In my quest to learn as much as possible before really committing myself to an airplane project, I recently ordered the From the Ground Up DVD set from the EAA Store. I thought this 13-episode Discovery Channel program would provide a good overview of the building process. The fact that the show documents the construction of an RV-8 was an added bonus.
The show is hosted by Mark Annick and homebuilder Joe Schumacher, who has built or restored more than twenty aircraft. The series touches on every phase of the building process, from uncrating and inventorying the kit to final airworthiness inspection and first flight. But while Mr. Schumacher outlines several clever tricks and techniques he has learned from his years of building experience, it is difficult to call the series anything more than an overview.
Of course it would be impossible to cover an entire build in fine-grained detail, but I felt at times as if the hosts were glossing over a process that I suspected to be much more complicated and/or labor intensive – fitting the canopy and cowling are two areas that come to mind.
Given that small criticism however, the show does offer excellent footage and a solid précis of the building process. Newbies such as myself will have a better grasp of the big picture after watching this series. I recommend it to anyone still in the dreaming/planning stages.