I dread returning home from Sun ‘n Fun.

It’s not having to explain how I blew up the credit card or even listening to some mild complaining about the sand in my dirty clothes.

Nope, it’s having to cast my gaze, once again, on my dusty 7/8-scale Nieuport 11 project that’s been sitting largely untouched for nearly two decades now.

What got in the way and where did the time go? Oh, I suspect any of you could pass that ‘fill in the blanks’ test. In my case, it was relocating to an out-of-state job that led to significant lifestyle changes when we bought a 15-acre farm in the Middle West. The Nieuport, and even flying itself, quickly took a back seat to getting the farm in working condition (by a guy who grew up in the suburbs), not to mention a complete gut-and-remuddle of the century-old farmhouse.

Before the big move, I had been steadily making progress with three good friends (each building their own copy, for a total of four aircraft). Bill, Wayne and Steve eventually moved on to other interests as well. Wayne did end up buying an already-completed Siemens-Schuckert (essentially a German copy of the N11), in which he promptly made an impromptu “landing” in someone’s back yard after an engine failure (he walked away and the S-S did fly again). Steve decided to move up to an RV-8A project, so I snagged the one set of main wings we had completed, which gave me a 95%-complete airframe.And that’s about where things stalled for twenty years. The Nieuport in semi-assembled form did get one outing at my employer’s annual car show, where it drew a lot of interest but garnered no awards, alas.

Growing up in the 1960s and ‘70s, my dad had a wooden sailboat project that he never finished. It got moved from house to house with his own job changes, and he eventually “shortened his lines” and sold it. In later life, he bought a nice 18’ fiberglass sailboat in which we spent many pleasant hours on Lake Sinclair in Middle Georgia.

I’m not ready to abandon the project yet, so maybe this will be the year in which I finally move it to the front burner.

Anyone else interested in a forum on restarting a stalled project?


  1. Heck yes. I know the stack of Fisher Celebrity ribs in my basement would cause fewer feelings of guilt and despair if I were actively building, rather than pondering whether I’ll ever finish.

    After enough time stalled, you start to wonder whether you even want to finish. Why’d I start this thing anyway? But on those rare occasions, every year or two, when I do get something more accomplished I get a little shot of that builder’s joy; that sense of accomplishment and a glimpse of the reasons that I committed in the first place.

    I think a forum for those of us with stalled and near abandoned projects would be a great idea. Just please, for the love of everything in the world that’s good and pure… not Facebook.

    I’ll even volunteer to run it.

  2. There is a big difference between “Stalled” and “”Quit”.
    If you can hold onto the dream, you’ll see your project to completion. My friend and I started the dream back in 1986 with a Lancair kit. It flew in 2012. Too many life things got in the way for many years but the dream never left us! My regards to the Dreamers!

  3. I still have strong aspirations to complete my Nieuport – if only as a static display aircraft for donation to a museum somewhere. But it sure would be (more) fun to get it airborne and trailer it to SnF, OSH or the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous at Dayton. Attending a fly in always re-ignites the spark!

  4. Building airplanes is not a social process. You need to learn how to say “no” to starting new projects- like your stalled projects forum. Clear out two days or evenings every week where everybody knows you’re not available cuz you’re working on your project. Think of it like bowling night, Tuesdays & Thursdays you’re doing this thing from 5 to 9 at night so don’t even ask. Try to leave an easy task to start every session. I’ve found that if I can just drag myself into the shop and start something that in about two minutes I’m engaged and good to go for the rest of the evening, you just gotta START. Get a big whiteboard on the wall so you can keep track of details. Believe me: you’ll get a huge morale boost every time you cross something off.

    Nothing can compare to the feeling of flying a plane you made, but it starts with saying NO to distractions.

    Good luck!

    Ian H.
    0-320 Long EZ 1780 hrs.

  5. Ian Huss: I couldn’t have said it any better, got a RV 4 project going right now and I do something every day no matter how small. I will say I retired year and a half ago, so everyday is Saturday .

  6. Ian / Chris – you’re both spot on, and the “do something every day” trick does work. I restored my 1950 Ford 8N (to bare metal) over about a five month period this way. I’ve been retired three years now, and spent a bit over two building my “dream shop,” which was completed just a few months ago (I did everything myself except the concrete). I took my time, and am very satisfied with the end result.

    I think the biggest impediment to restarting a paused project is mentally vapor locking when you don’t have a clear picture of the steps needed to get through a major task. And the best way around that is to just pick a spot and start, even if it doesn’t end up being the right place to start. The act of working on *something* is often all that’s needed.

    And that’s exactly what I need to do! Only thing is that I also have two early ’60s VWs that are paused restorations, and I really need to get them done to free up enough floor space to work on the Nieuport.

    Now where did I put that King Pin Reamer???

  7. Ten years ago my wife and I built two airstrips and 36′ x 26′ hanger. We then purchased a complete Sonex airframe and engine kit………..and yes , that’s when life got in the way. Ten years and we have not pulled one rivet. Hopefully things are about to change very soon and the dream will finally become reality. Not all bad though……..lots of other friends have made use of the strips and hanger 🙂

  8. Do ONE THING every day for 5 to 15 minutes for two weeks and see how that makes you feel. It should reignite your enjoyment.

    It’s a way of taking your temperature. See if it’s really your heart.

  9. Feeling the pain myself
    I purchased a sonerai L2 airframe(certified in the late 70’s)and parts to build it ten years ago, got stuck in and made laser cut dies for the wing ribs and proceeded to knock out a set.
    Moved house !?!
    O well pipe dreams..

  10. Don’t feel bad: I have a self-designed 2-seat trike which I started in 1993. I have all the components; engine prop, wing and most of the trike frame is completed, including the shocks, brake and wheels. I have yet to create the engine to frame mount and the universal joint to connect to the wing: a couple solid months of work, but finding the time and mental commitment. My new YouTube channel gives me a reason to continue as using various projects for content will be helpful.

  11. Oh. my yes . And another 7/8ths scale Nieuport 11 too! I started building the lower wings this winter but now have to deal with a low back injury ,once again stalling a project from 2014. A house and hangar build got in the way for much of the decade . Ah well time marches on .


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