I plan on completing the discrepancy list by Wednesday and then head back to Astoria. Talked to the DAR, Jim Gilchrist, yesterday to verify the timeline once I had submitted the Notarized statement addressing the list. He's out of town until May 1 and will send out the Airworthiness as soon as he receives the paperwork. So, I'll be legal soon thereafter, yahoo!

Last item on the list will be Weight & Balance. I'm going to have the local A&P use his scales. I've tried to build as light as possible, but I do have additional equipment installed. Dual brakes, transponder, dual throttles, co-pilot Airspeed, Altimeter and VSI, landing lights, position lights and a custom cabin ventilation system. I could easily lose 15-20 pounds, but this is what I consider to be the minimum equipment for my XL. I don't plan on painting other than the fiberglass parts.

I'll post the W&B tomorrow night. Everything below this is my original post.


Original Post ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Now for the rest of the story, no pictures until next week. I've been under some pressure to get the airplane done since we were/are moving and the local DAR had retired. Jim Gilchrist from Lehi, Utah, 300 miles, was the closest and 2 other builders in the area were ready for an inspection. To save some money, I wanted to share travel expenses.

First tip is to start talking to your DAR at least a couple of months before you think you'll be ready. Find out what they expect. I needed to do a fuel leak test, crank the engine and protect all electrical wires with anti-chafe.

The day of the Inspection I mounted the propeller so I could crank the engine for the first time, it didn't crank. I had just rigged my aileron cables that morning, but the ailerons weren't connected to the bellcrank. The elevator and rudder were rigged. Ailerons and flaps were clecoed, flaps were working. When the engine didn't crank I called Jim at 0700 and told him I thought I wasn't ready. I was the last inspection before he headed home and suggested he get an early start. We had already discussed the discrepancy list and he convinced me to let him take a look since he was in town. What did I have to lose?

Second tip, you don't have to have it all done, close is good enough. He showed up at 0930, took a quick look and said I was close enough. I continued working to get the ailerons connected while he worked on the inspection. It's a 3-4 hour process, enough time to fix small stuff.

Third tip, have all of your paperwork, Registration, drawings, log books and equipment manuals. I had started using a 3 ring binder for all equipment, avionics, etc. installed and I was able to provide him with all the information he requested.

The majority of the discrepancies were minor, placards and labels. The ailerons weren't properly rigged, but he could see that the controls were working properly, so I have to re-rig the airplane. That means get it installed correctly with safety wire and cotter pins. I didn't have weight and balance, not a big issue, says it's not uncommon. I basically have to tie up loose ends and then send him a notarized statement stating that I have addressed all of the discrepancies and he'll send me my Airworthiness.

Final tip, you don't actually fail an Airworthiness Inspection, you get of list of things that need to be done and can stop wasting time on stuff that isn't really required. I thought that if I failed I would have to get another inspection, that's nowhere near reality for Experimental Amateur Built.

I did manage to crank the engine, I had wired the started solenoid incorrectly. I figured that out right after I told him I wasn't ready. I had only one discrepancy FWF, one battery cable needed anti-chafe. I've been using split loom and had run out.

The plan is to do the final move to Astoria on Saturday and return next Thursday to complete the discrepancy list. I'm looking at another 40 hours to complete the list, the little stuff takes time as most of you know. Then I'll return to Astoria and wait for my Airworthiness and figure out how to get back and do the 40 hour test period. He was generous with the flight test area, he didn't want me to get bored and gave me a 100 mile, 87nm range. For those of you not familiar with Southwestern Idaho, you can easily fly 100 miles in most any direction before you actually get anywhere.

Might have been easier if I had help building, but I wanted to do it myself. I did need help attaching the wings. Mack "Sparky" Kreizenbeck, Bill Santos and Dave Pifari drove 50 miles from Boise to help me with that task. I never had access to a technical counselor, but I'm not sure I would have wanted someone telling me how to do stuff. The learning curve is steep, but the journey is significantly better if you overcome obstacles through perseverance.

That's my story. Live long and prosper!

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Comment by Phill Barnes on May 4, 2010 at 4:21am
Hi Jake
How are you getting on with your to do list? I'm guessing you are getting close to your first flight. Cool looking cowl by the way. It's a little reminiscent of an Airfox Zodiac cowl. Well done. I am assuming you are aware that when you do your first flight, it is now a mandatory requirement that you take video footage. I'm sure I saw an AD sommewhere. Just kidding but I hope you do rig a camera in the luggage bay.

Keep on keepin on.

Comment by Jerold Ebke on April 10, 2010 at 11:45pm
Just catching up with the site news. Must be very exciting to see the end of the building and the flying coming nearer. Thanks for all your help and I look forward to learn more about your gear placement when you fly
Comment by Richard Rost on April 9, 2010 at 10:03pm
Way to Go Jake! Sounds like a heck of a commute for the fly off.

Comment by Stephen R. Smith on April 9, 2010 at 10:22am
Hello Jake,

You did it! Looking forward to your first flight.

Comment by Don Walker on April 9, 2010 at 9:09am
Congrats Jake! The amount of detail that you provide in your blog posts is a tremendous benefit to rest of the community. Thanks for that.
Comment by Dave Gardea on April 9, 2010 at 8:10am
Jake, thanks for sharing the details on your inspection experience. Lots to learn from other builders having gone thru this and your story is definitely appreciated. By the way, did any discussion with the DAR or points of the inspection focus on the Zenith upgrade?
Comment by Mack P. Kreizenbeck on April 8, 2010 at 11:51pm
Congrats Jake!
I know things get boring in Idaho's high desert, but just think -- you now have a 100 miles to of chase jack rabbits and coyotes rather than the 30 I got!
Looking forward to your return from that rain country -- the Oregon coast.
ps. Where did "Sparky" come from???
Comment by Bob Pustell on April 8, 2010 at 10:08pm
Yaaayyy!! Another one is ready (sort of) to fly! Congratulations, Jake, and good luck in finishing up your list and getting to the actual flying. There is a time to build and a time to fly, you are just about ready to change into your pilot's hat. Enjoy it.
Comment by Alex Roca on April 8, 2010 at 9:59pm
Looks like you are almost there. I have a couple of funny stories from my inspections. As you know.. i have built 2 Zodiacs. On my first one, my DAR found a foot lot 2 x 4 inside the fuselage. On my second one (I used the same DAR) he found a hammer on the left wing. Congratulations...

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