# Davis DA-2: Never Read Plans-Just bought a Rebuild project (lots of parts and plans)

### Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

#### dukem1

##### Member
HBA Supporter
Hello,
I'm Duke, I have just purchased a Davis DA-2 project from a gent in Lincoln NE. It came with many of the parts fabricated, (it was once a complete AC), plans, and plans review book. After starting to look at the plans review, I realized I know nothing about reading plans and translating those drawings into safe, accurate, functional sub and assemblies, much less a flying aircraft. But I'm an optimist, I can learn just about anything. I am looking for a website, video, class, or just some mentorship on how to move forward. I am going to start by inventorying all the parts I have, and all my unfabricated materials (sheet metal, cables, etc.) Then move on to organizing my shop to optimize retrieval of a given part and being able to work on that part or those parts.
This project had been stalled for some time with the last owner (actually I am not sure if he had ever begun work on it. So one question I have other than where can I gain enough knowledge, and this questoin relates to something the previous owner told me I should do, is since I live in a humid area (NE Texas), I should oil all my sheets of aluminum unless they are already zinc chromate covered. Is this true? What type oil, should I wipe it off, seems like a messy way to preserve things. Anyway, I'll figure that out. Right now, I just need some direction on learning to read and actualize plans. I know about EAA, but I have not delved too deeply there yet.
Thanks,
Duke
p.s. When I start work, I'll create a webpage and attach the URL here.
Cheers,
D.

Log Member

#### proppastie

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
You need to join a local EAA chapter

##### Well-Known Member
Hopefully the tail assembly is already fabricated. That was the worst part of reading those plans and to fabricate.

As far as coating the aluminum, the plans call out clad 2024-T3 so they shouldn't need additional protection. Are you storing in a hangar?

#### pwood66889

##### Well-Known Member
Speaking of "a local EAA chapter," Duke Em, Where you at? That could be mine!
Percy in NW FL, USA

#### Victor Bravo

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Howdy Duke,

Keep the aluminum inside out of the weather, and keep moisture off of it. That is good enough for most of the country. If you are in an area that requires more protection than that, you can spray a commercial corrosion resistant primer on the sheets, then when you are ready to use the metal you can remove the cheap primer and put on aircraft primer...or use the "Alodine" process.

'Pastie's advice of getting involved with an EAA chapter (or two or three of them) is 1000% valid. It will cost you little or nothing, and you will get a lot of help. All you have to do is keep track of the help and advice. If ten people with aviation experience give you advice, and nine of them say that doing XYZ is the right way, then you have pretty good odds of being safe.

#### [email protected]

##### Member
Hello,
I'm Duke, I have just purchased a Davis DA-2 project from a gent in Lincoln NE. It came with many of the parts fabricated, (it was once a complete AC), plans, and plans review book. After starting to look at the plans review, I realized I know nothing about reading plans and translating those drawings into safe, accurate, functional sub and assemblies, much less a flying aircraft. But I'm an optimist, I can learn just about anything. I am looking for a website, video, class, or just some mentorship on how to move forward. I am going to start by inventorying all the parts I have, and all my unfabricated materials (sheet metal, cables, etc.) Then move on to organizing my shop to optimize retrieval of a given part and being able to work on that part or those parts.
This project had been stalled for some time with the last owner (actually I am not sure if he had ever begun work on it. So one question I have other than where can I gain enough knowledge, and this questoin relates to something the previous owner told me I should do, is since I live in a humid area (NE Texas), I should oil all my sheets of aluminum unless they are already zinc chromate covered. Is this true? What type oil, should I wipe it off, seems like a messy way to preserve things. Anyway, I'll figure that out. Right now, I just need some direction on learning to read and actualize plans. I know about EAA, but I have not delved too deeply there yet.
Thanks,
Duke
p.s. When I start work, I'll create a webpage and attach the URL here.
Cheers,
D.
Used to be a google group, I built one a few years ago, flew it 55 hours, but i modified it in such a way as it wasn't registered as a DA2A. RA2X. Changed the airfoil, spars more like a Sidewinder or RV, never stable in pitch axis, Corvair was plenty of power.

#### Attachments

• 5.7 KB Views: 59

#### proppastie

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
never stable in pitch axis
does that mean it was very sensitive, or would not fly "hands off" or what?....do you think it was "airfoil change related" "CG related" "tail size" "slop/play in controls "?????

#### karmarepair

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Speaking of "a local EAA chapter," Duke Em, Where you at? That could be mine!
Percy in NW FL, USA
"NE Texas" said he.
EAA Chapters in Sulphur Springs, Mineola, Gladwater.

Flying the Davis DA-2A Homebuilt (airbum.com) Pilot report from Budd Davisson from a LONG time ago. It's a little short on detail, but he doesn't mention trouble with stability in any axis. The modified version mentioned up-thread MAY have used an airfoil with a greater pitching moment than the Clark-Y, and the short tail doesn't leave much margin on tail volume.

#### dukem1

##### Member
HBA Supporter
Well, being a rank novice, any time you change anything you open yourself up to unanticipated performance I would think.well, lm going to look into mineola and also there one in shreveport boss Ier city. Thanks for the info gents.
Cheers
Duke

#### dukem1

##### Member
HBA Supporter
Hopefully the tail assembly is already fabricated. That was the worst part of reading those plans and to fabricate.

As far as coating the aluminum, the plans call out clad 2024-T3 so they shouldn't need additional protection. Are you storing in a hangar?
Yes, hanger/workshop

#### proppastie

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
Pilot report from Budd Davisson from a LONG time ago
So did you ever see a pilot report where they said.....this is a piece of junk and is un-safe to fly?.....At Oshkosh a long time ago I asked Ray Stitts about the high fatality rate on homebuilts (vs. first flight or number of flight hrs. flown in the homebuilt fleet. ) and reporting about that in Sport Aviation ..and he said something to the effect "nobody wants to read about that".......

#### karmarepair

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
So did you ever see a pilot report where they said.....this is a piece of junk and is un-safe to fly?.....At Oshkosh a long time ago I asked Ray Stitts about the high fatality rate on homebuilts (vs. first flight or number of flight hrs. flown in the homebuilt fleet. ) and reporting about that in Sport Aviation ..and he said something to the effect "nobody wants to read about that".......
Not in Sport Aviation, not in Flying, or AOPA pilot.
|You can get little hints, sometimes.
The internet has been a boon on this point. I never would have known the American Eaglet was a massive disaster, or that the Thatcher's aileron response is a little less than brisk, or that the VP-2 has structural details Worthy Of Improvement, or that I won't fit in a Taylorcraft, without forii like this.

#### karmarepair

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Circling back to the original poster - the Yahoo Groups is dead of course, but there is a IO.groups. AND the plans, in full, are available to group members, along with other goodies like old newsletters, a "build manual", notes on folding wing mods, etc.

Da2a groups.io Group Budd Davission, who wrote one of the first PiReps after hopping passengers at Rockford in I think 1968 is a member, and posts from time to time, and he just mentioned this airplane as one of his favorites in this month's Sport Aviation.

I just looked at the plans this afternoon. They are not quite as clear as for my Sonex, but I feel like I could build one from them. The instuctions (separate file(s)) are also pretty good. The hard bits of this project are the engine mount, the gear, and the Ruddervator mounts (noted by a previous poster); if those are welded up, you are miles ahead.

Harmon Lange built one of the first Plans Built airplanes, and he still makes "Wittman" style gear legs, and I'm certain could make you a pair for relatively small money and would be tickled to do so, if your project doesn't already have them.

And see Little Scrapper's Small Continental thread. That's the engine this plane was designed for and the plans motor mount will fit. It has flown with a Corvair, but they are a little heavier. I can't recommend a VW conversion for this. A Jabiru, UL, or Rotax 912 might be OK, but you'll be on your own for an engine mount.

#### wsimpso1

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
I'm an optimist, I can learn just about anything.
Good! Learning to read blueprints is not hard. Learning to make parts that meet the blueprint usually takes some effort. Learning to make parts to the designer's intent is tougher still, and sometimes in homebuilts, there is a distinction between "to print" and "to designer intent".

Leeon Davis was a sheet metal prototype guy for Cessna, IIRC, so his plans may be a touch light on direction. He tried, but you may find things that would have been obvious to him and a mystery to you. That is where other sheet metal guys in the chapters come in.

I am going to start by inventorying all the parts I have, and all my unfabricated materials (sheet metal, cables, etc.). Then move on to organizing my shop to optimize retrieval of a given part and being able to work on that part or those parts.
Good plan. Missing from it is going through the plans with your inventory of things you think are already built. This means looking at every piece, finding it in the plans and the build records, and making sure it is right and documented. Ideal is the part or assembly has had all steps completed, date of completion and notes on the processes used. If you have the part or assembly, but documentation is incomplete, you should append info about the state of the part or assembly as you got it, and then any further work you do to it, as well as dates. This effort establishes its history as being amateur built. This effort will also establish your starting point and let you in on what you have to build - knowing what stock you have vs what stock is needed allows you to be on the lookout for bargain materials...

The Leeon Davis designs are usually great airplanes. I know a guy at Indy who is flying a Davis that he got as a restoration project. Good luck!

Billski

Last edited:

#### cheapracer

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
What type oil, should I wipe it off, seems like a messy way to preserve things.
Wipe them down with diesel, easy to clean off later. Bit smelly though if inside your home garage.

#### norm_parm

##### Well-Known Member
Good! Learning to read blueprints is not hard. Learning to make parts that meet the blueprint usually takes some effort. Learning to make parts to the designer's intent is tougher still, and sometimes in homebuilts, there is a distinction between "to print" and "to designer intent".

Leeon Davis was a sheet metal prototype guy for Cessna, IIRC, so his plans may be a touch light on direction. He tried, but you may find things that would have been obvious to him and a mystery to you. That is where other sheet metal guys in the chapters come in.

Good plan. Missing from it is going through the plans with your inventory of things you think are already built. This means looking at every piece, finding it in the plans and the build records, and making sure it is right and documented. Ideal is the part or assembly has had all steps completed, date of completion and notes on the processes used. If you have the part or assembly, but documentation is incomplete, you should append info about the state of the part or assembly as you got it, and then any further work you do to it, as well as dates. This effort establishes its history as being amateur built. This effort will also establish your starting point and let you in on what you have to build - knowing what stock you have vs what stock is needed allows you to be on the lookout for bargain materials...

The Leeon Davis designs are usually great airplanes. I know a guy at Indy who is flying a Davis that he got as a restoration project. Good luck!

Billski
If you have trouble reading a plans set, might I suggest taking a course at your local Community College, or trade school. They are a great start. Also, lots of info on line, Youtube, on reading drawings, and technical illustrations. If you are in eastern North Carolina I could help more. If you are a member of an EAA group other members can be a treasure trove of information. Good luck!

#### Dan Thomas

##### Well-Known Member
I wouldn't put anything on that aluminum. Just keep it out of the weather. Oiling it would cause endless headaches down the road with it seeping out of lap joints and so on. The aluminum will eventually need acid etching and alodining before paint anyway.