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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A Zaon PCAS traffic system is a must have for traffic avoidance, probably a better investment then a BRS.

The most dangerous part of flying is the drive to the airport. 

I'm much more worried about getting rear ended by some texting teenager in his parents' SUV...

I too installed a BRS, but for my wife's peace of mind mostly.  The weight of the BRS is more than offset by the weight in beer gut that I've lost.

I agree with your plan to get some hours in a zodiac before you fly yours. I am lucky that I have a school Zodiac in my area.

This is very natural. Maybe you should take her to one of the factory fly- in days if practical and let her meet and see some of the dozens of finished planes that show up, maybe even get Roger to take her up. Twenty years ago you only heard of accidents if they were in your airspace, now if a pilot in a small plane burps in Michigan, it is national news. I do think the scrutiny is good for the industry as a whole, but bad in this computer age because the kids are hearing and seeing about all ( and I do mean all ) of the accidents. Involvement is the best cure. Sounds like you have a real good one there. :)

I usually share my story on how I was forced off the highway by a semi while passing him on the way to the airport. He just drifted over and forced me onto the shoulder. I was just lucky there was a shoulder and no harm was done.

 I then mention how thousands of people are killed each year on the highways and no one seem to fuss much about that, they just seem to accept it and have no fear of dirving. I let them know a good deal of luck is required while driving next to people with 4,000 pound projectiles at 70 miles per hour, you just have no idea of what they are going to do.

I usually finish the conversation with this statement, "I never consider LUCK when building and flying experimental aircraft but when I'm driving I need lots of it". This really gets them thinking.

Funny, I ride a motorcycle, and I think that's a lot more dangerous than flying in my own plane.  I've had a couple of near death experiences. Of course I don't tell her about that.

Thanks for all the advice, folks!

I am getting close to my first test flight (a couple of months away) and I got to thinking it would be educational to read through accident reports on first flight accidents. It might point out what is most likely to go wrong and allow me to check those areas before the flight. I see a lot of issues with "stuff" in the fuel system but I wonder about other things I could be checking...

Fuel, controls, etc are key... but my mantra that is extra is 'NEVER TEST FLY THE DAY THE PLANE IS CONSIDERED READY'.

Even if it all looks good - I still go home, sleep and wait for a calm morning.... and I ALWAYS find that in my sleep I think of something - go back and check - 80% of the time it needed attention.  Our subconscious is clever!!  


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