|MakerPlane President John Nicol introduces his project in the new Innovations Pavilion at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. (photo by Marino Boric)
By Marino Boric, EAA European Correspondent
July 28, 2013 - MakerPlane, the open-source aviation community, has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the completion of its two-seat experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA).
The goal of the MakerPlane 60-day campaign is to generate $75,000 to complete the design, perform test flights, and release open-source plans that will allow anyone to download and build the aircraft.
MakerPlane is located in the Innovations Pavilion and has chosen EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 as the ideal start for its aircraft.
Indiegogo's crowdsourcing platform allows organizations to raise funds for specific projects through donations. In return, rewards or perks are given.
The funds are being used for tooling and materials and time is being donated by MakerPlane team members to complete the project. MakerPlane is planning to have the complete prototype of the two-seat LSA built by Oshkosh 2014 and if possible to fly it here in 2015.
The aircraft has been designed and optimized to be built on home-based or "makerspace" CNC equipment and sports features such as slots and tabs to ease construction and speed up the assembly process. According to John Nicol, MakerPlane founder and president, he built the CNC mill for about $800, and anyone else can build it, too.
All other materials for building the aircraft will be within everybody's reach, most of them out of local home improvement stores.
The design process for the MakerPlane LSA began in late 2011 and building has started on the first prototype. It is a truly international collaborative effort with Jeffrey Meyer, the aeronautical engineer responsible for the design, and contributing design team members in Canada and the United States.
Suggestions and supporting comments were received from another 30-plus countries around the world.
"A contribution to MakerPlane goes beyond getting these free plans out to the world," Nicol said.
"It's a contribution to a movement that is looking to make building aircraft using modern digital home-based manufacturing equipment easy, affordable, and accessible."
The company is working on technology that will allow novice builders to point a smartphone camera at an aircraft part and have it display build and assembly information over the part on the screen.
Supporters can view the Indiegogo campaign and visit MakerPlane at Innovations Pavilion Booth 23.