We checked in at 8:00 a.m. today at the “One Week Wonder” project pavilion where a team of volunteers is determined to build and conduct initial taxi testing of a Zenith CH 750 kit airplane in seven days–front and center in the heart of AirVenture 2014. The atmosphere throughout the pavilion–volunteers and the large, ever-changing group of spectators–was one of enthusiasm. People stopping by said that they had heard about it and had to see an airplane being built in a week. And there had been striking visible progress since we visited yesterday morning–the aluminum is stating to look like an airplane. Charlie Becker, EAA’s manager of homebuilt programs, briefed us on the status: They were on schedule, no team was behind; the forward and aft fuselage have been joined together; the fuselage will be put onto the landing gear today; the firewall is being finished up and the engine should get mounted today.
With the large number of volunteers with widely varying backgrounds, we asked how many rivets had to be replaced. Becker told us that there were very few, mostly because the process is easy and there is an adequate tolerance for the learning curve of a new builder. We spoke with Ken Pavlou, who came to Oshkosh from Killingworth, Connecticut, to help build the CH 750. He told us that as soon as he heard about the project, he thought it was an exciting concept and wanted to get involved. He had built a Zenith kit and had a lot of fun doing it. He said that this project is an opportunity for him to deal with his “builder’s withdrawal” he’s felt since finishing his airplane. He wanted to be in on the community involved with the project and the camaraderie that exists among builders–they aren’t just nerds in a cave, he said. Also, Pavlou said he wanted to help show the world that building an airplane from a kit is not something mysterious and that it’s not all that hard. He emphasized that he had received tremendous support from the EAA and Zenith when he was building his airplane and this was an opportunity for him to give something back to those who had helped him.