This is just a general topic post trying to find out what interesting non-firearms-related hobbies or skills our members are adding to their bag of tricks. This year, I've decided to get my private pilot's license and start working on building my own airplane, a Molt Taylor (of AeroCar fame) Mini-IMP. I’m learning how to work with aluminum and composites, which are the two materials used in the airframe I’m working on. It’s a lot of fun and it’s interesting to my children and I, even if my wife is less enthusiastic about it. The aircraft I’m building is a complex aircraft according to the FAA, although it’s rather simplistic. It’s a single seat airplane with folding (pinned) wings. It’s a pusher (engine is mounted behind the pilot), rather than the far more common tractor, so it’s somewhat unique in that regard. The EFIS, variable pitch propeller, and retractable landing gear are criteria that define it as a complex aircraft. So, I’m flying in the flight school’s Cessna 172RG aircraft (no EFIS, but retractable landing gear and variable pitch propeller). I’ve decided to use a neighborhood sheet metal fabrication shop to laser cut the parts, mostly 2024 and 6061 aluminum. Their sheet metal fabrication machinery is far more sophisticated than anything I could ever afford, so it only made sense to use their services instead of tracing patterns and using snips to cut the parts. That saved quite a bit of time and the tolerances their machines are capable of are quite exacting. I found a flight school and instructor I work well with, only a few minutes from where my kids go to school at, so I’ve decided that now is the time to get certified to fly. It’s been quite a learning experience, to say the least. You have to steer the aircraft with your feet while taxiing, properly adjust the throttle / mixture control / carburetor heat, keep an eye out for traffic, learn various navigation techniques, and work with ATC (KDWH has a tower and is a little busy at times). I always thought aircraft were ridiculously loud and reeked of kerosene, a product of my only previous experience around aircraft as an enlisted man in a Navy EA-6B squadron. I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet and odor-free general aviation aircraft are. I wonder no more about why our pilots were always drenched in sweat and exhausted after a mission. It's hot in the cockpit of an aircraft, especially here in Texas. You do get pushed around by turbulence and thermals a bit more than what I've experienced aboard passenger aircraft. I’ve had to teach myself to ride it out, rather than trying to fight it and over-control the aircraft. So, that's what I've been up to. What are y'all working on?