MAR 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/471466

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Page 14 of 36

EAA Experimenter 15 FINISHING THE AIRPL ANE When it came time to fi nish the airplane, Bill used the tried and true Poly-Fiber/Aerothane combination on the fuselage and fabric but used normal automotive acrylic enamel for the trim. The fi nish, however, is one of a number of areas in homebuild- ing that he has some opinions about. "When we got serious about building, we decided to keep ours simple to keep it light," he said. "Every extra pound costs in performance. We came in fairly light at 735 pounds empty. With little add-ons to come, I think it will probably fi nish out at about 750 pounds empty. That's about a hundred pounds light- er than many Tailwinds out there. Our gross weight is 1,400 pounds, so the useful load is 650, which might sound a little low but isn't. That means it can carry my wife and me (300 pounds total), a full header tank (150 pounds), and about 50 pounds in the baggage. We don't have a lot of room in the baggage area, but we can still carry one backpack each plus tools. "The main focus on any build I do is to keep it simple. It can be hard work to preplan simplicity, but it pays for itself in less time and cost to both build and maintain the aircraft. Getting complicated costs time and money and can slow down a build tremendously. "The biggest dif culty I have seen on any build project is making the decision to go in a particular direction. Once the decision is made, I fi nd reaching the goal to be relatively easy. If you want a showplane, be ready to spend countless hours on noncritical items. If you want to just fl y, you can get there easier and much faster, if you're not concerned about a perfect fi nish, which always eats up time and money and adds weight. That's a very personal decision, but it helps tremendously if the level of perfection is part of the planning that goes into the project right from the beginning. I, however, live by the mantra 'Perfec- tion is the enemy of completion.' "We probably spent about 500 hours to fi nish this Tailwind, but we used the opportunity to teach a couple of people a bit about building a fabric airplane. That time was spread out over Photography by Michael Kelly In keeping with the Tailwind's simplifi ed approach to aviating, Bill designed his panel to the same philosophy. Bill Clapp has been building aircraft for years and his wife, Kyoung, an important part of his business, is taking fl ying lessons.

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