Good ideas for first time builders, for those that have built before they have been thru this whether or not writing anything down or thinking about it. It all comes naturally as you progress, For a first time builder time spend considering the following is a good investment in time.
Your flying machine mission statement:
Sounds ominous but is one of the most critical items to think about and understand before starting a flying machine project of any kind. It does not need to be detailed or long but needs to have enough information to get a firm grip on what you expect to accomplish and where you are at as a builder, your ultimate goal for this endeavor: These do not reflect any person or pilot.
Mission Statement #1.
I want to fly out of my pasture, no trees on either end but have fences on each end leaving about 1,000 feet for take off and landing area. Want to fly around locally, within 25 miles of my home field. No big mountains to climb over and field elevation less than 1,000 feet, MSL. Main goal is to just be able to fly and have fun, build time and get more comfortable off the ground. I only weight about 160 pounds. This will be my first aircraft project; I know a little about wood working and have a friend that can do some welding. I need to keep expenses down. I have time to work on it during winter and some summer, with only a 2-car garage to work in. I have a little flying experience many years ago so will need to get some flying experience updates. There is an EAA chapter I can get to for some support.
Mission Statement #2.
I want to fly out of nearby airport- fly 50 miles into the back country to my piece of property with 75 pounds of baggage, land over short trees, into a short field, about 400 or 500 feet, rough ground at about 4,500 feet of elevation, spend the weekend and fly back Sunday evening. Have never built an aircraft before but have did lots of wood-work projects and know how to gas weld. Building a 1/2VW I can do. Learning to fly now. I have a work shop out back that will make a good place to build it.
Mission Statement #3.
I want to take the design and change wings to aluminum, with aluminum covering, make wings foldable, change fuselage to aluminum tubing and composite, use a weed-Wacker 2,000 motor with reduction drive for power. I have never flown before but will learn later in project.
Mission Statement #4.
I want nice flying, light weight machine that I can fly from local airport, visit surrounding grass strips and other airports within reach of fuel supplies. This will be my 8th aircraft build and I am familiar with wood working, metal work, welding, fabric covering, engine building and have over 1,000 hours flying time in a variety of aircraft and ultralights. I want large tires for rough grass strips and more interested in climb in place of speed. I want to change shape of wing tips.
As you can see these cover different operating parameters and a wide range of missions and capabilities. A mission statement will aid in understanding what is expected from flying machine, easy to want a 250-pound, 30 horsepower machine that can carry 600 pounds at 60 mph for 500 miles, reality is quite different, same thing about builder. By understanding what is expected of flying machine and what resources available to work with a plan can be reached that will result in you one day being in the air, if that is what you want……. What do you mean if that is what I want? Lots of work and time to go thru to not be in air!! Understanding what specifically you want out of the experience is as important, maybe more so, that what you expect from flying machine. I know several people that love to build, do a spectacular job, award wining builds, but flying, they can take it or leave it, not that much interest there. I know people that love to work on a project for years, do all sorts of changes, improvements, upgrades, but if some gromes came in one night and finished project, it would ruin their day. They enjoy the comrade and excitement, talking about project, having something to do, but deep down that is all they want. I know people that love to fly, building a flying machine may be something they talk about, but their life is flying not building. What are you really, deep down, trying to accomplish?
There is a lot to learn from building a flying machine, any flying machine. When I first got involved goal was education, gaining skills, and experience and a desire to fly. I agree with this and would add much more. One of my most important lessons was you do not have to be rich to building a flying machine, you must be dedicated. I was building my first flying machine a piece at a time, litterly a short piece of tubing was all I could afford at one time. A group at airport started an EAA chapter and I started meeting people. One of those people told me that to fly you had to have your priorities right, some people have the resources to buy a $58,000 kit, write out a check, kit arrives in box, other people need to think, plan come up with ways to make resources stretch or grow, learn how to scrounge, to get to a flying machine, takes a lot of dedication, planning and perservance. He was correct. If you really want to fly and or build a flying machine, it may take a while, but success goes to those that keep at it, never give up and persevere.