Construction Classes / Builder Assistance
None of us are born knowing how to build an airplane. There are a number of ways to learn. Most builders buy the kit and dive in, knowing that, if they make a mistake, ordering replacement parts is quick and relatively cheap. For those who prefer a more formal introduction, builders classes are offered in several locations around the USA.
Classes are usually quite small, no more than eight or ten people. This allows an abundance of individual attention and instruction.
A typical class may last two or three days. After the initial introductions and donuts (why did you decide to do this highly intimidating thing?), the first short sessions are usually spent describing and explaining the basic tools involved in building a metal airplane. Rivet guns, dimple dies, rivet squeezers, deburring tools and drills are fondled, explained and demonstrated.
The next session usually involves a small, basic project designed to introduce the fundamentals of handling aluminum. Parts are measured, drilled and deburred. When these parts are fully prepared, they can be riveted together. About this time, the students begin to realize that the operation they worried about the most (usually riveting) is actually the easiest, but operations they never considered (all the preparation work) take more time and effort than they’d imagined.
After a few more small projects, each emphasizing some specific operation, the final day is spent building the "graduation project." This is more involved and brings together all the new skills acquired in the last two or three days. A typical last day effort might be a section of control surface, where skins, stiffeners, ribs and spars are all prepared, fitted, drilled and riveted.
The end of each day is usually spent in a question and answer period with wide ranging discussions of everything from specific building topics to company history.
While formal instruction is certainly not necessary to the successful completion of an RV, it can certainly get the builder off to a faster, more confident start. The best comment an instructor can receive as the class departs is "I can do this!"
Construction Classes are offered in the United States as well as other countries.