Panther Building @ Lightning Speeds


We have always had great feed back from our builders about how well our parts go together and how quickly the builders are making progress.  This is always great to hear and we know how encouraging it can be to a home builder when they are making real, tangible and visible progress on their projects.  It is all about the momentum, and the camaraderie around building that keeps builders motivated.  We all know projects that have stalled because life got in the way, or things just got a little dull and the builder needed a change of pace for a bit.  However we rarely see that with Panther builders.  It seems that things go together so well for the builder that they don’t have to find other things to do while they get the courage up to “get back to the grind” of building.

However – we have a couple of new Panther builders down in Titusville, FL who are setting a record that I think will be hard to beat.  These guys are all active members of the Smilin ‘Jack EAA chapter 866 at Arthur Dunn Airport, and they came up to our shop just before Christmas to check out the SPA operation before they decided to go all in.  They had seen us before at Sun ‘N Fun a time or two.  The build trio = Bob Rychel, Ed Brennan and Les Boatright, Panther SN083.

I got a note a few days ago about their progress and I will post it below, along with some photos they sent over.

This is from Les Boatright – the President of their chapter, and one of the build trio.

Hi Rachel,
Here are the pics from the Newsletter . . .
Quick Summary: We received the full kit from you on 1/13/17.
During the first full week I took off work to be a full-time Panther builder with Bob & Ed.  During that week, we assembled & riveted the tailcone, fitted/drilled skins & firewall to forward fuselage cage, mated cage to tail-cone, riveted both main wing spars together, assembled RH elevator, and most of LH elevator, assembled rear wing spars, and prepped the main wing ribs with various brackets and slider blocks.
Since then we’ve nearly completed the LH wing assembly, and completed most of the empennage parts.  The Horizontal tail got finished last weekend.
We hope to finish the LH wing (including fuel tank) and the final piece of the empennage this weekend.  Then we’ll start on RH wing.
Tomorrow (2/4) will be Day 21, or 3 weeks, since we started.  And we’ve logged nearly 300 total manhours so far (among 3 builders & 1 guest helper).
We’re enjoying the rapid progress on this project compared to some of our other building experiences. I must say that we’re continually impressed with the quality of the parts you’ve produced, and how well they fit together! Several of our EAA chapter members (many experienced builders themselves) have dropped by the hangar to look in on us and they also comment in amazement about the quality of the parts, and how they lend themselves to rapid progress. As a 24 year career mechanical engineer, I’m thoroughly impressed with the parts and how little detailed fabrication work there is, at least thus
far. You’ve done a superb job in the design, and you’ve made very efficient use of modern machining technologies to produce very good quality parts!
The whole concept of “Team Synergy” is a very real thing. With 2 or 3 people working on a major assembly/part, there’s less time spent switching out tools and hands.  It really helps when one person is the cleco plier operator, another is the rivet putter-inner, and the third guy is running the rivet puller gun; no time wasted swapping-out the tools in your hands; it seems to go 20-30% faster that way!  Just an interesting observation.   Hope to have another big update for you by end of Feb.
Best Regards,
Les Boatright (EAA Lifetime #563003)
President EAA Chapter 866,
The Smilin’ Jack Chapter
“Keep Flying & Flippin those Smilin’-Flap-Jacks!”
These guys know the meaning of team work, and their coordination is certainly paying off.  I would also like to point out that they have a very active EAA Chapter at Arthur Dunn Airport in Titusville, FL.  Here is a link to their monthly news letter that Les shared with me.
We are looking forward to hearing from them again soon, and seeing their progress.
Congrats to Les, Ed and Bob from Titusville, FL – Panther SN083!  Keep up the great work!
– Team SPA

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