Follow us on Twitter Follow us on FaceBook Kitplanes Videos Get RSS Feed

Shop Talk

May 2015 Issue

The New Guy

Getting advice from the Internet.

I love the Internet. Without the Internet, I believe it would have been almost impossible for me to build my homebuilt project. I may be a new guy to homebuilt airplanes, but I programmed on punched cards and knew the Internet when it was called ARPANET and BITNET, so I know if an answer to a question is known on the planet, you will probably find it on the Internet. The problem with the Internet is that for every right answer you find, you will often find many wrong answers. In the case of Experimental aircraft, there are many listserves, discussion groups, web sites, blogs, and FAQ sites that are just waiting to help you. There is no shortage of free advice. Some of that advice is vital, some is thought provoking, and some of it is dangerous.

So, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Well, there is no real easy way to discover good from bad, but there are a few tips you can use to move through the morass. Here are some tips for finding better homebuilding advice on the Internet:

Bob said, "Fill it with Bondo and it will be OK."

1. Be cautious of any advice that starts with "He says…", "They say…", "The experts say…" or "My cousin Bob says..." Second-hand advice is like second-hand smoke.

2. Don't keep searching for an answer you already want to hear. If you look long enough, you will probably find it, even if it is the wrong answer. Read and understand both sides of the issue.

3. Consider answers from someone with a completed project that is flying to have more weight.

4. When you see two sides to an issue discussed, ask: "Would Cessna do that?" If Cessna would do it, I would probably add weight to that side of the discussion. But remember, just because Cessna would not do something doesn't make it a bad idea. Cessna does not build Experimental aircraft for sale.

5. When conflicting opinions occur, the factory kit manufacturer is always right.

6. Be very cautious about issues that involve safety of flight. The Internet is full of dangerous advice. Pay attention to the kit manufacturer, EAA tech counselors, or AP/IA professionals. Using an LED flashlight or two for landing lights is different than not putting in factory-designed parts to save weight.

"Does that look OK to you?"

7. Pay attention when different opinions arise from superstitious behavior or old wives' tales (OWT). Remember, bloodletting was used to cure disease for over 2,000 years.

8. Listen to people who have the most skin in the game such as people with flying projects, folks who make parts for sale, the factory that sells the kit, or EAA tech counselors who have their professional reputation on the line.

9. When asking for advice on a problem, be sure to carefully and fully describe the problem. Include pictures whenever possible.

10. Finally, remember that the Internet may not always have the best answer. A visit to a project or a person visiting your project may be the best solution. Of course, an email with pictures to the factory is always a good idea.

David Boeshaar is a systems analyst for corporate Disney. A former mechanic, teacher, and computer help desk guru at a major university, he is now building a Van's RV-9A for fun with his brother-in-law. As the new guy in aviation, Dave has learned lots, both good and expensive, and hopes to pass along a little help to the builders coming up behind him.

Download File

Untitled Document Homebuilder's Portal by KITPLANES
Photo by Richard VanderMeulen
Stolp SA-500 Starlet N23MEStolp SA-500 Starlet N23ME was completed in November of 2016 . The project spanned approximately 4 years. The Engine is a Franklin 4AC-199 E-3 (90 HP) with a Prince propeller. The Starlet is a ball to fly - everyone should have one! --Bill Prokes, Gilbert, Arizona
Scholes RV-12In April of 2011 I ordered a kit from Van's Aircraft--the E-LSA RV12, and I have been building it since then. Last fall (2017) I finally got the paper work finalized and got my airworthiness certificate from the FAA. There were just a couple of Service Bulletins that I wanted to take care of before the first …
Leedom-Hlavac-KitFox-LiteN200HL started life as a KitFox Lite kit. The engine is a Rotax 503 with a 3.47:1 reduction. The motor mount, carbon full cowl and the gear legs with coil spring absorption are all original designs. Mounted to the 503 is a 70" Warp Drive 3-blade prop and spinner. Standard-grade aircraft tires with hydraulic disc …

lycoming-thunderbolt-o-360-redAt Sun 'n Fun 2018 we interviewed Jeff Schans, Lycoming's Sales manager and we asked about the popular Thunderbolt Engines. Watch the short Product Minute video as Jeff describes the benefits of the Thunderbolt product line and what it means for the aircraft homebuilder.
Dynon Avionics' latest-generation SkyView integrated avionics called the SkyView HDX has a newly designed bezel and user controls for easier use while flying in turbulence, plus brighter displays and a reworked touch interface. Larry Anglisano takes a product tour of the HDX with Dynon's Michael Schoefield in this video.
At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Dynon continued to push into the world of non-certified avionics with its SkyView SE, a less expensive version of its popular SkyView EFIS system. Paul Bertorelli prepared this video report.
The G5 is a self-contained electronic flight instrument, which can be interfaced with Garmin's G3X/Touch avionics and autopilot for backup and flight instrument redundancy. The GMA245 and remote GMA245R Bluetooth audio panels have advanced entertainment input functions and onscreen programming.
At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Just Aircraft is showing off its new Titan-powered SuperSTOL XL. Harrison Smith took Paul Bertorelli for a half-day demo flight in the new airplane, and here's his video report.
Kit manufacturer Zenith Aircraft Company has released a new 360-degree VR short video to showcase its kit aircraft and to promote the rewarding hobby of kit aircraft building and flying light-sport aircraft.
Video Archive


All mailed correspondence, including subscription invoices, renewals, and gift notices, will bear our address:
PO BOX 8535
Big Sandy, TX 75755

Third parties claiming to be selling KITPLANES subscriptions are not legitimate.