Teaching Homebuilding Skills


Many a homebuilder has heard the admonition from the uninitiated about how they love the idea of assembling their own plane, if only they possessed the skills necessary.

Here at Sun ‘n Fun anyone interested can receive free instruction in the skills needed for pretty much any aspect of aircraft construction, such as building a wood aircraft, which volunteer instructor Dick Navratil (top photo) is providing here.

Of course, depending on the project, the skills needed may include welding, fabric covering, composite construction of basic electrical systems and avionics, as Paul Edlund is doing in the bottom photo.

And we can’t forget metal-working skills, as metal airframes are among the most common to kit-building projects. For those skills, Burl Nelson and Jim Hoak help convert the unenlightened into competent shapers of metal, including bending, forming and riveting as they’re showing Dave Lautenschlager by assembling the rudder of a Zenith STOL 701 in the center shot.

Regardless of the discipline taught, the volunteer teachers possess the experience required to pass on their knowledge to those hungry to fly a machine of their own making.

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Dave Higdon
Dave travels far and wide as a long-time aviation journalist, so the subject of survival skills—what to pack, how to use it—was never far from his curiously sloping frontal lobes. Because we all tend to focus on the building and test-flying, knowing what to bring on that first long cross-country of the year gets lost like a Cleco in a chip storm.


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