Sunday, December 3, 2017

An interview with Tom Berge

I was at breakfast in Brainerd, Minn., yesterday -- the first time I'd been in an RV airplane since I ferried N614EFto its new home in Michigan last December, when I was reminded by Tom Berge that I once tried to get him into an RV tip-up vs. slider canopy debate when I interviewed him for RV Builder's Hotline in 2009.

The Hotline is gone now and so are the files online. But I still have them and it seems to me that the interview remains something that RV builders and people who are buying RVs need to hear.

Tom is one of the most knowledgeable RV builders in the world, I think, and he not only provides technical counselor services for builders, but also transition training as well as pre-buy inspection services for those taking the shortcut, and ferry services too.

But back to that flight up to Brainerd yesterday.

Thanks to Warren Starkebaum -- the very person I met when thinking about building an RV many years ago -- I was able to realize a pure moment of joy yesterday:  For the first time in a year, I felt I belonged somewhere.  I was home.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The perfectionist

I've started working on building an RV-12 and one of these days I'll get around to a longer post about what I've learned and what the difference is between building it and building the RV-7A. One of these days.

But here's a story for now.

I finally remembered to pick up a 1/4" drill bit from the hardware store last night so I could drill the tie-down bracket via the template.The hole is used as the inside radius of the bottom of the bracket. So whipped that up with some bandsaw and file action and it came out sweet. I'm so much more focused on quality building than I was with the 7A.

Let me explain that: I was focused on quality building on the 7A project, obviously, it was an extremely well-built machine. But this time I'm more of a perfectionist.

I mean, geez, it's just a tie-down bracket and as sweet as it looks, nobody will ever see it because it's hidden in the most aft part of the fuselage, out of site.

So why make it look like a piece of Swiss engineering?

Because I'll know, that's why.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The repeat offender

The RV-7A is now safely at its new home in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the hangar seemed empty. I'd grown accustomed to saying, "see you later, baby!" when turning off the lights and locking the door.

So I got a new "baby" the other day.

The first of the RV-12 kits arrived and I tried to recreate the 2001 picture from when the first 7A kit arrived in, but my youngest son was in Cabo.

As luck would have it, the FAA has finalized the new rules regarding medical certificates and they take effect on May 1, the day my third class medical with the special issuance expires. It seems to me that it would be possible to have continued flying the old plane, but I couldn't take the chance that the new rules would have created a gap, plus I think my health situation is more compatible with LSA -- light sport aircraft-- rules. So I'm not looking back.

Besides, I've got a plane to build. The parts fit into the back of the Subaru and it was off to the hangar.

I didn't get a chance to inventory everything until yesterday, and found the rudder skin trailing edge had been damaged.

But it's clear the plane will go together quickly -- quicker than the 11 years of N614EF, anyway. I am mindful that it's possible to be a little too confident, having already built an airplane. But my goal is to build this one without ordering any replacement parts.

Except for the rudder skin, apparently.
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