me from getting proper flight training:
first of all, i'm 50% sure i wouldn't pass the medical exam and 100% sure i'd fail the ocular exam, and second of all, money. what makes you think i can pay for all this crap if i can't even afford the cheapest engine for my project?

besides, this is not about getting to fly a plane. ever since i was a little kid it's been my dream to build my own flying machine. how could i feel like i accomplished this lifetime goal if i just rent some cessna that was built in a factory? i have to do it on my own without anyone interferring
 

KiwiBoi

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BoundCoder

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Just like you were previously underestimating the complexity of building an airplane, you are drastically underestimating the difficulty of building a rocket. Just like planes, these things don't scale linearly. Building a rocket that could launch a person isn't just building a bigger version of a model rocket. Forces that have negligible effect on a 1 foot cardboard tube with a symmetrical nose cone and a mass measured in grams become increasingly difficult to deal with as you increase mass and decrease symmetry. You just need to look into the history of the modern rocket. It took nation level funding, teams of very smart people, and several years to launch rockets of any size that didn't immediately lose control on launch or just blow up.

I get that you want to build this thing, but to answer the question posed in the title: no, this is not possible except in the sense that absolutely nothing is impossible, just extremely improbable. Deciding you can't afford an engine to build a light aircraft using an approved and tested design (a realistic way to achieve your goal), so instead buying a bunch of explosives is, well, insane.
 

dogboy

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I like what KiwiBoi suggested as that looks a lot more practical and feasible. I'm pretty sure that in the U. S., you don't need a pilot's liscense to fly an ultra-light. I'm not sure what the laws are in the U. K.
 

Slomo

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Assuming it's something like a sugar rocket you can make yourself, then one rocket would be barely enough to get a hang glider into the air for two seconds. Somethng more powerfull like a jato rocket would work for a short duration flight, but will require more money and red tape than you can burn through to even get one.

There is a reason why no orginazition in the world uses straight rockets for sustained flight. Because they are neither cheap, nor practical in that use. So no, not possible.
 

RubberJin

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Anything's possible, this guy built a plane but he already has a lot of experience:

https://hackaday.com/2017/11/01/how-to-build-an-airplane-in-a-month-and-a-half/

However, if you have no budget and are building something that will be a flimsy and likely borderline illegal death-trap that will be unlikely to fly for very long if at all... why? You could save up the money (and use the saved time to maybe do other thins or earn more money) and just pay for a plane ride / parachute jump / gliding session / flying lesson. You get the flying experience without all the mucking around. Model planes are a good entry to a lot of the challenges at a more manageable (and cheaper) scale.

I totally get the idea of climbing the mountain "because it's there", but you might want to pick your battles with a bit of care.
 

LittleSissieJolie

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I might get it. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. A book from the 60s and a Merciful God kept it from becoming a movie. Flight is the one constant of human desires and the one activity we are absolutely not prepared to do naturally. For me, I have so many physical quirks AND being on watchlists as being "associated" with political or religious or romantic organizations simply by being nice to strangers and one nation under surveillance... I would never be allowed to fly solo. That simple. However, I MIGHT finagle a series of flight training up to the part where I could get my chance to take the yoke. That and a bootleg aircraft kept in a hidden hangar with enough fuel to get to Mexico if it comes to that.

But that piloting with an instructor... that's less than 1% can do.
 

RubberJin

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you really don't get it
This is not meant to be rude but I'd "get it" if you were demonstrating a firmer grasp of physics / engineering / reality.

You know / have been told of the many many pitfalls and flaws in your plan - and that's not because people don't want you to follow your dreams or to succeed.

What's your actual end goal here - the main crux of what you're trying to achieve? To fly? Powered flight? To build your own flying machine? Answering this question is the first step to actually getting somewhere.
 

BoundCoder

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We don't live in a Disney movie. Dreams don't come true because you stubbornly refuse to acknowledge reality. Yes throughout history there have been occasions where the mobs of experts and naysayers have been proven wrong by one determined individual, but the vast majority of the time, when everyone is telling you something isn't going to work they are usually right.

Building your own aircraft is a perfectly achievable dream assuming you constrain yourself to reality. Many people have done it safely and legally, and at a cost that's not unrealistic. If you can't afford it now, you can't have it now. .. that's just reality. Your profile says you're 21. Most people at that age can't afford to do the things they want. That's why people strive to get into good careers and make good money, so you can work towards doing whatever it is you want to do with your life. You've got your whole life and career ahead of you. Maybe use this dream as motivation to fuel your career, focus on saving vs spending frivolously, and setting yourself up to actually do this thing rather than blowing yourself up in your backyard.
 

Andybun

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Just like you were previously underestimating the complexity of building an airplane, you are drastically underestimating the difficulty of building a rocket. Just like planes, these things don't scale linearly. Building a rocket that could launch a person isn't just building a bigger version of a model rocket. Forces that have negligible effect on a 1 foot cardboard tube with a symmetrical nose cone and a mass measured in grams become increasingly difficult to deal with as you increase mass and decrease symmetry. You just need to look into the history of the modern rocket. It took nation level funding, teams of very smart people, and several years to launch rockets of any size that didn't immediately lose control on launch or just blow up.

....
And a world war and specialists that were lured over the big pond past it, I may add.
 

Yooda

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Regarding rockets, you might want to check this out: https://youtu.be/CnSBw_sID2Y . This guy took some 60 years or so to finally get himself legally off the ground in a rocket. I was once briefly a student pilot, through to my first (and last) solo flight. I quit then, because after the solo flight, I soon realized that my friggin thoughts were inescapable, even when flying through the air at 300 mph!
 

DocBrown

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Teams of scientists supported by engineers and technicians built the first rockets in the mid 20th century. Pretty much all of them blew up. Yeah, eventually they got one off the ground, but it was prototype 17 or so...

Stick with a plane. How are ultralights regulated in your jurisdiction?
 

LittleSissieJolie

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My jurisdiction has so many (18 acknowledged) military bases around here, and I'm in walking distance of Cheyenne Mountain, there are so many No Fly Zones it's not easy to find a place to fly a kite.
 
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