This Project was started on April 23, 2002. At that time I placed an order with Van’s Aircraft in Aurora, Oregon for an Airplane. Following is a description of it:
This vehicle comes with “Some Assembly Required,” therefore a lot of things had to happen to make this a successful project or at least a serious attempt at a successful project.
First let me give you a little history. I have been an aviation professional for 35 years. I am a licensed A&P mechanic with an IA. I have a pilot's license with instrument and multi-engine ratings. My wife and I own a business called Jet Harbor, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. UPDATE: We acquired an FBO in Gallatin, Tennessee in August of 2002. It is at M33, 20 NM Northeast of Nashville.
Q. How did I get interested in building this , anyway?
A. I watched one of these RV's being assembled on Discovery Wings.
They were putting together an RV-8. They took 13 episodes to assemble it. They did this on Sunday nights on a show called “From the Ground Up.” I became hooked on the show. When the plane flew on the final episode that was the end of the show. It seems that Discovery wings repeats their shows 50 times but not this one for some reason.
I needed a fix for my latest addiction so I turned to the Internet. Hundreds of people had related sites or links. Van’s Aircraft has a tremendous amount of reading material and links to builder’s sites. These sites were and are all informative. Some are also very entertaining. I couldn't wait to get home from work to prowl one of these sites. The most entertaining and informative site is www.rvproject.com by Dan Checkoway. He describes in detail every emotion he is going through to build his machine including pleading with his wife to help him install rivets. Second place on the list is The RV Journal by Sam Buchanan (http://home.hiwaay.net/~sbuc/journal/). It is a very close second I might add. This is the site that inspired me to build a tail dragger. I think both of these gentlemen should have been professional writers. Actually, I never really ran across a bad site. These two are just "The Best of the Best" in my opinion.
After a couple of months of reading other people's exploits, I decided to analyze myself and see if this was for me. After all, I get more than my fair share of aviation as it is.
Since 1990 I have been assisting Vic Boyce with the workshops at Sun'N'Fun in Lakeland, Florida. Mostly, I supply part of the funds for their volunteer's barbeque. When he took the workshop responsibility on back in 1990, he had 20 volunteers and 2 tents. He now gets 250 plus volunteers (WOW!) and has numerous tents. What a fantastic job he has done. This year, 2002, I decided to attend the Sun'N'Fun for two reasons. First, Vic always wants me to come to the barbeque which I support and hadn't been to and second, I was definitely going to check this Van's Aircraft company out.
On April 9th my wife, Mary, and I went to the Sun N’ Fun Air Show. We looked at these little planes and even sat in one (photo below). After discussing the pros and cons of such a project we ordered the kit described above on April 23, 2002.