A reflection on the airplane after the 1st year of flying

Brandi posted our plane's bday on VAF and someone pointed out that a retrospective view was in order on what we had done right, what would we change, etc. That sounds like a great idea so here goes. 

Did right:

  • Decided to build the plane despite it being seemingly impossible and too expensive of a task. 
  • Waited to paint until after it had flown for a while. Too many things could have scratched the paint by now - not that they won't in the future but we're over the hump of lots of shuffling of things going on. 
  • Installed overhead console with air vents. More air in the hot summer and also, in cruise, they are much quieter than front vents if you don't need full blast air. 
  • Went with a new engine. There are plenty of things to worry about and I'm glad we aren't worried about potential engine issues from having who knows what rebuilt parts in one. I don't think there is anything wrong with getting an overhauled one, but I think it requires more diligence and knowledge of engines in general than we had at the time. 
  • Went with a simple operating design (from electrical/button pushing standpoint) and clean panel. Easy to use and works great! 
  • Did seat mod so seats can slide off rails without removing flap rod covers.
  • 3rd door latch + door pins from PlaneAround.com
  • Used McMaster seal around door frame instead of stock seal.
  • Used Lord Adhesive for windows instead of Weld-On. 
  • Installed door lock on pilot side and drilled hole for pin through door handle push button on passenger side.
  • Installed landing lights in both wings.
  • Went with the Dynon SkyView system. We really love flying behind it.

Would do different: 

  • Probably would do a VPX system. At the time we were really scraping dollars, but, in the grand scheme of things, it would have been much cleaner behind the panel and we could have gotten some really neat data on our EFIS regarding the electrical system. 
  • Cut a little bigger clearance around the wheel pants from the get go so they don't crack if you land hard! 
  • Buy multi-conductor wiring to make wiring cleaner. 
  • Leave longer service loops on panel wiring. 
  • Install parking brake - maybe? It would be handy every once in a while.
  • Went with Garmin 650 instead of 430.
  • Wish we had the 50w (or more) HID lights from Duckworks instead of the 35w.
  • Get the prop balanced sooner. That made such a big difference.
Will upgrade: 
  • Electronic ignition
  • Flow matched injectors
  • Battery charge port in baggage wall or tailcone belly
  • Add USB charger ports
Comments are closed