The Genesis of the Project Police

Jim Piavis

Originally published April 1992

(Note to our web viewers and ersatz historians: the following appeared as "From the Prez..." in the EAA Chapter 1000 newsletter. This was the first official mention, and therefore the charter document, of the Project Police.)

It's six-thirty in the evening. The sun is still up and you figured you'd get a couple of hours work done on your project. The temperature is just about right and you raise the garage door to let in some fresh air. Kids in the neighborhood are done with dinner and are running amok and unrestrained in the street. You've just started work on a small right-hand feinberger valve support bracket. Suddenly, the sound of screeching tires, the smell of oil laden exhaust, kids diving for the bushes. You look up from your intensive task. A large, dark car pulls up to your house. They're in your driveway. But who, and why you? What were they there for? What do they want? Then you realize the cold hard facts. You've been the target for a hit by the Project Police!

They strike at a moment's notice (usually less) and their presence is hard to miss. "Just the facts" is what they're there for. "What's this for? What's that for? This doesn't look right. When's it going to fly?" These are just some of the questions that the Project Police ask. A visit by the IG would have been more pleasant. They poke around your airplane looking at all the new fabrication since their last visit (or intrusion if you will).

Their identities have not been divulged but their purpose is to keep the project moving along while keeping the quality up. With the number of homebuilts flying today, builders cannot afford to jeopardize the reputation of quality that homebuilders have achieved. Looking at the homebuilts at the Sun 'N Fun fly-in at Lakeland, most are built with quality in mind. However, there are the rare few that fly by pure magic. You have to wonder if the pilots fly these aircraft in with bags over their heads. Several pilots should have worn two (in case one fell off).

Next time you're working on your project and something doesn't look quite right, it probably isn't. Take the time to remake the part and in the long run your project will look and fly much better.

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Revised -- 22 February 1997