Once the decision has been made that you want to build an airplane, the next thing you should think about (besides cost) is where you will build it. I see lots of people that somehow are able to get T-hangers for cheap or have a great workshop where they are building their plane. Being just outside of DC, I have limited options available to me. Hangers are EXPENSIVE and almost impossible to get as we have so few airfields.
That leaves me with my 2 car Garage. I’ve heard stories about a gentlemen in NY who basically build an RV in his apartment. I completely understand the maxim of “if there is a will, there is a way” but I also want the process to be enjoyable. From a practical perspective, I’m hoping my garage has the potential to work as my shop until I’m ready to move things to a hanger. (Just got an e-mail that VKX got an approved zoning for 30+ new hangers so I’m hoping those get built before I finish my RV)
The good news is I found that Brian & Brandi built their RV in a converted carport. It’s slightly bigger than my garage, but makes me think this is doable. I’ll get some pictures of my garage later but for now here are the details.
Garage Door – 94″ wide by 90″ high. (Possibly higher if I release the door from the opener)
Easily usable space – Approx 13′ by 15′ by 8′ high.
Storage space – above Garage Doors.
The room is physically bigger, but have items in the garage that can’t easily be relocated. (Motorcycle, Compressor, Fridge, etc). I’m also worried about heat / cold as my garage isn’t conditioned space. Do I just get a small space heater / portable AC, install a mini-split system, or just suck it up? Overall having the workshop at the house means more opportunities to work on things, but also more opportunities for distraction.
Tools: So I have some general idea of what tools are needed, but not sure the best way to procure them. Just buy a set from http://planetools.com/ (I’m convinced I need a DRDT-2 dimpler by Jason Ellis), or should I go the e-bay route? Luckily I already have a large compressor and some air-tools, but don’t have a drill-press, scroll saw, or bench grinder.
End of the day, I’m expecting to drop a sizeable chuck of cash to order the Empennage kit, Tools, and other misc supplies needed to get started. I also need to get my loving family on-board as my wife still isn’t convinced that this is a great idea. Hopefully once I get my PPL license and take her up a few times she may change her mind.