General Information / Getting Started
This section details the various things I did prior to actually
starting work on the RV-7, as well as general events which occur
during the construction. Think of this section as a "catch-all"
for stuff that doesn't go into any specific construction category.
The style of this log reads much like a diary. Many people just log
their time as little more than a simple line-per-day entry on a
ledger with the time spent. I write more because I like it, and many
folks have asked if this level of detail is required. No, it is not!
This is simply my preference. I can enter the text on my computer and
since I'm a "professional typist" (in other words, I'm a software
geek who types all day) I can make these entries, even with all the
detail, in just a few short minutes.
|Velocity Assembly Class
||June 1, 2001
I attended a Velocity assembly
class at the Alexander SportAir facility in Griffin, GA which ran from
June 1 through June 3. It was
taught by Travis and Brendan from the
Velocity factory. I was
very pleased with the class, and with the caliber of the
You'll likely wonder why a Velocity class shows up in this building
log, and I'll explain. I have been drawn to RVs for years, but did
not want to make a decision without any real evaluation of other
options. I like the Velocity, a lot, and even thought I would
do fine with the composite construction techniques (though, I have
to admit, the sanding is daunting).
In the end my evaluation of my flying needs (and pocketbook) seemed
to indicate that the RV was the better choice. It has a wider speed
range, doesn't have any of the negatives that come with a rear mounted
engine/prop, and the premium that I would have paid for the two extra
seats in the Velocity didn't seem worth it given that in my Cherokee
I usually flew only myself, or myself and one other person. If
I need to haul more I'll just rent the C-182 and be done with it (unless,
of course, I later build one of the four-seat RVs which is coming down
'Nuf said. The Velocity is a great airplane, just not the one
for me right now.
|RV-7A Preview Plans
||June 25, 2001
I ordered, and received, a set of
the RV-7A Preview Plans and started to read. It is both daunting
and encouraging to read the plans. Daunting because it helps to
drive home how much there is to do in building the plane.
Encouraging because while there is a lot there, it all looks as
if it is actually possible.
||July 7, 2001
This bit of effort was spend preparing my garage
to be an airplane construction shop. Over the span of a few weeks I
built two of the
Chapter 1000 Standardized Work Tables. These are great tables,
easy to build, and sturdy. I also put up another shop light in the
garage (but think I'll need another before I start to build), and
picked up a bench grinder and drill press from
|Joined EAA Chapter 1114
||July 21, 2001
I have long been a member of the national EAA organization, but
only just joined the local chapter. Chapter 1114 meets at Cox
Field in Apex, NC. This private field has a wonderful collection
of aircraft on the field, and the people I have met have been
tremendously friendly and welcoming.
Better yet, we do have an EAA Technical Counselor in the chapter.
I contacted (though have not yet met) Thomas Rudisill via e-mail
and introduced myself. He was very enthusiastic and encouraging,
and immediately offered to come lend a hand getting me started as
soon as my empennage kit arrived. This was a very welcome response,
and I was greatly encouraged by his enthusiasm.
|Demo Flight in RV-7
||August 17, 2001
I was on a business trip to California
and decided to take a side-trip to Portland. I stayed with
friends and, on Friday, took a drive down to a little airport
near Aurora, OR. I got the factory tour from Tom Green, and it
was great to see the piles of airplane parts on the shelves and
to watch the computer controlled machines turning out new parts.
The highlight of the visit, of course, were the planes. I sat in
an RV-9A just to see how it fit, and then got my shot at a flight
in the RV-7 (N137RV) with Scott Risan. Scott was great to fly with,
and gave me a super overview of what the RV-7 was like. The flight
was over, of course, all too soon. :)
Visiting friends was part of the trip as well. I was able
to visit an old friend and we had a fantastic
day wandering around Portland. To the right is a thumbnail which shows
us standing in front of a fountain in downtown Portland. Two women
had been sitting by the fountain and, as we walked up, asked us to
take their picture. In return for that favor we asked them to take
ours as well. Click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized
|Ordered Empennage Kit and Tools
||August 29, 2001
Thats right, I ordered them. Today. This is the first bit step down
the road, and I'm very nervous about what I'm getting myself into!
I'm excited as well, as I have dreamed of this literally for years.
Before now all the tools I have
purchased had multiple uses. Drill presses are handy gadgets all
'round, and more lights and benches in the garage are useful no
matter what. However, there is damned little use for a rivet gun
for anything other than riveting, and therefore this step
feels like the first really big step.
Part of what pushed me over the edge and had me do it now
rather than a few weeks from now was the sale Avery was having on
their pneumatic rivet squeezer. Many folks claim this is a
real work saver, and since I'm lazy I am all in favor of saving
on work. I had them keep the manual squeezer, and with the pneumatic
included in their "RV Tool Kit" the price for the whole
kit went up only about $200. Quite a deal given some folks have
spent as much as $500 on a pneumatic squeezer (and still have felt
it was worth the price!).
Gotta get that compressor now, though. :) A rivet gun is not very
exciting when all you can do is pull the trigger and make riveting
noises with your mouth.
|Empennage Kit and Tools Shipped
||September 4, 2001
Both shipped out on the same day. The kit from Oregon, and the tools
from Texas. Everything was shipped except for the pneumatic squeezer
(which is on backorder, and then was shipped just a few days later)
on September 4. According to the UPS tracking web site they should
arrive on Friday, September 7. (The squeezer will be right behind
them on Monday, the 10th.)
I'm going to try and get some riveting
practice in prior to the arrival of the empennage kit ... but need
to find some rivets beforehand if I expect to do that! Maybe
I need to call Aircraft Spruce
and get a few. Having a few extra rivets couldn't hurt anyway, could
||September 6, 2001
I'm picking up the compressor tonight. It got a 5hp, 26gal, oil-lubed
Husky from Home Depot. After lots of worry about whether I should get
a bigger unit (7hp, 60gal, 220volt, two-stage) I got advice from the tech
counselor (and the archives of the RV-list) and easily decided that
the $1000 difference in price was not worth it. That is money
better spent elsewhere.
|Terrorist Attack on WTC
||September 11, 2001
I don't know why I'm putting an entry in my logbook for the terrorist
attack on New York and Washington. It has had a profound impact on me,
even though I personally lost nobody in the attack. Still, I
find myself deeply saddened by the events. At the same time there is
talk about the possibility that VFR flight might never resume, and
that makes me wonder if my working on the plane will ever be rewarded
with flight. I have a deep-seated belief that we will not let essential
freedoms be taken away, because that is what this country is all about.
So I continue to work having faith I will be able to fly. I also work
to keep busy, as I think about those who have died.
|Started Empennage Construction
||September 13, 2001
This is the start of the "long march" of building. First rivets
will be driven and first assemblies put together. I'm anxious and excited
all at the same time. There is so much to learn, it is daunting, but I'll
look for the help I need and I'll figure it all out. It seems to me that
the trick is to simply not quit ... and eventually an airplane will
magically appear. We'll see. :) To get an overview of the whole
Empennage Construction click on the
highlighted link. To read about my
Horizontal Stab building experience just
click on that link.
|Built Clothespins and Dimpling Table
||December 2, 2001
Today I spent some time building clothespins ... and hated the plywood
version. I read in the RVator about using 1/4 inch rod and foam pipe
insulation, but wasn't happy with that either. What I ended up doing
was using 1/2 inch PVC pipe with the foam insulation and it worked
GREAT. The PVC forms to the shape of the surface nicely, has 1/4 inch
threaded rod at the top and bottom so you can tighten them well, and
are easy/cheap to build.
I also built my dimple/back-rivet/bending table.
I had no good large flat surface upon which to put the C-frame dimpler
so I opted to build one. That, too, got finished last night and looks
great. The only thing left is to get some carpet scrap to carpet a few
2x4s to use as padded risers for the skins to slide on.
I'm very pleased with the results of both of these activities, and will
include pix here when they are available.
|Ordered the Wings
||February 25, 2002
Yesterday the family and I made the decision to order the wings. Given that
we are not rich (how is that for an understatement) we are doing
the pay-as-you-go routine. In general, bonus money from work and other
non-salary sources of income are paying for the airplane, and I just got
my (fervently hoped for) mid-fiscal-year bonus. It wasn't enough to pay
for the wings alone ... but with other bits-and-pieces of accumulated
money, we can get the wings. Today I faxed in my order and we will
start the wings on the way. The only annoying thing is that the lead
time on the wings had gone up from 8 weeks to 12!!
I saw the empennage as a "toe in the water" and a way to
decide if this building-an-airplane thing was really for me.
Committing to the wings is more like diving on in. I can almost justify a
$1300 trial to see if I like something, but once we make the leap to
spending $5K on airplane parts, we are in this for real. (We'll ignore
the amazing amount of money spent on tools.)
As a (somewhat strange) former co-worker was fond of saying .... "Onward
and Upward" :)
||April 15, 2002
Last week I went to my first Sun-N-Fun, and it was fantastic. We (Theresa,
Marilyn, and myself) arrived around 5:30 on Saturday and checked into our
campsite. (We started to set up in a clear space, just to find that some
campsite-pigs had appropriated it even though they were not going to USE
it in any way. The staffers agreed they were being pigs, but also pointed
us to what I thought was a better location anyway. That was the ONLY negative
experience of the whole week.) We set up camp in Camp Cowchip (our name,
given it was normally a cow pasture ... see picture) and promptly collapsed.
It had been a very long day, even if the drive down was totally uneventful.
The week was great. Airplanes everywhere, vendors (some of which had long
ago gotten buckets of our money) were there, and there was a non-stop parade
of aircraft in the air. We would wake up to the sound of engines, and watch
the evening light die to the sound of engines. We walked til we dropped, and
then walked some more. We watch air shows, took in forums and workshops, saw
the museum, visited Paradise City, and generally figured out the lay of the
land. This first year was a "training session" for us .... and next
year we will better know what to expect, what to take, and what to do.
We left early, bugging out Wednesday night after having done everything we
had on our "must do" list. Stopping in Brunswick for the night, we
finished the drive home on Thursday. Our original departure had been planned
for Thursday morning, but this allowed us to miss the rain that was clearly
on the way ... and saved a soggy packing experience. It also let us break
up the drive a little more and saved wear-and-tear on the crew.
We already intend to go back next year, no question. There are thoughts that
we might even volunteer, but decisions have not been made on that front yet.
After talking to a handful of volunteers, it sounds like a great thing to do
and we are giving it serious consideration. What a great experience!
|Wings on the Way!
||May 14, 2002
I just got a call today from ABF Freight saying that my wings would
be delivered on Tuesday, May 21. My shipping number is 145881317 and
the freight bill will be a (very reasonable) $258.61 as delivered to
my house. Woo hoo! Exciting. :)
||May 21, 2002
As promised, ABF delivered the wing kit today in two fairly hefty
boxes. There was little damage to the outside of the boxes and none
to the sheeting which makes up the box sides themselves. I have to
make some room in the garage before I can uncrate the stuff, though!
Life/work has been too busy for me to take care of that yet, so I
am left with two big boxes on the floor until I get a few shelves put
up later today!
|RV Stick Time / Visiting Van's
||May 31, 2002
I was able to leverage a business trip to Seattle so that I could
(finally) go down to Portland to fly with Mike Seager. Friends
in Portland were amazingly kind and let me stay in their
guest room for three days while I visited. I had a great time and
they were wonderful hosts!
My goal was
to get some taildragger stick time to get a sense of whether I would
enjoy building/owning/flying a tailwheel machine, or not. I spent
1.5 hours with Mike, and made 5 landings. They weren't pretty, but
they were acceptable .... and that being said, I'm glad I had Mike
on the controls beside me. :)
The upshot of the deal is that Mike was sure I would easily transition
to a taildragger. He felt that with just a couple of days of instruction
he would be able to sign me off. That was comforting news.
As a side-note, it was a beautiful day to fly. We took off from Vernonia
Municipal, and headed east. From about 3500 feet we were able to see
Mount St Helens (55sm), Mount Hood (82sm), Mount Adams (87sm), and Mount
Ranier (105sm)! There was a little bit of haze (by PNW standards) so we
could not quite see Mount Jefferson down to the south. :)
When I finished with Mike (and after asking about 3 different ways whether
me going the tailwheel route would be reasonable ... and getting a
"yes" each time) I headed down to the factory. Since I was in
the area, it seemed a reasonable thing to do. Also, I wanted to get the
story from the factory on the RV-7 rudder/spin issue.
The deal on the rudder is that all RV-7 builders will have a new rudder
kit shipped to them free of charge. They are going to send them to the
"most needy" first, meaning that those who have received their
finish kits are at the top of the list, and those who have only gotten
their empennage kits are at the bottom. There is no need to get on any
list (yet, at least) as everyone will be sent rudders. (I still intend
to see what is said in the next RVAtor.) Clearly, I don't need to work
on my existing rudder right now after all. Time for elevators! :)
I also asked about lead times on RV-7 quickbuild fuselages and was told
they were running 7 to 9 months. Since it is going to take me a year to
build the wings, if I order the fuse in August (the "gods of year end
bonuses" willing) the timing will be just about right. Also, it seems
well worth the money.
Finally, I talked to the guy at the factory (name not caught) about
tailwheel vs. nosewheel. He is building a -7A (nosewheel) and his
reasons were that ground handling is easier, insurance is cheaper, and
the market for resale would be a larger pilot population. I think he
has some good points, and I'm back on the fence. Mind you, I need to
decide by August or September if I order the quickbuild!
NOTE: While the bonus came through no problem, I hit a spell of slow
building and time lost to upgrading the garage (see below) therefore
ordering the fuse in August or September just didn't make sense. In fact,
the lead times pulled in on the quick-builds so that has been all the more
reason to not order. I write this in March of 2003, and think it might be
THIS August before I order the fuselage! Then again, my pace of
construction has gone way up lately and that time estimate might be
drawing in over the next month or so. Time will tell
All in all, it was a great trip. I would HIGHLY recommend flying with
Mike for transition training, as flying with him was a tremendously
||July 29, 2002
Christopher and I just got back from Oshkosh, and what a trip we had!
This was my/our first chance to experience Oshkosh, and we had a great
time. We got to experience three days of the show, Thursday, Friday,
We flew up to Chicago on Wednesday, and planned to drive from there
to Oshkosh. As luck would have it a co-worker had booked some of the
dorm rooms, but didn't need then after all and let us have them. The
nights he had were Thursday through Saturday, so we had to do something
else for Wednesday night. The decision was made to bum around Chicago
Wednesday afternoon and then catch a hotel about halfway to Oshkosh
that evening. Oh ... and while I had reserved a compact car from
Hertz, they were out of compacts when we got there so we got a Volvo
instead! It was a leather-seat, full-electric-everything, sun-roof,
and GPS equipped Volvo too. A very nice vehicle.
In Chicago we first went to the Chicago Art Institute, and what a
fantastic museum they have there! I have visited it before, but it
was well worth a second look. Then, just to say we had done it, we
went up to the Skydeck at the Sears Tower. It was a rather overpriced
experience, but it was interesting.
We stayed at a Days Inn in Milwaukee and headed up to Oshkosh early the
next morning. We got there, saw the field full of airplanes and campers,
then checked to make sure our dorm room was going to be there as we
had hoped. With that checked out, we headed out to the show.
What can I say about the show that hasn't already been said by others?
Very little, I suspect. It was fantastic, and Christopher and I had a
great time. We walked until our feet killed us, and then walked some
more. We tried to see everything, but feel sure we didn't quite succeed. :)
Sunday morning we headed for home, and had reasonably acceptable flights
home. There were some delays, but in the end we landed in Raleigh pretty
much on time. Can't complain about that, really. There is no question,
of course, that I would go again, and no question about taking Chris
again as well. It was fun!
||October 17, 2002
I have been wondering if there were some N-number I might want to
reserve, and the only one available is one that used to belong to
our 1967 Cherokee 180. We sold it to a pair of brothers in VA and
within a month or so we got bad news from them. A tornado had come
through the airport, ripped the plane up from its tiedowns, and
tossed it across the ramp. It landed upside down and was totaled.
The loss of the airplane caused it to be deregistered and the N-number
to become available again. That number has sat there for about 10
years now, and given that situation was unlikely to vanish suddenly
over the next few years. However, on the off chance I might want to
reclaim that number, I reserved it. I now own N4932L again!
this little link right here to see
my registration details. :)
||October 16, 2002
Along with other things getting in the way of working on the plane, I have
changed jobs. More correctly, I have switched groups within my company but
this has been much like a total job change. I had to interview, they had
to find an open requisition for a body, I had to give notice to my boss,
and we had to work out a transition plan. The transition has not gone well
mainly due to some difficulties from my boss in the old group. With all
of the job change activities (interviewing, travel to the west coast, etc.)
the stress has caused me to not get out into the garage and work on the plane
for about a month. There were some activities around the house which caused
some delay too (painting, mainly) so once you add it all up, I have lost a
bit more than a month. That being said, I'm back to working now ... and
intend to make good progress.
||November 21, 2002
Well, pictures should show up more rapidly on the web site now that I have
acquired a new digital camera. It was long enough coming me deciding to
get one! I got a little Nikon Coolpix 2000. It is an amazing little package
with a lot of capability for under $200. The major thing I wanted (along
with your usual snapshot capability) was to have a macro capability so I
could take extreme close-up pictures of assemblies. The 2000 has that and
a lot more. To show the macro capability I took a picture of my van key
held out a few inches in front of the camera. No extra lighting was used
except ambient and the flash. Click on the thumbnail here and see what I
mean! I think I'm gonna like this new toy. :)
||December 7, 2002
Before starting on the bulk of the work on the wings (mainly along with
needing to put up the wing construction supports) I wanted to do some
upgrades of the shop. First, I wanted another pair of benches that I
could arrange side-by-side to get a full 10-foot bench length on which
to work. These were built in one day with a lot of help from my son
Chris. Hopefully I'll get the new electrical circuits installed next
weekend and the wing construction supports done shortly thereafter. I
want to have everything ready for a lot of wing-work over the Christmas
||December 23, 2002
This activity actually ran from December 23, 2002 through January 5, 2003.
After the benches came some new wiring. This has taken a long time due
to holiday activities intruding and needing to get help from friends who
have more electrical experience than I have! Still, it is about done now
though my work on this is not "on schedule". It'll be nice to
have the new circuits and lights in place, though. My goal is to get the
bulk of the work finished up in the next day or so (this is my last day
of "real work" before the holiday break) and then I'll get on
with the wings. I've already started some prep on the ribs, but need to
finish them up ASAP.
Along the way we constructed a "tool cart" on which the bench
grinder, the belt sander, and the bench top bandsaw are mounted. It is on
casters and is parked in a niche at the end of the benches. We had to make
room for an additional fridge as we seriously needed one for our large
household. All of these new things (new benches, new fridge, etc.) displaced
stuff which had to go somewhere. The work just added up and time vanished.
The work on the garage has taken a LOT more time than I expected. I also
have had many more holiday interruptions as well. Suffice it to say that
my whole holiday break was consumed by "infrastructure upgrades"
and virtually no airplane work. On the other hand .... I love having
more light! A single flip of a single switch now brings on a total of seven
overhead fluorescent lights. All the dark corners are bright for a change!
The reorganized space is fantastic too. I've gotten the long parts (like
those mondo-long aluminum angle pieces that come in the wing box) hung on
the wall with ladder hangers.
Another interruption in the whole process was the acquisition of a new table
saw. I've been promising myself one for years, and the family finally
talked me into it. I got one of the new Jet Supersaw's, and am quite pleased
with it. Of course ... we had to find space for it too, not to mention the
time it took to assemble. :)
||April 1, 2003
We headed down to Sun-N-Fun again this year. It was a more eventful trip
than we anticipated! The picture to the right is our campsite, Camp Palm
Terrace. If you are curious about our 2003 visit to Sun-N-Fun, feel free
to take a look at the sidebar web page which
gives all the details (and a few more pictures, too!).
|Ordered the QB Fuselage
||May 1, 2003
Last week the family and I decided that it was time to order the fuselage.
I've had bonus money sitting in the checking account waiting for the right
time to order, and that time has finally come. It has been comforting knowing
that the money for the fuselage was sitting there for when I was ready to
order! Take a look at the Fuselage Builders Log
Page for more details.
||August 5, 2003
At the last minute I decided to go up to Oshkosh for a few days. We worked
out packing a tent in the largest suitcase we had (along with all the other
stuff needed for a trip) and I headed out. Oshkosh itself was great! The
trip, however, was one of those "challenging" ones.
Travel via the airlines is not exactly fun these days, and this trip was no
exception. I made a scheduling mistake (which I was able to rectify) but from
there things continued to be frustrating. It seems that the mis-scheduling
set the tone of the trip. The trip home was frustrating too! The self
check-in machines could not find my flight. We had gate changes. We had
departure delays. And at my connecting flight the incoming aircraft was
delayed for about 1.5 hours. Eventually, though, I made it home ... and
my luggage didn't get lost. I will confess that even though these flights
were somewhat frustrating, I have definitely endured worse at the
hands of our National Air Transportation System!
I set up camp at Oshkosh after a tremendous t'storm rolled through. It was
still raining lightly and lightning and thunder could be seen/heard in the
(not so far away) distance as a fellow camper helped me get things set up.
I wandered the site a bit, and that night the t'storms continued eventually
revealing the fact that my rain fly wasn't completely water tight. I
only got a little water in the tent, but it sure made me paranoid that I'd
be flooded out! :)
I walked my feet off, and saw as much as I could. I really only had two full
days there so we all know that means some real picking and choosing of what
to see (and what to miss) had to be done. All in all I feel like I was able
to get enough seen/done to make the trip worth it though.
Soon I'll get some pictures uploaded to the site. Watch for them if you are
at all curious or interested.
|Technical Counselor Inspection
||October 2, 2003
Tonight I had Tom Rudisill come by and take a look at my progress. Partially
I wanted him to look at some of the rib-to-spar riveting to insure it was
adequate. I got a thumbs up from Tom, and was surprisingly relieved! I had
not thought I was that worried about possible problems ... but once I had
him scheduled to come by my imagination started up and I thought of a whole
host of possible problems that would have me completely reworking the wing!
|Fuselage Ready to Ship!
||November 7, 2003
I just got a call from Van's (2 months early!) saying that my fuselage
is ready to ship! What the heck am I gonna do! I still have my
wings in their stands! *shesh*
|Helped Pete bring N19007 Home
||November 16, 2003
My friend (and fellow Cisco employee) Pete Beal has been struggling to find
just the right plane to buy ever since we met. The long search finished just
recently and today I helped him bring his new plane home. Pete found an
absolutely beautiful RV-4 in Rock Hill, SC and made the extremely wise (and
brave, and foolish!) decision to buy it! Good move, in my opinion. This plane
is a superbly built example of the type and Pete is going to get many years
(and much adventure) from acquiring this beauty. You can
see more pictures here if you are interested.
Pete, myself, and Tom Rudisill met out at the Wings of Carolina Flying Club
"shack" around 1:00 on Sunday. Tom is an extremely experienced
RV pilot, EAA technical adviser, and EAA flight adviser. I can't imagine a
better choice of pilot for bringing home a new RV-4 when the new owner is
not yet checked out in the aircraft. The weather was less than perfect
but good enough to make the trip. We launched a little late and fought a
nasty headwind (and bumps that made me think of middle-of-summer flying).
We got down to Rock Hill, did the deal, and loaded up the Warrior with
all the "extra stuff" that came with N19007. (Yes, I was to play
"freight dog" on the return flight.)
Tom and Pete took off first, with me launching right after. They did a pass
over the airport to say goodbye to the previous owner and then passed me on
the right moving out quite briskly. While I had moments of seeing 130KT on
the GPS (that nasty headwind now turned into a friendly tailwind) they were
seeing more like 175KT on theirs! Suffice it to say that when I got into TTA
they were already tied down and had folks coming over to look at the new
||November 24, 2003
We picked up the fuselage today from the ABF freight terminal. The crate
made it home and into the shop with no problems at all. In fact, it went
easier than I would have ever hoped! Wow. To see more about the pickup
of the fuselage take a look at the Fuselage section of the logbook.
||April 12, 2004
We headed down to Sun-N-Fun again this year, this time with the kids. We
avoided visiting the local hospital, and in general had a great visit to
Florida. We stayed at Camp Palm Terrace once again, with this year's
picture shown to the right of this entry. If you want to see more details
take a look at the detailed Sun-N-Fun
|Extra Storage Space Acquired
||December 7, 2004
I have been grumbling about what I was going to do for storage space once
the finishing kit arrived, and finally broke down and got some space at a
self-store facility. I wanted something close so I could easily run down
and get parts when I needed them, and found a good choice only a few miles
from our house. (I had thought about storing the kit at a friend's hanger
but due to the distance to the airport and various other issues, I decided
to just get my own storage space.)
My plan is to put some shelves in the space and inventory the finishing kit
there. I can then pull batches of parts out as I go forward, and I also now
have space for all those things I didn't want to keep in the garage with
the project as well (like 3 bikes, etc.). Also, once I get the wings fitted
to the fuselage I can store them out of the way in this facility too. This
might end up being overkill but I'm happy with this decision.
Update (1/9/2005) : I purchased a pair of 6' high, 4' wide, 18" deep shelves
and installed them in the storage building. They were on sale and are the
heavy-duty wire-style shelving. Eventually they'll migrate to the hanger,
so I thought that going ahead and buying some fairly good shelves
(particularly for a good price) sounded good. You can see the new shelves
in the picture included here.
|Finishing Kit Arrived!
||March 4, 2004
This is an amazing day. My finishing kit arrived. This is the last of the
major sub-kits from Van's, and that milestone is thrilling. When the day
came for my empennage kit to show up ... it was hard to picture this day
ever happening down the road. There was so many steps to be taken before
a finishing kit could be part of my reality I just couldn't see that far
forward. Head over to the Finishing Section
to see more.
||April 4, 2005
This is our fourth Sun-N-Fun, and it was another great week of airplanes.
Once again Theresa and I went down with the kids. Once again we camped out
in the "overflow camping" area. We like it back there. :)
As usual I walked until my feet hurt. Highlights this year for me had more
to do with Fantasy of Flight than anything else. We got to finally work in
the Restoration Tour at FOF, and it was fascinating. I also got talked into
doing the Stearman ride ... where you supposedly got 30 minutes of hands-on
flying of the Stearman. Well, I was unsure how much you would really get to
handle the plane .. and I was VERY pleasantly surprised. I took the controls
at 600 feet (after doing all the taxiing, and the run-up) on takeoff. Aside
from one or two things that Rob wanted to demo, I flew the plane.
We did shallow turns, then steep turns, lazy-eights, partial-power stalls,
and power-off stalls. At my request I got to slow flight it for a while as
well. Once done I flew back to Fantasy of Flight and, directed by Rob, flew
the pattern. He finally took control at just under treetop height and once
we landed turned it back over to me to taxi back. Way cool. :)
I got to meet a number of other RV-folk this year as well. I tend to be the
shy retiring type, so getting out to meet-and-greet is something I have to
work at a bit.
I avoided spending much money on airplane-stuff, but did pick up some odds
and ends. All in all it was a great trip, and we expect to head back again
next year. Maybe by then I'll be well into my finishing kit work! Only time
will tell. :)
|More Shelf Space / Two-Year Push
||May 22, 2005
Today I decided I needed yet more shelf space (after a big shelf rework
a month ago) and created a short-shelf for holding flat skins. Basically
I got two brackets for the shelf system we use, and moved my big piece
of plywood onto them (with a little safety-wire to insure the plywood
didn't tip over off the slightly short brackets). This opened up another
whole regular shelf to put the various finished assemblies I'm creating
onto (and out of harms way).
I also realized two weeks ago that if I can average 10/hours/week there
is a reasonable chance I can finish this in another two years! That may
sound long to you, but it sounds short to me. :) (Also, if you are one
of those builders who is retired ... 10/hours/week may sound like a
piddly amount of time. However my building time has to be carved out of
time for the family, including two teen-agers, a job, spending time on
my EAA chapter, another side-business effort, and working on new ratings.
I figure 10/hours/week is, for me, a LOT of time!) So as of the start of
May 2005 I'm trying to average 10/hours/week .. and we'll see how I do.
||June 4, 2005
I spearheaded getting Bob Nuckolls to bring
Connection Seminar to the EAA 1114 chapter meeting place at Cox Field.
The seminar (even if we had a few SNAFUs along the way) was great. While
it consumed a weekend (a big chunk of building time, in other words) it was
valuable to hear the straight story from Bob in person. Highly recommended!
|Airflow Performance Visit
||June 12, 2005
I'm using my first "building day" in a few weeks to drive down to Airflow
Performance in Spartanburg, SC. (I was going to fly, but the forecast ceiling
was lower than my .. currently pretty high .. personal minimum. Darn it.) I
need to get the fittings on my electric fuel pump adjusted so it will all
go together the way Van's shows in their plans ... and since AFP is only
145NM away, I'm heading down. Not only that, Don Rivera offered the option
for me to come down on a weekend, so I'm meeting him today at 2:00 on a
Sunday afternoon. That is what I call service!
But, no riveting today is the cost of this trip. Oh well.
|Stride Tools Tubing Bender Saga
||September 19, 2005
This post isn't so much about the tool itself, as it is about the experience
I had trying to buy one. The short version of this story can be summed up by
saying do NOT buy from Amazon.com, and DO buy from Stride Tools. Of course the
problem here is that Stride does not sell to individuals, making it not as
simple as it sounds.
I had heard comments from another list-er that buying via Amazon.com was a
problem for him too. I figured a single report of problems is too small a
sample to draw conclusions from, and decided to gamble. However, I add my
voice to his saying that if you want an Stride/Imperial tubing bender do
NOT go to Amazon.com. (Update: Avery tools now sells these benders!)
I wanted a 470-FH bender, and found the best price on Amazon.com. Foolishly
a mere $10 difference caused me to order from them, and it was a disaster.
In the end it seems Stride had ceased their Amazon experiment a while back
and even though my credit card was charged (the day after I ordered, none
the less) .. the order was never received or processed by Stride.
After waiting the absurd amount of time Amazon gave me for shipment I called
Stride and ... after some understandable confusion ... was soon talking to
the directory of corporate marketing and customer relations.
He remembered the Amazon experiment. After I tried to see what Amazon had
to say (I filed a complaint, and got little in the way of useful responses
from Amazon), I asked him to just go find a bender and put it in the mail to
me. It was almost more in the way of a joke than anything else, but surely
seemed as good a plan to me as any.
Well, he did it! The bender arrived today, as promised, and I am thrilled at
the superb customer service I received from Stride. Now I just hope the bender
is as good as I've been assured it is. :)
Maybe there is more to the story than I know. Maybe Stride dropped the ball
with Amazon somewhere along the way. Maybe Stride *did* get my order, and they
screwed up. I don't know, but I do know that when the problem was brought to
the attention of both parties Stride made me happy, and Amazon didn't. That
is the bottom line, from my point of view.
|Ordered (Put a Deposit On) An Engine
||September 22, 2005
I finally identified the correct Airflow Performance choice on the Superior
web site, and placed the order for my engine today. The Superior folks gave
me a call, confirmed that I was serious, and e-mailed me the order form. I
have filled it out, and only have to write a deposit check ($1000, which
is refundable if I bail out) and send it to them to lock in my order. This
will also lock in my build class date ... as I am intending to build it
myself. (Look in the Engine section to see more information.)
||April 2, 2006
Theresa and I went solo this year ... and had a great trip down to
Sun-N-Fun. We missed having the kids there, but felt it was a good
opportunity to get away just us two. I'm glad we did as it really was
a special time we got to spend together. We were in a new campsite
that turned out to be a great choice. You can
read about the trip more if you wish.
|Engine Build School
||November 6, 2006
I headed down to Dallas to build my engine, and had a great experience
at Superior. Evan Yearsley is a fantastic instructor, and kept the class
fun even when we were having to hussle to get work completed. See my
XP-360 Build School
section of my logbook for details and more pictures.
|Engine Lift and Stand
||November 19, 2006
I decided I needed an engine lift and engine stand to handle the newly
built engine when it comes in. I could have probably borrowed a lift,
but the price at Northern Tool was such that having it full-time seemed
reasonable to me. I went ahead and put the lift together wanting to
have that done to handle the engine when it shows up. The stand I'll
put together later ... and will likely mount a "plywood firewall" so
I can fiddle around with the placement of stuff on the firewall before
I ever drill hole one in the real stainless steel firewall.
||November 21, 2006
I just got a call from Dena at Superior, and my engine finished its run-in
with flying colors today! It'll ship out tomorrow, and should be here by
Monday mid-day. Wow. This is MUCH faster than I expected. Maybe it was a
good thing I went ahead and got my engine lift last week after all!
|Kitchen Remodel / Airplane Work Stoppage
||February 24, 2007
So ... why have I not been working? Look at the picture above (when I
get it uploaded, that is) and you'll see why. We are renovating our
kitchen and my shop is filled with new kitchen cabinets. All the
airplane stuff has been shoved to one side, and the only way I could
work is if I pulled stuff out into the driveway. I'd do that, but every
possible work-day it has been way too cold. *grumble* On the other
hand, we are going to -love- the new kitchen. :)
||April 24, 2007
Once again we made the trip to SnF. This year it was myself, Theresa,
and our daughter Kat. It was an almost perfect week weather-wise, even
if the weather on the drive down was -tough-. We had lots of wind and
rain until into GA, then the rain backed off and we were left only with
howling gusting wind. Not fun in a SUV (Chevy TrailBlazer).
Since we drove down early (again) we had Monday to do non-SnF stuff,
and this year we headed to the Kennedy Space Center. I honestly expected
to be disappointed, but was anything but disappointed. Theresa was the
one who really wanted to go, and she picked the "Up Close" tour. WOW!
It was pricy ($70/each!!) but ... I hate to say this ... was worth every
penny. Go look at the KSC website for details, but it really was a great
2 hours of touring the facility.
This year I went without much of an agenda. I just wanted to be there
and have a week of non-stop airplane stuff (which beats the hell out of
being at work). I talked to the EFIS folks again, and came away with the
same impression of the one *I* want to use all over again. We walked
through lots and lots of airplanes, attended one (slightly disappointing)
forum, did the night airshow, and spent a little (lot, actually) of money.
I swear the food on-field was worse this year. But, then again, we did
not eat on-field that much. Thankfully. We had a great spot again this
year, going back to the same area we had last year. It is the back of
the "north pasture", and after about mid-afternoon has shade from the
treeline west of us. Fantastic. The only gripe is that for the first
time ever we didn't have any toilets -near- us. We had to hike more than
All in all it was another great week in Florida. I know many complain
about SnF being so commercial these days, and that there are too many
factory-built folks crowding the vendor area, and the prices are too
high, and the food too poor, and that there isn't enough in the way of
grass roots homebuilder focus any more. All true. But I go to have me a
week of being totally surrounded by aviation and pick and choose what
I do and don't focus on. In that way I tailor the week to my tastes and
always have a good time. I'll be going back, I'm sure.
The only -real- disappointment is that the kitchen work STILL was not
done when we got back. We have maybe another week to go and then ...
finally ... my shop will be all mine again. *sigh*
|Tailwheel Time Builder
||May 18, 2007
I've been fairly silent about this because I was unsure whether it would
work out or not ... and even now things are still "in the works". But, it
looks firmed up enough that I think I can share the fact that I've bought
a share in a Citabria. It was being sold by a friend, is a perfect fit for
what I want/need to do, and I have a situation where a 3 way partnership
can be worked out.
The picture you see is one sent to me -months- ago when I heard plane this
might be up for sale. And ... this logbook entry can't possibly convey how
thrilled I am that this has worked out.
An interesting coincidence is that this day, the day I handed the earnest
money check to the seller, is also my daughter's 16th birthday. That sure
will make it easy to remember the anniversary, even if I -didn't- have
this log entry. :)
UPDATE: We have successfully finished the purchase of this plane, and I'm
already building time in it. It is proving to have been a -perfect- choice
(for me, at least), and my partners and I are excited about our new
aquisition. Initially we were keeping it at Lake Ridge Aero (8NC8)
but have managed to find a hangar at TTA (for now, it may not be long-term).
Sanford/Lee County - KTTA
If a long-term hangar never becomes available at TTA .. I don't know -what-
we are going to do. I know
we'll figure it out (click on the link to see how it got figured out).
|Kat Gets a Ride
||May 28, 2007
My daughter had been wanting a ride in an RV-7 for a while, and today
she got it. I asked a dear friend Denny Mercer to take her up and he
(being the generous guy he is) was more than happy to do so. Now she
has a much better idea of what it is I'm building!
Denny's RV is -very- close to what I'm building. It is a 180HP RV-7
with a constant-speed prop. The differences are in mine are that I am
building a tip-up canopy, and I am going with fuel injection. Other
than that, they are essentially the same airplanes.
|Rav/4 Comes Home
||December 11, 2007
I took Theresa up to Danville, VA today to pick up a Rav/4 she has been
shopping for. What does that have to do with building an airplane? Not
much. :) But it did give me an excuse to take a day off of work to drive
her up to Danville. And then I had some time after we got home to work
on the RV. So .. so .. -that- is what this has to do with building
airplanes! So there. :)
|Beyond Fuel Injection 101
||December 28, 2007
Today I got my advance copies of the January, 2008 EAA Sport Aviation
magazine. I got advance copies because
an article I wrote FINALLY
got published. This has been a very long, but rather educational, process.
When I took the
Performance FI-101 class, I knew nothing about
fuel injection (thus the desire for the class). During the class I made
a comment about building my engine, and Don Rivera (API owner) suggested
I could come down and build my own FI system too. I took him up on it
in a flash! Driving home thinking about the upcoming build experience
it ocurred to me that an article might be a cool thing .... so we made
plans to do it. I brought down a friend to take pictures, and went home
(after a successful FI system build) and wrote the article. A year or
so later, it finally shows up. Amazing.
|Technician Exam Passed
||May 10, 2008
What does this have to do with building an RV-7? Not darn much, except
that I've been intrigued by the idea of 2-meter APRS tracking of my
flights ever since I heard about the idea. Then I read a
write-up written by Sam Buchanan where he detailed what it took
to get himself set up. He made it sound very do-able, so I launched
off to do it. I ordered the same study guide, and the same tracker
for starters. As of today, I passed my Technician exam (after only
studying off and on for a couple weeks while I waited for the exam
date to finally arrive)! Now I just need to wait for my call sign
to show up in the FCC database. Yes, I'm a geek. So sue me. On the
other hand, I now might want to put a ham rig in the plane so I can
make auto-patch calls while en route. :) Ah well.
UPDATE: Amazingly enough, it only took four days from the time I
took my exam to my call sign
KJ4ECK to show up in the FCC ULS database! I'm now an officially
government certified ham. Good grief. And, heaven help me, since I'm
on a bit of a roll with the ham-stuff I'm studying for my General
class license. We'll see how that goes.
Now that my license is in effect, and I've got my Micro-Trak (though
I am still waiting on a mobile antenna, and it won't work worth squat
until I get -that-), I can work toward starting to get tracking. When
I do, you can watch me at the
aprs.fi website as I move around. There are no tracks to be seen
yet, but I'll update this when there are.
|Training with Greg Koontz
||May 31, 2008
This weekend was spent down in Lumberton flying a few hours with Greg
Koontz. The short version of the story, for those who don't want to read
the whole entry is .... flying with Greg is an absolute blast.
For those of you who want to hear me babble more .....
Weather was less than ideal. It was windy (240@14G21) with clouds hovering
rather low. At least they were scattered/broken so we could work between
them well enough. The haze was bad in the morning, but got a little better
in the afternoon.
Flying the Decathlon was a hoot, though. Greg, brave man that he is, had
me do both the takeoffs and the landings (in his brand new, 41-hour total
time Super Decathlon!). If the wind had not been almost right down the
runway, I'm not sure he would have been so brave (nor am I sure I would
have been either). This was to be a "spin/upset" pair of training sessions,
with the spins on Saturday and the upset training on Sunday. Would it be
that things would work out so nicely, but this event was plagued repeatedly
with challenges (rescheduling from the original date, changing of
"organizers" along the way, troubles getting Greg's plane back out of
the hangar Saturday morning, etc.).
To top it off, because Greg -had- to head back home Saturday night due to
weather coming in ... put a crimp in plans. We had to fly a lot of
back-to-back flights, but for the most part Greg's ability to stick to
plan allowed us to get virtually all the flights in we wanted.
Many people there had taken spin and aerobatic training before, some with
Greg. For those folks (me included) he adjusted the usual plan so we would
each get as much out of each flight as we could. This was -very- generous,
and you can't imagine how much I apprecaited it! So for me we did stalls,
steep turns, accelerated stalls/spins under the bottom, accelerated
stalls/spins over the top, many many rolls with him working on my technique,
and many many loops doing the same. We even did a little inverted flight,
with an inverted stall/spin. Wow. I ended up exhausted, sore, and with a
cramp in my left thigh from all the left-rudder pushing I did. Good grief.
Oh .. and I ended up with a huge GRIN in my face, as well. It was fantastic!
All in all I could not have asked for a better experience. My fellow trainees
were enjoyable to spend a day with, and it seems a good time was had by all.
If you are at all interested in spin training, upset training, or going on
to doing more aerobatics training, Greg is a joy to learn from. You can
find out more about Greg and the training he has available by going to
the Greg Koontz Airshows website.
And, no, I don't get kickbacks for this recommendation. I'm just one hell of
a happy customer.
|New Hangar - C1
||June 11, 2008
It looks like I -finally- have a hangar for the RV. It is a bit early, but
the airport management is going to work with me to help mitigate some of
the expense of taking "possession" of a hangar before I really need it
(i.e. they'll sub-let it to others on a month-to-month basis). A friend
who is selling his plane, and vacating the hangar, was considerate enough
to think of me and the airport manager agreed it was good fit. What nice
guys! I'll be getting what is arguably one of the nicer hangars in one of
the nicer locations on the field.
The logistics get a bit complex because I'm also getting the hangar right
beside it for the Citabria. That way both of "my planes" will be in
side-by-side hangars! Very cool, and that little bit of kind consideration
is totally due to the airport manager out at TTA, Dan Swanson. I had to
go out yesterday afternoon and thank him in person.
So .. long-term the RV-7 will be in hangar C-1, and the Citabria will be
in hangar C-3. In the short run, since I'm not ready to take the RV to
the airport, we'll stick the Citabria in C-1 (with all the "stuff", both
mine and stuff inherited from Jack) and the month-to-month folks will go
into C-3. Yes, it is a tad confusing, but even Dan suggested this would be
a good arrangement ... and I could not agree more.
This takes another big worry off the table. Now ... I just gotta finish
the darned thing. Progress continues!
||June 27, 2008
Based on a random e-mail which got sent to the right person at the right
time, I lucked into an offer for myself and my daughter to each get a
ride in an SNJ. Not being an idiot, I jumped on the offer.
The short version runs like this ... Kat flew for about .4, and I flew
for .6 ... and I know it was .6 'cause I got it in my logbook. :) We
burned 54 gallons, and (with Jim's discount at SOP!) it cost $308 ...
with me picking up the fuel tab. Kat got her straight-and-level SNJ/T-6
flight, and I got me an almost non-stop acro SNJ/T-6 flight. Wow.
You can see more pictures at
my Picassa SNJ web-album.
We did barrel rolls, aileron rolls, loops, clover-leafs, and a quick
low pass down the runway in front of the Pik 'n Pig in Carthage. I got
hands-on time, though no hands-on-acro. He coached me on the rudder
needed when you have 600HP out front, and said I did a good job once
I got in the groove. What a -cool- plane.
Jim and Kat got off the ground a little past 12:30, and they were back
from Kat's ride promptly at 1:00. Since the winds were picking up and
the clouds were building, we quickly changed passengers and were off again.
It is NOT easy for an un-limber 50yo guy like me to scrabble his way into
the back seat of a T-6, but I worked it out. Strapping into the 'chute
and the seat was no big deal, and flying under that big greenhouse
canopy was -very- cool. I spent about a quarter of the time looking
at the world from some odd attitude through that canopy .. upside
down, straight down, along the wing at the ground right underneath.
He kept calling back after every half-dozen maneuvers "How are you
doing?" .. and I kept saying "Great!" ... and meaning it.
He demoed a P-51 style landing approach, and did a pretty wheel landing
(though he says he prefers to 3-point the T-6). This model was an SNJ-6,
which equates to a T-6F.
After we finished playing in the SNJ we headed over to the Pik 'n Pig
for lunch in Carthage. Good food, and nice people. We ate and talked and
talked and ate .. and drank a LOT of iced tea. It was a hot day!
Jim talked about his J-3 Cub and his Luscombe, and I commented that the
J-3 was another favorite plane of Kat's. After lunch we walked over,
and he suggested we pull it out for her to have a flight! He was dead
serious, so we did it. Way cool. :)
What a -fantastic- day! What a generous guy! And, to top it off, I
now have .6 hours of SNJ time in my logbook. Again I say ... Wow.
||December 9, 2008
Tonight was the TTA christmas party, and I (along with about a million
other people) was invited. I decided to go for the heck of it, and to
check in with Dan Swanson on the hangar situation. Remember, we got a
hangar in which we are housing the Citabria, but I need a second one
(am I nuts, or what??) for the RV eventually.
Well, "eventually" is now. Without me even asking Dan said that if I want
that second hangar, now is the time to get it. So .. well .. of course
I said _YES_. He is going to work with the owner of the plane in the
hanger beside the one we already have on a move (that plane, a pretty
little Piper PA-22-150 TriPacer) of his plane/stuff to another hanger.
In fact, he is going to just move down one space, and we'll end up with
side-by-side hangars. Very cool. Dan knows the TriPacer owner won't care
'cause that plane has not flown now in .. Dan says .. years. Sad.
Within the next week or so we can start taking ownership of the new hangar
if we wish. It needs a bit of cleaning and I'm thinking I may even move
the RV on out to the airport as early as January, We'll see how things
evolve with time.
||April 18, 2010
Sun-N-Fun 2010 was great. Weather was perfect (a few showers on two different
days, with only one being a significant shower .. and even it lasted only
10 minutes). We got our favorite campsite. We did -everything- we really
wanted to do (walking the flight line, looking at homebuilts, looking at
vintage, warbirds, ultralights, LSAs, etc.). I talked to the vendors that
I specifically wanted to talk to ... and one I hadn't expected to be able
to talk to at SnF (SteinAir), but who had a representative at the TruTrak
booth. We did the Splash-In, which was better than ever at the new venue.
I spent a little money, but nowhere near as much as I had anticipated.
The reason for that is the Vertical Power folks aren't taking money for
the new VP-X product, since it is only just now going into production. But
I'm sold on it. See http://www.verticalpower.com/VPX.html for details. The
other big discussion I had was with Paul Story from SteinAir, and I got
done in 20 minutes of talking more than I would have with a dozen e-mails.
It was fantastic to be able to chat face-to-face.
We can now continue in e-mail with me knowing the right path to follow. I
am quite pleased, and think I have a handle on how I want to orchestrate
my wiring and panel effort.
The other cool thing I saw at the show were answers to the question of
what do I do about backup instrumentation. A number of folks had good
solutions, but TruTrak had the best. The thing I saw isn't even on their
website yet, but it is a baby-EFIS that fits in a 3.5" instrument hole.
Good grief. It is a horizon, airspeed, altimeter, and heading instrument
all on a tiny color display. And ... all for $1200. Good grief. This is
the one up-side of being a slow builder. :)
What else? I bought a set of "The Claw" tiedowns for going to Osh in the
Citabria. I bought a new handheld com radio 'cause my old one (while still
working fine, I must confess) is about 3x as heavy and bulky. I also had
a long talk with Greg Koontz about aerobatics, hammerheads in particular.
That was fun.
Now the down-side (which I'll go ahead and say has a good ending). On
the drive back yesterday, just north of Daytona on I-95, the Rav/4 had
a problem. All of a sudden dash lights came on, and it started to drive
weird. I was RIGHT AT an exit, and the right-hand lane was clear, so I
bolted off the highway. We cruised into a gas station immediately at
the bottom of the ramp and had the car turned off within 30 seconds of
the incident starting.
Fluids had dumped out the bottom of the engine, and I used the iPhone to
find the local dealership. We called, and in a few minutes had the verdict
that it needed to be towed. Within 20 minutes the towtruck was there and
we were on our way to the dealership which was not 10 miles away. Within
an hour we had the verdict ... the VTTi line ruptured (which I now know
is a familiar problem with the Toyota V6 engine) dumping all the oil on
I-95 in short order.
Once the VTTi line had been identified as the culprit the service manager
we were working with had her guys do compression and other checks to see
if the engine was damanged, and when two cylinders showed back compression
she had them pour in oil, and start it. Within seconds it seized. She came
back to us and said we were getting a new $9K engine for free from Toyota.
Not only that, she gave us a loaner free of charge.
The engine died around 10am, and we were back on the road by 1pm. Wow. I
know Toyota is getting a lot of bad press lately, but this was stellar
support by the Toyota of Daytona folks. We will have to drive the loaner
back down in a week to pick up the repaired Rav/4, but we'll drive away
with a brand new under-warranty engine again. Go figure.
I want to in public acknowledge the fantastic support we got from the
Daytona Toyota service folks. They
were prompt, helpful, supportive, communicative about the issues, and made
the best of what should have been a truly terrible experice. (As we go
through the process of finishing this repair, I'll update this section
to detail the experience ... and my most sincere hope is that I can
continue to heap praises upon the Daytona Toyota folks).
|Legend Cub Flight
||June 23, 2010
I realized yesterday that I was closing in on the two-month mark for not
having flown. The Citabria went in for an annual in April, and we came to
the conclusion that the engine needed to be majored. It is close to done,
but we likely have at least another two weeks before we get it back ...
and it is killing me not flying.
I flew a few times with one of my Citabria-partners in a club Mooney as
safety pilot ... but, if you aren't actually _flying_ it feels all too
much like playing baggage/ballast. That does not scratch the itch. So
I did something that I have intended to do for a while. I called Bob
Parker (who instructs out of Johnston County, KJNX) to see if I could
buy sometime in his Legend Cub.
He was happy to fly with me, and I had a _blast_ flying the Cub-alike.
What a delightful little plane, and a fun instructor. It was hot as
all get-out today, but we sweated and flew and talked and flew and had
a grand ole time.
We did a little lazy airwork, and without a ball on the panel, I had
to use the built-in posterior-slip-skid-indicator ... my ass ... to know
how I was doing. Bob said that I was coordinating fine, which was nice.
Then we came back and did about six landings. Three 3points, and three
wheelies. It took me a little time to get the sight picture down right
and get the power settings figured out. The first landing was sloppy,
and the next two were fine but long (due to not pulling off enough power
and ending up high). Then as we started into wheelies the pitch/power
came together .. my speed on final was stabalized like I like to see ..
and I made three wheel landings, with the last two being pretty as a
picture. What fun. :)
If I ever have to walk away from my medical ... one of the Cub-alikes
will be high on my list of choices. If you are in the Raleigh/Smithfield
NC are and need tailwheel training, Bob would be a fantastic choice. I
have not asked his permission to put his contact info here, but if you
want to get in touch ... just write me and I will be thrilled to point
you in his direction.
Now if we can just get the Citabria back in time for me to fly it to
Oshkosh, all will be right with the world. :)
|Oshkosh 2010 (SloshKosh)
||August 1, 2010
The Citabria did get finished in time to fly to Oshkosh, and I haven't
quite gotten over the experience yet. This was a very very long flight
for me, and having to do it all VFR meant really paying attention to
the weather. This was the soggiest year in memory at Oshkosh, and many
simply decided to not go, or launched later than planned and encountered
trouble finding places to park later in the week. We really lucked out.
I went to some trouble to make sure I could run my APRS tracker for the
trip. It worked _great_. Once I called home from a fuel stop and talked
to Theresa ... I said that we were just south of Chicago and she said
"I know, I've been watching your track!". I also had multiple friends
contact me after I got home having watched us track into Sanford and
landed. There are a few gaps, and a few recording hicups, but all in
all this really does capture the route quite well.
Along with the thumbnail version of the track included with this
entry I also have a full
sized version of the track that allows you to see a lot more
detail. You can also download it into Google
Earth if you are really geeky.
Marilyn and I launched as planned Saturday
morning, and our expectation (based on what we saw in the AM) was that
we might make it no further than Ohio. We stopped in the KY mountains
at Pike County Airport (KPBX) and then due to headwinds and fuel burn
stopped early in Ohio at the Dayton Wright Brothers Airport (KMGY). A
quick bite of lunch there (crew car provided cheerfully) we assessed
the weather, and decided to continue on.
Out of Ohio into Indiana, we got reminded that Indiana is _flat_. Really
flat. We were low due to the winds so saw every little baseball field,
every little cemetery, and many little-town churches. We eventually
landed at Porter County Airport (KVPZ) in Valparaiso, IN. The local EAA
chapter had set up to sell drinks and hot dogs, and after a refuel and
a look at the weather we realized that we could make it past Chicago.
We had intended to land at Waukegan for the night, but looking at the WX
we realized we could make it all the way to the just-before-OSH stop we
intended to hit the next day, Watertown, WI. This was not just further
than we hoped to get the first day, but was further than we thought we
could ever get the first day.
We launched, flew up the Chicago shoreline under the Class B space, and
then turned left once we were clear. We finally hit a few sprinkles and
somewhat low clouds, but nothing low enough to cause concern. The few
sprinkles we got were not even enough to clean the windscreen.
Landing at Watertown (KRYV) saw us with 9.2 hours on the hobbs. Wow. It
was a perfect stop as there was a Holiday Inn Express within _easy_
walking distance of the FBO, and numerous food options within walking
distance of the hotel.
The next day we launched for OSH, only to realize they were not taking
arrivals then. We detoured to Fond du Lac and (after some crazy stuff
in the pattern) landed there and parked. We figured this would allow us
to shuttle up to Oshkosh, get our car, check into our dorm room, and
basically stay on schedule. We assumed we would make it into OSH the next
day, but events conspired to keep us at KFLD for the duration of the show.
This was the only disappointment of the whole trip, with everything else
working out better than planned.
The show was great, and much was seen. I talked to all the vendors that
I wanted/needed to talk with. I went by the Clarity Aloft booth to see if
they could help me with a headset problem (I had injured it the week
before Oshkosh, had it repaired by them, but it was still acting up a
bit). After looking into the issues over night, they concluded the only
right thing to do was to give me a spanking new headset. That was some
amazing support from a company! I will be telling that story for a while
The flight home started earlier than expected. About 3PM on Thursday we
realized that the forecast had changed for the worse, and there might be
rain as early as 7AM on Friday. We bugged out. We left the show about 2
hours earlier than planned, headed to Fond du Lac to pack, then back to
Oshkosh to drop off the car, then got a ride back to Fond du Lac airport
from the rental car folks. We topped off the fuel, and launched by about
6PM. We detoured around skydivers at East Troy, and then headed just
south of Waukegan to the lake shoreline. Down the Chicago shore one more
time and back into KVPZ. We landed there about 8PM and folks were still
on duty. They brought a crew car to the plane to help us with our bags,
then drove us to a nearby hotel. In the morning they picked us up again
and we launched for home.
Another stop at KMGY (and another visit to the Steak-N-Shake) then on
through Ohio. We were getting good tailwhinds and I was finally able to
get high enough to lean fully, so our fuel burn was much better on the
way home. (We have a newly overhauled engine so I am watching the CHTs
like a hawk.) Therefore we passed Porter County this time, and landed
at Mountain Empire (KMKJ). A nice stop in a pretty valley ... but it
required we circle in the valley just a little bit to leap over the
ridges to the east. Pretty terrain, but not to be trifled with in a
loaded low-power little airplane. :)
From there it was straight to KTTA. Well, we actually detoured over
Winston-Salem to avoid the KGSO space, only because I was tired and did
not want to wrestle with our old and rather annoying radio.
This was an amazing trip for me. A real game-changer for me.
I would highly recommend stops at KMKJ, KVPZ, and KRYV. All were great
places to pause on the flight. Friendly people, with good service. Now,
time to get back working on the RV. July was spent mostly on a combination
of dealing with the Citabria annual/overhaul, and getting ready for OSH.
Gotta now get back into building-mode and get this plane finished. I'm
|New Toy, and Gross Weight Reduction Program
||September 25, 2010
Lets talk about the weight reduction program, first. Its not an aircraft
weight reduction program, but it is a Dwight weight reduction program. None
the less it will still allow me to take more fuel and/or baggage without
exceeding the aircraft gross weight when I am done. :) I finally decided
I _had_ to drop some weight, and went back to the place that helped me
20 years ago .. the Diet Center. I need someone external to the family to
keep me accountable, and they do. But I also needed to start getting some
regular exercise, and most of the options are .. to me .. boring. And if
something is boring, I cease doing it pretty quickly. That is where the
"toy" comes in.
I used to love riding bikes, but there are some serious discomfort downsides
to your usual upright bike. For years I have been curious about recumbent
bikes, and had been sorely tempted for a while. As I researched them I ran
into another possibility ... recumbant trikes. Now there was something that
was different and looked like real fun. Eventually, I gave in to the temptation
and got one. As usual, I figure I would blog about it (nothing like being
a bit public to make you put your money .. in this case, regular pedaling
.. where your mouth is). For more information on that particular adventure
take a look at my Trike
blog. I have also put a picture of the trike in this entry for folks
who just want a quick look at what the heck it is I am talking about.
|Launch of STS-133 Shuttle!
||February 24, 2011
All these years I've said, "Self, you need to go see the launch of a
space shuttle", and I've always replied "Sure do, and I'll get around
to it one day". Sadly, though, the shuttle program is coming to an end
and "one day" became NOW (or never). So we went. Theresa and I flew down
to Florida (dealing with iffy weather the whole trip) and saw the
shuttle fly. It waw a fabulous experience!
We stayed up in Edgewater, and drove down to the launch early on the
24th. We got there around 9:00 (for a 4:50 launch) and discovered folks
were already grabbing their bits of real-estate. So we decided to settle
in for the siege. We had our chairs, our cooler, our books, and our
sunscreen. We ended up about 4 rows back from the waterfront in Space
View Park. This is a great viewing location (see pictures!) and I'd go
there again in the blink of an eye.
Despite a last-minute glitch on the range safety system it launched, and
we could not have had more perfect conditions. Visibility was great, and
the launch was spectacular. We could, in fact, see the SRB separation
with the naked eye! Wow.
The departure on Wednesday morning was uneventful, and the flight down
was quite nice. We had tailwinds and smooth air to our first fuel stop
at Lowcountry Airport (KRBW). They had self-service, and a nice place
to have our quick picnic lunch. A recommended stop. Departing there we
ran into some heavy smoke. It stayed VFR, but prompted me to start talking
to Savanah earlier than I had planned ... as having extra eyes with the
visibility restricted seemd a really good plan.
Halfway between Savanah and Fernandina Beach (KFHB, our next fuel stop) we
saw an odd spot in the sky ahead of us. It looked like a round black dot.
We were over broken clouds (with it very scattered just inland) and the
black dot just got bigger and bigger. It looked like balloon, but it made
no sense for a balloon to be out over the water like that. Then as it got
closer it resolved into something longer than a balloon and that is when
we realized it was a blimp! It was the DirectTV blimp, and it passed about
a 1/4 mile east of us, and maybe about 500 feet below. We waggled our
wings at them, but they really had nothing they could waggle back at us.
A very cool encounter. :)
The flight down was nice until Fernandina Beach. There we came close to
having to abort and head to another airport, but did squeak in. If I had
not had good visibility and the aiport in sight with the clouds that low
I'd have gotten out of there. As it was, visibility was great and the
only worry was the winds which were 14k gusting 20k, but right down the
runway. It was a fine landing. That started a trend of having to deal
with nasty winds for the rest of the trip. Once down, we didn't want to
go back up so just got a rental car from the very helpful folks at the
FBO and drove the rest of the way.
Coming home we had to wait for WX to move past, and then headed up the
coast. We were expecting better by the time we got into the St Simons
Island area, and were disappointed. It was VFR, but not _good_ VFR, so
we detoured to Brunswick and called it a day. Great service at KBQK with
a free shuttle to a local hotel (new and nice), with a great overnight
price, and a shuttle back in the morning.
By the time we were ready to leave some nasty overnight fog had vanished
and it was beautiful flying. The trip was easy over Savanah and into our
intended fuel stop at Santee Cooper Regional Airport (KMNI). The winds
were _wicked_ going in there, but the landing was fine. That said, the
place was deserted (on a pretty Saturday morning, even) and the self-serve
fuel would NOT TAKE OUR CARD! What a pain in the ass! So we hopped over
to Williamsburg Regional (KCKI) and they had self-serve set up for only
local pilots based at the airport. No card reader. This place was
deserted on a pretty Saturday too! GOOD GRIEF!
So we next headed to Lake City (51J). The deal there is that you go track
down the guy who runs the helicopter training school and buy fuel from
him. That worked out fine, and the field has a nice little restaurant
on top of that. From there it was smooth sailing home. We had to get
past some clouds at 2500, then climbed on up to enjoy some more really
good tailwinds. Total trip time was 8.9 hours, and we only got back about
a day later than we had hoped. Oh well. Time to spare, go by air, or so
they say. :)
||August 6, 2011
I finally did it. I went for, and passed, my commercial checkride. I'd
love to say it was perfect, but I had a few spots that I could have
done better (lazy-8s were only ok, and 8s-on-pylons I have done much
better), but many things were quite good (the examiner complimented me
on all my landings, steep turns, slow flight, and a number of other
things). So while she had some feedback, she also had good things to
say .. and most importantly, I got my commercial ticket. I am _so_ glad
to have that done, now! Wow.
||November 10, 2011
I just got a cellphone picture e-mailed to me from SteinAir. The picture
above is (most of) my avionics stack up and running on the bench! Not
shown in the picture is the AFS autopilot control head or the TruTrak
Gemini backup EFIS. Both of those will show up soon (before first flight,
is the expectation).
||March 27, 2012
Theresa and I headed down to Florida to attend Sun-N-Fun 2012 this year,
of course, and had a grand time. This might have been the best weather
we have ever had at SnF, particularly in contrast with last year's tornado
disaster. Onr our "free day", Monday, we went to Busch Gardens in Tampa
and really enjoyed ourselves. We had never been before, so it was new and
This was a more forum-heavy SnF for us than usual. We attended a Mountain
Flying forum, a forum on putting together an aerobatics instruction program
(Greg Koontz), a forum on reasons to get your CFI ticket, and a forum on
getting started in aerobatics (Patty Wagstaff). All of the forums were quite
good and a few were downright superb.
We hit all the vendors, did lengthy walks down the flightline looking at
planes, hung out in our campsite (which was at our usual location, a spot
we love about mid-way along the back fence of the overflow/cow-pasture
camping area), ate at Fred's for lunch every single day on the field, and
simply enjoyed being back.
Yes, SnF is changing. Yes, attendance was down. Yes, there is new management.
Yes, they had a jet car. But ya know what? I don't care about all that
stuff. There were airplanes, and people who love airplanes, and honestly
that is all I need. The rest of the stuff .... well, it just doesn't matter
all that much to me. I'll be back again next year. Trust me.
|Bill Finagin Spin Training
||April 4, 2012
Spinning! Wow .. and what spinning it was, too. Wally and I had planned to
fly down together, but I didn't like how the WX was panning out and decided
to drive. Wally had some issues which kept him from driving down with me so
ended up gambling on flying. Truthfully, I think we both won. I was able to
be there on time without worrying, but had to drive the nigth before. Wally
got down their fast in the Mooney, but had to sweat weather, delayed his
departure until he thought he had a chance of getting in, and still had to
shoot an approach to minimums to get in. That said, he only arrived about
30 minutes late which isn't terrible.
At the end of the day he had to leave early, though. He didn't miss a lot
but even so just did squeak back in to TTA before the t'storms hit. His
flight was only 40 minutes, whereas my drive home was 3.5 hours. BUT, I
was not forced to leave early. So, as I say, I think we both won.
The spin training was awesome, too. Bill teaches a very complete and
comprehensive course. He really disects spins and by the time you are done
you have a good working understanding of the mechanics of spins. The
flying in his Pitts S-2C is incredable as well. By the time it was all
over I had done simple upright spins (about 13 turns in the first spin
we did), accelerated spins, upright flat spins (and that was more turns
than the first, because I sat there marveling at the flat spin for a
few turns it was so novel looking), and multiple opportunities to
exercise his emergency spin recovery technique.
For my flight, he eventually had me follow his directives and identify
when we were "out of control". At that point I had to do the recovery. It
went just fine, and we recovered without difficulty. To understand how
fantastic that simple statement really is, you should know that he had
me maneuver through various positive and negative G moves which culminated
in an _inverted_ _flat_ spin to the right. It was absolutely fantastic!
As iceing on the cake, I came away with my CFI spin endorsement as well.
Very cool. The only regret I have is that we ran out of time before I could
get in a crossover spin. Dang. Maybe next time.
|To The Airport!
||July 18, 2012
Today was the day we had set to move the plane to the airport. Was there
more I could have done at home? Sure. But I had to make a plan at some
point and .. well .. today was the day. So we did it.
I had my auto mechanics (Hocutt's Automotive, near Garner) bring their
flatbed roll-back towtruck to the house to transport the plane. The gear
fit on with a foot or so spare on each side, with the spnner about a
foot from the lightbar and the tailwheel about 2 inches from the back
edge. That is to say, it fit about like the bed was made for transporting
We winched it up onto the bed, and then Mike and Kevin applied about a
half-dozen straps to secure the fuselage to the bed. I have to say they
did a superb job because other than the prop turning about a 1/4 turn
'til it hit a compression stroke .... nothing moved an inch.
Offloading at the hangar was, if anything, easier than loading at the
house. We simply removed most of the straps (except the one on the
winch) and then slowly rolled it off the flatbed. Piece of cake. (I can
say that now that the exercise reached a successful conclusion!)
The garage looks ... weird. It is going to get worse as I transport
tools and remaining airplane parts to the airport. But first, we had
for Oshkosh in just a couple of days!
||July 30, 2012
Theresa and I got back from Oshkosh yesterday, and spent the rest of the
day recovering. Today I got back to the regular work grind again. Talk
about a shock to the system. :)
Osh was, as usual, great. We had intended to fly the Citabria to the show
but lousy/low weather made is make the judgment call early Saturday morning
to do the trip on the ground. It was the right decision, as we kept seeing
low clouds over the ridge-tops during our drive through West Virginia.
On Wednesday friends from the flying club flew into Fond du Lac, and we
picked them up and ferried them to Marian University. This is the first
time ever for them coming to Osh and NOT camping, and I think they enjoyed
the change (I _know_ one member of that pair prefered having a bed, A/C,
and a shower not shared with 200 of his best friends).
Now it is time to get the rest of the "stuff" moved from the garage to
the airport, and to get back working on the RV. Ever onward, ever upward!
||April 14, 2013
Today we got back from another trip to Sun-n-Fun. We spent the Monday prior
to the show at the Disney Animal Kingdom with our daughter, Kat. We had
beautiful/perfect weather for being at AK, and for the week in general. We
had one t'storm roll through Wednesday night, but the tents stayed nice
and dry. One more -heavy- downpour hit while we were at lunch off-field one
day, but by the time we were done and back on-field it was sunny again. So
I can't gripe about the weather. :)
All in all, it was another good week in Lakeland. I believe attendance was
a bit down, and some of my favorite vendors were missing. I start to think
that SnF might be waning as an event. I'm not ready to throw in the towel
yet, but we'll see what the next few years bring.
There were many noticable upgrades to the event. Paradise City was ultralight
and LSA both, and there were new routes through both PC and the Vintage area.
These new routes were VERY welcome as they made travel between some of the
various display areas much easier. Food was the same awful food, with the
fantastic exception of the salad bar at Fred's. That is always a lifesaver.
|Transition Training with Mike Seager
||June 16, 2013
I just got back home from Portland and my transition training with Mike
Seager. It was well worth the time/trouble to fly all the way from the
east coast to the west to train with Mike. My flight out was screwy, since
my originating flight got canceled, but Delta rebooked me on other flights
and I was good to go. It did add one layover, and got me in a few hours
later, but at least I made it into Portland on the day I intended to get
I had three days scheduled with Mike, with me flying at 10am and 3pm each
day. Weather wasn't great, but was managable. I got to shoot a number of
my landings in the rain, in a few cases in fairly hard rain. It was the
Pacific Northwest, you know. :) The weather gradually improved over the
span of the three days, and by the last flight it was downright pretty
The timing of this trip was handy for another reason. I've had a nagging
but intermittent problem with my EFIS. The AHRS wouldn't reliably
initialize. I thought that since I was going to Portland, and Advanced
is down in Canby (very close), I'd just bring my EFIS along and get
them to address the issue. Rob was completely game to have me do that,
and on Tuesday morning I stopped in at the Advanced offices and met up
He put it on the bench, confirmed that it probably had issues, and said
he would resolve the problem. I left it with him and his guys worked it
over and did some upgrades while I went flying with Mike. On Friday we
used some of the morning flying session time to hop over to Aurora, do
some landing practice there, then agreed to meet Rob at Dietz. We flew
into Dietz, taxied over to Rob's house, and he hand-delivered the updated
EFIS to me. It had a brand new AHRS (their new version), updates to the
main board, and the latest software and maps loaded into the unit.
I wanted to take time here to talk about this ... because Rob should
be applauded for his superb customer service. I've had this unit since
2011, though it has not been flying yet. For Advanced to service the
box as if it were still under a formal warranty after all that time is
great support for their customers. Thanks, Rob!
Back to the training ... working with Mike is great. He has a low key
style, and does a fabulous job of transfering his knowledge. He even
notices fine details such as how I was mis-positioning my feet on the
rudder pedals. By the time we were done I had logged 8.2 hours (the
insurance company only demanded one hour, so I think we have them
satisfied). I did 54 landings, with seven of them being on grass, and
with six of those being the whacky approaches one has to make into
Vernonia. It was a great opportunity, and I now feel ready to tackle
flying an RV solo.
Next, I have to just finish the darned thing. :)
|Last Flight as Co-Owner of 80G
||November 3, 2013
We knew this day would come because it was planned for from the beginning,
but never the less it is rather bitter-sweet. Since the RV is flying now it
is time for me to leave the Citabria partnership. We set the date as being
the end of October, but that date found me on a business trip in San Francisco.
I unilaterally mandated that I not officially be out of the partnership until
I had a chance to fly N2880G out of TTA one more time.
That time was today, and it was a lovely flight. I took off in the afternoon
and went and did some acro. The last time I did acro it felt "rusty" because
of the small amount of time I had put on 80G during the great TTA Runway
Rebuilding Diaspora. I expected the same today, but instead I felt like I
could do no wrong. To warm up I did my usual steep turns (60-ish degrees of
steep) and for a change I did them ball centered with zero change in altitude.
Then, warmed up, I launched into some acro.
My rolls exited on heading. My loops did as well. I did half-cubans back to
back (but you could not call them cuban-8s only because there was some
straight and level flight between them), and they came out pretty. I did
back to back hammerheads, and they may have been my best ever. I did another
hammerhead with a loop off the bottom after going level again. I did spins
left, and spins right, allowing some to get fully developed (i.e. in this
case 2 turns). I kept doing acro until I was sweating and breathing hard.
On some of the maneuvers the Citabria did something she has done before,
and that I find funny. If you catch things just right one of the little
fresh air vents (the one on the left) will just pop open mid-maneuver. I
had to reach down and close that vent at least three times today.
After the workout it was time for some quiet flying, so I headed toward
Harnett County (HRJ) not originally planning to land. But I heard an old
friend in the pattern, and he gave a call to me, so I landed. My
landing at HRJ was a pretty wheel landing, butter-smooth, with a turnoff
right in front of the FBO. Cecil and I chatted for a bit and then I took
off again. Visibility was so good I could see downtown Raleigh from pattern
altitude at HRJ. I flew down the river, then headed for TTA and watched
the sun set. I kept doing landings at TTA because I just didn't want to
stop ... but, eventually, it was time.
I pulled her into the hangar, and put her to bed. I put the work light in
her cowl to dispell cold temps and the blanket on her cowl to keep the heat
in. I noted my flight time .... 1.5 fabulous hours.
We bought her on May 18, 2007. I have been a co-owner of this fabulous little
plane for 2,362 days, counting today. That is 6 years, 5 months, and 17 days.
What a wonderful adventure, and superb partnership, this has been.
I know these machines are just things. I know they aren't alive. I know they
can't feel, or know how we feel. But today I think this plane did know and
gave me a picture perfect last flight as her owner. This plane has taught me
so much, and now it is time for the RV and I to go learn lessons together too.
One door closes, and another opens. And, really, this is as it should be.
||August 7, 2014
This year we wanted to fly the RV to Oshkosh, and didn't -quite- get the
plane (or myself) ready for IMC, so we did it VFR. It was a difficult year
for getting to/from Osh VFR from NC though!
Theresa and I departed early on Saturday morning after waiting for some fog
and low cloud to burn off. We climbed over a broken layer and were cruising
nicely. We decided on a stop in KY for lunch (and fuel), and finally found
Ashland Regional in the haze. A quick crew-car ride to a quick lunch and we
were on our way.
As we slid south of Dayton the WX was getting worse, and we were painting a
good bit of rain to the north on the tablet via ADSB (our new GDL-39 being
our connection to the weather feed). Just southeast of Muncie I realized I
had not turned off my phone because I got a chime and announcement via the
bluetooth connected audio panel saying I had a text from George. It read :
Hope you are on the ground somewhere ... we are in muncie ... looking
We were -not- on the ground, and I was not happy with what we were seeing
ahead. So we stopped in Muncie to confer with George. :) It was ugly enough
that Theresa and I called it a day and tried to find a hotel room somewhere.
There were NONE to be had in Muncie, at all. Eventually we did a quick hop
over to Anderson, IN and got a hotel (and a hangar) there.
(more when I have time ... )
||January 26, 2016
I just picked up my RV from Boss Aircraft Refinishers (http://aircraftpainting.com)
in Salisbury, NC. Theresa and I dropped it off on October 24, 2015 and picked it back
up today. We disassembled everything the day we dropped it off, but it took two days
to put it all back together again at the end.
We (the family and I) had a fanciful idea from very early on in our build, and while
we knew it was maybe a tad over the top we couldn't get it out of our heads. To turn
the rough idea into an actual design we worked with the Scheme Designers (and Kevin
Burns, in particular) to iterate over possibilities until we got something we were
truly happy with. Then we turned to Bill Lucey at Boss to take it from design to reality.
Bill and his crew could not have been easier to work with, any more detail oriented, or
any more professional. Bill likes to have builders of experimental aircraft come in and
do their own control surface removal and reinstallation on the theory that the builder's
know the planes better than anyone, and that each plane can have unique aspects of the
construction which need to be understood to safely do that work. The upside for me is
that I got more of a "behind the scenes" look at the painting process ... and it was
eye-opening. I know we pay a lot for these paint jobs but the amount of work entailed
in doing it right is ... astounding.
I love all the little careful touches that Bill's crew applied. Any brightwork gets
polished. The intake snout on the cowl had a rubberized material akin to what is
applied to the intake of turbines applied to the rim of the intake giving it a really
crisp look. This design was -hard- to lay out, and they took the extra time to get
the curves looking, absolutely, perfect. I had an old friend of mine last night talk
about how we say a paint job is a 50-foot job, or a 10-foot job, but he opined that
this one looked good even when you got up close and started examining details. Bill's
#1 paint guy, Mike, has been shooting planes for about 20 years and that experience
Finally, Bill's entire crew was just fantastic to work with. Every time I needed an
extra hand, or needed to find a tool, they cheerfully jumped in to help. I could tell
they were proud of doing the best job possible, and seemed particularly proud to have
executed this foolishly-difficult scheme so well.
I'm sure not everyone will like this design. Some will think it too fanciful, or too
busy, or too .. something. But I love it. For future reference the paint is PPG HDFX
Solid and the paint codes for the colors are :
- White – Husky White 944246
- Belly/Leading Edge Blue - Piaggio Marina Blue – PIAP8/9
- Red - Red Velvet - 912418
- Orange - Omaha Orange - 912413
- Yellow - Chrome Yellow - 912244
- Green - PRC Green - 912428
- Blue - PRC Horizon Blue - 912441
- Indigo - Ameri Blue - 912432
- Violet - FedEx Purple - 912221
The wingwalk material is a standard Randolph product, part number X-1567. While I
have a _very_ _complete_ touch-up kit (the largest that Bill has ever had to put
together) it never hurts to have all the exact codes documented. Done, and done.