Homebuilders' Workshop - August 2011

Georgia On My Mind

By Ed Wischmeyer

The good news is that after 38 months of unemployment and 600 job applications, I’m now a contract employee with a major aerospace manufacturer in Savannah, GA. And that, in turn, leads us to the unlikely history of the RV-8A that I used to own.

The story starts nearly five years ago when I bought an AirCam at government auction at a screamingly good price. The plan was to fly it for three or four years and then sell it for enough to cover purchase price plus all the expenses of ownership. When I bought it, I lived in Arizona and thoroughly enjoyed flying it there.  But, nine months after purchase, I (and it) moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Aerial sightseeing in the Midwest is not spectacular, like it is in other parts of the country, but the Midwest in summer is as beautiful as any other part of the country. Trouble was, summer – even stretching the definition to mean any time the temperature was above 50 degrees, sort of a minimum required temperature for a tolerable AirCam flight – was at best six months of the year. The AirCam was advertised for sale several times, but then I changed the ad to say, “Might trade for the right RV-8.”

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Homebuilder's Workshop - July 2011

Oliver Springs, Tennessee

By Ed Wischmeyer

My old Garmin 396 couldn’t find Oliver Springs airport, which is near Oak Ridge, Tenn., which is near Knoxville, Tenn., which is – aw, go look it up – but and the trusty map application on my ancient, first generation iPhone could. AT&T cell phone service actually works way out here in the sticks in Tennessee.

What a cool place! Grass runway, a few hangars – one with a door, one with a few tarps across it, and a great selection of airplanes. There are three or four Cessna 182s, some 172s, and an immaculate Cessna 150 that’s been in the family for over 30 years. The owner was waiting for her instructor to show up to give her a BFR, and she explained, in her soft, Tennessee accent, that her husband had died a year ago. But the last thing he did was to rebuild the airplane, making everything new, and giving it an immaculate paint job. She also says that there are two flying clubs on the field.

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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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