Why Did You Chose The Highlander/Escapade?

For general discussion of the Just Aircraft family of aircraft.
Includes: Highlander, Escapade, Summit and SuperSTOL.

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Why Did You Chose The Highlander/Escapade?

Postby mcjon77 » Mon May 19, 2008 1:28 pm

Hi guys,

I am in the market for a homebuilt and am seriously considering the JA Highlander.  As I'm sure you know, here are several similar kits and S-LSAs in this class out there (e.g. kitfox, avid, eurofox, etc).  What made those of you that took the plunge decide on building/buying a JA Highlander?  What was your decision making process like and what were some of the other contender aircraft that you chose between?

Thanks,

Jon
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Postby scubarider2 » Mon May 19, 2008 3:41 pm

Simply, if I had $120,000 I would have bought something faster and more "polished".  But for the money you can't beat what you get.  I did the numbers research looking at payload, build time, speed, cargo, performance take-off and landing, etc.  You will not find better.  Just my two cents  :D
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Postby stede52 » Tue May 20, 2008 12:30 am

Along with everything Dennis stated, I was really sold on the the cabin and cargo space, there is not a LSA in the category of the Highlander that has its cargo space. I'm 6'5" and 250lb and two of me can fit in the Highlander and still have great performance and confort.

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Postby mcjon77 » Tue May 20, 2008 1:25 am

stede52 wrote:Along with everything Dennis stated, I was really sold on the the cabin and cargo space, there is not a LSA in the category of the Highlander that has its cargo space. I'm 6'5" and 250lb and two of me can fit in the Highlander and still have great performance and confort.

Steve

I'm built the same as you and the size issue has been a problem in selecting a good homebuilt.  The fact that myself and my cousin (same size) could fit is a big plus.  I was looking at the bushcaddy, but the guy there told me it has a max seat height of 37", I have a sitting height of 38" :(  .  I've heard the Highlander is much more roomy.  I guess I'll find out at Oshkosh.  Are $50-60K budget and 400-600 hour build time reasonable estimates?
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Postby scubarider2 » Tue May 20, 2008 8:35 am

I think the Highlander is your best bet from what you are stating.  The cost has a lot to do with what engine you plan on using.  Build time is of course relative.  I spent 750 hours building mine.  
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Highlander

Postby Gary H » Wed May 21, 2008 12:54 am

Ditto Steve, add all those things up and the fact it flys great, wings fold, real flaps and ailerons. I flew one before I bought it. It flys almost like my super cub.
That's my 2 cents

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my 2 cents

Postby billy5823 » Wed May 21, 2008 10:28 pm

i bought mine because of the stol performance, built very strong , great people to work with, took me 7 months of spare time to build, i had a kitfox and it flew like crap, first flight in the old demo plane and i knew it was the one. my brother at 350 lbs and me at 200 have room enough.   still get off in less than 300 feet .  with full tanks . did i mention its tuff. the demo plane has 1500 hrs of pure hell and is still solid .  bottom line is i couldnt find a better on efor the money ,time,product,and support.   so just go buy one and lets go fly.  thanks billy
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Postby taildrgfun » Thu May 22, 2008 7:15 pm

I've flown 880 hrs so far in my Highlander mostly out in the sticks where it is anything but smooth and level.  It is holding up well and is a joy to fly. Some people around here call me the "Ruinator" because after I take them for a ride and they see firsthand how well this plane performs and have the flight of their lives.  Almost anything else can be a bit boring afterwards.    Another thing I especially like is the amazing visibility over the nose. And the big usable baggage area. It is a real honest, good handling airplane.     Steve
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Postby Neighbor Pete » Thu May 22, 2008 10:02 pm

Hello all, this is my first post here and I am very intrigued with the Highlander in every sense. It looks like a fantastic little bush plane and I'm pretty sure I must have one someday soon! Can any of you compare it to a Super Cub in it's flying characteristics and capabilities? The Highlander has many benefits for me over a Super Cub (folding wings, LSA, cost etc). I live in mountains close to sea level, Columbia Gorge OR, but will certainly want to fly at altitude throughout the NW while carrying camping/fishing equipment and a passenger. How is the climb capability at altitude with the 912/914 motors?

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Highlander Builder

Postby Wes » Fri May 23, 2008 9:39 pm

Well, I guess I have to weigh in with a "reality check" here.
Now, don't take this wrong, I love this airplane and I think I will love flying it when I ever get it finished, but it is definitely not a kit for the first time inexperienced builder. If you consider it a 'refined' bunch of raw materials that you will fashion into a very capable airplane, then OK, but don't expect to be building a RAN's or Van's kit here. The documentation provided with the kit is rudimentary and flat wrong in many places. There are no drawings, - as in 'assembly' or fabrication drawings.
The welded fuslage on my kit is a work of art, something I could never duplicate. The prebuilt wings (ribs glued onto spars and drag struts installed) that were set to the fuselage by locating the lift strut brackets was an essential step for a novice builder.
This forum is the single best source of detail knowledge about these kits. Next best is to take LOTS of photos of existing airplanes and adapt the information as necessary to your project.
I also think that the Highlander design is the most capable (STOL and hauling) LSA design around, so if you are up for a building skills challenge, go for it!

"Just" my opinion.

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Highlander

Postby Lynng » Sat May 24, 2008 7:16 pm

8) OK guys I am gonna have to tell it like it is......I have flown whole bunch of airplanes and the best LSA for room, performance, price, looks, strenght, long term ownership and just damn fun is the Highlander.  If you are ready to party get one.  Even a girl can do it.  I did have to put my purse down for almost 9 months and my manacure was shot but hey look at the final result.
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Re: Highlander Builder

Postby mcjon77 » Sun May 25, 2008 1:23 am

Wes wrote:.....but it is definitely not a kit for the first time inexperienced builder.....


Really?  How many builders had previous building experience before starting this?  This would be my first build, and because of that I plan on taking the sportair fabric covering seminar, the electrical wiring seminar, the Finishing and Spray Painting seminar (if it is offered), the 2 day rotax service and maintainance seminar, as well as the 3 week LSA repairman (maintainance) course offered by Rainbow aviation.  It sounds like a bunch, but the total cost for those courses will only be about 6K and all but the 3 week course are on the weekends.  I thought that it might be overkill, but in your opinion, will it be enough?

What experience level did other builders have when starting this kit?
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Kit Building

Postby Wes » Sun May 25, 2008 9:34 am

OK, OK, I figured this would stir up some dust.
I bow to Lynn who built a beautiful (& flying) airplane (on the first try!).
But I have to tell you guys, that this gal is a "ringer".  She is good at everything she trys, so don't even think about a macho challenge kind of thing.
I figured Troy would be the first to throw back the "come on, Wes put down your purse and get-R-done" comment. Or "quit wining and get building". Oh, I forgot, he hasn't figured out how to use a keyboard yet!
On the experience question, I had no fabric skills (one hour at SunNfun), some sheet metal, and the usual GA aircraft maintenance stuff. I'm semi-retired after 30 yrs in aerospace and I should have finished this little airplane construction project 2 years ago, but I'm a little anal about hardware that will be supporting my butt more than a few feet off the ground. (My wife reminds me it's HER butt too!)
And I'll admit I still have some 'time management' (make that 'organization') issues to contend with, but that's why I'm married!
The experience question also has to be weighed against the "support" availability. If you have lots of places to go to ask for help, you can tackle this kind of kit project without a lot of build experience. (this assumes that you can do things with your hands besides holding a club and popping the top on Miller cans).
Having said all that, when your Highlander is finished and sitting on the ramp, it is one of those airplanes that just looks 'handsome' and you will be proud of it. Not like some of the "spam" kits out there that are plain ugly!

Lynn, when we goin' flyin?

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Partial ditto of Wes' comments

Postby KevinC » Sun May 25, 2008 1:22 pm

This is my first build, too - and I am a viticulturist, not an aircraft mechanic (means I can use my hands to open beers and bottles of wine) - so many new skills were needed.

I would have to say that having experience building would have sped up the process and increased the quality of the final product, but definitely can be done by a first timer.  I'd add about 75% to the build time estimate for learning - amazing how much time I spent reading and interviewing other builders.  On the quality end - I just haven't been exposed to all of the vast arrays of ideas out there so it takes extra time.

Support - great. Kit - awesome.

fwiw

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Postby b1x4nqb » Sun May 25, 2008 3:55 pm

My first plane and I'm 1.5 years into it.  Still needs the paint put on, engine re-installed, and instruments/electronic toys placed but I'm a weekend warrior with two young kids, baseball, etc.  I also built this thing totally by myself.  I probably get to put in 10-12 hours a week if I'm lucky.  I spend more time staring and wondering how to do something than actually building.  I also have to order parts every few weeks or so as I go.  The UPS guy is now onto me.  

Chose it for the wing fold, STOL, and side by side seating.  Also the price overall.  

Paul, PA
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