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Mosquito XE 285 build time and level of difficulty
Hi all, 
I am kinda closing in on my PPLH... at least I hope, and also I hope that the winter is not causing too much of a delay. Rolleyes 
Anyhow, it's getting time to sort out some questions about an experimental helicopter in general and the Mosquito in particular. Currently, the Mosquito is my favorite. However, it's closely followed by the Safari which in turn is followed by the Helicycle. 


Build time: 

There is some confusion about the time it needs to build a Mosquito. I know building should be part of the enjoyment of experimental aircraft and if somebody only wants to have something to fly the experimental route might not be the right choice for him, but still, you need to be able to finish the project and therefore a realistic idea about the time the project may take from start to finish is an important information. 

The factory is able to do it in about two weeks, at least that is what I have heard and read. In older threads, people talk about 400 - 600 hours and in one brand new video the guys from the factory talk about 600 - 2000 hours ( at 11:30 min ). Sure, if you polish every screw you may get to 3000 hours without a problem, but what is the experience from people who have already build one? 

Level of difficulty:

So as a mere mortal I have no access to the builder's area of the forum which partly I can understand but that also has the downside that it's difficult to get a good impression on what problems I may face once the built is in full swing. 
I think ... at least I hope that I don't have two left hands and I am not really shy of the stuff I have seen in pictures in the builders-gallery, but there is not a lot of explanation, so the info is limited. I have a reasonably equipped workshop with a lathe a vertical mill a CNC mill a tig welding machine and a cold saw for precise metal cutting even though it appears to me I would not need any of that stuff other than the vertical mill for drilling some precise holes and the saw. 
My biggest concerns are with the electric and engine stuff there I have some shortcomings for sure. I have worked on 2 stroke engines as a teenager and later on four-stroke motorbike engines but I wouldn't say that I have experience with that, currently, I have even problems to make my weed wacker do what I want. Rolleyes  
So what is your experience during your built, what were the most difficult tasks in your mind? How good is the manual? 

I appreciate every input.

Hello Christoph, as I'm sure the more experienced builders and pilots are on their way to add their experiences, I just figured I'd swing by and just share what tiny little knowledge I have with you, as I'm still in the queue for a kit and will be taking advantage of the Factory Assist program, and like you I'm not quite to my PPLH yet. 

I think you were probably pretty spot on with your assumption that the build process can take as long as you want it to take depending on your level of detail. But if its true what people say that the Helicycle is a helicopter for a builder, then it is also true that the Mosquito was designed for pilots. I haven't actually built a Mosquito yet, but I've been over my build manual from back to front more times than I can count now, and I honestly believe them when they say they did a lot of work to make the build easy for beginners. There is nothing in the build manual that I read and think: "Ughhh...there is no way I'm going to be able to figure this out!" lol. 

And I should note here, that I am not a machinist, I'm not a fabricator...although I am pretty decent with electricity, so for me to read this build manual and not feel total despair is a pretty good testament to how much effort went into to make the build as simple as possible. Now of course I do read the manual and say things like "Ugh...there's no way I will drill all of these holes straight" or "yeah I hope they have a lot of this material in stock because I absolutely will screw up some of these cuts" lol, but nothing that will be impossible for me to accomplish!

As far as the build time though...I'm sorry to say but I think the only answer you're ever going to find is the infuriating: "Well it all depends on you" lol. But judging by the equipment that you listed in your shop, I'm sure you would do just fine!
"Into the fires of forever we will fly through the heavens
With the power of the universe we stand strong together
Through the force in our power, it will soon reach the hour
For victory we ride, Fury of the Storm!" 
Hi Christoph,

I just finished building my Mosquito at the factory. I logged 31 actual days of 8-hr/day work, so about 240-250 hours. Doing the factory-build option, I was able to take advantage of the tooling, the jigs and templates, and the expertise. I'm sure just trying to figure out the manual would have added a lot of time, not to mention acquiring things I would never use again, like bearing presses, air tools, bead blasters, etc.

I am a flyer, not a builder, but there were no suitable used ones on the market. I wanted a certified registered aircraft, which I achieved, and today I just received my Repairman Certificate. So, in retrospect, I'm glad I did it, because now I'm flying.

As Casey said, if you know how to use a ratchet wrench and a drill press, the build is well within your capabilities. I am retired so could commit full time at the factory with out distractions. If you decide to build it at home, you will have to work that out for yourself. I saw the video you referred to, and Norbert's estimate. I think he just wants to be realistic for the average home-builder. He did mention that he thought mine was one of the fastest he's seen.

Good luck,
XE285 #1329 N869DJ
Start: June 2018
Done:  Sep 12, 2018  Sleepy 
AWC Issued: Sep 26, 2018  Big Grin  
If you're interested in an XET I have one for sale. YouTube: Rotorlyfe
Owner N315FC   XET built by Scott Seaner
Line pilot at Air Evac Lifeteam, AE63 Abilene, TX

YouTube/iG : RotorLyfe
Already! You just got it, and we haven't even flown formation yet Smile
XE285 #1329 N869DJ
Start: June 2018
Done:  Sep 12, 2018  Sleepy 
AWC Issued: Sep 26, 2018  Big Grin  
Hi Christoph,
If you are worried about the electrical and engine setup you could enquire about taking your build back to the factory for assistance with just that part (and a check over of the rest of your build), not sure if they offer that but seem to be helpful with everything else so worth asking.

As others have commented, there is nothing that difficult in the build, and from the description of your workshop you probably have the skills needed.

As far as my own build, I plodded along fairly slow, about 4 years (that included building a trailer too). About 1 year of that was just getting missing and incorrectly supplied parts, it takes a bit longer as an overseas builder, so really a 3 year build. If you knuckled down that would probably be a 1 year or so build. The manual is good, some tiny things here and there to work out, but the drawings are very good so easy to see what you are trying to achieve. Probably the bits you are worried about are covered least in the manual, the XE285 electrical and 2 stroke engine tuning. Would recommend the quick build fab kit, lots of pieces there pre-cut and pilot drilled to make life easy, well worth the money.

XE285 in NZ
Hi all,

thank you for all the input very helpful!


 "Well it all depends on you" 
That is very true and a lot of factors playing a role here I think I get that. Sounds from your description that you get the build manual before you are getting the kit? 


I wish I had the option to do the factory-assisted build but due to my job and family I don't see that happen before retirement and I am sure I don't want to wait that long. I am currently torn between building and flying. I definitely like to build stuff but I also want to fly and I hate repetitive work. Years ago I thought about an RV6 kit from Vans, they were not pre-punched at this time, the significant amount of build time but also the many repetitive tasks have had shied me away from that. Same in the RC world, I have built several RC helicopters from kits the biggest with a 2 stroke gasoline weed wacker engine (, I also built some airplanes but was never too enthusiastic with that, because of the often tedious tasks involved.  
Anyhow, if I decide to go for an experimental helicopter I would like to have a thorough understanding of the machine and to achieve that, I will have to do 51% of the build myself. The repairman certificate is an additional advantage of that.

Oh yeah ... I have seen your video, actually more than once... very nice ship, very cool presentation, great engine sound... altogether very... or better extremely tempting, but at this point in time unfortunately not for me. Sad

Good that you mention that, I have thought about if that would be an option. I am wondering if the factory could do some of the bodywork and some of the engine work, something like a partial factory-assist build. BTW, did I mention that I hate fiberglass work sanding and the like but I think I am not alone with that ... Wink

I think I will give them a call in the next days to find out what is possible. 

Also important, I have never seen a Mosquito in real and I really need to do that, maybe I am not impressed at all anymore once I have seen one and had the chance sitting in the pilot seat. Any Mosquitos closer to central PA??

Thank you,

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