Another part of the problem with the kit prices is the fact that the price of metals has seen a steady climb upwards for several years. To make matters worse, the tariffs imposed by Trump on imported metals will drive the price up even more. I don't see any kit manufacturers getting rich. Many of them barely get by. An affordable ultralight might mean going back to wood and fabric.
The 447 and 503 were great for ultralights but not much else. Judging from what I have seen at the ultralight end of the Oshkosh airshow the last 3 or 4 years, ultralights are not being developed. The market it too small to support their sales. Most of the manufacturers moved over to "light sport" development where they can grow. Part 103 weight limits and fuel limits regulated ultralights to a premature death. I now see the "light sport" field to be in the same trouble as the "ultralight" field was in it's heyday. Too many vendors compared to the number of dollars being spent within the industry. The economy just does not allow enough extra cash for expensive toys for most of America. At least with snowmobiles and boats your not spending as much on a license as your toy. A simple drivers license system for "light sport" would help get more buyers into the market and in turn support the vendors. Until things change a "new" 447 or 503 will be of use as a replacement engine on an old ultralight or a new engine on a new ultralight, both uses are shrinking more each day.
If the FAA is OK with led lights as strobes I see no reason to continue with Xenon flash tube technology. Led lighting lasts longer, is lighter, less fragile, cheaper, and easier to design driver electronics for. Remember those cheap cardboard cameras that hit their heyday just before pocket sized cell phones got popular? They used to be a cheap source for flash capacitors for those of us experimenting with high voltage. Probably hard to find them today. A website with some good information on Xenon flash tubes is here: http://www.bristolwatch.com/ele/index.htm Within that page is a link to a YouTube video on the subject. I have not watched the video but I am a subscriber to his channel. He's got some great videos for electronics. Here's a great place to find parts for Xenon style lighting: https://www.xenonflashtubes.com/
Many years ago there was a magazine called Glider Rider. They had plans to build a power supply for the Whelen style coiled strobe lights. My lights were built into baby food jars. We used them even before part 103 existed just to make our ultralights more visible. We built them to save on costs and the power supply box is about as big as the old Whelen units anyway. If I was going to make one these days I'd probably start with a prefab module such as this: https://www.xenonflashtubes.com/flash-driver-modules/12v-nano-strobe-compact-xenon-flash-warning-light_130.html Just take the bulb off the board and mount a socket to plug your lights into. The unit in the link mentions the capacitor can be adjusted to fire different sized strobe lights and that will be needed if you have the cork screw style bulbs.
That's a much better site than their regular bus line site I was hunting on. The closest to me is Cedar Rapids, Iowa with the Dubuque, Iowa location being just a couple of miles farther. Here's the information from their site on package size and weight limit: What are your package weight and size restrictions? The maximum weight per package is 100 pounds. The maximum dimensions that we can accommodate are 29" H x 47" W x 82" L.
My next question is where is the nearest Greyhound bus station? I'm guessing you have to pick it up at a near station? I have not been inside a Greyhound bus station since the early 70's. The greyhound site has a terrible search engine for their bus stations. I'm sure there's one within an hour or so drive but they must hide them as I've never casually seen one in decades.
Is there any performance reasons everyone switched to the center mounted radiator and cowling systems? The problem with most cowls being sold is location. They don't ship cheap and gas to drive and pick them up ends up costing as much if not more than the asking price of the cowl. You think being in Iowa I'd be close to one.
The guy giving the seminar is the manufacturer of not only the Polyfiber chemicals but also makes the chemicals for several other name brand covering processes. He had several of his Vietnam war buddies in the crowd the day I was there. His buddy sitting next to me is a retired Colonel. They were telling war stories before the seminar started. I too have my doubts on Mek fumes. Reminds me of all the tobacco companies telling us smoking is not dangerous back in the day. It makes sense that he makes several of the other company's chemicals. Kind of like the tobacco companies all selling several brands of cigarettes made by the same producer.
Anyone remember the name of the company that was developing those dual plugs built into a single plug body? I seen him at Oshkosh a couple of decades or so ago. They had two electrodes and the top was split so you could attach two separate plug wires. The idea was to give you dual ignition capability with a single plug hole for all the snowmobile engine conversions being done back then. It was about the same time Rotax and others came out with their dual plug hole heads. I don't know if he ever got his idea off the ground or not.
I have not sat through a Polyfiber covering seminar in a couple of decades so while at Oshkosh a few weeks ago for the airshow I did exactly that. Somethings have indeed changed. They now stress rib stitching on all airplanes even if previously the airplane manufacturer stated gluing to the ribs with Poly Tack would be good enough. They now say breathing the fumes cannot harm you but skin absorption should be avoided at all costs. They used to preach the fumes were bad for you but if you were only covering one airplane in your life and did it in a well ventilated location you would probably be okay. Gone were the pinking shears they used to use for everything too. There advertisements used to brag a 30 year life but they have since down graded that to a more realistic 10 to 20 years depending on exposure.
That looks like an Alaskan recycle center to me. Those bears prefer edibles over the more traditional method of smoking their Stoners. I wonder which brand of Stoner gets them the highest? There's so many kinds to pick from these days. California Stoners, Alaskan Stoners, Colorado Stoners etc. They used to eat a lot of Mexican Stoners but they are kind of hot on the rear end the next day.
The engineers will be fleeing in droves rather than try and make this work. Holding the entire tail on the airplane by such a narrow band below the arc of the prop is one nightmare. The leverage stresses the tail will put on that joint both up and down and in twist from the control surfaces make this arm chair engineer say no way. From a mechanics perspective can you imagine how hard it would be to work on either of those engines? They mention great visibility. Where? An engine directly above blots out upward visibility. The main purpose of a twin is the ability to carry additional passengers or baggage and this design offers neither advantage. Putting the engine up high in the front may give you prop clearance but I think a ground loop would total this thing in a heartbeat. The inline twin engine Cessna built for years was more practical from an engineering standpoint. They mention LSA? That's an awful complicated airplane for most of the LSA crowd. Two engines side by side are going to get you off the ground faster than a twin with one engine running in dirty air so your not gaining anything there. A larger single engine is more efficient in an LSA application. The only advantage I see is engine redundancy for flying over large expanses where engine out landings are impossible. The vertical stabilizer is compromised by being reduced in size at the bottom where it attaches to the tail. I do think those that like to wash windows in tight spaces will love this design and I'm sure if they built it somebody out there would think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread but, it's not my cup of tea.