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Building a Kit Plane – Part 2

It’s amazing what can be done in a few weeks time. On December 16, the wings and tail were in the (nearly) completed state you read about in Hangar Talk last month. Since then, the fuselage and finishing kits have arrived, and the firewall forward (engine, mount, and accessories) and BRS airframe parachute have been ordered.

The rear portion of the fuselage came together very quickly, as well as the front section and firewall. The marriage of these pieces is where things need to slow down. As I mentioned before, there is a lot more thought and planning ahead than one is led to believe by the assembly manual. What else goes in the rear section of the fuselage that I can install now while the access is easy? Control cables for the rudder and elevator are going to head back there… but is now the time to run them?

Questions like these keep coming up. The manual and drawings are not going to walk you through from start to finish like the Lego kits from your childhood. You’ve done the easy work. Assembling large pieces of sheet metal isn’t so bad compared to countless hours of looking ahead in the manuals and drawings and reading on builders forums, all while keeping the stress level to a minimum. After all, it’s a kit plane. Eventually it will move under its own power. You can’t put a deadline on making sure everything is done right before this masterpiece leaves the ground.

Regardless of what your current project is, don’t lose sleep over it. Stay positive and accept the challenges that will be thrown your way. See the glass half full, and remember the first part of what a wise guy once told me: “The good news is, we’re halfway there. The bad news: we’re only halfway there.”