JAN 2015

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: https://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/449720

Contents of this Issue


Page 3 of 32

4 Vol.4 No.1 / Januar y 2015 HOMEBUILDER'S CORNER ON JANUARY 26, 1953, less than 30 people came together at Curtiss-Wright Airport (now Timmerman Field) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to form the "Experimental Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association." (That name lasted only one meeting before we became the Experimental Aircraft Association…EAA). After years of individual states one by one banning homebuilt aircraft, the then Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), now FAA, had created an amateur-built airworthiness certifi cate that made it legal to build and fl y a homebuilt. Although a rule was in place to allow the home- builder an outlet for his talents and dreams, it was extremely limited. You were not even allowed to carry a passenger! Most of the homebuilts built in this pioneering era were original designs because there were no plans available, let alone a kit. Just finding a source for quality parts was a challenge. You couldn't just call Aircraft Spruce or hop on the Internet. No insurance company would insure the plane when it was done. The entire process of getting an aircraft certificated was difficult. You would have to be regularly visited during the building phase by the CAA to make sure you were doing an acceptable job of building. Contrast that with today. We can choose to build from kits offered by a number of established, mature kit com- panies with high-quality, well-refined designs. Everything you need comes in the kit, along with detailed instructions. Every design has a least one Internet-based support group to help the builder along. If you have the desire but no skills, you can attend an EAA SportAir Workshop to learn core skills and build up your confidence. EAA has more than 1,000 volunteer technical counselors who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise to make you successful. Once you are finished with flight testing, you can use the air- craft whenever and wherever you desire as long as you don't carry persons or property for compensation or hire. You can fly at night, in instrument (IFR) conditions, and do aerobat- ics. And with the recent release of the new additional pilot advisory circular (AC 90-116), you can even request to have two pilots in the cockpit during flight testing. Building an aircraft has never been easier. The availability of CNC machining has allowed kit manufacturers to dramati- cally improve their kits. You need a lot fewer tools to build a kit. The Internet has allowed homebuilders to communicate globally, whereas in the past your only outlet was a newslet- ter or monthly chapter meeting. All of these advances are great and result in a much higher likelihood of success. But sometimes this success takes away some of our revolutionary zeal. I always refer to this opportunity to build as the "homebuilt movement." I like the way those words impart that we are working toward a larger goal. I worry we are losing some of our revolutionary zeal. In the early days, every EAA member was an evangelist for the organization and homebuilding, preaching the advantages of homebuilt aircraft. I think we could use a shot of that zeal again. After all, homebuilding is a wonderful opportunity that teaches us to use our hands and mind to create; a talent that is becoming a rare com- modity in today's virtual world. How about setting a goal for the year 2015 of inviting 10 people over to your workshop to show off your project? If your homebuilt is already flying, set a goal of giving an introductory flight to 10 people you think might catch the homebuilding bug. At worst, you will dispel some of their pre-conceived notions about a homebuilt aircraft. At best, maybe this will get some new folks started on the path of someday becoming a homebuilder. Let's share our success and motivate others. Share Our Success Invite others to visit your project or share a ride BY CHARLIE BECKER

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Experimenter - JAN 2015