Not to be outdone by Local Motors and their open source Rally Fighter vehicle, the team at MakerPlane is hard at work on version 1.0 of their open source aircraft. While they are still at least 2 years away from a working prototype, things are moving along briskly and the team is ready to show off some of their results.
Open Source Aviation
The MakerPlane team hopes to deliver a kit-built aircraft that leverages modern advancements in areas such as CNC fabrication and 3D printing to greatly reduce the time and complexity of aircraft construction. While kit planes have been available for years, they are notoriously difficult for new builders to complete. At the same time, new construction techniques combined with open source hardware and software should drive down the astronomical cost of aircraft ownership.
The mission of MakerPlane is to create innovative and game-changing aircraft, avionics and related systems and the transformational manufacturing processes to build them. As a result of this aim, aircraft can be built with consistent, repeatable and highly accurate processes which create safer flying at lower cost.
Once completed, MakerPlane intends to release the plans and any related software for free, and make their money selling parts and service. So while you will be able to buy a kit from them, you could also fabricate your whole plane from scratch if you had access to the raw materials and equipment.
The MakerPlane 1.0 will be a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), which is loosely defined as an aircraft weighing less than 1,320 pounds on takeoff and having a top speed of under 120 knots. Piloting the MakerPlane will require a Sport Pilot Certificate, which only requires half the time and expense to obtain compared to a traditional license.
The team estimates their current completion level at only 5%, with the only serious work so far being done to the airframe (the actual body of the aircraft). Other systems, such as the flight controls, engine, and electronics, haven’t even been touched yet.
Accordingly, it’s still way to early to put a price tag on the materials to build your own MakerPlane, much less the kits. But given the average cost of similar aircraft, a MakerPlane should fall in at around $30,000 or so; much more and it would be at the same price of existing entry level kit aircraft.