Following are a few useful general building tips that will help make your project a success:
- Be consistent on the project and plan a working schedule: A few hours in the evenings and maybe a full day on the weekend (but don’t forget your family: better yet, have them participate). It’s much more efficient to work on the project consistently. Plan a work schedule, and follow it.
- Use the help of friends, but remember that they can either be of useful help or can actually slow you down. Remember that you’re in charge, and inspect their workmanship.
- FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS (it’s much easier).
- PARTICIPATE ON ZENITH.AERO for updates and tips from fellow builders
- Take your time, proceed at a steady and comfortable pace, and be sure that you understand the drawings and instructions before you work the parts (thus avoiding mistakes). Don’t hesitate to cross-reference or make notes, but don’t spend unnecessary time reading, polishing, re-drilling or re-measuring, and avoid the tendency to be excessively perfectionist: Be productive!
- Have confidence in yourself: YOU CAN DO IT. Overcome the initial fear that you’ve undertaken a complex project that’s too demanding. However, don’t become over confident (which may lead to errors).
- Avoid distractions and focus on the project at hand.
- USE COMMON SENSE. Don’t make things overly complicated for yourself, and think any questions or problems through. If you don’t understand something, contact the factory for guidance.
- Have the proper tools and workshop, and use the tools correctly and efficiently.
Produced by an actual builder, the DVDs provide practical hands-on information: Complete Zenith kit project series, Metalworking 101, Weight & Balance101, Scratch-Building Basics, Rotax 912 Installation, Jabiru Engine Installation, Electrical Wiring101, How to License your Homebuilt, and more.
ONLINE RESOURCES: Register to gain access to Zenith’s exclusive online builder resources to have access to up-to-date builder and owner information. Other resources include an online builder listing database, email list groups, etc. Click here to access the builder resources (you must first register and access is limited to builders).
ZENITH.AERO online community for active builders and pilots of Zenith Aircraft kits: Join this exclusive yet free online builder community, with active discussions, photos, videos, and more.
BUILDER WORKSHOPS: Zenith Aircraft Company holds weekend workshops where you can actually build the rudder tail section under the guidance of trained staff. You also learn many building tips and techniques. Designer Chris Heintz, holds free lectures on light aircraft design and construction at the annual Oshkosh (Wisconsin) and Sun’n Fun (Florida) fly-in conventions.
EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION: Join the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and also join a local EAA Chapter to meet with other builders and be part of the exciting world of sport aviation. Local builders can provide you with help (and lend you tools, as well!). EAA also has a Technical Counselor Program, which provides local technical help and guidance at no charge. Other programs / member benefits include the Flight Advisor Program, Aircraft Finance Plan, Aircraft Insurance Plan, and more. The Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor programs are highly recommended. Make use of these excellent resources available to you. To join EAA, call 1-800-322-2412. (Many other very good sport aviation organizations also exist outside the United States).
RECOMMENDED READING: Many of the building / maintenance procedures for Zenith Aircraft kits are standard aircraft procedures. A good reference book for metal aircraft construction is the Standard Aircraft Handbook by Larry Reithmaier (Aero Publishing).
Contact your local Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) office for information on the inspections and documentation required for your kit. Contact the FAA before the aircraft is completed and ready for inspection. Advisory Circular 20-27F details the certification and registration process for amateur-built aircraft. AC No. 65-23A outlines “certification of repairmen” (to obtain your repairman’s certificate for inspections once the aircraft is completed). Rules change from time to time. Keep current of new requirements. To request free up-to-date copies, contact:
Publications Section 442.32
Washington DC, 20590
The FAA also publishes a number of useful publications on flight testing, maintenance and operation of experimental amateur-built aircraft. The Guide to Federal Aviation Administration Publications (FAA-APA-PG-13) is also available from the above address.
- Keep a detailed building log, including photos.
- Keep all receipts and shipping documents.
- Take photographs of sub-assemblies (before final covering). This will also be a commemorative diary of your project, and may be useful if you ever want to resell your aircraft.