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Grant’s Zigolo Build Program

Grant’s Zigolo Build Program

Time for a Zigolo report! Finally after some incredible freight delays 3 Zigolo kits arrived to USA customers. Grant Petty received his first being closer to Italy than our TX and OR customers who had to wait over a long weekend. Grant also added the builder-assist program which normally would mean building in Florida but it is too stinkin hot for that this time of year. And the cost of shipping a finished Zigolo vs the cost of shipping me on a budget airline results in an on-site builder program. This makes a lot of sense and I think it will become more normal than the exception.

The best blog to read (besides mine of course) is Grant’s Zigolo build blog. He adds a lot more interesting background: 

Builder prep means arranging four large build tables and a couple smaller parts tables plus the tools and supplies and most importantly, some music. Next sort out parts by assembly and arrange hardware by size and type. That completed in the first 1/2 day we got on with the assembly. 


Grant managed to recruit some slave labor in the form of grad and ex-students. They helped keep the build going quickly.

In just 3 days we have most of the assemblies assembled and the wing ‘ladder’ framed out.

By day 4 we were ready to cover and managed to get the rudder and vertical stabilizer covered in about 1 hour each. The next day they would be ready for shrinking but the next day Grant would be in Germany so the build program is on hold until his return.

I would say we are all pleased with the progress. We are some 75% done in 4 days. Ribs need to be assembled and installed then the wing can be covered. Maybe 2-3 more days of work for 2 people and this Zigolo is ready for painting!!!! 

Of course it helps that this is my 4th Zigolo build. For those new builders I know it looks like a big challenge to sort out all the parts, where they go, and how they go together. Just get started and remember to take your time and enjoy the build. We pushed pretty hard on Grant’s Zigolo as he wants to fly this summer. That will surly happen. 

I have an idea that a ‘jump-start’ program might be helpful for the Zigolo and the Merlin. For example after the kit arrives to the customer I would show up for 2-3 days and explain how everything is organize and goes together. This action could save the builder dozens of hours of staring at the plans and swearing at the designers…… What do my 12 blog readers think about this idear?

Now it is time to prepare for the big Oshkosh show. This will mark my 37th straight Oshkosh. It is always the same but every year different…. 🙂




  1. The Zigolo sounds perfect

  2. “Hockey or figure skating?”

    @Chip Erwin I didn’t see your daughter playing hockey…just ice skating.


    Desperately waiting for new videos.

  3. I like the sound of the ‘jump-start’ program for the Zigolo and the Merlin would that service be available on the western side of the Atlantic Chip?

    • I did of course mean Eastern side of Atlantic.

      Thanks for letting me discover my mistake Chip 🙂

  4. My 2¢ alert:

    The first 10% and the last 10% if the build seem to be where most builders say #$@! it all and put their kits up for sale. >ANYTHING< that gets builders through this tough time is all bonus.

    MY suggestion is to post MORE BUILDING VIDEOS (I've become so desperate that I've even watched all of the ice skating videos! Pretty pathetic…). Maybe you could video some of that initial set-up and also some of the "gotcha" spots in the build. Final 10% videos would really motivate builders. An unnamed company at KOSH builds a lot of little, yellow planes and has a YouTube channel detailing the building of their single-seat model from start to finish, (mostly), and it does get plenty of views. It's a great reference and motivator for builders that push through even though very few actually finish due to a poorly designed kit IMHO. Am I going to have to come down there and video an entire build for you? Would you force me to do that?!? [snerk, snerk]

    P.S. Rather than e-mail responses to questions from your blog, I believe it would be better for you to post them here. In that way, it shows:
    1) That you are responsive and available to builders
    2) An increase in readership (read as "potential builders")
    3) Allows other readers who may have the same question(s) to see the answer(s)

    • OK, more videos coming. Hockey or figure skating? I do need someone to film while I rivet.
      Thanks for the tip to respond here. I will try it and see if anyone reads these comments. Mostly I am deleting spam.
      The jump-start idea is gaining momentum. I think I will offer it for a test. Who wants to be first?

  5. Hey Chip I think that is an excellent idea. Not just that but maybe consider doing what helicycle does and hold back one important part that you instal as you are doing a check out on the aircraft at the end of the build.

    Hope to see some hks Merlin videos soon.



Chip W. Erwin
South Lakeland Airport
Lakeland, FL

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