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A Message from Steve Rahm – designer of the Vision aircraft…


Cut through it and cut to it. If you're here you've probably been to a dozen other homebuilt aircraft sites. You've probably been to this one a few times. You've read the promises and you've created your own reasons why you can't do it or why it isn't the plane for you. The only difference between people who simply think about doing things and the people who go ahead and do them is that the latter type follows up on their dream. Anyone can think of hundreds of reasons to trash their dreams. "Too expensive, too small, too big, too much time, I can't work with metal, fiberglass, wood, whatever. I want something unique. I don't want to be the first. I can't, I can't, I can't." The fact is that there are a good number of solid airplanes out there and you have probably looked at one or more that could be just right for you. This plane, the Vision, is a good solid airplane and a very good one. It is not magic. It doesn't bend physics. It can't do miraculous things. But if it's close to what you want and you will do the work (and there is plenty of that no matter what the "fast build" story you are told is) you can make this plane, The Vision, into your Vision.


A great deal of honest human time, effort, risk, and sacrifice has gone into bringing this to you. This is true of this plane and many of the others out there. There are not competitors. There are only hard working people trying to bring you a pathway to your dreams. Please take the time to read this and all the connected pages. Get a cup of coffee, relax, contact the builders from their linked sites and ask them. Go beyond your dream and realize you can make it real. If you want to spend a few more of your years dreaming then go ahead. If you are ready to build a dream then I would be happy to welcome you to the Vision builder family.


Happy building,

Steve Rahm






The Vision Aircraft

A great deal of time and effort has gone into creating this plane for you. Please take the time to read not only this page but all the other connected pages and visit the builder's sites. You will find tremendous support and love for the sport from all our many builders. You can stand on the sidelines and wish or .... you can have Vision!


The construction manual cost is only $427.00 for around 400 pages in 7 bound volumes. This includes the EX wing supplement. Add $50.00 for tricycle gear supplement. Overseas, please add $30.00 shipping.


Considering the standard practice of providing a dozen blueprints or a stapled few pages of instructions for a couple hundred dollars, builders have found this to be an exceptional value. This plane is built by CAREFUL description which has been PROVEN.  Please write or call for a release form. Information packages with release form included are $17.00.  The information package includes an 8x10 photo as well as most of the material listed here.


The Vision is brought to you by American Affordable Aircraft. It is an economical, 2 seat, all composite aircraft that is built from PROVEN construction manuals. DESIGNED FOR FIRST TIME BUILDERS, this rugged performer had a prototype airframe cost of less than $6000.00 while raw material costs have risen in the last years this still represents the best value for product available. Each of the sub-assemblies cost less than $500.00 on the prototype. This is a plane that can actually be financed with a credit card if desired. It is being constructed by first time builders to test the construction manuals and no construction manuals were sold until testing of the prototype. There are currently many under construction. The plane is all composite with no incompatible wood understructure and uses NO fuel susceptible styrene foams. This is a plans built plane with supplemental parts. This means you can build it from our detailed manuals and raw materials or you can purchase pre formed parts from us and speed up the process. The Vision is the only all composite, plans built, 2 seat sport aircraft that uses a conventional - non canard - platform.

Vision Construction Method

The construction of the Vision is the composite method that is usually only used in pre-formed kits. There IS a FULL sandwich skin on both sides and not the simple outer fiberglass surface that is used on several other planes. Yet it is still done without any molds.


Vision  Sport Experimental Aircraft Skin type

 There is NO HOT WIRING of fuel susceptible foams and there is not the associated weight.


Flexibility - Build it the way you want it!

Brian Ehrler is 6'7" and 245 lbs. How does he fit in a Vision? Just take a look!



Brian's has a 44" cockpit and most builders are doing.  He also raised the turtle deck 1". Try modifying most pre-formed kits like that!


The difference is obvious. Here is a comparison we are frequently asked about. This is the same 6'3" person in the Vision prototype and in a smaller wood structured plane.



Vision Aircraft Philosophy


The Vision is a simple aircraft that works well.  These are some of the things I feel so that you, the potential Vision builder, can better understand the relationship you enter into when you become part of our family. 


You are not the most important person

If you are considering becoming a Vision builder then this should honestly please you.  With many companies the most important person is the potential customer.  Most kit companies will spend time and money to court the possible new customer while ignoring the most important person to their operation, the person who has already made the commitment to the product.   The most important person to this company is the Vision builder.  It is a higher priority to make sure the people building are well supported than to put on big shows for those who might join in.  That's why you won't see high prices, big displays, or lots of advertising but a builder will know that they can call me anytime or be instantly connected to all the other builders on our email list.   Satisfied builders make companies grow and, although it's not as flashy and exciting as a "dog and pony show”, that is why our builders are the most important people.   If you choose to build another product or kick tires for a few more years I wish you well but the top person on my list is that builder out there creating his or her dream.


You are an intelligent person

The last decade or so the kit aircraft industry has made great inroads within the world of Sport Aviation to the point of near strangulation.  While packaging and ease of acquisition are important there has come with it a loss of individual experimentation.  Some of it is perpetrated by the manufacturers themselves when they limit modifications.  Apparently they forget that the aircraft they put out is, like all aircraft, an evolutionary improvement of previous designs.  The worst result of this is a growing degree of helplessness among builders.  I am constantly amazed that people would even say, “I'd build it if it had a nose wheel" when 15 years ago that same person would have simply put a nose wheel on the plane.  You are not helpless and a plans built design is a perfect forum for creating the design of your dreams.  The name is not an accident and we truly want it to be your Vision.  This is why several of our builders are planning 4 seat versions, there is one coming with retractable gear, and there is one tandem under construction as well.  Is it the plane for everyone?  Absolutely NOT.   I send a lot of people away when they say "I want to do mostly bush country flying",  "I weigh 280 lbs and my spouse is 210",  "I want to do competition aerobatics",  etc..    If you are looking for a totally different type of plane then you should define that mission and find that dream but if the Vision is close then you can get out those books, roll up your sleeves, and make it yours.  I believe in the builder.


Plans aircraft companies are the foundation of the sport

Nowhere will you find better value than in plans built aircraft.  Not just this one but many others as well.  Even if your goal is one of spending as little time on it yourself as possible then you can generally hire very adequate help in the form of local A&P's who can come work with you and provide an extra set of eyes as well as moral support in your building process.  With this plans built plane taking around 800 hours more than a similar kit but costing around $20,000.00 less to complete you could easily make up that 800 hours with $10.00/hour help and even hire 1500 hours so that you would have less personal time in the project, better safety because of the other set of eyes, and less money in it than a similar kit.   Kits come and go and the money exchanged is phenomenal.  The plans aircraft creator is not getting rich but they are providing an option that, for many people, can't be had any other way.  Support plans aircraft sellers.  I have never regretted the dozens of plans purchases I have made over the years.  There has always been more value in the information gained than the cost of the plans.  Buy a set this year. If not the Vision, then a Cozy, Skybolt, RV, or any of the many other fine planes out there. You will never regret it even if you build something else.  Even if you are in the expensive kit market you would do well to support the roots of an organization that is rapidly becoming top heavy.


Safety is the most important performance figure

Speed, speed, speed has driven the composite market in the last decades.  The performance numbers are impressive.  Keep one thing in mind.  Airplanes do not always keep flying.  I wish it wasn't true but I also wish I'd win the lottery.  Sometimes they become victims of gravity.   With proper harness systems the chances of your survival in a 50 mph sudden stop are nearly 100% while the chances of survival with a 70 mph sudden stop are almost nil.    A sobering thought that your chances rest in a 20 mph range.  Given the standard lift coefficients of most flapped wings you can't expect to get touchdowns in the lower part of this range with wing loadings above 18 - 20 lbs/ sq ft yet many planes fly at loadings above that while only pointing out their top end speeds.  Is there something wrong with that?  No, but don't ignore the attention to safety when choosing a plane.  There are no guarantees in life but gentle stalls, slower touchdown speeds, solid protection sure increase your chances and the philosophy here is that this is more important. 


Affordable should mean affordable

Recently I have seen kits typically selling for prices so high that I would happily make the parts from scratch after building the molds, assemble the parts, and give you the tooling for the same price that some are asking for the kits.  There is little need to ask who pays for those big Oshkosh and Sun n Fun displays along with the big advertisements.  You do if you buy the product.   There is an "affordable" kit out there right now (and to be fair it is one of the less expensive ones) that sells it's tail kit for the same price I sell  the optional "fast start" kit for the Vision which includes the tail skins, fuselage shell, seat, turtle deck and some assembly.  Of the current batch of plans out on the market these days we are among the lowest priced in the last few years.  Making a lot of money at this?   No way but there is no substitutes for seeing people rediscover the joy of creating dreams with their own hands.


Some things just shouldn't be done

I have always been supportive of each person's desire to change their plane into the vehicle of their dreams. It is also important to realize just what you are starting out with and keep changes in a vein that will give you a result that satisfies. The Vision is a sport plane. Most homebuilt planes are. It is light, responsive, fun and these things can quickly be lost in this or any of the sport aircraft. When you plan those floats, autopilots, color radars, big engines, retractable gears... just give this a thought. If you want to be happy with your modified project, think about what it is and where you are trying to take it. Then make it your own.


Vision Options:


The "EX" (Extended wing) conversion of the prototype was completed and flown and the supplements are being sent out with manuals so that either the EX or SP version of the Vision may be built.

The original intent of the Vision design was to create an aircraft that was easily and economically constructed by first time builders. One of the prime advantages of a "plans built" plane over that of a total kit plane is it's ability to be modified. The original concept was one of two somewhat, not radically, different wing/tail combinations that would give the builder maximum utility and suitability to purpose. From the earliest stages the "SP" (Sport) and "EX" (Extended) were planned but the opportunity to build both was not available so the decision was made to construct the first planes with the SP wing and base the construction manuals on that version. 

Since the introduction of the plane it has become apparent that many people who are beginning their Vision projects will be better suited to the EX wing and the prototype aircraft was modified to test tail/wing compatibility in that configuration. The SP wing is primarily designed for lightly built aircraft with conventional gear (tail dragger) that are generally flown at low altitude. The EX wing is a higher aspect ratio wing and is better suited to high altitudes, heavier people, and gentler handling. Although there will be some speed penalty below 4000 feet msl the higher aspect ratio should prove to give improved performance above 4000 feet. As a margin of safety all the design speeds for the SP wing version were based on the EX wing from the beginning so there will not be a different set of "V" speeds for the EX wing and confusion will be avoided. The addition of the EX modification will add approximately 30 lbs to your empty weight while adding 150 lbs to the allowable gross. This means that aircraft of 120 hp and above have an allowable gross of 1600 lb with the EX wing and 1450 with the SP wing while those under 120 hp have an allowable gross of 1500 with the EX wing and 1350 without. +6/-4 g rating is still at 1250 lbs as always for all configurations. A basic VFR aircraft with a 215 lb (Continental O-200 type) engine should weigh in empty at around 850 lbs well built. If you add heavy instruments, engines, upholsteries, or sloppy construction you will lose utility. Watch the weights but the EX wing option does give more room to customize. This wing combination changes the wing area to 96 sq feet and adds 4 feet to the span. The spar can still be built in sections so that construction can continue in a two car garage.


Vision LSA  

As with any plans built aircraft a lot can be done in terms of modifications.  When the Vision was designed in 1994 there was no thought of LSA.  However, since each builder is the manufacturer of their own aircraft they also determine and set the gross weight.  Setting the gross weight within LSA limits is simple enough as the Vision is well under any structural or performance concerns for an EX version.  In order to fit the stall requirement with flaps up a full time leading edge slot would need to be installed; this is a simple matter once you understand just how easy it is to work with and modify composite structures.  We can help with that endeavor.


In the interest of having the most useful load it is critical that the empty weight is a low as possible since the gross weight can not be higher than 1320 lbs. 


Using the carbon pre-built one piece spar and Fold-a-Plane kit will reduce the weight of the Vision - beyond what can be obtained through building according to the plans; probably get an extra 90-120 lbs more useful load.


Also important is using a light power plant such as the 120 hp Jabiru, Corvair 3100cc with aluminum cyclinders or the new TCM 0-200.


Using these recommended changes a Vision should be in the 700's empty weight. Keeping the top speed down is simply a prop choice so the whole equation of meeting LSA requirement is no major undertaking.


Tricycle Landing Gear

After months of development the Tricycle gear modification has undergone full load and drop testing to Part 23 standards and beyond. This will open up the use of this fun sport plane to many who are not trained in the use of conventional gear. The supplement to the manuals for Tricycle gear is available now for $50.00.


We hope you will join our family of builders today !


Vision Specifications:


It is important with any plane to look at ACTUAL performance data. The general layout of the Vision is as follows:

SP Wing Span 21' 8"  -  EX  25' 8" 

SP Wing Area 85 Sq Ft - EX 96 Sq ft

Standard fuel capacity -- 22 gal (Option for total of 40 in wing and additional 15 in header)

Currently all our builders are making 44" cockpits. The originally plans were for a width of 40" and there is a modification available for 4 more inches .  This shoulder width also continues through the elbow and hip area.

Cockpit height sized for 6' 3" person and turtle deck can be raised 3" beyond that

Sea Level 75% cruise 157 mph as measured with GPS (this is with 100 hp engine and SP wing. SP with 160 hp cruises 175 at Sea level and over 200 mph at 8000 ft)

Sea Level wide open obtains only 90% power with the over pitched prop we now have but the plane still obtains 168 mph true .

Vne 207 mph indicated

Va 143 mph indicated

Vd 231 mph indicated

Vf 105 mph


The Vision uses the 63a415 root airfoil and 63a412 tip airfoil as used on several Piper products and chosen for its gentle stall and non critical curve.

Landing over 50 ft requires 1200 feet and takeoffs currently require 1500. Please note that this is listed the way that certified aircraft do to indicate approach and climb over a 50 foot obstacle. The usual "homebuilt" way of listing ground roll would indicate about 800 ft takeoff for the 100 hp and 400 ft takeoff for the 160 hp with both having a 900 ft ground roll on landing. Keep the landing over50 ft obstacle numbers in mind when you see simple ground rolls listed.

Stall with flaps is 54 mph but touchdown can be slightly slower with ground effect.

Slotted flaps are currently in development which will slow landing speed, boost short field performance, and increase allowable gross weight.

Climb rate solo with full fuel is 1400 fpm at sea level on 85 degree day with this prop and the economical Subaru engine. 

Weight should be at 850 lb empty, the prototype is close to 900 but we learned some lessons that are saving weight in the second one now. Initially the gross weight has been set at 1350 lb. pending further testing and the aerobatic weight is at 1250 lb. (With SP wing, engines over 115 hp raise gross to 1450. With "EX" wing and engines to 120 hp gross is 1500 and for engines over 120 hp gross is 1600. +6/-4 g rating is always at 1250 lb.)


All of the above base figures are with the small 100hp Subaru engine and the "SP" wing. Engines up to 300 lb and 160 hp are acceptable. Remember that heavier engines will add to your empty weight the base weight on the small Subaru is approximately 215 lbs with all fluids.


Please See Sean Ponsonby's page for his reports on performance with larger engines.





Tri-cycle landing gear Vision #1, with Lycomming 0-235