65 days
145.1 hours
9 partipants

the building of N622JC

a Zenith CH 750 CruZer

Why a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer

August 18, 2020

Factory Cruzer

There are more than 1,000 different kit plane models, so why did we choose a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer?

Mission

I have spent many hours in the skies over my own local area in a Quick Silver ultralight, a powered paraglider, and a hot air balloon. The Cruzer has a 120 MPH cruise speed, so even on a little day trip I’ll be able to fly much further from my home base than before.

Safety

The stall speed is in the low 40’s and touch down in the mid 30’s. In the event of an inflight emergency requiring an off airport landing, touching down at 38 MPH is MUCH safer than say 55 MPH in a Cessna.

The aircraft is also rated for -2 and +6 G at full gross weight.

In addition to this, given the operating expenses (listed below) avionics are much cheaper so we will be adding an advanced instrument panel that provides fantastic situational awareness, attitude guidance, terrain avoidance, glide and fuel information, as well as an auto pilot which can get you out of some sticky situations.

Visibility

It’s hard to beat a hot air balloon, but the Cruzer is one of the best in it’s class, an enclosed fixed wing airplane. Between the low cowling that tapers towards the nose, the low instrument panel and the large window, forward visibility is excellent. The doors on either side are basically a thin frame with a huge bubble window. The window literally extends from below your legs and above your head while sitting in the plane. Further, right above the pilot and passenger is a full tinted sun roof window that allows visibility directly above you, and when in a turn even over the low wing!

Operating Expenses

Depending on which engine we finally decide on, we should be able to burn automotive gas and consume about 4.5 GPH with a 120 MPH cruise. This, however, is just the beginning of operating expenses. Being that I will be the builder, I can apply for a repairman’s certificate which gives me the ability to maintain and inspect the aircraft. Experimental aircraft also have further reduction in operating expenses in the fact that avionics and engine parts are dramatically cheaper than certified aircraft, not because they are built cheaper but due to the fact the liability does not exist. For example, the Garmin G5 instrument is $1,289.00 if installed in an experimental aircraft or $2,299.00 when installed in a certified aircraft. They are the exact same instrument.

Company

Zenith Aircraft is based in Mexico, Missouri and has a large pilot base. They are excellent to work with, have a great completion rate, offers builder workshops, fly-ins and more.

Why build an airplane?

August 12, 2020 Jeremy

Why not? Seriously, though, a few reasons I can think of.

Family time

My girls have grown up around aviation, are goal oriented and love a challenge. When thinking about building an airplane and watching YouTube videos, the girls were immediately in.

This will be a family project that I believe we will look back on for many years to come with fond memories. It will create a bonding between us all that could not exist outside of a large project like this executed together.

Education

We homeschool our girls (4 of them). Granted, 1 is now in college and 1 has just graduated, but we believe firmly that education does not end when school is over. The girls will learn many valuable skills through this process for all areas of life, and not just “mechanical” skills. For example, problem solving, working with others, following complex directions, forming plans of action, sticking to a task even when it gets difficult and more.

Adventure

Start with a pile of metal and watch it transform to a plane before your very eyes. What greater adventure can there be for a family who loves aviation?

Accomplishment

Start with a pile of metal and soon take flight, go on trips, share flying with others. That is a serious accomplishment and source of pride that can be taken by everyone involved in the building process.

How many kids (adults) have an accomplishment such as this?

Operating Costs/Maintenance

Burning 4.5 GPH of automotive fuel is just the beginning of the savings with an experimental aircraft. Unlike a certified aircraft, I will be able to maintain and inspect my own airplane.

Customizability

When building, I can make the aircraft exactly what the family needs/wants. For example, simple but adding a cup holder. More complex, but adding an elbow rest between the seats. Other decisions, such as placing the main PFD (primary flight display) in the center of the instrument panel so that both the pilot and co-pilot can easily see and control the PFD.

These are all things that you do not get the ability to do when purchasing a certified aircraft, or for that matter, any aircraft that you did not build yourself.

About this site

August 10, 2020 Jeremy

This site is to document the building and eventual flying of N622JC, an experimental aircraft built in the garage of the Cowgar family. I looked at various build log tools but none accomplished exactly what I wanted. Being a computer programmer, it was not hard to create this output using Hugo, a site generator. I simply create a new Markdown file in the correct directory on my computer and a new site is generated and deployed.

There are a few main parts of the website that may be of interest to you.

Blog

This is where we write about a particular topic. It is not a “work log” or part of the build log, but something that we simply wish to share with our followers.

Work Log

This is our Work Log, or Build Log. The FAA requires proof that we did indeed build the aircraft. We have chosen to provide this proof through extensive documentation of each step we take to build our aircraft.

Work Log entries are classified as to what Milestone it is associated with and what type of Activity it was. For example, Tail and Building, or Fuselage and Researching.

Work Log entries almost always have pictures. We start with a picture of the current state and generally close with a picture of the end state for that work session. Of course, all sorts of pictures in the middle. I like to take pictures of the progress but also the people who help out.

Work Log entries are also tallied on different pages, Milestones, Activities and People. On those pages you will see how much time was spent for each item. For example, how long did we spend on the Tail? Look at the Tail milestone. How much time did we spend Building vs. Planning? Look at the Activities page.

Milestones

When building an aircraft, you can not look at it as such. It is a very long process and if you attach the L-bracket A to sheet metal B, it may be hard to see an aircraft in that step, therefore, hard to see progress. Without progress, discouragement sets in.

Milestones breaks the process down into manageable chunks of work. We can look at the Milestone page and see incomplete milestones turning complete and get a great sense of progress. Seeing more and more items turn “green” is a great motivator.

Activities

We chose to track everything that we do with our aircraft build, not just the “build.” For example, we may have to learn a new skill. Learning that skill may not directly get us closer to having a finished aircraft but it was necessary in order to complete the build. Therefore, we document those items.

Activities include:

  • Learning – Educating ourself on a topic new to us
  • Researching – What engine should we use? What kit should we buy? What avionics should we place in it? What did other builders do to customize their aircraft?
  • Planning – How should we execute a particular task?
  • Preparing – Hands on activities setting us up to build. Inventorying, Setting up shop, Organizing parts for the next phase, etc.
  • Building – Hands on assembly of aircraft parts.

People

I wanted to be able to look back at our project for many years to come and see who has helped this project along. Therefore, each work session we have, I document who was part of that session.