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Kit Plane Books and Videos

I've collected a great little handful of kit plane books and videos that have really proved beneficial throughout my build.  I'm constantly using a couple of these books for specific technical reference, while others helped me get my head around the big picture.  The videos helped me prepare as I began a new section or task.  You will really find these useful as well.

Get These Books

There are two kit plane books that are a must if you are going to build an airplane, plus four books by Tony Bingelis that really round out the whole picture.

  Aircraft Inspection, Repair and Alterations [AC43.13-1B2B] This is the FAA “Bible” for accepted practices.  It has all the rules to live by.  You probably won’t need the parts for aluminum aircraft because the kits are so good.  But when you get to the finishing details, you will need it.  It contains info you will need for electrical systems, hydraulic tubing, safety wiring, etc. 
Standard Aircraft Handbook for Mechanics and Technicians
This little gem has a lot of technical info from drill sizes, to nut and bolt identification, to torque specifications.  Mine no longer lays flat.  It is dog-eared and dirty from constant use.  I write notes on things I look up a lot on the inside of the front cover, saving me time.

Anything by Tony Bingelis is a definite must have. His kit plane books cover everything.  I thoroughly enjoyed these four, and found they really helped me out in my build:

Sportplane Builder Aircraft Construction

Sportplane Builder is Tony's first book on airframe construction topics. It contains many helpful, although more generalized hints and tips for the builder including the setting up of a workshop, basic construction practices and standards, and is then followed up by a few more specific topics such as routing control systems, working with composites, electrical basics, etc. Like Firewall Forward, this book is also most relevant for self designers and first time builders of plan-built and simpler aircraft.

Firewall Forward

This book includes reprints of articles formerly appearing in EAA's Sport Aviation magazine covering topics such as engine selection, installation, design of the exhaust systems and fuel systems, fitting cowls, making hoses, instruments and sensor set-up and much more. This first edition is mostly relevant to self designers and builders of plans built aircraft using smaller non-certified engines.

Tony Bingelis on Engines

Tony Bingelis' second book on the installation of engines and powerplant systems in experimental and light aircraft focusing on the installation of certified Lycoming and Continental engines in today's more advanced experimental and certificated aircraft.

An excellent update to Firewall Forward focusing mainly on issues encountered when installing Lycoming and other traditional engines in today's established kit built craft such as RVs, Lancairs and Glasair class projects. On-Engines details such concerns as oil cooler placement, control linkage, wiring decisions, baffling, magnetos, exhaust systems, electrical power systems, fuel and vent systems, etc... Written and illustrated mostly using Tony's RV-6 as an example.

On-Engines is also completely relevant and highly useful for A&P technicians complete understanding on the firewall forward systems and components of certified light piston aircraft.

Sportplane Construction Techniques

Tony Bingelis' Construction Techniques book includes a continuation of articles appearing in later issues of Sport Aviation. The topics covered are more specific and more applicable to the more advanced kit planes such as RVs, Lancairs, etc. Some topics covered include; making fittings, molding fuel tanks and wheel pants, hinge installation, a few nice cockpit refinements, etc. Like his other books, each article is an actual detailed and illustrated set of instructions on how to complete that specific project.
Buy the Videos

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”  I bought the videos for my RV-8.  These really came in handy.  There were times when I just didn’t get it, even after reading the directions and studying the plans.  Then I would watch the video, and what the plans were telling me became clear.  They were also fun to watch with a cup of coffee on Saturday morning.  I would watch the section covering what I was going to do next, then go to the airport and do it.  Get the videos for your kit.  Definitely worth it.

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