TYC is proud to be part of the Long Tail.
No big ticket items like motors or carburetors here, but plenty of smaller, equally essential parts to keep your Yak airborne.
No high-volume market dominators but lots of small-run useful, winning products. And if you’ve read about the economics of the Long Tail, you’ll know the further you care to go down this Yak rabbit hole, the more low-volume, niche parts remain to be built for our Vibrant community.
Even for the best-established names in this field, the economics of serving the Yak community are precarious at best. Most people flying Yaks in the US would agree that the minute 100LL were to reach $8 a gallon, THIS particular hobby would lose its spot to Hiking, at which point the few trusted businesses committed to keeping our Vperod paddle blades thumping, would quickly curl up and die.
Happily, as of Fall 2019, that doomsday scenario is nowhere to be seen.
The basic economics of TYC's Yak reproduction parts goes like this. If you were unlucky enough to have had a fuel cover fly off during the last flight in your 52, you’re faced with a choice that will drop you neatly into one of two categories.
Either you're already one of our beloved customers, who just wants a nicely turned-out replacement fuel door to show up, a couple of days after they order it online - or you’re type 2.
If you’re type 2, we share a common bond, you and I, because you thought to yourself “that doesn’t look too hard- I’ll just fab one up”
And within that cavernous range of talent & opportunity, some will start with tin snips, some with Waterjet. Some will already have the correct length and size of Dzus fasteners arranged within carefully husbanded plastic trays, some will spend a morning learning the ontology of the quarter-turn fastener market.
Some will determine how to measure & roll the sheet metal curvature accurately, how to achieve rivet Head uniformity, some will settle for less and be proud of their handiwork.
At TYC we use the Type 2 model to price our goods. If you’re the rugged individualist who won’t be stopped by lack of planning, previous experience or hunger as the day wears on in the shop, you’re already lost to us as a customer- because nothing will stop you.
But if you’re driving home from the hangar wondering where THAT day went, then there IS a chance we’ll have you as a customer one day. Trust us when we tell you the products in these pages did not turn out right the first time for us either.
We get business from owner-pilots who rationalize that the costs of TYC’s repro products are measured in fractions of a Yak fillup. How much flying time is that Fuel Cover going to cost me ?
“That part will cost me a quarter of a fillup....Click” ( in the background; beer opening).
And when your part arrives, it’s even got that authentic-looking Dichromate coating that would have cost you a week’s wait and an $80 minimum plating charge.
But Long Tail economics also speak to the ills of traditional inventory.
When we gaze at parts on our TYC shelves, we don’t see the dollars invested in a short production run (where all the surprises have already been exorcised), but instead all the sunk R&D costs BEFORE we got it right.
In EAA circles it’s a rarely publicized truism that 85% of home builders do not finish their projects. Time, money and parenting usually conspire to confound an enthusiastically-launched project.
But the long tail is at work here too.
Overcoming whatever it was that stopped you, whether riveting a quick-build fuselage or some aspect of fabricating a Yak fuel cap cover, is just going to require MORE effort, more ingenuity, more favors, more investment and more R&D.
Thus it is that the beginning home builder announces to their partner they have a budget of $X, but six years in, find they must muzzle the fact they have actually spent $1.4X, partly because of chasing technology, partly through coveting their RV neighbor, (aka scope creep) or good old under-performance as in wasted time & material.
Among those unfortunate 85% of homebuilders, there were undoubtedly also those who thought they could out-engineer Mr VanGrunsven and expended the time, money and dissatisfaction to subsequently discover otherwise.
Into every Long Tail a little politics must fall. With a very few exceptions, here at TYC, we’re all about keeping your Yak STOCK.
While the 52 has a very few, well-documented shortcomings, TYC takes the view that the Yakovlev Design bureau had all necessary resources available to them to design, make and test this amazing airplane, ultimately ensuring it performed exactly as conceived.
With all those domed-head rivets, only unimaginable power will make it fly faster.
With all that new Glass instrumentation, you’ll still be doing Cessna 172 speeds through the air.
And once you make a switch from Metric to American threads (to use some more familiar local component), your endless adapter nightmare has only just begun and will, in time, snake across the entire firewall and beyond.
This is, perhaps, one major conceit that the EAA (and similar homebuilding bodies) allows to breed but does not counsel against.
It’s wonderful that we’re allowed to concoct aircraft of our own imagining, with only a wizened Tech Counselor to shepherd us back to the Lycoming Spam Can straight-and- narrow - but take a stroll around my homebuilding hangar neighbors, you'll overhear way too much “that should be strong enough” and hardly any “that should be light enough”.
In other words, homebuilders are being empowered to forge ahead oblivious to what they don’t know about Wagner Tension Fields, circular integral approximations to quantify stress around cutouts in stressed skin construction, material allowables or even the basic math required for weight and balance.
And in the end, after years of hangar flying and big talk, it’s no wonder they all end up looking like RV’s. Do you remember the movement a few years ago before “experimental” mysteriously morphed into “homebuilt”? You'd see Wet layup, even paper maché construction.
Not any more.
But for the US Yak owner, with an Experimental exhibition Airworthiness certificate, you can own a proven 7g machine, (descended from the same factory that produced an airplane about which Focke Wulf Pilots were told to ”avoid combat below five thousand meters”) ...AND you can work on it yourself...How awesome is that?
Surely only an 85 percenter would convince themselves they could out-design the Design Bureau?
Bring us your tired Snot Valves, your poor primer hoses - we’re ready to help!
TYC - way down the Yak Rabbit Hole, but still just a click away!
John flies out of KSEE whenever he can scrape together a few bucks to fill the tanks