I wrote the comments below in response to a guy saying that he was glad to see any homebuilt get done, and that even if the plane wasn’t very good and didn’t fly much it was still a victory to him. He made this comment about a plane that was for sale on Barnstormers with 2 hours on it. Read on, you will find out why I think differently
To finish a plane, it is a requirement that a builder not listen to all the people who tell him he will fail or is doing it wrong. In a 6 year build, this might mean ignoring several hundred people, running from guys in your EAA chapter, your brother in law, people on line, the airport expert and a parade of others. Most of these people will simply be playing the role of ‘Eeyore’ the pessimistic donkey, (polite term for a negative Jackass) but understand that many others will be posing as ‘friendly advisors’, trying to ‘help.’ If you ignore every person you come in contact with, keep working, and the plane will get done.
Is this the definition of successful homebuilding? I say it isn’t. Completing the plane isn’t success, learning is. A guy who listens to no one learns nothing and often creates the poor flying hangar queen. His completed plane might be a rarity, but the mindset of not being willing to consider anything that might evolve one’s views is quite common today.
My definition of success is the guy who finishes the plane, ignores the 98% of the people who are negative, but learns from 4 or 5 trusted advisors who get him to consider things that make his plane far better than it would have been. This guy not only has a good flying plane, has learned a lot, he also has trusted friends and is in a position to share something. The actual rarity in society is not the bullheaded man who will not stop, it is the man wise enough to listen, examine evidence, and change his perspective if it improves what he is making.
The biggest difference between a poor plane for sale on barnstormers with 2 hours on it and a great one sitting at Brodhead with 500 hours on the tach is mostly in the mindset of the builder. Both planes are made of roughly the same quantity of wood, metal and fabric, and the likely took about the same effort to build. The difference is mostly in what the builder was willing to learn.
The barnstormer plane, and the dozens like it that were never completed are not a good use of materials nor human time. They are not art either. They are monuments to people who refuse to learn, something common enough in everyday life to need no commemoration.-ww.
To read a story about a plane that changed the builders life and has flown more than 500 hours click on this link:
Above, Randy’s aircraft at Brodhead