Paul Sanders's Blog (23)

First Flight Thoughts

The feeling is still sinking in that after seven years of building I actually flew a plane that I built myself. Like my brother in law said last night "to think when you started you didn't know the difference between a screw and a bolt" so I really never thought I'd get past the rudder, let alone have something that flies.

I had originally planned to have Roger do the first flight so that he could look the plane over but scheduling issues meant that I didn't want to wait,…


Added by Paul Sanders on September 26, 2017 at 9:13am — 2 Comments

"Final" Stats

Updating all my documents for the inspection, it looks like I have

~ 6 years 10 months elapsed time (thanks to location and climate I can only work weekends, and not at all between August and October)

~650 hours of build time (60 of which was the vinyl wrapping)

~$63,000 of spend on parts (small to big)

~10 occasions where I gave up

~2 occurrences where I had to be restrained from torching the whole damn thing  (well, I was close to…


Added by Paul Sanders on June 2, 2017 at 11:30am — 6 Comments

Six Years In

Today is the 6 year anniversary of opening up the rudder box in my living room and drilling the first hole. Even though I only get to work on weekends, and on weekends outside of the summer when it isn't 110+, I had kinda thought I'd be done by now. But if I've learned one thing on this project is to take all estimates and double them: and expect it to take longer than that.

While we are firmly in the 110s, I have managed to sneak some early mornings in this summer in an…


Added by Paul Sanders on July 17, 2016 at 12:01pm — 2 Comments

4 Years In

This week marked the 4th anniversary of that first snip into the metal of the rudder kit. I now have 340 hours into the project, only managed 53 last year thanks to 10 weeks of airport resurfacing that robbed me of hangar access during the best months of the year. But what I lacked in hours I made up for in dollars, lol - the purchase of the Rotax 912ULS added quite a bit to the rolling total. I think it will be worth it though.

It really is starting to look like I am near the…


Added by Paul Sanders on July 21, 2014 at 3:11pm — 4 Comments

First Stab Panel Decision

With the firewall finished I now have all the major components assembled and have to work out how, and in what order, to put these things together. Part of the problem to solve is where the non-metal parts go that aren't covered by the instructions but clearly have to be installed before panels get riveted over them.

So that got me thinking about my panel and I think I am fairly comfortable with this as my first "definite" decision; can't help feeling I will make more…


Added by Paul Sanders on April 16, 2013 at 12:26pm — 4 Comments

Fuselage and Cabin Frame Joining

Taken from my build log:

Today was a milestone day, the joining of the two fuselage parts and installation of the cabin frame.

But how did we get there? Well, we started off with some help and not just any old help, but my wife's Uncle Allen. He has years of experience of building all kinds of things, although never an airplane. We knew that between his experience and his toolbox…


Added by Paul Sanders on April 8, 2013 at 3:20pm — 1 Comment

Stuck, stuck, stuck and frustrated

I'm really frustrated by the lack of instructions on where and when and how to install antennas. I understand that Zenith can't predict what equipment everybody wants to install but a basic guide to where and how to install an ELT, transponder and COM antenna would be nice. Without such a thing, I am stuck, stuck, stuck.

I was getting ready to rivet the fuse parts together when I realised that if I do that I can't easily get behind the baggage back to put things there. So I've…


Added by Paul Sanders on February 19, 2013 at 1:27pm — 12 Comments

Some Builder Maps of Zenith.Aero Members

A year and a half ago I volunteered to make some Google Maps from the membership database but to my shame I have only just now gotten around to it. So, with the data from August 2011, I made three maps: one for members registered with a 701, one for those with a 750, and another for the 650 members.

Here's a screenshot of the 750 one.…


Added by Paul Sanders on January 14, 2013 at 3:30pm — 19 Comments

Hangar Moving Day

This weekend we officially moved into the hangar with the transport of the wings and tail out of the garage. I am fortunate to have brother-in-laws with access to trailers and trucks; I don't think I would have gotten very far with just my MINI Cooper. 

The original plan had been to move the wings out of the wing stand as I didn't trust it to stay together from the road vibrations but my brother in law told me to have a little faith in my work and so they were loaded in the…


Added by Paul Sanders on November 20, 2012 at 12:40pm — 1 Comment

Two Year Anniversary Today

Today is the second anniversary of picking up a drill and making my first hole in the rudder. I now have 167 hours invested into the project which is interesting because I did 80 in the first year too. I am going to need to pick up the pace if this thing is going to be finished while fossil fuels are still available!

I really thought I'd be well into the fuselage by now but the list of completed parts stands…


Added by Paul Sanders on July 17, 2012 at 3:36pm — 1 Comment

Ups and Downs

About a month ago I was flying high with the first wing almost done and now I've not touched it for 3 weeks and feeling quite depressed about the whole endeavour. So many forum posts with people who clearly know what they are doing struggling with things - how to mate the fuse parts together, how to route a fuel line..... what chance do I have as a complete beginner and no one around me who knows more than I do?

I'm sure most everyone goes through the same, hopefully I can get…


Added by Paul Sanders on February 21, 2012 at 1:23pm — 5 Comments

100 Hrs In

This weekend marked the 100th hour of build time and the official start of the wings. Thanks to a bunch of rookie mistakes and some plain old carelessness I think I am probably about 20-25 hours behind a "normal" build time (whatever that is) but I am quite pleased with what I've managed to do: the rudder, the slats, the flaperons, the horizontal stab, the elevator, and the nose ribs/slat support assemblies.



Added by Paul Sanders on November 7, 2011 at 4:01pm — 1 Comment

My new favourite tool

I'm probably the last person to catch on, but I recently bought this Olfa P800 knife for trimming skin edges and it is fantastic. No more snips and scotch brite for me.

Have to thank plane builders for sharing their tips online and unwittingly guiding me to the right blade.

Added by Paul Sanders on November 2, 2011 at 9:23am — 4 Comments

One Year Anniversary

Talking to a co-worker about the build project today I had to look up when I started and according to my blog I picked up my first rudder piece a year ago this week. 


I only get to build on weekends so I'm not sure if I am doing well or not (or even if I should care, just enjoy the ride) but I've spent roughly 80 hrs and have completed the rudder, the slats, the flaperons and the stabiliser; elevator is on the bench waiting to be deburred, and wings kit is in its crate at my…


Added by Paul Sanders on July 20, 2011 at 4:35pm — 2 Comments

Got Caught by the Shipping Process Again

When I ordered my slats/flaps and tail kit, I ordered it online, paid the deposit and sat back waiting for it to be shipped. The "confirmed" shipping date came and went so I called and was told they waiting for final payment which I thought was odd since they already had my credit card. And also how was I to know they were waiting for me to pay?


This time when I ordered the wings I made a note in the comments box online to please take final payment when ready (this was a…


Added by Paul Sanders on July 12, 2011 at 10:15am — 1 Comment

701 Crash and 5 Bladed Props

While discussing aviation accidents with some co-workers I went to the NTSB website and was surprised (and saddened) to see that a 701 got damaged two weeks ago out where I live: accident report


But I was also excited because I thought that would mean there was a Zenith builder around but from the registration details it looks like the owner is a snowbird from Oregon,…


Added by Paul Sanders on April 22, 2011 at 3:05pm — 5 Comments

50 Hours In

Seems like a milestone, completed my 50th hour on the project yesterday which nicely coincided with the completion of the final flaperon. It seems like I am making slow progress compared to everyone else but when I see my rudder, slats and flaps I think well I am certainly making some progress so that can't be bad.



Added by Paul Sanders on March 13, 2011 at 1:59pm — 4 Comments

Some engine choices for my 750

(The original post can be found on my build blog at

It's up to me to choose something to turn the spinny thing and I come from a position of next to no knowledge of such things. Reading the build forums there are as many opinions as there are choices and if you were to discount all the engines which are "most definitely unsuitable" for general aviation there… Continue

Added by Paul Sanders on February 24, 2011 at 10:30pm — 12 Comments

Wings Before Fuselage or the Other Way Around?

I am only at home with my kits at the weekend so like to idle away some time thinking about engines, paint, instruments, all things that seem light years away. But today I got to thinking about what kit to build after I am done with the tail: the wings or the fuselage?

The wings are a more expensive purchase, especially with the fuel tanks and I think I want the nav etc lights option. I see that can be done as a retrofit but if I know I want it, seems to make sense to do it during…


Added by Paul Sanders on January 20, 2011 at 4:59pm — 22 Comments

Tail Kit and Slats/Flaperons Kit Arrives

Phase 2 of the build began this weekend with the arrival of the next two kits: the Horizontal Tail kit, and the Slats and Flaperons kit. Even though I knew how big the parts were I hadn't really been prepared for the size of the crate; that thing was huge! I can't begin to immagine the wings or fuselage crates.

I pushed the crate into the dog run for storage and it wasn't until a…


Added by Paul Sanders on December 15, 2010 at 10:20pm — 3 Comments

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