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Do Not Build on Your Own

By Ian Brown, Editor-Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

July 2015 - Just to be clear, I’m not saying, “Do not build your own.” I’m sure we’ve all worked on aircraft by ourselves. I’m one of those who did most of the work on his homebuilt solo, but then I’m pretty dumb and would be downright stupid if I did it again. I just wanted to share this idea, for what it’s worth.

The first time you ever build an aircraft will be, by definition, the worst one you ever build, whether or not you ever build any subsequent aircraft. That’s because if you didn’t learn anything in building the first one, you would have nothing to enhance the construction the second time around. Unless you’re very unusual, each aircraft you build should be better than the last. It stands to reason, therefore, that you have most to learn the first time around, and that’s when you need to involve your friends.

Of course the circumstances might be slightly different if your subsequent aircraft projects are more challenging, demanding different techniques and skills, but I think the general rule applies.

If you are thinking about building your own aircraft for the first time, it’s never too early to involve friends who have already done the same. Workshop layout, tool planning, storage allocation, and heating and ventilation arrangements can all benefit from an experienced eye.

Repeat offenders’ hangars are always busy with other people passing through—some of them helping and some of them learning, or so I’m led to believe. As I said, I’m a bit of a loner when it comes to building aircraft, but I’m working on that. I had friends helping throughout my recent rebuild; J-P, Edmond, Doug, and others all brought special knowledge and skills that I was fortunate to learn from.

So, just my opinion, but before you build an aircraft, build relationships. You’ll be glad you did when you take that first flight.

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