The Start of an Obsession

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

Leonardo da Vinci

I hesitate to call them “goals” because they were never something I was set on achieving, but two personal achievements I’ve long thought would be cool are to get certified to dive and learn to fly. Being able to witness the dichotomy of this great planet from the air and sea firsthand just appealed to me. I got certified to dive several years ago and have enjoyed seeing the world from below. In my personal Great List of Things that Would be Cool to Do, getting a pilot certificate was the logical next step but for years it was always just a neat idea, a fascination. Until it wasn’t.

On a Friday in April 2015, while returning to Pensacola from a work trip, I was sitting in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport watching airplanes arrive and depart and I made the decision that I was going to go for it; I was going to become a pilot! The following week I signed up for a discovery flight at my local airport, KPNS. And that was the start of this obsession.

Fast-forward to present day. After obtaining my private pilot certificate I joined a local flying club. The club was a closed club, available only to active duty and retired military, and to those working for the federal government. Because it was a private club, scheduling airplanes wasn’t a problem. Due to declining member participation the decision was made to open the club to the public. As it turns out, this was a great decision for the club. The planes stayed rented and more people were afforded the opportunity to fly. The downside to that was that the planes stayed rented and more people were afforded the opportunity to fly! Scheduling a plane became more problematic, and more people flying equated to more airplane squawks and airplane downtime. It soon became apparent that club flying just wasn’t for me. So that presented two options:

  1. Buy my own certified aircraft and spend $80,000 – $100,000 for a certified aircraft that is anywhere from 40-60 years old.
  2. Build a kit airplane for a similar cost and get a brand new, modern, more capable airplane with state of the art avionics.

The choice became very clear. I would build a kit plane! I’ll detail the decision process in the next post.


  • Doug Robison

    We are not far behind you in building a 14A, we already built a 12 and have an 8 in progress but are running out of steam as the latest mission is better suited for the 14A. Will order it within the next 6 months. Good luck and keep us I the loop. DBR also known as “Captain Cowboy”

    • ecobb


      Thanks for the comment! I ordered the empennage kit while at Sun-n-Fun last weekend and it should be here in a couple of weeks. Very much looking forward to getting started! I would love to pick your brain sometime about your build experiences.

  • Doug Robison

    In building, we found that it helps a lot to have the construction space layed out for easy access with at least two people working in close proximity of the project and also close to the tools being used as well as parts close by. Additionally, a well planned, organized layout for components helps in inventorying as well as actual construction of the aircraft. A place to store each kit after build until final assembly of the plane needs to be addressed early with a plan for it being safe, secure, and convenient to the airport as well as large enough to work doing the final assembly. Good luck with the logistics problems, the 14A is a little larger than a 12 or an 8, we need to solve these same problems before we begin our 14A but we are excited to get started! DBR

    • ecobb


      Thank you for the insight! Funny, we went through the inventory yesterday and I realized I didn’t have enough storage space for even things like rivets and other hardware, so I’ll be going back for more storage units. While waiting for the emp kit to be delivered I had time to clean and organize the garage space, but I still need a storage solution for completed parts. My thought is to use the overhead, ceiling-mounted racks for that. If you have other suggestions I’m all ears!

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