Camping with friends
Dolly and I drove our Roadtrek RV to Airventure rather than fly the Swift so as to not be distracted from our prime focus on Vans RV building information. It also allowed us to camp with over twenty others from Dalton Airport (3DA), our home airport. We were the first of our group to arrive on Thursday before the convention. The site in Ed’s Campground adjacent to the airport and just off the end of the ultralight runway was gorgeous.
Prior to AirVenture, I had anticipated building an RV-7 with slider canopy. At the show I scheduled a ride in a -7 for Tuesday, however double booking occurred and I was bumped to a -9a on Friday. Several people asked why a -7 and not a -9. I opened my mindset after the demo ride. Not willing to decide without a ride in a -7 I look forward to flying in Mike Goulet’s new -7 at Dalton.
The surprise came when Dolly and I sat in Vans RV-7 tip up and -9a slider cockpits. We each agreed the tip-up canopy was much easier to enter and leave than the slider. The difference is in the location of the roll bar. Having the roll bar behind the seats to lean on made entry and exit much easier. Also as others point out the unobstructed view through the tip up canopy is fantastic, much like the view from most sailplanes. We will be ordering the tip up.
In addition to pestering Vans staff with questions, we sat in on pertinent forum sessions and participated in two workshops. Dolly and I each drilled, dimpled, deburred, bucked and riveted in Sheet Metal 101 coming away with a sample of our work. We next mixed epoxy, wetted fiberglass and built composite samples to take home. It was fun. We are going to build an airplane!
As another commitment to building, we took advantage of show discount prices and purchased a sheet metal tool kit. The vendor, Avery Tools, was selected after reading many endorsements by other RV builders on Vans Air Force web blog. We also visited the Cleveland and Aircraft Supply booths and compared prices and contents before making our selection.
I chose Avery’s ‘barebones’ rather than ‘super deluxe’ kit for two reasons. (1) we plan on a Vans Quickbuild kit where much of the sheet metal work is already completed, and (2) there is a new Harbor Freight retail store less than 1/4 mile from our home in Florida. We can fill in many of the other tools as needed from there.
The Homebuilt Camping Area at Oshkosh was filled, mostly with RVs. I saw some with paint schemes I found most attractive. The following are photos of some of them.