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Building a Kit Plane – Part 3

by Patrick Borton

kit-plane-1Have you ever read a book that was so good you just couldn’t put it down? I’m finding out that building a plane is a very similar scenario. The story changes every day, though the scenery doesn’t always.Since last month’s issue, we’ve made some significant progress. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened.

The wiring, brake lines, and fuel lines have all been carefully planned and routed throughout the fuselage towards the instrument panel. The fuel lines that come standard with the kit are made of rubber and intended for a carbureted engine. Since we are using a fuel injected engine, the plumbing needed was more complex, but we got it all run.

pat-tippmannThe fuselage has moved around quite a bit during the course of construction. It was originally assembled on the wooden crate that it was shipped in. Next it moved to a pair of saw horses for better accessibility on all four sides. Last week, it was finally placed on its landing gear, which is a big step.

On the safety side of things, a BRS (ballistic recovery system) airframe parachute has also made its way into the back of the airplane, providing an additional layer of assurance. The support for installing this system wasn’t the greatest because we are the first people to do it in this model of Zenith aircraft (that we are aware of). The most exciting part of this installation was loading the solid fuel rocket motor into its housing.

I never thought I would learn or experience so many new things in such a short time period. But building a kit plane has a way of challenging you in ways you never imagined.

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