EST. May 2000 (AD)


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How to Build Your Own Aircraft

By Savannah Lawless

Are you spending too much time playing carpool mom, hauling your ingrate kids and all their bratty friends around town in a cramped 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan while rich Mrs. Ubenbooben earns accolades from your children when it’s her turn to drive because she chauffeurs them in style in her Land Rover, complete with reclining rear seats and two DVD players? With this weekend project, you can assuage your mom-guilt and show that Mrs. Ubenbooben  a thing or two about carpooling in style even if you can’t afford a maid like she can, or even liposuction.

What you’ll need:

  • Apron
  • Dirty laundry
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener OR dryer sheets
  • Sheet metal (quite a bit)
  • Big hammer
  • Rivets (quite a few)
  • Engine from 1968 VW Beetle
  • Seats from two or three 1972 Vanagons
  • Propeller OR fan blade from breeze box
  • Superglue
  • Fuel gauge, oil pressure gauge, altimeter OR
    • Meat thermometer, old digital clock, tachometer
  • Metal bars to use as wing struts
  • Special aviation wheels and tires rated for takeoff and landing OR
  • A pair of old wheelbarrow wheels
  • Various pieces of hardware
  • Paint
  • Sticky vinyl letters and numbers
  • Fun decals

Put on your apron so you don’t get any grease or paint on your clothes. Throw a load of laundry in the washer, because this is going to take awhile and, being the efficient housewife that you are, you might as well multi-task. Now you’re ready to start crafting your very own airplane!

First, create the fuselage by riveting together pieces of sheet metal and hammering them into a fuselage shape. Do the same for the wings but do not attach them yet.

Next, install the engine inside the nose of the aircraft. Attach a shaft to the alternator pulley and run it out to where the propeller goes. Attach the breeze box fan blade to this.

Run inside and check on the laundry. If it’s finished washing, put it in the dryer and start another load in the washer.

Cut a door in the side of the fuselage, so you and the kids can get in and out. Bolt the seats to the floor of the fuselage. Don’t forget to install seatbelts. Remember: safety first!

Center the wings atop the fuselage, above the door. It’s important that each wing sticks out the same distance from the side of the plane, so you might want to measure. Superglue them in place. Run metal struts from mid-wing to the sides of the fuselage. Bolt or superglue these.

Turn the aircraft upside down. Bolt the wheelbarrow wheels and axles to the bottom. If you want to get fancy, you can cut a hole in the fuselage and install a hydraulic system to raise and lower the landing gear – but this is NOT NECESSARY and NO ONE WILL JUDGE YOU if you choose not to do it.

Head back into the house, remove the laundry from the dryer and fold it. Do not simply throw the clothes into a laundry basket because you know what will happen: despite your good intentions, those clothes will never get folded, and then you’ll beat yourself up for being a bad mom because your kids go to school in wrinkled uniforms, and that will make you hit the bottle too hard one evening, and you’ll wake up in some exotic locale with a tequila sour in one hand and a fresh tattoo of a scorpion on your inner thigh.

Set the airplane right side up. Inside, create an instrument panel. If you can’t find real aircraft instruments, simply run a wire from the meat thermometer to the oil pump to monitor its in-flight temperature. An old digital clock mechanism will look just like an altimeter, and a tachometer will add a nice, if non-functional, touch.

Now you’re ready to paint! Remember, this aircraft is a reflection of your personality, so choose your colors wisely. Neutrals always work well, but a touch of paisley won’t hurt. When the paint has dried (allow 72 hours), let the kids affix fun, funky decals to the outside. And don’t forget to label your new aircraft by applying vinyl stick-on letters and numbers to the tail, so it looks all official-like.

You’ll need about 350 feet of runway for takeoffs and landings. If you can’t use the street in front of your house, get the neighbors together and run an asphalt strip in the easement.

That’s all there is to it! The commute to soccer practice, which used to take 35 minutes, now takes only 10. Of course, you’ll have to practice your grass field landings, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time. And if the kids have the nerve to whine about the fact your plane has no DVD players, well, you can tell them to take their wrinkled laundry and shove it; you’re flying to an exotic locale to pick up a tequila sour, a scorpion tattoo, and a hardbodied young yoga instructor named Ernesto. Top that, Mrs. Ubenbooben.

©2012 Elizabeth Hanes


Eschewing formal credentials, Savannah Lawless has built a relationship advice empire based on her extensive real-life experience (including eight marriages to five men and countless failed relationships) coupled with a near-total lack of sobriety.  When she's not sipping martinis on her patio, overseeing the operation of her sprawling New Mexico ranch, or jet-setting, Miss Lawless finds time to author books, including Slap & Tickle: Putting Romance Back into Your Relationship.  Her newest book, forthcoming in Fall, 2002, from Intentional House, is tentatively titled For Love of Money: My Most Lucrative Divorces - How You Too Can Cash In when His Love Cashes Out.

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