A Little of This, a Little of That

Subsonex skid plate
Subsonex skid plate

One of the nice things about having all of the sub-kits and materials necessary to build an airplane in your shop at once is the ability it gives you to skip around. After two weeks of working on the tail and control surfaces of my Subsonex project, I have those all finished, and was sort of tired doing pure metal work (measure, drill, disassemble, debur, reassemble, rivet… repeat!). So I jumped in a bunch of different tasks today, sampling a variety of materials and tasks. I mounted some tires, fitted the fiberglass ventral fin, attached the skid plate to the nose come (I don’t really want to ever have to use that), and trimmed some plastic fairings to size.

Ventral fin
Ventral fin

Everyone has their own working style, of course, some do things in the exact order as specified by their build manual – if they get tired of doing what they are doing, they stop until they feel like working again. Others, and I am one of them, make progress by skipping around from task to task–leaving one project when I have to wait for a part, or am just tied of working on it. I go on to something else (carefully making sure I don’t build myself into a corner by getting too far ahead on one component while another lags), and then going back to the original task rested and mentally refreshed.

It works for me – and is something you can consider if you have all of the parts and materials on hand to allow it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I feel like I can finally face getting more piano hinge ready to mount those control surfaces.

subsonex wheels

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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