What skills are required?

Reading the blueprints and manual and understanding them is the most important skill to take into the project.  Aircraft sheet metal techniques can be learned quickly and easily.  We typically see new builders doing good aircraft quality riveting in 30 minutes practice time.  Each subkit includes many small extra pieces material on which to practice.

To avoid mistakes it is important to carefully read the plans and manual before cutting and drilling.  Each step should be studied several times and the desired end results clearly understood before working on the metal.  Being able to picture how each part fits into the assembly is an important skill to make the building process go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

The most important personal trait is patience.  Building an airplane is a large undertaking so set realistic goals and schedules.  There will be ups and downs throughout the project so the determination and drive to see it finished is important.  You must enjoy the building process and not just see it as a necessary evil to get an airplane.  You should work on it every week, if only for a few hours.  Even working just 10 hours per week on the airplane by yourself will see it finished in about 3 years from a standard kit.  Quickbuild options make it even easier.

Knowing when to ask for help is another important trait.  There will be times when you are stumped.  Use the different resources available to you to overcome these problems.  Call Mustang Aeronautics, use the online builder’s list, visit a local builder, or talk with your EAA tech counselor.  We typically answer various questions from new builders as they start their project.  By the time they finish their first sub kit they have gained quite a bit of confidence and skill so that we hardly hear from them after that.

Do not be intimidated by the sheet metal skills required to build a Mustang.  It is much more difficult and challenging learning how to fly an airplane than it is to successfully operate a rivet gun.