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Lessons Learned
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Lessons learned and tips

 

General

 

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Learn as much as you can about other builders' experiences - both good and bad (Rick Henry)

 

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If the kit manufacturer claims that the build time is a certain number of hours, make sure that it will be finished with, at the very least, the double of the time.

 

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During the ordering/paying phase, make sure about the kit supplier financial health. Many builders had been caught with bankruptcy or company ownership exchanges .

 

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"Measure twice three times, then cut or drill once." (Rick Henry)

 

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The word "kit" is at the very least ambiguous. In our case, for example, the airplane simply were manufactured. All the work to measure, to line up, to cut, to drill, to rivet and to screw was strictly ours. Some Van´s quickbuild options comes with almost completed fuselage and wings. To this yes I would call "kit".

 

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When you have finished the basic  structure (the airframe) and that it is 90% done..... forgets! You will have a lot of time remaining. Please consider at least more 40 or 50% to go. There are some finishing details , such as fuel system, interior, engine installation, electrical system, instruments, painting, etc....

 

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Read the drawings thoroughly and carefully, then ask: "Will this really work or fit?" (see above).Think of the drawings as a great starting point or general idea, but not necessarily always an absolute.
e.g.: Skins need to be cut oversize and then fit to your airplane.
(Rick Henry)

 

bulletTake lots of photos at fly-ins, especially close-ups. (Rick Henry)

 

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If you aren't an aircraft mechanic, make friends with one. (Kirk Harrel)

 

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Certain areas of the plans are vague, like engine installation. Go take lots of pictures of certified aircraft in your local repair shop. Ask lots of questions. (Kirk Harrell)

 

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A great reference about aircraft parts, like screws, aeronautical nuts, rivets , avionics, systems, is the Aircraft Spruce Specialty Co. annual catalog and others. Waste a lot of time reading , it has a wealth of information.

 

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Take lot of pics while building your aircraft. They will be useful in the final inspection, made by responsible engineer, and, of course, the proud of flying an airplane that was built by you.

 

bulletRick Henry´s  law: "Everything [done correctly] takes a lot more time than you'd expect."

 

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Make a list if everything you can think of that you need to do to build this plane. Date each item on the list as it is completed, but leave it on the list. When a roadblock interferes with the current task at hand, a quick reference to the "To Do" list will get the project moving again, because the list can be used to pull yourself away from the task at hand. (Kirk Harrel)

 

bulletTry to do something on the project every day - even if it's only for a few minutes. (Mustang Aeronautics)

 

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When the fatigue, the impatience and the loss of heart come down over  you, remember the day that you will be flying. Consider you like a great winner when the airplane comes complete, because some statistics say that 70/80% of builders abandon the project.

 

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If people come to visit, after a few minute "tour", get back to work while talking to them. Maybe even put them to work. (Rick Henry)
 

 

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Deburring is a good job for visitors...