"Crowdsourcing," or making a direct appeal to fans and enthusiasts for contributions to a project, has become a popular method for attracting ideas, capital and attention to a range of causes. MakerPlane (Innovation Pavilion, Booth 23) hopes to take the practice into the skies, and chose EAA AirVenture 2013 as the ideal spotlight for its campaign to raise funds for a prototype of an easy-to-build experimental light sport aircraft (E-LSA).
Work on the high-wing design began in late 2011, and MakerPlane is now building a non-flying prototype for evaluation of assembly techniques and use in destructive testing. On July 23, the Canadian company posted a 60-day campaign on crowd-funding website Indiegogo.com to raise the $75,000 needed to build a flying aircraft.
"The goal of our Indiegogo campaign is the creation of an open-sourced aircraft that's been specifically designed to allow it to be built using personal manufacturing technologies," said company founder John Nichol in a video presentation accompanying the campaign. "Once we've completed the design and plans, they'll be made available on the MakerPlane online repository as free and open-source for anyone to download and use."
Aeronautical engineer Jeffrey Meyer is leading the design team on the prototype E-LSA, with additional contributions from enthusiasts around the world. MakerPlane aims to display both prototypes at AirVenture next year.