My 12 year old daughter is worried that I'm going to make a mistake during building that causes the plane to crash when I test fly it. I told her I'm going to have an EAA person look at it and that it does get inspected by a DAR.  My 15 year old son seems to have no such fears.  How do you other Zenith builder folks talk to family members about their fears?

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Fears are normal.  I get the same from some of the girls we teach here in Africa ( and   The first thing is to point out that 'building an airplane is far from Rocket Science'.  In fact, building a plane is an art.  You are creating a 'living being'.... this has been done be people with NO background in aviation for over 100 years!  In fact the first plane to fly was built be bicycle repair men!  Then, it was a coffee baron who designed a built the 'demoiselle' using bamboo and table linen!!!  Today, you are building one of the most remarkable designs, in the wake of 100s of others and you are in a special family called 'the Zenith Family'.  Perhaps your daughter would like to correspond with the girls building planes here?  OR perhaps come and work with them for a few weeks.... LEt us know how you get on!

Well my wife tries to get me to fly on very windy days.  I told her that I dont have that much life insurance so your not gonna get rich.  Im a student pilot, and I tell her when I see a full patern at the Crystal airport  then I know its nice flying weather.  Show her some videos on the people with foot launched gliders see will see that there is nothing to be worried about.

Thanks for you video, Jesse. I took a long flight in an LSA from Lake Elmo to Bar Harbor, Maine, and back - to visit my mom.  She was really worried about that, and after that she was more calm about it.  I think my daughter, who has to remind me when to pick her up for dance class, worries that I'll forget something important during the building process. She doesn't get the amount of time I spend building the plane in my head trying to anticipate and solve problems.

Your daughter must really care about you.  Give her a big hug - and a pair of cleco pliers...

When I was building the tail in the dining room, I got her to pull some rivets.  Now that I'm in the cold garage, not so much.  Even my son is only willing to work on it in short stints.  But, on the plus side, my hands are stronger than my 6' 3" son's, probably due to cleco pliers (and a job that has a lot of nuts and bolts).  

She is a total sweetie.  Not yet got that surly teen thing going.

Tell her our girls love the planes - and all get involved from cutting, filing, riveting, painting, engine installs, and of course flying.... THis is Lydia - our disabled student.... she is so in love with the planes - you can see here on some of the videos on our websites...

I have been flying 37 yrs and have never had an aircraft accident. I have been driving 38 yrs and been in 2 horrific crashes in automobiles. Tell her there is a lot more danger on the streets and highways than flying in the air. Follow the plans, and don't become the designer. Get some time on type and all will be good.

Great point Bob!  I often say that 'it is more dangerous to eat in a local food joint than to fly' - and that is true - HERE!!!

Gee, now you've got me worried.  I have to teach my son to drive this year....

He already knows how to fly, just needs to reach his 16th birthday to solo.  I feel better about him flying than driving.

I have a hundred hours on a low wing light sport (Gobosh) that is "touchy" on the controls.  In fact I think the Zodiac might be easier to fly, at least to land in a crosswind, because of the all-flying rudder and the steerable nose wheel.  I'll be looking to pick up a few hours in a Zodiac before I start test-flying.

I put a BRS parachute in my 701, and EVERYONE is happy about it.  The reason I put it in my airplane is not because I doubt the airplane, but I have been scared to death by local pilots who don't follow the FARs, or AIM.  My biggest fear is from a mid-air collision, and if you spend much time around my local airport you would see why.  I had two older gentlement in a Piper Cherokee enter the traffic pattern at our airport from the opposite side of the pattern, no radio calls, and actually land head-on to me after I had touched down.  Fortunately my airplane stops quickly, and I turned off the runway in time to avoid a head-on collision.  But on a second note, the BRS has removed the fears of those concerned that my airplane is "Homemade".

Hmmm, BRS.  I am trying to keep it light, and the BRS is extra weight.  But it may be a good idea.  Or maybe put it in while I'm doing the test flying, when I have to be alone anyway.

One of the things I like about the zodiac is that it has great visibility, and that is crucial in avoiding the traffic.

I remember waiting to take off for my first solo, and seeing two planes about to land at the same time on intersecting runways.  I informed them of this on the radio, and one plane did a go-around.  I am more worried about a mid-air at a small airport, than about an airframe failure.

a cheaper and more reliable option (without the airframe modification the BRS requires) is to wear a personal chute for the test flight.... I never have - I wont go in the plane unless I am happy... and I have done a lot of first flights and 'modified aircraft' test flights.... I have no intention of leaving that airframe up there without me - we both go up safely and we both come down safely... .that is the rule. :-)


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