Monday, December 24, 2012

Buzz Barnstormer's Year in Review

I would have to say that 2012 was really an incredible year. When I first decided to write this post, I was not so sure about that. But when I started thinking about all the things that have been accomplished, and the people that I have met, I realized that this year was something of a standout.

I have had a blast creating the idea of establishing a "Grass Roots" family of RVers that fly together, start new friendships based on a common ground, and do things that are exciting and fun, and at the same time, give back to our community. RV Nation has been a blast to develop.

Since the idea was implemented, the following things have been accomplished:

   1) I have met some really fun and incredible people along the way, like Bill Englert and Sherryl Booth. I visited them at their airpark in Advance, NC and got a chance to see their beautiful RV4 and their very cool hangar which housed the window section of an airliner as the windows in Bill's office. Wow! I want one of those!

  2) I met Jim Booth from Hickory, NC, who donated a fuselage jig for my son's RV4, and a wing stand as well. He and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the Hickory Airport together and had a chance to talk some RV-talk, and then he showed me his newly built RV4. And so many others! It has been a pleasure to meet you all!

  3) 298 core people have joined RV Nation on Facebook, and contribute ideas and thoughts on a daily basis. It is great to see all the enthusiasm and to see their RV projects progress daily as they post pictures on the site.

  4) Our new website, RV-Nation, was built, and is growing quickly. I have found that it is difficult to build a website that people want to go see on a daily basis and contribute their ideas to it as well. Making the RV Nation the kind of site that all RVers will want to visit often continues to be my goal, and I think will take the thoughts and input of many rather than just me. And I am ok with that, because after all, the whole idea is to bring RVers together.

  5) One of the coolest things that is on the RV Nation site is the RVN Fighter and Bomber Groups. The idea was established after thinking about EAA Groups. I have been to many EAA group meetings and have been a member of a few EAA Chapters as well. A whole lot of talking and not much doing! Now, I know that this may not be the case for all EAA Chapters, but for the many that I have been to, it certainly was. Hardly any building happening, hardly any flying on a regular basis happening, and when the meeting was over, everyone went their separate ways, not to see each other again until the next month, when we did it all over again. Just wasn't my idea of fun. Then I talked with Mike Brewster out of Sacramento, CA. He told me of a group of people he was friends with that all had RVs and would all go out and fly to a designated restaurant every weekend. I thought, "How cool is that?" That sounds like a lot of fun. So, I began to think of some ways that I could implement something like that, and make it even more fun.

I began to look at Team Aerodynamix, formerly Team RV. Folks, they are having the times of their lives. They all dress the part, fly their planes, meet their fans, give back to their community, and are becoming celebrities in so doing. Then the idea came to me. Not everyone feels comfortable flying formation flying. But everyone loves to fly their RVs in a group. I came up with the idea of establishing Fighter Groups and Bomber Groups so that owners of RVs can establish them in their area, attract other  RVers, and begin to establish a camaraderie of RV friends. The Fighter Groups and the Bomber Groups are named after the actual Groups from WWII. I have attached the history of the group to the Group number on the RV Nation site.  So, at the same time we are flying our RVs around the country, we are honoring the people that were in the actual WWII Fighter or Bomber Group before us at the same time. We can take it as far as we'd like. Just like Team Aerodynamix has and a few other formation groups have done as well, the RV Nation Fighter Groups and Bomber Groups can be a recognizable entity of RVers that fly together, have established good friendships and are there for one another, and gives back to their community as well. All it takes is participation and enthusiasm.

  6) This year we held our first RV Nation fly-in at the Deerfield Resort in Tennessee. We had over 60 people in attendance. 18 RVs flew in for the event and enjoyed some very good BBQ and listened to some music provided by Shake Ragg. It was a gorgeous day to fly, and the weather was perfect. The RVs were beautiful, all shined up. Many thanks to all that came, it was a lot of fun seeing and meeting you all.

  7) My son decided that he wanted to build an RV4 this year. That was an extremely exciting day for me too as I have been building for a very long time. I built planes with my dad years ago, and it was some of the most memorable times being their with him. I know how the attention span is for a teenager, so I did not expect my son to stay as enthused as I am about building. So, I started talking about his interest in building a plane and showed some pictures of his plane going together to some members of my class at school, and found that their were many kids that were interested in that kind of thing as well. Most of the kids in my class are 12 through 14 years old, a little young for building planes. But not too young for developing interest in aviation. My wife and I decided to implement STEM camps this summer to introduce kids to building and testing projects. Through camps like this, kids will learn basic intrinsic mathematical skills to construct bottle rockets, mousetrap vehicles, elastic gliders and other fun things to compete with at the end of the day. Should be a blast for the kids as well as a stepping stone for those that want to take it to the next level and get into building actual airplanes.

  8) My Harmon Rocket progress continues. It has been a long and arduous build. I have someone building it for me at this time, but that is going to change soon. I miss the times building and creating my plane, and want to have it back so that I can continue the build to its completion. The fuel tanks are completed and the wings are being buttoned up. I am ready to start the fuselage here in North Carolina.

  9) This year saw the development and completion of something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I have never liked the looks of the old standard pitot tubes used on almost every plane out there. I think they are uglier than ugly. And since we build our planes with the utmost of care and custom design everything we can, I decided to finally design a new pitot tube that will be used on my Harmon Rocket and my son's RV4. I bought a B-1 Bomber pitot tube off the internet, took some measurements, and proceeded to build my pitot tube. After 3 iterations of designs, the final product was realized. And I have to say, it really looks good!

  10) I leave the best accomplishment for last. In a world where so many evil and horrific things happen, it is so very nice to be a part of a community of RVers that are all such incredible people. I have met many of you in person, and many more through chatting on Facebook. It is such a pleasure to call you all friends. I look forward to hearing all your stories and accomplishments, seeing the first flights, flying with you all, and most importantly, growing in RV friendship style as the new year approaches.

Yes, this year has been a good one, and I am eagerly looking forward to next year. Thank you all for being the best RV community in the world. With 2012 coming to a close, and 2013 almost here, my family and I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Let's make 2013 the best ever! All it takes is participation and enthusiasm. I'll see you all there!


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