Table of Contents for “Tips and Tricks for Aircraft Homebuilders”


Getting Started

Planning the Work

Building Time

Get Advice Early

Understand the Concept of Your Kit

Shop and Tools

Heating the Shop

Air Compressor

Vacuum Pump for Free

Machine Set Up

Magnets as Clamps

Clamping Small Parts in a Vise

Scale in a Bag

Procedure to Sharpen Scissors

Spiral Tubing Cutters

Drill Press

Depth Stop for Drill Press

Considerations for a Fuselage Turning Jig

Wing Turning Jig

Cutting Large H

Protection of Power Chords

Flat Surface

Dust Removal Table


Level the Wings

Bicycle Spokes

Table as a Jig

Wing Jig

Drilling and Supporting Large Pieces

Creating an Airfoil Template

Wing Cradle

Storage of Control Surfaces

Straight Lines

Breathing Protection during Spray Painting

Working with Composites

Riveting Thin Composite

Composite Skins and Metal Fasteners

Finishing Composite Airplanes

Cutting Fabric

Composite Access Door

Resin and Hardener Dispersal

Containers for Mixing Resin

Resin Brushes

Working with Narrow Strips of Fabric

Layup at Lower Temperatures

Spreading Resin

Carbon Fiber and Corrosion

Composite Tubes


Composite Landing Gear Leg Root Fairings

Poor Man’s Vacuum Bagging

Reducing Gaps

Bonding Nutplates

Bonding Aluminum

Bonding Bushing

Inserting Tubes Through Ribs

Clay as Tooling Material

Control Surface Actuator Horn Fairing

Sanding Wings

Finishing the Bottom of the Fuselage

Drilling Composites

Composite Fittings

Hardpoints and Bolts in Sandwich Structure

Making a Mold for a Wheel Pant

Working with Metal

Cutting Straight Edges from Large Sheets

Bending Wing Skins

Jewelers Saw

Avoiding Scratces

Form Blocks Materials

Forming Ribs

Cutting Large Holes in Small Parts

Bending U-Shaped Brackets

Bending Trailing Edges

Deburring Sharp Edges




Drill and Hole Tolerances

Drilling Rivet Holes

Compromised Edge Distance

Riveting Tips

Back Riveting

Aligning Ribs

Skinning a Wing

Skin Lap Joints

Nutplate Installation

Flanging the Lightening Holes

Drill Template

Radius Template

Cutting Tubes

Support for Tube

Tube Bending

Tube Notching

Chamfer a Bolt

Part Marking



Welding Stainless Steel with a Torch

Techniques for Welding Aluminum Alloys

Working with Wood

Staples and Nails

Deburring Wood

Bonding Parts

Bonding a Facesheet to a Truss


Wood Truss on Table

Wood Gussets

Wood Glue

Cutting Thick Blocks of Wood


Holding Gussets and Ribs in Place


Bending Plywood Leading Edges

Flight Controls

Balancing Control Surfaces

Control Surface Leading Edge

Lightweight Rudder Cables

Flight Control Linear Bearings

Sealing Control Rod Penetrations

Estimate Control Surface Mass Balance Weight Increment due to Paint

Flight Control System Stiffness

Flight Control System Bearings

Control System Functional Check

Cable Retainers for Pulleys

Control Cable Fairlead

Simple Cable-actuated Trim Tab

Casting Lead Counterweights

Internal Mass Balance

Electrical Systems

Electrical Grounding

Wire Splicing Method

Ground Power Connection

How to Lace a Wiring Harness

Marker Beacon, Transponder and NAV Antennas

Internal COM Antennas

Tuning a COM Antenna

Making a Balun for a Half-Wave Dipole Antenna

Electrical System Redundancy

Solar Panels

Radio Noise

Strobe Lights

Cutouts in Wingtips for Lights

Installations of Landing Lights

Other Systems

Assistance With Systems Design

Ergonomic Rudder Pedal Design

Brakes Tubing Installation

Brake Actuation

Adjustable Rudder Pedals

Fuel Pickup in a Tank

Fuel Tank Material

Grounded Fuel Filler Ring

Fuel Cap Retainer

Fuel Tank Vents

Slosh Box Shape

Fuel Gauge Calibration

Wheel Pants

Low Drag Tie Downs


Torque Witness Stripes

Torque Wrenches

Temporary Assembly

Sliding Washers into Hard to Reach Places


Leveling the Plane

Wing Incidence

Final Assembly Check

Threading the Frayed End

Door Gaskets

Vent Holes and Drain Holes

Slip Ring Brushes

Sizing Access Holes

Piano Hinges


Hinged Instrument Panel

Storage Space

Trim to Fit

Duplicating Parts

Locating Blind Holes

Inserting Bolts in Tight Spaces

Drill Guide

Easy Paint for Small Parts

Powder Coating

Primer for Aluminum Parts

Changing Tires

Fabric Covering

Rib Lacing

Avoid Fraying Fabric

Avoiding Glue Stains and Wrinkles

New Fabric Covering Material


Protection of the Inside of the Cowling

Spinner Installation

Composite Baffling

Installation of Baffle Seals

Oil Access Doors

The Hidden Hinge

Securing Cable Ends

Oil Cooler Door

Firewall Insulation

Ensuring Your Fuel System is Alcohol-Proof

Two-Stroke Engine Operation

Manual Mixture Control for Two-Stroke Engines

Synchronizing Carburetors


Blowing Bubble Canopies

Cutting and Drilling Canopies or Windshields

Storage of Acrylic and Removal of Protective Coating

Canopy Repair

Bonding Canopies

Preparing for Flight

Estimate the Weight Paint Adds to an Airplane

Structural Load Tests

Final Assembly

Airplane Weight and Balance

Increasing the Range of a Scale

Jacking Points

Carbon Monoxide

Flight Characteristics and Performance

Reducing Pitch Sensitivity

Wedges on Control Surface Trailing Edges

Wing Root Fairing

Improvement of Airflow in Stalls at the Wing Root

Improving Directional Stability

Gear Leg Fairings

Wing Leading Edges