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Timber Tiger Ryan ST replica Light Sport
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Text, photos, and website Copyright Nick Pfannenstiel   (303) 725-5439
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Homebuilt Airplanes Forum Ryan ST replica build log
Ryan ST replica specifications
When will kits be available for purchase?
To reserve a serial number, submit your fully refundable $1500 deposit using the pricing and payment schedule located here: Pricing and Payment Schedule.  The first kits are slated to begin production in early 2019.  All deposits are instantly refundable with no questions asked.

Why 95% scale and not 100% scale?
What is the point in downsizing to 95% scale?  The answer here is quite simple:  cost and simplicity.  After all, most people can’t drop 120k on a full size replica.

The D-Motor LF-39 and Rotax 912UL/ULS are the current front-runners for engine options.  Because these options don’t offer the big power of a Menasco, Tigre, or LOM engine that a full size ST would require, a weight reduction was mandatory.  Less weight means less power required which means we now have less expensive engine options.  No need to plunk 30k on a Menasco and then worry about parts availability.

Our empty weight estimate is 745 lbs, but we can get up to 815 lbs before we match the original ST-A full-fuel useful load. So it's looking like we will have a higher carrying capacity, despite the lower gross weight. The gross is set to 1285 lbs, so with 125 horsepower, we have a higher power-to-weight ratio than the ST-A and a lower wing loading. In addition, flight duration should be slightly higher and the baggage area is much larger. Shoulder and leg room are increased, as well.  Pilots of 6'5" have tried on the ST replica and have confirmed the cockpit is roomier than the original.

So, it is a small difference in size with huge implications on weight, performance, cockpit size, and cost to build/operate/maintain.  Even parked next to a full size ST, most people will never notice the size difference.  At 100% scale, there would be no possible way to meet our cost, engine, performance, and baggage goals.  That 5% is the difference between a $70,000 replica that meets customer criteria and a $120,000 replica that under-performs.

How many hours will it take and how much will it cost to build this plane?
Estimates indicate about 1000 hours for construction and about $55,000-85,000 US for a finished, flying airplane.  The biggest cost factor will be the engine used and the ability of the builder to scrounge for inexpensive (but airworthy!) parts.  Compare that price to a self-built hot rod, and the numbers are roughly the same, maybe a bit lower for the airplane (cars are expensive).  When we first set out to design this plane, our end-goal was to afford people the opportunity to build a replica of one of the most desirable aircraft ever built, but at a price roughly two-thirds that of other modern LSA kit-built sport planes.

I am a big person.  Will I fit the ST replica?
The replica was designed to take a pilot as light as 150 lbs and as heavy as 230 lbs.  We have confirmed the cockpit is actually roomier than an original and will fit somebody at least 6'5" tall (and likely much taller).   WATCH YOUR WEIGHT AND BALANCE!!!  This airplane will not be forgiving of weight and balance negligence.

Will the kit come with an instruction manual?
Of course!  Too many people purchase plans, look at them once, and immediately throw in the towel.  We don’t want that.  Our instructions are as complete as we could make them in one go and outline the project step-by-step.  If anything is unclear in the instructions, be sure to call us and ask to clarify.  Your answer will be immediately recorded and will be added in future versions of the manual.  This method will keep our instruction manuals as clear and up to date as possible.

I have never built an airplane.  Is this too difficult for me?
Don’t ever tell yourself something is too difficult.  The key to completing a project like this is to jump in and deal with problems as they arise…ONE AT A TIME.  Yes, problems will arise.  You are building an airplane, after all!  But when those problems creep up, treat them individually.  When one task is conquered, you are ready for the next.  The included instruction manual also helps to keep things going smoothly, outlining the order of operations and showing you how to deal with manufacturing methods.

What does the ST-L kit look like?
As of writing this, kits are going to have pre-welded and powder coated subassemblies, pre-cut and formed aluminum parts, and pre-drilled parts wherever possible (a lot of drilling must be done on assembly to assure perfect fitment).  It is our goal to keep the kits as straight-forward as possible.  After all, we want these planes to be in the air, not abandoned in a dusty garage.  Quick-build fuselages are also available.  Keep in mind, though, that the builder must meet the FAA's 51% rule, meaning they must complete a certain number of tasks.

To avoid unnecessary price hikes, some items are not included with the basic kit and must be purchased direct from the supplier.  The order form has a list of things not included and the build manual will have a list of recommended suppliers.

What engines are recommended for this airplane?
There are a lot of engine options out there.  Right now, the best engine options for the plane are the D-Motor LF-39 and the Rotax 912UL/ULS.  Don't worry!  We've gone to great lengths to keep the narrow look of the cowl even with a D-Motor or Rotax.  You will not be disappointed with how the cowl looks. There are also other options, such as the Mikron IIIC, Turbine Aeronautics turboprop, and many more.

How accurate is this replica?
This replica is a fairly faithful representation of the Ryan ST, ST-A, ST-A Special, PT-16, PT-20, and ST-M.  It will be all-aluminum with optional cowlings and fairings of fiberglass or aluminum, depending on the builder's tastes.  However, certain things had to change to bring the weight down and make manufacturing easier.  For instance, the bulkheads are not of original-style design.  The bulkheads were designed with a different flange style.  There are various other small differences, but we strived to keep the outward appearance as accurate as possible, along with the overall look and feel of the interior.  Some notable changes are:  modern airfoil, simplified elevator trim, hydraulic brakes, better tailwheel geometry (easier to handle on the ground), non-steerable full-locking/full-swivel tailwheel with simplified design, modernized landing gear toe-in/toe-out adjustment, modern lightweight wheels, simplified shocks that are lighter and easier to maintain, simplified wire attachments at the lower landing gear, simplified modernized control systems, and aluminum I-beam wing spars (the original ST had wood spars).  This replica retains the original-looking flying and landing wires with the one strut above the wing stub.  All-in-all, it is a modern airplane that is very-well disguised as a classic.

Can a PT-22 replica be made from this Ryan ST replica?
This is an easy answer that becomes a complicated one.  While the Ryan ST and PT-22 look similar, they were vastly different designs.  You can make a PT-22 “look-alike”, but not a replica.  One plane you CAN replicate was the predecessor to the PT-22, the PT-20A, another radial-powered design that had much more in common with the original ST.

What variants can I replicate from this design?
There were many variants of the Ryan ST that can be replicated using this 95% scale plane as a foundation.  The variants are ST, ST-A, ST-A Special, STM, STM-2, PT-16, PT-20, and PT-20A (radial-powered).  In addition to those variants, other oddball things have shown up on the original STs, including bubble canopies and a sliding canopy that was supposedly developed for Canadian planes.

What types of rivets are used on this plane?
The airplane was designed with a mix of solid rivets and Cherry rivets.  Solid rivets are just as easy to use once you have a small amount of practice.  Rivets used depend on the part.  There are many areas where only solid rivets are acceptable, so please follow the plans carefully.

Will this airplane hold its resale value?
It is difficult to predict any market.  As of writing this, it is our opinion that the airplane will have excellent resale value once completed.  After all, the only other option is to go purchase a real Ryan ST at a price of 125-200k.

Do you have other airplane designs in the works?
We always have more airplane designs in the works.  Some are replicas, some are new original designs.  It is company policy to keep pending designs under wraps until the time is right, but check back regularly for teasers and new information on upcoming plans.  As of right now, all we can say is, "just wait 'til you see what's next."

Where did the company name “Timber Tiger” come from?
The term “timber tiger” is a slang word referring to a chipmunk.  Our first airplane in the works was the aptly-named Timber Tiger STOL, a light sport bush plane.  That project was put on hold to complete the Ryan ST replica.  We are currently on our fourth re-design of the Timber Tiger STOL.  We want the plane to be as refined as we can get a light sport bush plane.
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