I would have recommended flying in to the Elkader, Iowa airport with it's interesting hilltop turf strip of 1705 feet of length and then catching a ride the 16 miles or so to eat a Gunderburger at a tiny hole in the wall bar called the Irish Shanty. The only problem is the city of Gunder is so small there are not enough people to work the restaurant and they decided to shut down the kitchen until further notice. I don't think the Guinness beer on tap is enough to sustain them and I fear one of my favorite burgers will be gone forever. https://kwwl.com/news/2019/06/04/irish-shanty-home-of-the-gunderburger-closing-kitchen-service/
I think most people know the difference between city bush pilots and the real deal. Texas and almost every other state in the union is full of self proclaimed cowboys with their pickup trucks and cowboy hats and boots. Most people are also aware that these cowboys are not real cowboys too. It's not worth getting your underwear in a bundle over the difference between a concrete cowboy or pilot and the dyed in dirt real deal.
There was a company that made plastic snap on aerodynamic strips for streamlining wires for hang gliders. I don't know if the stuff is around or who makes it but it's worth a look. I think I seen it in a Glider Rider magazine decades ago.
I'd like to see someone cut some fabric pieces "flag" sized and paint it on both sides with these experimental paints and then raise it up the flag pole and test it. Constant exposure to the elements would give you long term results in a shorter time span. Wind whip, rain, snow, ultraviolet, temperature changes and more. A base could be established by painting a "flag" with recommended number of coats of a conventional aircraft paint system. If it holds up on a flag it should last a long time on an airplane.
Another part of the problem with the kit prices is the fact that the price of metals has seen a steady climb upwards for several years. To make matters worse, the tariffs imposed by Trump on imported metals will drive the price up even more. I don't see any kit manufacturers getting rich. Many of them barely get by. An affordable ultralight might mean going back to wood and fabric.
The 447 and 503 were great for ultralights but not much else. Judging from what I have seen at the ultralight end of the Oshkosh airshow the last 3 or 4 years, ultralights are not being developed. The market it too small to support their sales. Most of the manufacturers moved over to "light sport" development where they can grow. Part 103 weight limits and fuel limits regulated ultralights to a premature death. I now see the "light sport" field to be in the same trouble as the "ultralight" field was in it's heyday. Too many vendors compared to the number of dollars being spent within the industry. The economy just does not allow enough extra cash for expensive toys for most of America. At least with snowmobiles and boats your not spending as much on a license as your toy. A simple drivers license system for "light sport" would help get more buyers into the market and in turn support the vendors. Until things change a "new" 447 or 503 will be of use as a replacement engine on an old ultralight or a new engine on a new ultralight, both uses are shrinking more each day.
If the FAA is OK with led lights as strobes I see no reason to continue with Xenon flash tube technology. Led lighting lasts longer, is lighter, less fragile, cheaper, and easier to design driver electronics for. Remember those cheap cardboard cameras that hit their heyday just before pocket sized cell phones got popular? They used to be a cheap source for flash capacitors for those of us experimenting with high voltage. Probably hard to find them today. A website with some good information on Xenon flash tubes is here: http://www.bristolwatch.com/ele/index.htm Within that page is a link to a YouTube video on the subject. I have not watched the video but I am a subscriber to his channel. He's got some great videos for electronics. Here's a great place to find parts for Xenon style lighting: https://www.xenonflashtubes.com/
Many years ago there was a magazine called Glider Rider. They had plans to build a power supply for the Whelen style coiled strobe lights. My lights were built into baby food jars. We used them even before part 103 existed just to make our ultralights more visible. We built them to save on costs and the power supply box is about as big as the old Whelen units anyway. If I was going to make one these days I'd probably start with a prefab module such as this: https://www.xenonflashtubes.com/flash-driver-modules/12v-nano-strobe-compact-xenon-flash-warning-light_130.html Just take the bulb off the board and mount a socket to plug your lights into. The unit in the link mentions the capacitor can be adjusted to fire different sized strobe lights and that will be needed if you have the cork screw style bulbs.
That's a much better site than their regular bus line site I was hunting on. The closest to me is Cedar Rapids, Iowa with the Dubuque, Iowa location being just a couple of miles farther. Here's the information from their site on package size and weight limit: What are your package weight and size restrictions? The maximum weight per package is 100 pounds. The maximum dimensions that we can accommodate are 29" H x 47" W x 82" L.
My next question is where is the nearest Greyhound bus station? I'm guessing you have to pick it up at a near station? I have not been inside a Greyhound bus station since the early 70's. The greyhound site has a terrible search engine for their bus stations. I'm sure there's one within an hour or so drive but they must hide them as I've never casually seen one in decades.
Is there any performance reasons everyone switched to the center mounted radiator and cowling systems? The problem with most cowls being sold is location. They don't ship cheap and gas to drive and pick them up ends up costing as much if not more than the asking price of the cowl. You think being in Iowa I'd be close to one.