Europa #435 G-RODO Build Journal - making a start

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tick By now it was well into 1999 and we'd been in Cheltenham nearly 2 years without getting any actual aeroplane-construction work done. The factory was about to increase prices, so although I felt there were still many other things around the house needing attention, I placed the order for a complete kit (less engine).

tick I arranged to pick up the tail kit while attending a factory Weekend Workshop in October. Wilma came too, and was delighted to find a birthday card from Europa among the documents in the welcome pack.

I'd read a lot about composite work, including:

- but there is no substitute for hands-on practice with experienced advice available. Using the resin pump at the Weekend Workshop convinced me of its usefulness - up until then I thought the simplicity of the weighing method was preferable. I learnt a lot in that weekend, and of course enjoyed the included demo flight too, this time with Andy Draper in G-GBXS, the monowheel demonstrator. After building the Euro-chock, it was time to pack the tail kit parts into the car. We managed to get everything inside our Citroen Xantia hatchback with no room to spare.

I had registered the build project with PFA* Engineering shortly after placing the order, and once I had a PFA* project number, was also able to reserve my chosen registration (G-ROWI, a conflation of the first parts of our names) with the CAA. Among the documents sent to builders by PFA* Engineering is a list of Inspectors - these are the people who keep an eye on your work as it progresses and make sure everything is up to standard. I chose Martin Carolan, a professional glider builder and repairer, of Severn Valley Sailplanes. Martin cannot always take on every project that comes his way, but I am glad that he was able to fit me in. His advice and help has given me great confidence in the new skills I am developing with glass and resin.
[* The Popular Flying Association (PFA) became the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) on 2008-01-01.]

Having now taken the decision to park the trailer outside, I started to look at covered trailers. This would provide proper weather protection for the finished aircraft, and prevent stone-chip damage to the finish during transport, as could happen to aircraft carried on the open trailers. I chose a fibreglass-clad trailer built by Roger Huttlestone of Northwick Manufacturing. This incorporated one-person rigging arrangements, including a fuselage dolly built like a battleship, that would also be useful during the building process. (Roger is no longer building trailers for the Europa, but can supply a fuselage dolly and one-person rigging gear for the aluminium-clad Europa trailers built by David Schofield, and for the factory trailer.) The trailer was a very tight fit between the house and the garden shed, so the shed had to move.

The following pages relating my Europa building experiences are HTML exports from a journal I keep in a FileMaker Pro file, arranged a month to a page. Some of the information may be a bit cryptic as it was mainly intended for my own reference. I hope that publishing it more widely may be of interest or even help to other potential Europa builders.

If you've already had enough of my site, here are some links to other Europa builders websites.

If you find something on my website that doesn't make sense or is apparently in error (even mis-spellings!), please contact me using my i-name =Rowland.Carson and I'll try to explain or correct it. To defeat spammers, you'll have to confirm that your message is genuine before it can reach me.

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