Initial Project Planning

Initial Project Planning

Trying the Long-EZ on for Size . . . 

6-9 March 2011 – After doing a fair amount of research I scrapped the idea of plunking down $19,000 for a Glastar kit in lieu of the Long-EZ Pay as You Build Plan!  I mean, besides, everyone knows that you SAVE money by building your own airplane!  HA!

Being a newbie, I had to know what I could cram on the instrument panel and what (or who) I could cram into the cockpit.

Initial Instrument Panel ViewInsrument Panel Mockup

 

 

 

 

 

But, being a project manager in my job instilled in me some tendencies to plan this thing out a bit.  I’ve seen too many real-world projects fall flat on their face due to failed planning.  And worse yet, I’ve seen havoc wreaked because a majority of project planning was based on assumptions and/or gut instincts.

Having only been around a Long-EZ when I was about 13 years old, I wasn’t exactly sure how the feel would be in the cockpit.  I had been to the airports around the area and hadn’t seen a Long-EZ, so I figured I would quickly build one myself! (Now that’s a plan!) I cut up some OSB flooring sheets to make a mock fuselage.  I didn’t have enough OSB, but after a quick trip to Home Depot I was able to finish my fuselage mockup.

LEZ Fuselage MockupLEZ Fuselage Mockup

My initial fuselage mockup was just a little too short (in length & height).  And more importantly, the stock width seemed just a little too narrow so I widened the fuselage mockup initially by 2 inches.

Initial Fuselage Mockup

Initial fuselage planning

The 2-inch wider fuselage was better, but it actually felt a little too wide.  I played around with different widths and plugged in the number for all the bulkheads to keep the width ratio the same and not mess with the fuselage’s shape.

IMAG0052

Of course to build the fuselage, I had get acquainted with the plans and their layout in fairly short order.

Initial Fuselage Mockup

Initial Fuselage Mockup

I finally settled on a front seat width of 1.4 inches wider than what the plans called for. This width would give me a little more elbow room, but not so much that I felt like I was going crazy on the widening effort.  After having a few buddies try out the back seat–and actually fitting!–I checked the block for the fuselage passing my size test!

So let’s build this puppy!

Recent Posts

Project Update

Hi Folks,

Well, Rough River 2017 is in the history books.  A great Rough River all the way around!  Marco’s new GRT Mini & GNRS480 avionics install went off without a hitch, providing an awesome proof of concept for my upcoming panel.  In addition, the myriad of builder tips that I got from Buly, Rick Hall, James Redmon, Terry Schubert, Mike Beasley, Bruce Sinclair, Bill James and countless others were gold in the bank for so many upcoming component decisions and configurations I need to make.

As I mentioned before, I’ve had to adjust my schedule a bit over the past 6 weeks, which of course impacts my goals.  Yes, I will continue to fight in my hope that this will be the final push to get the main assembly of the aircraft completed.   I do plan on having the main structure of the aircraft finished by year’s end.  An aggressive timeline to be sure, but I think it’s very doable.

I’m still working out the finer details of making everything fit inside the cockpit.  Since the vast majority of what I’m doing are all mods, these usually require a lot of in-house R&D, and then trial & error when finally at the install phase.  However, the curve is exponential in that as each component is designed and installed, it accelerates the build because besides just being in the “done” column, it is one less thing to design and build.  Moreover, it’s a variable that has been changed into a constant.

All this is just to say that even though things seem to be going slowly, there really is a momentum building for this project.  These pesky mini-tasks burn time, but as they are finished and systems are integrated, then when the final airframe components builds are finished, this plane will seriously be close to being done. Again, these mini-tasks are definitely time-consuming and a lot more slow going then planned.  But finishing them now allows me to work all this stuff while I can stand right next to the fuselage without having to deal with strakes, or nose, being in the way!  

I have to say that it’s much easier and more fun to build the big stuff that makes this project look like a plane, and I often feel my discipline waining to go build something “cool”.  So, although obviously not as sexy as seeing major aircraft components (i.e. nose, strakes, canopy) being completed, these mini-tasks are oh so necessary for quality of flying later on!  Moreover, these immediate tasks, in turn, will allow me to finalize the configuration of the nose components. At which point I will focus on the building the nose and the canopy.  . . while concurrently finalizing the wheel pants install (nope, haven’t forgot about those!).

Cheers!

 

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