REPORT #640 May 2003
BELIZE AIRPLANE MANUFACTURING EXPERIMENTAL NEWS


Produced by Belize EAA, Chapter 1, Corozal

Got the wooden left wing covered with dacron. Got it shrunk and taped. Got it rib stitched and two coats of poly brush. Sprayed the underside with poly spray, a grey aluminum stuff that you thin and blocks ultraviolet light. But forgot to open up the drain holes along the trailing edge. Going to have to go buy a cheap solder iron to burn those out today. Spray top side today. Then now I have sprayed it, I lost my pitot tube and didn't remember to cut a hole for the fitting. Sheesh! Try to figure it out later today where it is inside the covered wing? Start aileron maybe covering tomorrow. Going to spray topside with poly spray today. ( UV stuff 2 coats )

Didn't want to invest in a $300 paint spray compressor outfit, so I bought a $6 hand spray thingy, like you spray soap for dishes. Thinned the paint and voila! Damned if it didn't work quite well? Sore hand from squeezing the trigger handle but it worked.

Thinking on the practicality of manufacturing airplanes in Belize for Latin market? Looks like wood and fabric planes are possible. Big drawback would be importing the materials to build with, from the USA. The Belizean customs and freight taxes would be exorbitant. A plane here, or this plane here, is probably going to run between $5000 to $6000 USA in materials by the time I am finished for a wood frame and dacron covered, automobile engine airplane in the USA. Two place. This particular model could easily be changed somewhat around the tandem two seats; to the Aeronca, or Champion, or Citabria style of fuselage construction. Not much difference there and neglible effect from the style change.

A finished plane would have to sell for $12,000 USA. To get into the market. Up in the USA such planes are selling from $19,000 to $50,000 depending on power and brand. So customs duties for imported materials would be a very big factor in Belize. Duties in Belize running around 55% if my last experience was any indicator. There is the drawback of endemic stealing in Belize. That could shoot up the cost of a Belizean manufacture business considerable. Add on social security and other vacation and seperation labor costs, it might be cost prohibitive in Belize? Perhaps if one did the assembly line business and produced a bunch of them at one time, you might get costs down? But that takes capital unless you have a big order in advance, or secured market. But built for one-off speculation, out of the question. One could and some actually are producing airplanes in the ultralight category in central Florida. Quite a lot of 2 man operations. You can also get cheap Guatemalan illegal labor brought in for farm work. Lot of that available. Enables you to skip the bureaucratic costs and deductions. Except minimum wage here is $220 USA a week for such illegal labor. In Belize you probably could do it for half the labor cost, or even better using over the border Guatemalans illegally. But Belize labor costs are deceptive, due to you need to double the value of labor because of complying with government regulations. The bureaucracy red tape costs as much as the salary of the labor. Doesn't look like you would save any money in Belize on labor costs and include the endemic stealing, probably be a loser.

One advantage in Belize, would be setting 1600 lb ultra light category on built aircraft in Belize. This would give a local certification process, with no pilots license, or medical requirement for this ultra-light category ( similar to Canada ) an advantage over the USA rules and more compatible with Canada. It could foster local aircraft manufacturing in Belize for Latin export markets with just this legal bureaucratic certification numbering registration process; that may indeed offset the lack of advantages in building costs. Probably increase market sales with a no pilot license, or medical requirement for this ultra-light category. Think this particular plane I'm building, comes in under 1300 lbs? In the USA it requires quite an expensive lot of certifications to be viable and legal. Lot of nuisance stuff due to population and aircraft congestion.

A Latin market for two place and four place aircraft, would need greater altitude climbing capability, than your normal USA Experimental homebuilt kit in the USA. That would mean going to a turbo charger and perhaps longer wing span, or biplane on this model, to get the altitudes to clear Andean mountain passes with the same horsepower. Bit more extra cost, but if you got the altitude performance would certainly increase sales potential.

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