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Hotel Room Project

Posted By:
John Maxfield
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#1 Posted: 2/20/2011 08:31:35

I'm in a hotel room this weekend, working on some metal pieces for my Sonex project.  It occurred to me that there must be other builders and restorers out there, that have done similar things.  And there's certainly wisdom and stories that can be passed along here.

So tell us, while on the road, what have you taken with you to work on?  How did it work out, and what wisdom can  you pass on to others?

I'll start by telling you of a good friend of mine, that doped and taped his fabric control surfaces in his hotel room while he was attending maintenance school in Minneapolis.  The short story is that after a couple of days, he ended up working in his van in the parking lot.  They did let him keep his room, he got the doping finished, and learned about the Airbus, so it all worked out.

Happy Landings


Carl Orton
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#2 Posted: 2/20/2011 17:02:38

Hi, John;

Never worked on *my* Sonex in a hotel room, but have some information on tools.

We attended the Sonex workshop in Feb 2008. As you probably know, you bring your own tools. I put them all in a small bag inside my suitcase. No prob; got there, the tools were still in my bag, so all was well.

Well, on the return trip, we were diverted because of WX to LaCrosse. Since LaCrosse only has 3 gates and about 15 TSA agents, they had plenty of time to check things out (we checked our baggage).  While we were waiting for the flight, one of the agents came trotting up the stairs with a picture of the x-ray of our bag, and he disappeared into the TSA offices.  As we were boarding the flight, the same guy was at the checkpoint, so I asked him if there was an issue with my bag.

He said, no, the tools (giant Andy snips, vixen files, etc.) were not the issue, but the corded electric drill got them kind of excited! Guess with the wires, coils, gears, etc., it was hard to tell if it was packed with C4  or not.


- Carl
Richard Warner
Homebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#3 Posted: 2/24/2011 20:18:41

Back when I was building my Kingfisher Sport Amphibian and was still flying for the airlines, I used to take the wing spar and wing strut fittings with me to work on while I was laying over.  The fittings were cut out with my band saw, so the edges were kind of rough.  I would take a file, some various grits of emory paper, and finally some wet or dry sandpaper with me and file and polish the scratches out that were left from the band saw blade. 

Renald Goyette
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
#4 Posted: 2/24/2011 22:37:13

Hey John!

I used to build many airplanes in my Hotel / Motel room when I was on the Parade of Progress travelling the U S and Canada in the late 50's. The finished and or partly finished planes were hauled by the Director's Cadillac Sedan de Ville.

Those were the days. I crashed them before I got my PPL.

But, they were beautiful models - -  U-Control!





Andy Gamache
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#5 Posted: 2/25/2011 03:54:42

Hi John!


I'm basically homeless, so I spend A LOT of time in hotel rooms when I'm not working. As such, I started my MItchel Wing U-2 project at the Motel 6. Later, I had raw material and tools mailed to me in Afghanistan, where I completed all of the aft ribs in my tiny room. Currently, I'm working in Africa. Mail is MUCH more expensive to get here, so I'll probably carry raw materials and tools in my checked baggage, build parts here and carry the finished parts back to the States. If all works well, by the time I'm ready to settle down, I should have all the smaller parts built for my project and I can get on to the fun stuff of building the wings and putting it all together in a short period.



I would recommend doing your noisy work during the afternoon when you're less likely to have neighbors around. Also, bring a portable vacuum with you to clean up your mess. If you don't make extra work for housekeeping, they probably won't gripe about you.

For the record, I did figure out that I had enough space in the Motel 6 to complete all the major sub-assemblies (wings) and still be able to get it out the door.