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The Penultimate Chapter In Our 'Learn/Build' Program!

By Jack Dueck, Project Lead, EAA Lifetime 337912

August 2020 – You might remember that about two years ago a group of members of our Chapter 1410 began a learn/build project that involved completing a partially constructed Zenith 601 XL-B aircraft. We set up a program, bylaws, and liability agreements, and then met every Saturday for a work bee.

Generally, we have kept to the program and the original group of members is still with us and we have gained several more as work progressed.

This last Saturday we reached a milestone. Both wings have now been attached to the fuselage and the instrument panel has been powered up. These two achievements are important to us.


Wings attached.

First is the wing attachment progress. I don't know about other builders, but I undergo a good degree of stress that builds up as the attachment date arrives. After spending months constructing the wings and the fuselage, you can't help but wonder if these pieces will actually fit together. They did.


Our electronics guru, Kelvin.

Second, the degree of complexity associated with the wiring of the glass instruments, with the various components talking to each other, has been mastered. Our electronics guru, Kelvin, prepared the wiring diagrams, completed the wiring harnesses, hooked up various wires sticking out of the "bird's nest" behind the panel, and when everything was ready (to a degree), turned on the master switch and behold! No smoke!


Instrument panel.

So what's left on this project? The cowling still needs to be installed, then the final checkout of all the controls and instruments; engine run-up and systems check; painting and call signs; final inspection; and then first flight. We anticipate this will take place towards fall of this year — plenty of time to fly off the 25-hour test time in time to fly to Oshkosh next year.

So what's next for our group? Anyone who has built an aircraft knows you can never build only one aircraft! Our group has been offered several very interesting projects. Stay tuned!

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