For many, the idea of building their own aircraft is just that — an idea. Whether for reasons of time constraints, lack of confidence in one's skills or not enough space in which to actually do the work, many who would want to build and fly their own aircraft fail to take the plunge. AVweb's Matt Paxton recently bit the bullet, however, and has settled in for the long process of building his own airplane, a Pietenpol Air Camper. In this first article of an occasional series for AVweb's newest feature section, Matt runs through the initial steps he's taken, decisions he's made and plans for the future. More
For many, the idea of building their own aircraft is just that — an idea. One of the major challenges facing the first-time homebuilder can be acquiring the skills necessary to assure timely completion of the project without wasting time, energy, materials or money. Recognizing this, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) recently established the EAA Sportair Workshops, one- and two-day sessions that teach the necessary skills to build or restore aircraft. AVweb's Matt Paxton recently attended a workshop as part of the process of building his Pietenpol Air Camper. In this second article of an occasional series for AVweb on building his Pietenpol, Matt goes through one of the workshops and learns how to weld. More
One of the reasons many make the pilgrimage to AirVenture each year is to check out the latest developments in the kitplane and experimental industry, by definition the most vibrant and dynamic segment of general aviation. All too often, however, starry-eyed pilots find themselves paying more attention to their heart than their head when making the decision to commit themselves to buying into and building an aircraft from plans or from a kit. AVweb's Glenn Pew has been there, done that. In a previous life, he worked for a kitplane manufacturer and, in his current life, he is working on his own kitplane in the meager amount of spare time that we allow him. Glenn presents some things to think about before committing yourself to a kitplane. More
SPECIAL REPORT. Everyone seems to agree there were problems with the original Mini-500 kit helicopter. Kit manufacturer Revolution Helicopter Corp. has come out with an improved "Bravo" model, and has issued a bunch of "ADs" against the earlier aircraft. Some owners are angry, contending RHC should pay to upgrade their Alpha models. RHC says that's unreasonable, and says it's already making the upgraded components available at cost. We examine both sides of the controversy. More
A former Shuttle flight director offers perspective on the NTSB's findings in the SpaceShipTwo accident last fall. More
Allen Macbean of American Fork, Utah serves up our latest "Picture of the Week." Click through for a better look and for more breath-taking reader-submitted photos.