Posts Tagged ‘experimental/homebuilt’

Build a Plane builds two planes, Day 4: Ready for the wings

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Photo courtesy Dustan Muir

Photo courtesy Dustan Muir

The gleaming wings for the first Build a Plane Glasair are laid out on trestles, waiting to be installed, and that is on today’s agenda.

Every artist signs his work, so it makes perfect sense that the high school students participating in the GAMA/Build a Plane project should sign theirs. That’s what they did, affixing signatures beneath the inspection covers. The operators of these aircraft will see these names at every inspection and recall the two weeks spent here in Arlington, Wash., with a great crew of young people. 

I’m wondering if this is a tradition that every builder shares, much like cutting a shirt tail or dumping water on a student pilot at solo. When you’re building your aircraft, there’s more opportunity to personalize or customize it. What could be a greater source of pride than your own signature affixed to your own handiwork?

Build a Plane builds two planes, Day 3: Nonstop learning

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Ben Rauk (he’s one of three Bens at the Glasair Aviation factory in Arlington, Wash.), starts each day of the Build a Plane/GAMA marathon with a briefing and a “lesson of the day.” Today’s was on safety wiring.

Glasair Aviation's Ben Rauk gives a morning briefing to the Build a Plane participants.

Glasair Aviation’s Ben Rauk gives a morning briefing to the Build a Plane participants.

It might have been totally new territory to the students, but Rauk’s tutorials also proved enlightening to observers who have spent many years in aviation. “I learned something on drilling I didn’t know,” said Mark Van Tine, chief executive officer of Jeppesen, who has been helping to build one of the airplanes. “That’s a nice way to start the day out.”

Glasair and Build a Plane cooperated on the construction of a Sportsman in 2008 with four teens who went through the Two Weeks to Taxi program. This is the first time, however, that the organizations have shepherded eight students working on two airplanes simultaneously. What’s more, a privately owned Sportsman has been in and out of the main hangar while the owner flies off the 40 hours required under the regulations governing homebuilt/experimental aircraft. The near-constant activity in the hangar is a happy soundtrack for general aviation.

Designs from a new generation

Monday, June 10th, 2013

A week from today, two teams of high school students will be rolling up their sleeves to start putting together two Glasair Sportsman 2+2s. The teams, from high schools in Saline, Mich., and Canby, Minn., were the winners of a nationwide aviation design challenge competition sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Build A Plane, a nonprofit organization that promotes aviation and aerospace education (and does so through a wide range of activities—which I will discuss in a future blog).

The kids won the challenge by creating an airplane design and test flying a virtual airplane. Lest you think these kids simply plugged some numbers into a program, they went through a monthlong curriculum to get to the design portion. And the software recorded parameters such as time, distance,  fuel efficiency, and more. And their designs were judged and analyzed by a team of aviation engineers.

I thought you’d like to see what these students came up with. Here’s Saline’s design. Can you guess which Experimental airplane served as the inspiration? Extra points if you can name the exact model of that Experimental:

SWWC plane

and a view from the cockpit:

Redies cockpit

 

And here is Canby’s design:

Lutgen rear view

It’ll be fun to see how these kids bridge the gap from the virtual world to the physical process of assembling an airplane. I’ll be there for the first part of the two-week build to bring you the action, and I might even get a chance to do some riveting myself.  Look for more blogs on Reporting Points, plus an article in a future issue of AOPA Pilot.