Saturday, December 1, 2007

End of the season blues

The first big snowstorm of the year has hit Minnesota this morning. This one might actually live up to the hype. The family dog -- Otter -- got a head start on snow-removal operations on the back deck. The nose never lies, dog.

Up until this year, I've been pretty comfortable with the pace of building of my RV project, adopting a general "it'll get done when it gets done" attitude, that is partially the child of a pay-as-you-go strategy married to a there-are-other-things-in-life mentality.

The project is still pay-as-you-go (mostly "pay" right now) and there are still other things in life, but this year is different. I feel compelled to be doing something on the project, which traditionally has gotten mostly pushed to the side of the garage in the winter. It's too cold to work on either of the two main projects I have right now: the canopy and the fiberglass.

When I first started the project, the kids were young and I figured they'd be going off to college somewhere and this would be a great too to visit them regularly. Then they graduated high school and stayed... here.

Now, Patrick is going off to the Navy (see his blog), which most assuredly will take him all over the earth, and perhaps that "new mission" for the RV is what's pushing me, and giving me a sense of needing to get going on it more than I am.

And I don't like it.

The RV project is therapy for me -- a place to relax from all the other unfinished projects in life, work (I've started a new gig at work that's just basically writing about things. Fancy that!), the back deck, separating the gladiola bulbs, peace in the Middle East, a championship for the Cleveland Indians.

But now? Now I need it finished. I need it to be the "magic carpet" that people talk about and my needs are colliding with the "therapy part," challenging the notion that you can have a relaxing "hobby" while having a ticking clock in your head.

There'll be no substantive work on the project today, other than cataloging and storing all the fiberglass materials that have been arriving this week. Maybe I'll make the doubler plate for the rear strobe light (when you talk about "glassing it over," are you tucking the glass around the hole and up into the inside of the rudder tip?).

But with a snowstorm "raging" outside, maybe it's a good time to start deciding on avionics.

Mail bag: Builder motivation comes in a lot of forms but there's very little better than following the first flights of a friend. Kevin Faris of Omaha is providing me that motivation this week. He had his fight flight a few weeks ago and is working on more transition training.

Kevin writes...

I am currently flying Mike Howards RV-6 with him and working on my proficiency at wheel landings. They are getting better every time. My tailwheel flying was very little with my endorsement in a Piper Pacer. The Pacer is evil in a wheel landing or takeoff situation as it's CG is much farther rearward than an RV. They try to groundloop at taxi speeds!

After my phase 1 is off of my 7 I have an ATP friend with 2700 hours of tailwheel time who has been cleared by AIG to give me the 10-hour signoff. To use one of two transition trainers Van's recommends requires a three-month wait. My ATP friend sold his half of his RV-7 (The yellow one in the pictures on Todd's website) to his partner, so it is no longer available to train in.

So, that is how it goes I guess. After more than five and a half years I have learned to be patient. I will fly my RV when I am ready to fly my RV. I don't want to be a danger to anybody, nor do I wish to roll it up in a big ball.

From what Mike tells me, my aircraft with the Hartzell constant speed prop is fairly vicious on a full-power takeoff. Solo takeoff distance is 300 to 400 feet. Solo climb rates easily pin the 2000 FPM VSI setting in my EFIS.

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