Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's just a battery


There are times in the course of building this RV-7A airplane that I've thought that -- next to going for a ride in an RV (which doesn't happen anywhere near as often as it should -- you guys who are flying see the hint there, right?), that ordering something -- anything -- from Van's Aircraft is the best motivator to continued building.

There's something about getting something new -- and even paying the continuously rising shipping charges (I could buy a prop for what I've spent just in shipping, handling and postage over the past 8 years!) that creates an indicator of progress. And for many homebuilders of airplanes, a sense of progress is important.

Last night another box appeared on the front step, this time it was the battery for the plane, as well as a bracket for the installation of cables, two restrictor fittings -- one for the oil pressure port on the engine -- and assorted clamps I'm going to need for bundling wires.

Even though the temperature this week has been around -20 on occasion and there isn't a way in hell or heaven I'm going to spend time at the unheated hangar, it warmed my heart. Even though my electrical system plans are still mostly in my head and not on paper, a sign of progress on the electrical system is just what I needed.

These parts are different. They're slightly outside of my "comfort zone" (that's the zone you create for yourself when you've been working on a subkit for the last year or so and you know the drawings and instructions almost by heart.), and, even better, they're the parts I remember seeing on so many trips to Web sites like those run by Dan Checkoway, or Walter Tondu, or Dave Parsons. They're the parts they talked about -- the parts I had no idea what they were for -- shortly before they flew their airplanes for the first time.

Granted, they all had more time -- and I'm pretty sure, money -- than I do so all of these steps have to be measured in Bob Years®, but nonetheless it was a reminder that my plane will fly someday, someday soon (in Bob Years®). I even allowed myself to think -- for at least a moment -- that that time will probably come in late 2010. That was shortly before I went to bed and woke up thinking of the reasons why it won't be late 2010. No, best to plug ahead, one step at a time, one shipping & handling charge at a time, one part at a time, and let things happen when they happen.

Having received my Van's reminder of progress, I closed the box back up, labeled its contents, and put it down on the shelf downstairs with the other boxes of uninstalled parts.

One of these days, spring will come, and so will actual progress.

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