Chapter 1016 meets at the Western North Carolina Air Museum in Hendersonville NC on the second Tuesday of the month at 6pm. Check with us at EAA1016.org for informal gatherings, project visits and spur of the moment opportunities to share information and comraderie. You're also invited to join our email list at EAA1016firstname.lastname@example.org
A visit to Keith Plemmons’ shop
First of all, a big Thank You to Keith for his presentation on July 13th. I’m a flyer, not a builder and to see and hear about someone else’s project is a bit like trying to fathom what goes into building a Golden Gate Bridge. The detail, the commitment, the skill sets that must be mastered … all that and more would be a real challenge for me. I’m glad there are builders. Jerry Tice, Mike Cola and I drove (thanks, Jerry) to Keith’s workshop west of Asheville on July 2 to see for ourselves what others have described as a truly professional shop.
The first thing I saw on entering the workshop was a stack of 40+ sheets of dimensional drawings laid out on a perfectly level table. Keith explained the designer put everything on these sheets of diagrams that a manufacturer would need to build the airplane. Since every part is fabricated individually, some diagrams are here, some are there, but they’re all included and they all go somewhere.
All these bits and pieces eventually find their place as the construction takes shape. There’s no such thing as going to the airplane store to buy a bracket or a gusset or a thingamajig common to thousands of other airplanes of the same design – every one of these has to be made individually in somebody’s shop.
The Skyote is a design reminiscent of a Bucker Jungmeister – the Skyote being sleeker and smaller. It’s fully aerobatic and does its magic on 100HP or less. See Budd Davisson’s article at: http://www.airbum.com/pireps/PirepSkyote.html
Keith has spent the past 4+ years, at this point, living with his Skyote. He says it surprised him to learn that the building process gave him the patience to accept that every part might not be perfect the first time; when parts might be “good enough” for some, he simply starts over and tries again to make it as perfect as it can be.
I could have spent many more hours listening to Keith and watching him work. I confess to feeling a little guilty taking him away from his work but he didn’t seem to mind taking the time to explain things in a way I could understand.
I didn’t ask the inevitable question: “When will it be finished”? I knew the answer: “When it is as perfect as I can make it”.