Homebuilder's Workshop - May 2011

The Steps of Iowa

By Ed Wischmeyer

When I got my new (to me) RV-8A, the boarding step was broken and needed to be replaced. No problem, says I. I’ve owned an RV before. I’ve bought used homebuilts before.

I should have known better.

But on with the show. The first part of the process was to drill out all of the rivets holding the old step on, some going through the steel step assembly, some going through the wing root fairing, some through both. Drill ‘em all out, tug on the step, and, ta, da! Nothing.

Oh. There’s a bolt inside the fuselage. Okay…

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Homebuilder's Workshop - February 2011

Post Chorny

By Ed Wischmeyer

The passing of Chorny, my sweet old black Lab, in some ways marks the end of one era of my life and hopefully the start of another era, building upon – and even better than – its forbears.

Chorny made her last flight with me, her first in the RV-8A, to the old family summering grounds in Michigan. It was surprising to me to be so content blasting along at altitude at 170 knots, a mile up, and to be so oblivious to the scenery below, scenery that was the domain of the AirCam and the Cessna, scenery marveled at and researched after lower flights in slower aircraft.

The RV-8A didn’t care about the scenery on the ground. It flew in the sky.

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Homebuilders' Workshop - December 2010

Remembering Chorny

By Ed Wischmeyer

“A man’s best friend is his dog,” goes the story, but the famous concluding argument by trial lawyer Senator George Graham Vest was never completely recorded. My dog, Chorny, was my best friend in her canine-like way through turbulent times. 

Chorny was a black Lab, and she was given to us at the age of 5 ½ weeks, too young, two months before we got married. She did all the usual puppy things that you’ve heard about other dogs, but she did her own things, too.

Whenever she was in a new environment, Chorny needed to see what was going on, and then she was okay. We bought the 1959 Cessna “Bumblebee” and, with the avionics freshly but partially installed, were preparing to load up the plane and head to Michigan, with the wife (now ex-), a slug of baggage, and the pup. But first we had to have a test flight and make sure that the pup would accept the airplane.

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Homebuilders Workshop - October 2010

First Flight: It Takes A “Flying” Village

By Ed Wischmeyer

John is meticulous. Today, he will launch his years of work into the air for the first time, the paperwork now declaring that his RV-10 is officially an airplane.

At one point, there were four RV-10s being built in this high desert region of three towns and 100,000 people. One man had his almost finished but sold it, almost ready to fly, because he needed the capital for his business. Another man completed the tail kit, but, having seen the scope of the entire project, considered his age, the time he wanted to spend with his grandchildren, and the RV-7 that he already had flying, sold his beautifully crafted tail kit. My project was sold when I got divorced and moved away, but I sold my finishing kit to John, and some of the parts that will first fly today were once mine.

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Homebuilder's Workshop - August 2010

Ready for Sloshkosh

By Ed Wischmeyer

In a normal year, I’d be in Oshkosh before the show had even started, either unloading at the farmhouse or wandering around the grounds, getting keys and such. This year, however, a good friend is getting married and his family is stayed with me—a treat. So, when Sunday afternoon came along,  I went home from the reception, changed clothes, loaded the car with the Oshkosh stuff and the pup and headed on over.

You’ve probably read by now that Oshkosh has had record-setting rain this month, and even though they didn’t get the seven inches of rain that closed the Milwaukee airport for a while, there’s been enough that there is no airplane parking, no camping allowed and no wheeled vehicles on the grass. Though sunny days did make an appearance, there’s an organization that can deal with that kind of wet mess, it’s got to be EAA. They’ve got volunteers that really know how to get things done.

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