To Quick Build or Not To Quick Build

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by flyingpreacher, Jan 13, 2022.

  1. flyingpreacher

    flyingpreacher Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So, I've only just begun entertaining the idea of building an RV-10. It seems to be a great fit for all of my missions for the next 5-10 years, and maybe longer. I'll probably post a couple of threads with varying questions that I can't find any threads about (yes, I do try to search first).

    So this is a multi-part question. The RV-10 QB Kits for the wing and fuselage are $9,550 an $9,950 respectively, totaling $19,500. Overall, this purportedly saves between 800-1000 hours, which comes out to a cost per hour saved of $19.50-$24.37. Considering that, not including avionics, powerplant, paint, etc, this build runs right around $60,000 (a mild cost for the airplane you're getting) is the extra $20k worth it? Or is the experience of knowing every nook and cranny of the plane worth saving that $20k to put into other aspects of the build (like all the required tools...)?

    If you haven't built one, still interested in your input, but if you have built a Vans with or without the QB Kit, please note that in your response. Thanks!
     
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  2. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I went slow build on my RV-10 and if I had to do it over, I’d definitely go QB. The additional cost, roughly 10-15% of the total build, is worth it IMO. These days the average build is going to run you close to $200K all in, so the QB cost is almost a drop in the proverbial bucket.
     
  3. kmacht

    kmacht Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Most slow builders wish they had a quick build kit but most quick builders find that it doesn’t significantly speed up the build or save them anywhere near the hours they expected. If your goal is to get the airplane done quickly you are better off just making sure you put a routine together where something gets done in the plane every day no matter how small. Constantly working on the plane will get it done quicker than just trying to spend a whole day on it once a week. It’s the reason most people say you need to build it at home for as long as possible and not try to build in the hanger at the airport. Your building routine will more determine how quickly the plane gets done regardless of your starting point.
     
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  4. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Agree 100%— especially the stay at home as long as you can part. But in my case I’m also 100% confident in my assessment that for me, if I had gone QB I’d have shaved off more than a year of build time which isn’t inconsequential.
     
  5. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Make sure you look at current delivery estimates. They have stretched a considerable amount. It might be in your interest to look at slow build wings with a quick build fuselage. Vans AirForce is the best site for anything RV.
     
  6. Aviatordoc

    Aviatordoc Pre-Flight PoA Supporter

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    QB all the way. You have enough to do even with QB.
     
  7. kmacht

    kmacht Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Each persons build is different. It took me 9 years to scratch build my sonex from plans. Of those 9 years it was likely only about 3 years of actual building. Things like buying a house, having a kid, work, vacations, the honey-do list, etc all suck time away from building and have a much greater influence on how fast the build gets done compared to if you buy the quick build kit or not. If you are a restored person who is going to focus daily on trying to get the plane in the air then absolutely the quick build kit will get you there faster but if you are like most builders with a family and still working you may be better spending that 20k on things that free you up to focus on the build instead of spending it on on the build itself.

    Also look at your goals. If you are just trying to get in the air quickly then buy a plane that is already done. If you are going to build it has to be because you enjoy the building process. If it isn’t then you will likely lose interest at some point while building and the project will either linger or stop all together. Barnstormers is full of builds that were started but never finished.
     
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  8. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    hah—got ya beat! It took me 9 years to build my 10 ( about 4.5 years of actual build time) for all the reasons you listed which is crazy considering the 10 is one of the better kits out there.
     
  9. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pattern Altitude

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    Quick build.

    I don’t know how RV’s compare to a Velocity, but time to build estimates can be… optimistic. Anything that gets you in the air sooner is a good thing.
     
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  10. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Which may be even faster and cheaper than the quick build option. But you are not likely to get the latest and greatest version...
     
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  11. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    I did a QB and glad I did for my 5 year build (2006-2011). I would suggest there are only 2 reasons to do a slo-build; save some money and/or to enjoy the process. Those are very legitimate reasons.

    You don’t need to do it to know every nook and cranny or feel like you did a full build. You will know every nook and cranny with a QB, but if that is still an issue in your mind then you may be a builder at heart and should go for the full build. All the QB does is that it allows you to skip some work that you’ve already learned and demonstrated the ability to do by completing the empennage kit. The QB metal work is just more of the same and believe me, there’s still plenty to do.

    Your biggest obstacle is kit availability it seems. Good luck and have fun.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  12. jbarrass

    jbarrass Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I have a Zenith CH750 QB kit.

    You won't be missing out on knowing every nook and cranny, you'll just buck a million rivets instead of 2M. By the time you get done the empanage kit, you'll be pretty fluent with a rivet gunYou're just buying back your time, and time is the most valuable resource. 1000 hours by Vans count is more like 1300-1500 and that's a couple years in real time.

    The only downside is cost, or if you're planning on doing something "off-plan" like larger fuel tanks, but that's usually not a first time builder thing.

    I love the build process, the best reason to build your own is if you enjoy building things, but the mundane parts are not the most fun and QB helps there.
     
  13. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Pretty much depends how much you like to pound rivets. Having watched a few dozen -10s, it pretty much comes down to ordering all three airframe kits at once, doing something everyday, and subbing out a complete panel and wiring harness to speed things up.
     
  14. rhkennerly

    rhkennerly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In the cruising sailboat world we had a stock answer to the I'll-build-a-boat-myself impulse:

    first, build a box.


    I don't know what the equivalent is for a metal airplane, but the sentiment still applies. You've got to enjoy the process of doing it, winter & summer, nights & weekends. I know that it is particularly difficult to be a prisoner of a half-finished hull while watching the rest of us drift by under sail. I imagine the same thing applies to the sound of airplane engines above while you're bending sheet metal.

    As somebody mentioned above, there are a lot of dead dreams for sale on Barnstormers.

    as a side note: I'm reading about sheet metal shortages in other fields. And price hikes. If you're gonna jump, I'd lock something in.
     
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  15. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's exactly what we did. Ordered slow build wings and quick build fuse on the same day. Wings came a couple months ago, fuse is still 6+ months out.
     
  16. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Just happened to look at what the current lead times are. Quickbuild kits are all 18+ months right now...Even slow build kits are running 8-13 months or more.
     
  17. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pattern Altitude

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    True.

    Having built a Velocity, I would be very uncomfortable buying a partially built kit if I hadn't already built one. Actually, the same is true for a completed kit.

    At the very least, I would have it looked over by someone who has built one or knows the plane construction inside and out. There's are people who started building and were in over there head and that's why they're selling.
     
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  18. Datadriver

    Datadriver Line Up and Wait

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    If you have the money, pay for a QB. It is possible to get more $ over your lifetime, but it is not possible to get more time. Everyone's clocks are running out.
     
  19. jbarrass

    jbarrass Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    The equivalent for metal airplanes is to build 2 workbenches per the EAA Chapter 1000 specs. Been said, but don't build because you want a plane, build because you like to build.
     
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  20. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    And the Van’s toolbox.
     
  21. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    The cost per hour saved is theoretically a lot less than what you earn per hour, so if you spend that time working instead of building, you'll be money ahead.

    I greatly advise you take some EAA or Van's sheet metal courses before spending a dime on a kit. They are only a weekend long, and you'll get a good idea of what you're in for. I've also heard that your riveting will improve over the course of building so much that when you've finished riveting, you'll go back and redo the first rivets you drove, and essentially build your first plane twice.

    Also, if you can afford it, buy a flying plane so you can fly while you're building. That should help with the "Git-er-done" attitude that might lead to taking ill-advised shortcuts.

    Finally, I agree with the saying "Build if you want to build; Buy if you want to fly."

    Best of luck whichever path you choose.
     
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  22. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    Quick build gets you past the boring bits to something that looks like an airplane a lot faster. Even if it's just an illusion, having it look almost finished can do wonders for the motivation. It's real easy to get discouraged with a million rivets to go before it looks like anything.
     
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  23. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Good post and a lot of great points. I had a building partner/mentor when I built my current plane. Took 2-1/2 years as we bought a kit that had been started. Might actually have taken less time as there wasn't much work done on the kit but some of it had to be done over. We decided that that parts that needed to be replaced would be made by us from raw materials. This worked out very well as there was a lot learned about how to read the plans, manufacture replacement parts, and make good decisions on build quality.

    So I lovingly refer to my aircraft as a "scratch & sniff" kit build i.e. if a kit part didn't pass the smell test we scratch built a replacement for it.

    All that to say that buying a used kit can save time and money deoending on the qulaity of any previous work and how much back tracking you are willing to do for any previous work that is not up to par.

    I'm wanting to build another plane but life is a bit in the way at the moment ... well that and waiting to hit the lottery. :)
     
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  24. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Original
    Improved version (at least I think so...)
     
  25. IK04

    IK04 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    From what I have seen of the level of detail and huge parts count of an RV build, I could never commit years into building even the best airplane in the world.

    Quick build for me means three to six months build time, max. Sure, I like to build, but time has more value when you get to my age.
     
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  26. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Pattern Altitude

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    I did a QB 10...

    There is no change in tools you'll need. You will still have a considerable amount of building to do so you'll use them all.

    The cost perspective that's entirely up to you. I find the time saved on a QB a bargain, but your perception of a dollar could be different than mine. When I use the term 'time saved', it's not that I don't enjoy building... I just don't get a real increase in satisfaction by bucking an extra 5,000 rivets. Some builders want to do everything including creating their own avionics. So just decide how much you want to do vs don't and if the increased cost is worth it to you. With mine I did the QB, I had the panel interconnect harnesses done, and had it professionally painted. Would do all those options again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
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  27. rhkennerly

    rhkennerly Pre-takeoff checklist

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  28. flyingpreacher

    flyingpreacher Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks a lot @rhkennerly... there went hours of my life!
     
  29. rhkennerly

    rhkennerly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I live to ruin other people’s lives. ;->
     
  30. flyingpreacher

    flyingpreacher Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Seriously though, thanks for sharing that. I'll definitely watch it.
     
  31. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The people I hear from in my little part of the composite world say the QBs are done with a uniformity that the average builder cannot come close to.
    Not only is that comforting to the occupants, but it may also mean an easier sale when that time comes.

    Not sure if this translates to metal kits.
     
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  32. Brad W

    Brad W Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have no idea...except to say that if I'm ever lucky enough to start one of those projects...IF I have the money to make it work, I will definitely take advantage of all the quick build options I can and still maintain the build percentage requirements to get the maintenance certificate (or whatever that's called). I'm definitely in the camp that as long as I do some of a given task, and I can see and understand HOW they put everything together, and I can have reasonable confidence that it was done at least as well as I would do it, then yeah...good enough for me. That last point is a reason I think I'd be very reluctant to buy someone else's abandoned project.

    I was watching all of those Flight Chops vids for a while but I'm way behind now....
    I remember thinking how blessed he is to have such an awesome place to build it and to have so much quality help.

    A long time ago I sat through a talk at Air Venture by Budd Davisson I believe it was.... talking about the home build process. One thing I recall was a point he was making about setting the routine to do something every single chance you get, if you want to ever finish it.
    My take away was this.... look at your life now. Any time that you are normally sitting down to rest a few minutes when you kick your shoes off after getting home from work should instead be done out in the workshop while doing something...anything. Ditto, most meal times, every single second you'd spend watching TV, or watching Flight Chops, or killing time on pilots of america forum, drinking coffee in the morning....you should instead be doing something in the work shop. Put a TV out there, a comfortable chair, a fridge so you can make a quick sandwich while you work, a coffee maker out there, etc.... You can sit in and sip that coffee while you de-burr a part and listen to flight chops playing in the background. That basically no free time exists. You do that till bedtime nearly every day.

    Apparently homebuild projects lead to lots of divorces....
     
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  33. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Regarding divorces, you've just gotta respect your family's time. On the other stuff, as long as you go into the shop every day, the project will take care of itself. You go out there to torque one bolt, and 2 hours later, you've checked 6 things off the list, since "While I'm out here, I might as well...". But if you don't get out there at all, nuthin' gets done. Add a bunch of 1-2 hour days together and the project makes good progress.
     
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  34. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Exactly. I'm nowhere near starting a homebuilt project, but today was the first chance to take down the Christmas lights. I hadn't intended on doing the whole thing, but it started when I pulled the multi-tap extension cord out of the outdoor socket, and just hooked my Firebird's battery minder to the socket. After that, I said, "I might as well", and we finished the job in about 2 hours, including doing a couple of unrelated things because we were out there, anyway. It was 2 hours of up and down ladders, so I _literally_ got my steps in.
     
  35. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    I'm never going to build a full sized airplane, but this thread has some good ideas on how I might complete some of my many half-finished projects.
     
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  36. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    The problem with watching Youtube videos of aircraft builds, is that they are nothing like the real experience. They show a happy, logical sequence of events and everything seems straightforward. Put a smile on your face, do some stuff every day, take a break for a cold one, and thank the family for their support, and you can finish in 18 months. Then you just get signed off and go fly the plane!

    I saw one video some time ago about a guy who was building an RV that actually gave a taste of what it was really like. (FYI, mine is a Zenith, not an RV). Day after day the guy talked about the pain, the frustration, the never-ending problems with details, parts, tools, money, family issues, time away from his real life, etc.. I don't remember the guy or his Youtube channel. I just remember finding it halfway thru my build and it justified my own feelings. All I could think of was, I wish I had seen this video before I ever started.

    The "happy" videos are BS. When some happy builder says they spent 3000 hours building their RV, they are probably underestimating actual shop time. In addition, they have not included is at least that much time at home on the computer sourcing parts, searching for build answers, deciding what to do next, figuring out how to do it, listening to various opinions, etc..

    Building is an all-consuming thing. If you're not working on it you are thinking about it. You constantly have dozens of decisions to make and those thoughts never stop rolling around in your head when you are at work, or with your family.

    You will do many things wrong and make any mistakes. It will frustrate the heck out of you. You will spend 45 minutes trying to get an AN6 nut onto it's screw. And this will happen over and over again until you want to scream.

    You will do budgets and spreadsheets and parts lists over and over again. More hours on the computer.

    And the biggest nightmare's is, years from now, you will get to the wiring. You think you have been thru hell up to this point, but you have no idea what you are in for.

    And then there is all the fiberglass....

    I built a rather simple kit - and yes mine was a quick build. The Zeniths are a magnitude easier to build than an RV. The process was nothing like I imagined after watching all those "happy" Youtube videos. I cannot even comprehend trying to build and RV.

    Yes, RV's are incredible aircraft from every flying perspective. They have an awesome builder support network. I wish I owned one. But there is a reason many builders spend 8 to 10 years, or longer, building them.

    At the end of their builds everyone seems to want to put a happy face on the process. I guess it's natural to remember the good stuff and suppress the bad.

    Four years after I "finished" my build I was still spending hours and hours working on the plane, thinking about the problems and solving various build issues.

    (To be clear - Vans Aircraft, their kits, and the builder support is the best in the industry. Their aircraft, in my opinion, are the best in the industry. I would trade my Zenith in a heartbeat for one, if I had the money. This post is not, in any way, a bash on RV's.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
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  37. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    ^THIS
     
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  38. 4RNB

    4RNB Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    My view of things is that flight chops hired lots of help and resources. Perhaps even a builder assist deal.
     
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  39. Brad W

    Brad W Cleared for Takeoff

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    @Lndwarrior,
    Did you ever see many years ago the guy building a Rotorway Helicopter kit? It was some sort of produced TV show if I recall correctly, for some cable TV channel. The way I remember it it's like your happy youtube vids on steroids. It might have even been before youtube.

    Anyway, you wrote, "You will spend 45 minutes trying to get an AN6 nut onto it's screw. And this will happen over and over again until you want to scream."
    THAT I understand intuitively and is exactly why I said that I would go for any quickbuild option I could get!

    I have done enough examination of my own self to know that I truly enjoy the process of investigation, research, and discovery of the solution. But....While I enjoy that good feeling of accomplishment when I finally figure out just the right approach to get that nut started and torqued, enough is enough!

    As I was reading your posts, I was thinking about all the different kinds of people out there. This applies to not only aircraft projects, but could be just the same for anything really....cars, boats, motorcycles, kitchen remodels, landscaping, etc....
    So many start projects and never even get close to finishing. Others like I assume you, finished but would probably never do it again.
    Still others have built more than one airplane.....and others that have built many more than two, even scratch built...and also help others.
    I recon a big part of it is a combination of aptitude, ability, and experience...but another big part is attitude. And mixed in somewhere big is available resources. Some folks have a nice big and convenient workshop, maybe access to a machine shop, access to parts and materials, favorable work schedule, a family situation that encourages or even facilitates..... lots of variables.

    Some people have a mechanical aptitude. Some people have a spatial/visual aptitude. And some don't. And I find it interesting to look at different folks...those that are self professed "handy" and those that are not. Many that most definitely do NOT call themselves handy, really do have a great mechanical aptitude and spatial intelligence I think, but just don't find enjoyment in it.

    I'm reminded of an old 1926 vintage little house I bought back before I was married. It needed a lot of work. I was single and so had lots of time and didn't have to juggle with others schedules and needs....but that was back in the day when I was travelling for work.... a lot. I did a lot to the house at first, mostly small to medium type stuff at first just to get settled. Quickly I jumped into a complete kitchen gut and remodel, down to the sub floor replacing an old fashioned wood floor first. Now I don't have a lot of construction experience, but do have a pretty good aptitude and have dabbled in basic woodworking and home repair a fair bit. I had successfully tackled projects in other houses that many folks that know, told me to NOT try.... such as a tile shower total gut to the studs mud job re-build. Well, I gutted the kitchen as was well underway...living with a fridge in the garage and a microwave in the dining room. Throw in many multi-week trips for work and it soon had me burned out. The last thing I wanted to do when I got back home was to work on that kitchen...but I had to push forward. I couldn't go out to the detached garage for something out of the fridge every time I wanted breakfast...but I did fall into quite a regular habit of dinner every night up at the corner pub a block and a half away! Anyway, I did finish eventually and I'm quite proud of how it turned out, but that project ruined me and I never did get that house fixed up like I imagined it could be. I did however tackle another full on kitchen remodel in another house a few years later.
     
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  40. Brad W

    Brad W Cleared for Takeoff

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    BLW2
    I didn't get the idea that any were hired..... but that he was blessed to have found himself maybe the word's best collection of "airport bum" friends with a world class club house!

    In my limited experience, there aren't a lot of airports that evolve into the kind of place where lots of people go just to be airport bums. The little airport where I learned to fly had a really nice set-up for hanging out and watching the runway while sitting and talking with other pilots and airport bums....but I never found in my travels another place that was even close to being as good. Well, one of the airports near me now is close with a decent airport pilot's association but it's sort of a closed group of folks lucky enough to have won the lottery to get a hangar on the field.