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Tell me about your AirCam

Share what's on your mind.

by wtflowers » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:43 pm

I'm thinking (hoping) of building and AirCam. I'd like to hear anything you'll share about the experience. What was your building experience level? Was it harder or easier than you thought it would be? What would you do differently if you did it again? How long did it take to build? How much do you fly? Anything and everything would be welcome.

Thanks
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by cklimt » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:12 am

The AirCam is not hard to build. I was fortunate as a first time builder to have found a partner who is a passionate A&P from South Africa. He taught me a lot.

The biggest miscalculation is the space you need to assemble and spray the parts/ aircraft. Had to build a temporary enclosure to house the assembly/painting. You need a lot os space, preferably close to home.

Aluminum riveted structures require learning how to prep aluminum prior to riveting. Drilling, deburring, alodine, clean/rinse, prime and rivet. My partner insisted that each rivet be wet installed ie 2 part epoxy primer in each hole prior to riveting. That is the way Boeing does it. I bet we could get dunked in salt water and there would be no corrosion.

Fabric work we did strictly Stitts PolyFiber. Workshops helped a lot. You need a place to spray. 11 coats of various sealer/silver UV protection and base paint. Then trim colors. Not hard/ very forgiving with an HVLP gun.

The engine installation requires following good instructions in the manual. The need to tie off various hoses to make sure they do not flap and rub was new to me. Lots of waxed line and time consuming tying.

The electrical/ instruments did not have a lot of guidance from the manual. We rolled our own. My partner was invaluable.

The flying is unbelievable. Low and slow. Just watch out for towers and wires. A great way to see the country. With my partner we have put 1200 hrs on her since completion 5 years ago. Been to Sebring, to Minnesota, and to Oshkosh 5 times. Always an attraction. Once in White Plains, the field was full of corporate jets of many million $ each. It was the AirCam that everyone came to inspect.

Minimum maintenance in 1200 hrs.

Claudius
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by wtflowers » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:54 pm

Claudius,

Thank you very much. I am familiar with your AirCam through the great article in AOPA magazine a few years ago. I saved the issue and occasionally read it for inspiration. Did you build the fuselage yourself or utilize the Quick Build option and why? I have a heated/cooled three car garage that I am planning to use for building (once I get it cleaned out). I haven’t yet decided upon how to accomplish the painting.

Thanks again for the information.

William
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by Seebird » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:21 pm

Finished mine in Feb 2010. Took 2 years and 2 months. Agree with previous poster about having ample room to work. I used the Stewart system of glue and paint (non toxic) and highly recommend it. Built my fuselage myself (no fast build) and it was not difficult...just tedious. Overall these airplanes are everything you hope they would be and more! This is my second one and I would'nt trade it for any airplane out there. My only gripe in the design/building process are the fuel tanks. If I had to do it again I would have them welded, or have some poly tanks or bladders designed. If mine ever start to leak, please just shoot me!! Russ in Atlanta
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by wtflowers » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:01 am

Russ,

Thanks for the reply. Is this your second AirCam or your second plane? You and Claudius both mentioned the need for adequate workspace. How much are we talking about? Can you give me an idea of what you think would be the minimum dimensions for a decent area? I want to do the bulk of the building at home if at all possible.

I’m in Dothan, AL. The next time I head up to Atlanta I’ll send you a message. I would love to see your AirCam in person if it’s OK.

Thanks again,

William
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by Seebird » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:12 pm

Hi William! This is my second Air Cam (first one was the Natl Geo Air Cam I brought back from the Congo and restored) and I think a work area the size of a 2 car garage would be adequate. The kit is not difficult...I am certainly no craftsman, but the fit and finish of the parts are top notch will make the finished product something you will not only be proud of but have great confidence in. Have you flown it? Would be happy to give you a ride in mine, but beware, you WILL buy one after flying it! I am actually in the early stages of building a set of floats for mine. Keep in touch and will be glad to show you all. Russ
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by wtflowers » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:48 pm

Russ, I read your article about the restoration of the original National Geographic AirCam in a back issue of Sport Aviation. I’ll check it out next time I visit Oshkosh.

Thanks for the info and the invite to see your current plane. I’ll send you a message next time I get to Atlanta.
William
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by Keith » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:15 am

>>>The kit is not difficult...I am certainly no craftsman<<<

William,

I have had the pleasure of seeing Russ's latest AirCam first-hand and I can assure you that he is being VERY modest in describing his construction abilities!

Russ is at a minimum a "craftsman", but I would say a better description is that he is an AirCam "artisan". His latest AirCam is beautifully built and a joy to look at. I hope to start building mine soon and Russ's bird will be the benchmark I hope to equal.

Regards,

Keith
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by xpda » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:02 pm

Three of us (all inexperienced) built ours in about 6 months.

Here are some photos
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by Pew Pew Hates Q Q » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:36 am

Hi there, im new to the Forum and Aircams but ive been doing alot of research and come to love the design and flight behaviors of the Aircam. I recently decided to buy a House with 43 acres and plan to turn the land into an airfield. The area i live in is hard to find flat land and in such large acrage. Im going to buy an Aircam but im unsure where to buy Tools, Avionics and Assorted parts i will need for construction. Im a prior Navy Aircraft Structural Mechanic and Im happy to say im a pro at metal work. Im disabled tho but I can still do the work i used to do but not at the efficiency as before.

Anyways...Im a little lost when it comes to getting what i need. And i dont want to over buy, things i dont need ether.

I plan to buy a brand New kit this Dec or Jan after i sell off a barn ill be owning. Theres a 2 Car garage on the land and had a good look at the space inside as well.

After i get the Airfield built and set up Ill let you guys know where its at so if your ever this way stop on by. Id love to see an aircam up close. I plan to Rotatile the Field, Roll it and seed it with Fine Golf Course grass like at my buddys Field.
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