It's Just Homebuilding

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Wandering through the Sport class pits this morning, I spotted parts, tools, and paper towels soaked with brake fluid under the left gear leg of the Sport Class match racing pace plane. Attending the minor spill were racers Axel Alvarez and George Ford – both of whom were looking forward to having the plane ready to go so that they could race!

The scene was familiar to any homebuilder whose machine has been flying for awhile – a little brake leak that grows into a big one, and you can’t find the cause directly. After changing an elbow fitting and checking the puck O-rings, they were busy recharging the system as I walked away. Later, I came back to find the wheel pant once again on the ground, and the caliper (disassembled) beside it. Someone was off in search of slightly bigger O-Rings. A typical day in the life of the homebuilder at Reno!

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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 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as a former member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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