Ok ok, firstly I know I'm in for a lot of stick on this one, particularly because of previous experiences with VP1s that certain members of this board have experienced. However, I am on the verge of buying a very nice example that is currently for sale. It has about 400 hours of flying under it's belt and is a G reg, fully up to date on checks etc.
Now I'm trying to work out the costs of ownership. I intend to fly around 100 hours a year in it, and am looking to either base it at Enstone or Kidlington in Oxfordshire. However, what are the requirements and costs of owning a VP1? i.e Insurance, maintenance etc?
Any help would be much appreciated. I'm hopefully looking forward to a summer of fun, low speed, open cockpit, cheap flying!
1st you need to phone an aviation insurance co and get a quote. No point in getting hull insurance, just go for the statuary minimum third party. It is hard to guess what the quote will be as it depends on your experience etc.
Maintenance will probably be around £300 per year all in.
Fuel for 100 hours will be about £1400, if you use mogas and about £2000 ish if you use avgas.
Hangerage, I have no idea at the sites you are looking at but at a farm strip you will probably pay less than £1000 a year.
You need to be a member of the PFA, which is £40ish
You will need to see a good psycho annalist on a regular basis, say £4000 a year.
Don't worry about the sniggering, the VP1 is a good honest little aeroplane. A good one is about as much fun as you can get for your money, but a bad one will leave you in a cold sweat! If it's the one I'm guessing it is, you won't regret it ... great fun, and despite the prejudice, not a bad performer really.
Piles of flying maybe ! I reckon if CaptainY intends to do 100+ hours a year a few minor blips down south aren't going to stop him !! CaptainY, best of luck and put the VP on a strip if you want to really enjoy yourself. There are some good VP1's about. I can think of one - G-BAPP which even had a bubble canopy. Very swish.
Excellent! Thanks for the replies chaps! Very helpful indeed and some interesting facts about the costs etc as well. Hopefully I'll be buying the aircraft in the next few weeks, and even better I may now be going 50/50 with someone on it!
I flew tKf's Veep once. Once really was enough! My mission was to fly her the 25 nm to my strip. The vendor was so keen to get rid of her that he actually came and collected me in a rather lovely and sensible aeroplane and took me to the broom cupboard where 'TT lived by the side of a hangar
The VeePee 1. One rather sits on it than in it and at the threshold of 27 I was questioning my sanity and mortality. The take-off run was incredibly long, as I reached my decision point, she began to get light and floated into ground effect. Acceleration was not exactly cosmic but we eventually found a speed where she would climb. Climb might be an exageration, it may have been the curve of the earth that caused the levitation.
This was certainly no home-sick angel and I seemed to be heading westwards for ages before I was far away enough from the ground to attempt a turn without fear of a wing tip digging into the ground.
Once I was heading east the tailwind made cross country flying possible. Navigation really was simple because never truer was the adage, IFR = I follow roads. The VP has refined this to IFT. IFT = I follow tractors. I don't mean the large yellow Norfolk-boy sports car, the ubiquitous JCB Fastrac. The early seventies David Brown (DB of Aston Martin) 800 series that can't quite reach 27mph was a perfectly satisfactory formation partner. No need for the tractor driver to know the CFS formation hand signals either - we just shouted at each other.
Eventually thanks to the late summer afternoon sunshine, thermal activity meant that I was at 700' and plenty high enough to stall her so that I could multiply the wing-break by 1.3 add 5 for mum and thereby determine my approach speed.
My arse could pucker no more, so I took a deep breath and closed the throttle. As the lever came off the forward stop for the first time since opening the taps on the take-off run, she began to descend. I countered this with ever ensuing back presure on the stick whilst watching the ASI. The red needle dropped from its initial position of 62mph, quickly it went through 50mph - the wing was still developing lift but now the problems with my approach speed calculation became apparent.... the needle fell through 40mph and there were no more calibrations before it hit the stop. About 7/16" of an inch before the needle hitthe stop, I felt the tailplane burble, at 3/8", the stall broke and at 11/32" I had the stick forward, the throttle going forward and the ASI needle began its very slow upward travel. I really should refrain from calling it an ASI as it had Raleigh stamped onto the face so it was probably adapted from the original builder's bike.
The only good news was that this all happened so quickly, altimeter lag was never overcome so when I regained 60 mph and S&L flight I'd only lost 100'. So we merrily continued homewards at an indicated 600'. By the time I looked at the altimeter again I was in the overhead and really had more pressing things to worry about - such as what speed to approach at and how effective the brakes were. The brakes were two parallel levers on the right hand side cockpit wall - so the designer must have expected the RAF to buy these as preliminary Spitfire trainers as there is so much swapping grips. Throttle hand to stick, stick hand to brake levers downwind. Brake levers to stick, stick hand back on throttle.
I gave up stick-juggling and looked out the front - amazing, there I was, nicely set up on a quarter mile final at 400'. I retarded the throttle a wee bit and began to side slip, mmmnn a tad high, I pulled the carb heat out and pulled the throttle back a wee bit more - still high. "Oh well Stik", I said, "better high than low", so at about 150 yards from the threshold and really far too high, I side slipped further until I ran out of aileron authority. Still high and I thought that the last bit of side-slipping would bring me back onto glidepath, I chopped the throttle and plummeted!
I immediately kicked her straight but the descent rate was now on the excitingly/scarey side of challenging. As I realise this I lose the carb heat and apply full power to retard my death-plunge. Nothing happens - the ASI isn't telling me anything useful so I push the stick forward diving the last couple of hundrd feet at the threshold.
My embryonic plan is emerging - I'm going to go around from this and do a better job........
Miraculously, I pull the stick back and find myself S&L over the threshold at about 20', the ASI is alive and showing me 45. My plan does not change but my bravery runs out.... my left hand comes off the throttle, opens the carb heat, chops the power and migrates to the stick. My right hand goes to the brake levers, I feel myself descending, I commence my flare, the ASI falls off the numbers and starts on down to the stop, 7/16" above the stop the wings stop playing and the wheels which have been supported by the top of the grass descend onto the earth and I'm home. I'm alive and I've survived.
Two quotes come to mind, the first from a vertically-challenged civvy Shuttleworth pal of mine, "If you fly a VP, you should be wearing a hat with a bell on the end."
And the other, anon., "The VP is an interesting aerial conveyance but it will never replace the aeroplane!"
My VP2, which weighed a lot more but still with only a VW1834, climbed a lot better than Stik describes. They do tend to levitate rather than climb like he says, and control harmony isn't great, but they can be great fun. Mine would cruise at 70mph which is as good as a Cub and was operated from a 250 metre strip, so not that bad! If you tried to raise the nose to climb you'd quickly reach the back of the drag curve and never climb out of ground effect, but let it levitate and it would climb away happily. It didn't like going much over 2500' though as the power needed made the temp climb quicker than the veep!