UPDATE: ‘Building the Dream’ – Autumn 2018.


Incredible that six months has passed in the blink of an eye and that we have been building the Zenair since the kit arrival in March.


We have made incredible progress so far – helped very much by the participation at Farnborough Airshow. We have now built the tail section, flaperons, slats and these have all been signed off by our inspector. The final step for these parts will be to paint them and fit them to the completed aircraft.


We have also almost completed the build of the elevator and rear stabiliser, which were large parts and great practice in preparation for building the wings.


We had made a small mistake whilst drilling the elevator main spar which has meant we have had to engineer a suitable solution to fix the problem. (I think Alan might have been concentrating on one of the Female Red Arrow Pilots, rather than what he was drilling!).  With expert help from Johnathan Porter of Metal Seagulls, Geoff Marshall and Alan Lovejoy where able to design and engineer a small strengthening part to overcome the problem. They truly excelled themselves in their ingenuity and engineering skill to ensure the build was able to continue without the need for replacement parts. (Photos)


We have also continued with the build of the main fuselage.  Whilst at Farnborough, we managed to fit the cabin frame (which forms the cockpit) so it now looks like an aeroplane and its great to see the true size and shape of our build.  We are currently fitting the rudder pedals and braking system.  As standard the Zenair only usually has brakes on one side (the left side) but as we want to use the aircraft for training in the future, we have opted to purchase a second braking system so that we will have a braking system in both seats. (Apparently ‘a must’ for the flight instructor’s nerves!)


The next steps for the fuselage are to finish mounting the firewall / bulkhead and fit the seat mounts. We have opted for the adjustable seat package, that will ensure we have the best access and comfort for our flyers. Following this we will be looking to paint the interior, whilst we still have easy access to it.


We will then mount the fuselage onto the main wheels, which will allow us to manoeuvre the aircraft around the hangar much more easily.


We are also very lucky to have engineered a great deal with Garmin who have agreed to provide us with the new G3X and G5 electronic flight instrument system.  This is going to ensure the aircraft has the most update flight systems, providing the pilots with full moving map facility, the latest VHF communication systems and standby instruments. The system will also fully integrate with our chosen engine – the Rotax 912is, providing the pilot with essential information relating to the engines performance.


As it comes to winter and poorer weather, the daily flying schedule will inevitably reduce so we are looking to make the most of it and get more volunteers engaged in the build. We are now very close to beginning the wing sections – once they are done, we will be two thirds of the way through our build.

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Laura Neaves