Justin Inman – Featured Builder – May 2014

Justin Inman
Justin piloting the Teen-Flight I RV-12 plane around Mount Hood

This month we spoke with Justin Inman, a high school Junior, with an already impressive set of building experience under his belt, and the aspirations, energy and desire to make a career out of aviation. At the monthly EAA 105 pancake breakfasts, you can see Justin and his dad talking with other builders and aviators about what he’s up to, and when most people head home after the famous (or infamous) cakes, bacon, and grits breakfast—Justin heads to KHIO to serve as a TeenFlight mentor to other teens working on the third RV-12 TeenFlight project. (Read more about TeenFlight here)

The May breakfast is where we approached Justin about his willingness to do this interview, and with a good deal of humble enthusiasm, he agreed.

CAT: What’s your home airport?

JI: 7S3, Stark’s Twin Oaks Aipark

CAT: When did you first realize you had an interest in aviation?

JI: I have had an interest in aviation for as long as I can remember. When I was in early elementary school, I had a Sunday school teacher who was a pilot and A&P. He helped kindle my interest in aviation by talking to me about airplanes and flying. Living less than a mile from the Portland Hillsboro airport has afforded me submersion in general aviation airplanes flying over since I was born.

CAT: When did you first realize you had an interest in homebuilt aviation?

JI: My first real exposure to homebuilt aviation was when I took a Young Eagle flight in a local homebuilder’s RV-8 when I was 14. He let me fly a little bit and I was hooked. I could not believe how perfect the controls felt, how pretty the airframe was, and how fast it went. I enjoyed building remote control airplanes, so the idea of building a full size airplane was amazing.

CAT: Who do you credit for being most supportive in your aviation journey? What specifically have they done to help you?

JI: My parents have been incredibly supportive of my aviation interests and have been very encouraging. My most influential aviation mentor is Jerry VanGrunsven. He also has been supportive of my aviation interests and goals. As a TeenFlight mentor, he helped teach me about building airplanes but he has also taught me a lot about being an aviator and a person of integrity.

CAT: As a junior in high school, you’ve got a lot on your plate. How do you make time to focus on aviation? What motivates you?

JI: That’s true, I do have a lot on my plate. In order to maximize my time, I try to prioritize my activities. School and family come first and then aviation activities. However, as I homeschool student I have the added benefit of having a semi-flexible schedule. So on nice days I can sometimes skip out and go flying or build an airplane. I am motivated by people I know in aviation who have built many airplanes and have achieved similar goals that I strive to attain.

CAT: You’re a mentor in the TeenFlight program, what philosophy or state of mind do you bring to each build session?

JI: I try to remind myself that TeenFlight is about learning. I learned a tremendous amount as a student in the program, so as a mentor I hope that the students I help teach have the opportunity to get as much out of their project as I got out of mine.

CAT: How many RV homebuilt have you helped with since you were a TeenFlight participant?

JI: Since completion of the TeenFlight 2 airplane, I have helped build three RV projects: two RV-12s (including mentoring on the TeenFlight 3 project), and an RV-8A.

CAT: What is the one thing you repeat over and over to the TeenFlight participants?

JI: Clean up your messes, put tools away, don’t use metric wrenches on SAE bolts, and try not to finger paint with the Pro-Seal. But seriously, what I and the other TeenFlight mentors try to instill in the students is the importance of teamwork and following instructions. It is easy to not read the plans because the RV-12 build is fairly self-explanatory. However, it is very important to read the plans for clarification and sequencing. Reading for understanding is another item that cannot be emphasized enough.

CAT: If you could pick an airframe, what project would you take on next, and why?

JI: At this point, I would like to build an RV-3 equipped with an IO-320 engine setup with inverted fuel and oil for aerobatics, and a composite constant speed propeller. The RV-3 is a more challenging build than the RV-12 because it does not employ modern pre-punched technology and thus requires the builder to fabricate many more parts. I am also working on my own aircraft design that I would like to build once I have the means.

CAT: How do you spend time outside of school and aviation?

JI: When I am not doing aviation related things, I enjoy spending time with my brothers and hiking. I also play trumpet semi-professionally in various musical groups and put a good amount of time into that hobby.

CAT: How do you plan to spend your summer?

JI: This summer I have an engineering internship lined up that should help me grow towards my goal of being an aeronautical engineer.

CAT: What about college? Have you picked your path yet?

JI: As a junior, I am currently working on achieving good scores on the SAT and ACT tests with the hope that I can attend an engineering college where I will eventually earn a degree in aeronautical engineering. At this point, I hope to attend Embry Riddle in Arizona as a student of their aerospace engineering program.

Wayne Johnson – Featured Builder – September 2013

What’s your project: Van’s RV-12
How many hours do you have in so far: Around 510
How many hours left: Just started the fuse kit, probably much less than half way to completion.
Favorite part of building so far: The completion of a sub kit is satisfying. I get to see big assemblies instead if little parts and that gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Biggest challenge so far: Finding a balance between perfect and good enough. My background is in precision machining and everything needs to be nearly perfect. I tend to spend too much time de-burring.
What are you most excited to tackle next: I’m just starting on the fuselage kit and it is much different than the empennage and wing kits. I have enjoyed it all so far but it did tend to get a little repetitive so I could use a change of pace.Advice for new builders: Read and follow the the plans carefully and concentrate on what you are doing. It’s easy to make assumptions about how things should go together and make a mistake, don’t ask me how I know. Measure twice cut once, read twice rivet once.

VansAirForce.net handle: waynej

David Kennedy – Featured Builder – August 2013

Dave Kennedy

What’s your project: Van’s RV-7A

How many hours do you have in so far: Around 650
How many hours left: Not sure, going by average 1,200 – 1,400
Favorite part of building so far: It was rewarding to finish the assembly of the wings and see them hanging on the wall, completed.
Biggest challenge so far: Probably building the fuel tanks. The pro-seal is messy and always wondering if I was going to finish a given section before the epoxy set up to fast. Thanks to my friends, Ken and Bill for lending a helping hand with the final assembly of the tanks.
What are you most excited to tackle next: I am working on the fuselage and the next big step will be to assemble the 3 sections of the fuselage, tail cone, mid and forward section to the firewall. Just about ready to rivet everything together with the side skins and looking forward to rolling it all over and seeing it completed to that stage.
VansAirForce.net handle: Kenntek

Ed Kranz – Featured Builder – July 2013

We are fortunate to have advocate-builders out there, and one of our biggest is Ed Kranz (of edandcolleen.com fame). Ed is a meticulous builder, and we’ve had the pleasure of helping him out during his RV-10 build. Without further ado, here’s what Ed told us about his project…

Ed Kranz

What’s your project: Van’s RV10
How many hours do you have in so far: Around 900
How many hours left: 1300… maybe. I went the full slow-build path.
Favorite part of building so far: My favorite part is when you start piecing together sub assemblies into something that resembles an aircraft! Oh… and designing my dream panel… I think I’m on version 3 or 4 now!
Biggest challenge so far: Most of the building has been pretty straight forward, and the few parts when the instructions are vague, I’ve been able to rely on the knowledge of other builders. I always read the build logs of a few other builders before I begin a new section, so I’ve been able to avoid most big surprises. The most difficult parts of the build have been building the fuel tanks, and those the one or two “impossible rivets”. Also, since for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to make a timelapse video of the entire build (which can be seen on our website), it can be a challenge to go thru the entire ritual of setting up the camera, editing the video, and uploading to youtube every time I work on the plane!
What are you most excited to tackle next:I’m close to done with the metal work on the plane, and I’m just about to have a baptism in fiberglass… but I’m most excited to begin work on the control systems and electrical.
What’s your Van’sAirForce.com handle: NovaBandit

Dan Weyant – Featured Builder – June 2013

We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and we’re really excited to announce that we are starting a new feature in the Cleaveland Aircraft Tool newsletter. We’re putting the spotlight on one homebuilder each month. This month’s featured builder is Dan Weyant near KGTU. We asked Dan a few questions, and here’s what he said…

Dan Weyant

What’s your project: RV-9A
How many hours do you have in so far: Just over 300 hours since my wife (Karen) and I started last October.
How many hours left: ??? That is the big question, I try not to think about that too much.
Favorite part of building so far: I’m having fun with most of it.  But my favorite part is probably when you rivet something together after all of the prep work and you wind up with something that looks like an airplane part.
Biggest challenge so far: I’m just finished with the fuel tanks and while I’m not a big fan of pro-seal, it hasn’t been the most challenging.  I think the thing we have struggled the most with was the metal strip that joins the wing leading edge to the fuel tank. Wound up having to order a replacement rib from Vans, and even after that it was quite challenging.
What are you most excited to do next: My fuselage kit gets delivered tomorrow, so I’m anxious to see the big box and do the inventory on it.  I’m almost done with the fuel tanks, so the next big task is to start riveting the skins on to the wings.  Those are big airplane parts :).
Van’sAirForce.com handle: Very un-original dweyant