Not too long ago I was listening to the radio when a guy who really liked running...something I cannot understand at all, was talking about exercise.  He brought up a concept that I think directly applies to our homebuilding aircraft hobby.  That concept is that of inertia.  I'm going to use that as my starting point and then apply a bit of Newton Physics to it and lets see what happens...

So Newton's first law is that, to paraphrase it, an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and that makes the opposite true object at rest tends to stay at rest, unless an external force is applied.  I think this is the Number One thing that causes homebuilders a problem in getting their kit built in a timely manner.  The radio show talked about people like me...people who get lazy, and gravitate to the couch, and that really the hardest thing about getting started on an exercise plan is GETTING STARTED ON AN EXERCISE PLAN.  It's that constant struggle you have.  From a homebuilders perspective, we often wait until everything is perfect before we get started...either started building, or started on that next kit section, or even just started in the garage for the evening.  If you can just forget waiting for all the stars align properly to get started, and just get moving on your kit, you'll find that once you start it's easier to keep rolling.  The trick is, simply not letting something bring you to a complete stop.  I think this applies to kit building, exercise, dieting, and any other household project you can think of.  So your #1 enemy is your own inertia.  If you can overcome that and get started building, you'll find it easier to continue.

Now I think I'll look at Newton's 2nd law, since that seems to me that it applies well also.  Basically, it says that F=ma, or for those non-physics types, Force equals Mass times acceleration.  Let's call Mass the entire kit project.  It's a massive project, and your job is to move it to completion.  Let's call Acceleration "Motivation".  That sort of makes Force a synonym for "Completion".  If you can put a lot of motivation behind your project, even though it's massive, you eventually will achieve the full force of having your kit completed...and the more motivation you can hold, the faster you reach that completion.  I look back to building my RV-10.  I ordered the kit, and got started on it, but had at least 2 full MONTHS that I didn't touch the kit.  One was partly due to waiting for kit components, and some scattered days were due to waiting for ordered accessories, but some of it was simply due to DOING OTHER THINGS...not that there's anything wrong with that.  Summer would come, and we'd get out and play.  And, since we really only had an empennage, how big was the motivation to continue?  Not that big.  Getting the wings provided a bump, but I can distinctly remember that it really wasn't until the cabin top was going on, and I had a fuselage that I could sit inside, that I REALLY started getting motivated.  That was basically AFTER all of the aluminum work was done!  In fact, I built the entire plane in 25 months, but almost exactly 1/2 of the time it took to build, took 18 or 19 of those 25 months.  Yes, I put in nearly 2000 hours, with 1000 of it in the first year and a half, but the other 1000 hours in the 2nd half of a year!  What made that work?? Motivation!  I added that acceleration component to the equation and the outcome was Force.

I could end there, because at this point I think I've solved my on self's problem.  I need to apply more motivation to my RV-14 project, and I think I will, as soon as I get the fuselage.  I'm really pumped about wiring the panel, buying the engine, and hearing that thing run.  For now, I'm stuck waiting for the Fuselage to become available, and then the finishing kit.  But rather than end here, let's finish with Newton's 3rd law.

Newton's 3rd law of motion says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  This is where I think some people can get into trouble. It depends on more than you....but your family and spouse also. You can make a big action (completing your kit quickly), but it may lead to an equally dissatisfying reaction such as...getting divorced, going broke, having your kids hate you, your lawn growing into an alfalfa field, your car falling apart due to no maintenance...the list goes on and on.  So in getting this project done, you need to at least become aware of what the downside is.  For me, I had a wife who was willing to 100% take over the lawn work, the cooking and cleaning, and basically leave me to the kit, without giving me scorn, so the divorce didn't happen.  I worked late nights and played with the kids until they went to bed, so they didn't hate me.  My cars already weren't fantastic, but they survived the years.....but what DID happen is that I basically went broke.  Yes, I paid for the entire kit as I went. I would never borrow money that I wasn't 100% sure I could repay even if I lost my job, so I didn't have an airplane loan, but, I did deplete every bit of cash I had and was down to less than my last dollars when I finished the plane.  I had less than $1000 to my name, and didn't even have the money to afford the fuel to do the 25 hour flyoff.  Personally, I don't know that all that many people can avoid having at least some downside to the build.  Best case, you simply gave up 2000 hours of your life.  But maybe that's your situation, and if so, you're probably not going to regret the kit at all.  But I've known people who have had other negative effects and it isn't always pretty, so spend time planning and discussing so that you can at least know what Newton's 3rd law is going to do to your life when you build the kit.

I hope you've enjoyed your physics lesson for today.

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