Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Garage and Tools

I spent all summer thinking about the project. Got the instrument rating in Boise at Glass Cockpit Aviation . I really liked Cammie's cirriculum and she was patient with me. The simulator is a great time and money saver. I highly recommend this school. Flew about 20 hours of basic attitude instrument work with my instructor in Austin and drove to Boise for the 7-day finish up school.
Your wallet takes a hit, but it's clearly a good way to get the rating. I used the Archer, and this answered a question I had about low wing aircraft. All my previous time was in high wing Cessna's and I was wondering if I would find low wings a problem. I never even noticed it. Of course I had a hood on until I was flying home during the checkride, but I liked the Archer.

Instrument rated pilot!

Every one I talked to said the Van's was a good choice. Cammie said, "I've got an RV-7 project in my garage." I started reading all of the builder web pages, thinking and planning. I decided I would start building over Christmas break.

Looked at mess in my garage and started working on in earnest over Thanksgiving.

How to turn this collection of junk...

Made trips to Goodwill, the dump, hazardous waste collection. Installed two T82 flourescent fixtures in the ceiling. The garage can hold 3 cars, but has a 15 foot ceiling. I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with that when it comes time for the wing jigs.

I already had shop tables including a nice woodworking bench built years ago. But I saw the EAA standard work table plans and decided I really did need some more work surface. Made some modifications by making them wider, longer, and taller. That meant that one sheet of plywood wasn't enough. And modified one to hold the DRDT-2 dimpler (not sure if I'm happy with this yet). But now I've got two tables and lots of options.

...into an aircraft factory!

Started ordering tools on November 27, ordering a few from Isham, Avery, Brown, and the DRDT-2 direct from Experimental Aero. Looked at lots of places and settled on a 33 gal. Craftsman compressor (on sale!) and a Craftsman 10" bandsaw. Sprung for a Souix 3x rivet gun and the new 3/8 reversible air drill (very nice).

Air compressor and air tree.

Visited Tracy Hallock and John Prickett, both building RV-7s. John fired up the compressor and I drove my first five rivets! Bought two toolbox practise kits, one for me, one for Katrin. All told spent about 40 hours or so just getting the garage cleaned up and building work benches.