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Burt Rutan and "The Seven Minute Rule"

Posted By:
Wayne Bressler
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#1 Posted: 6/16/2010 13:39:41

 The Seven Minute Rule

Building an airplane takes patience, dedication, money, and lots and lots of time.  Every interruption delays the completion of the machine.  I offer you a little bit of advice, third hand, from one of the living legends of aviation, homebuilding, and space flight.

The following is from Jon Ross, A&P, IA, and AB DAR, about something Burt Rutan told him a long time ago...

"What it takes to finish is doing something every day. I was told by Burt Rutan many years ago about the 7 minute rule. When someone shows up at the shop I take a 7 minute break; then I ask for help of some sort, handing me tools, assisting in some way or even emptying the trash. Pretty soon all those that visit up are people that want to help. Rutan actually had a sign in his shop that said 7 MINUTE RULE IN EFFECT."

Do you have any rules like this for your shop?  I'd love to hear about them.



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Jerry Williams
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#2 Posted: 6/21/2010 00:12:18



From the Tailwind group, as I am sure you have seen, from Jim Stanton...


1. It must become a normal part of your daily activity

2. Try not to reinvent the wheel. this is a big one I see a lot of first time builders get caught up in goofy details, if you not sure how to execute a change in something then build it to plans. There will be plenty of challenges with out inventing new ones.

3. And my favorite quote from the great Jim C “sometimes you just have to let other things suffer”

I am terrible at #1 and #3 my wife doesn't like all that much.  Sometimes I get away with it, sometimes I don't.  #2 I pretty much stick to, along with things that have been tried and work for other folks.  


I would like to add my own.  NEVER SKIP DATENIGHT...ie, keep the wife semi-happy. 



N6053V...much much more than a restoration this is turning out to be...

Robert Frost
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#3 Posted: 6/22/2010 12:50:35

I'm not sure where I heard about the 10 minute rule (Maybe Tony Bingelis?), but the gist of it is to spend a minimum of 10 minutes a day on your project.  It's not that you don't dedicate large periods of time, but that isn't practical to do every day. Even if you don't feel like it, you can spare 10 minutes to straighten up tools, clean up or just study the plans.  If you have a part that can be made, you are one part closer to finish.  The benefits are that you keep your head in ithe project and many times you find you've spent more than 10 minutes time doing something positive.