Sometimes it’s good not to ‘reinvent the wheel’, so coming across an article on ‘the Other Half of Safety’ on LOBO (US) makes the job of writing this post an easy one.
You may be someone building a Lancair from scratch, or you have purchased a completed project. Or you may even be taking over a build started by someone else. In all cases, consider the following comment from Chris Zavatson:
For many, the kit and the assembly instructions as supplied were by no means optimal for individual purposes, but they provide a baseline that is known to work.
What makes the experimental plane different from a production aircraft is the ability of the owner/builder to make changes along the way from this baseline. Ideally, these modifications are to enhance the final design and operation of the aircraft.
However, as Chris points out, you need to consider also that, at times, a kit may pass through several hands during the build process:
A new owner might assume the aircraft was built per original plans, and will almost certainly be unable to recognize alterations. In some cases the ‘alterations’ were not even an intentional redesign, but a misalignment, a missing part, or an incorrect bolt. Whatever the cause, deviations have caused damage and loss of life.
In his article, Chris (with considerable experience in inspecting Lancair 320/360s) outlines some of the issues he has uncovered on flying aircraft. He provides an extensive list which you might like to run through, noting items which would be clearly visible on inspection, and others, not so. Ideally, this will highlight some areas you might need to check yourself, or seek advice from someone more expert in the area, even as part of routine maintenance.
Two clear things Chris emphasises are:
- the danger and costs of putting things off – i.e. ignoring warning signs
- the benefit of education and good maintenance practices.
Keeping both of these in mind, we would also emphasise the need to ask for help and search for information from those more experienced – and again LOBO (US) membership provides great support and knowledge, as we at LOBO OZ aim to do on a local level.
(Access to Chris’ article is open, but there are further members-only areas of support through the LOBO (US) website.)