Follow the directions. Measure twice and cut
once. Ask lots of questions of fellow builders. Learn
from your mistakes as well as the mistakes of others. Van's
does offer builder support.
Ok...so that is not what you wanted to hear but in
all seriousness, the build process is extremely detail oriented and
you have to be thinking and on your toes the whole time. If
you are not paying attention you will spend a lot of time fixing
your mistakes instead of building an airplane. I am not saying
that mistakes are not going to happen, you just have to try and
minimize them and always learn from them. There are times
where it seems like I am going no-where after spending 5 hours out
in the shop, but in the grand scheme of things I am making progress.
Just remember that for every hour you spend in the
shop that is one hour closer to being done.
The best place would be somewhere close to where
you live; preferably a garage. That way the project is in your face
and you wont have to drive somewhere to work on it. I am using
a 1 car space from a 3 car garage to build our plane. The hard
part for me in the beginning was climate control. Keeping the
'shop' cool enough in the summer was the hard part for me.
Some people actually already have a hangar to
build their plane in, me on the other hand, I am stuck in the garage
until final assembly.
Believe it or not, I get asked this question all
the time. Of course I am going to fly it. Why would I
build it if I was not going to fly it? I am going to do the
flight tests and I will be the one to tweak it so I will be
responsible for everything about the plane. Someone once told
me "You are responsible for quality control - if you are not
careful, God will beat the FAA to the crash site."
Flight testing is all in my hands. The FAA
was kind enough to make a great Advisory Circular about flight
testing - AC 90-89. I will put the plane through its paces and I am even
working with a friend to come up with a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and a
Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) so I can take
notes during the flight tests.
Basically it will be a tape recorder with an
adapter to plug into the headset jack so that I can just talk to
myself throughout the flight testing. I can make notes, record
airspeeds based on power settings, record engine readings, etc. and
never have to take my hands off the stick.
The FDR will probably incorporate a laptop and a USB or serial connection for
recording critical flight data. I have not decided on whether I
am going to try and get a full time CVR setup going or what.
If I can get myself some type of a digital recording device to loop
every two hours or something, that would be great.
Since I am going to be using an auto conversion my total testing
time will be 40
hours of flight testing.
This question gets asked quite often as well.
Most people don't realize that you can build your own real airplane.
There are thousands of RV's out there flying and thousands of other
designs that make it in the air as well. I was going to do a
Cozy MK-IV but eventually moved to an RV. I just know that the
RV is a proven design and I got more done in a year on the RV than
in two years on the Cozy. Less time spent building jigs and
How long does it take to build?
That really depends on how often you work on your
project and how many options you modify. It also is affected
by whether you do a quick build or not. Some people take up to
4,000 hours to build others get it done in 900 hours. We are going to QB the
fuselage just because we are getting impatient and I see the major
benefit of having that done for me. The main one being time.
I know there are some major gaps in the build process but that is
affected by our home life and things going on there. We also
have our other jobs with the Sheriff's Office to do as well.