An Unusual Build Project

By Chad Haas, EAA 1265808

This past month EAA Chapter 1551 in Apopka, Florida, got together for a chapter build project. No, not banging rivets, laying up fiberglass, or balancing a prop. This time it was on the electronics front. It was Greg Kelsoe, EAA 1086865, that came up with the idea to build personal METAR maps.

This was a great project to teach and reinforce many different skills. Everything from woodworking, bonding, soldering, and programming had to be pulled from our tool kits. Each one of our chapter members who participated brought something to the table to help with the project and the best part is everyone was able to make a map that was customized for them.

The project leveraged source code from Philip Rueker, which can be readily found on GitHub. Each participant sourced the miscellaneous parts and a map that was special to them. To help along the journey, the chapter created a set of instructions that would look familiar to any modern kit builder. Not only did this help with working through some of the trickier steps of the project, but it also helped some folks see what it may be like to build their own kit aircraft one day.

This is a project that can be completed for less than $100 and in three or four hours. Everything can be sourced from major online retail sites and delivered to your front door in a day or two. But if your EAA chapter is anything like ours, someone has a stash of paper maps, there are a few Stratux boxes gathering dust, and someone has a pile of scrap wood for the shadowbox frame.

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