Saturday, January 7, 2012

Father / Son RV4 Building Commences

My son and I live apart right now due to a divorce in the family. It has been difficult to say the least not seeing both my children as I have been very much involved in their lives since they were born. So when my son mentioned that he wanted to build a plane and learn to fly, needless to say that was very exciting to me because just as my father and I shared father/son time building airplanes, I am hoping that he and I would be able to share the same type of father/son experience I so very much cherished with my dad.

My son told me that he wanted to build an RV-4, just like the plane that I once had years ago. Thus, we started looking for RV-4 kits. I went to the Vans Aircraft website to look to see what the kit cost these days and was stricken with sticker shock. Much different than when I used to build years ago.

So, our we resorted to trying to find a used kit that someone else had started but had given up for some reason or another. We stumbled upon a kit that was owned by Rick Haehnel located in Denver, Colorado. I spoke with Rick and explained what I wanted to do. Rick was excited for us and was overwhelmingly supportive towards helping us in every way. The kit cost was extremely cheap, and Rick helped with arranging shipping and dragging the kit from his home to the shipping terminal in downtown Denver.

Rick was also very patient, as the cost, even though not much, was still more than what we had. And I wanted my son to be responsible for the majority of the cost, since it was his airplane after all. So, we started looking around the house for things that we do not use and things that we could sell. We were able to sell enough items that were just sitting around, taking up space, to come up with the necessary funds to purchase the kit. A Rick waited for us. I learned throughout his waiting for us, that Rick was a Christian man, and this made me very happy, as my son and I are also Christian as well. Rick told me he thought it would be a wonderful experience that God would work through the building of an airplane to grow the relationship between my son and me, and that it would teach my son very valuable skills and life experiences over the time that we would spend building the project. I think he is correct. I am really happy and grateful that Rick was so patient with us and helpful as he was.

The kit is finally here. I have gone through some of it in the garage, and I just get more excited everyday. I have been cleaning out the basement of my home so that we can start to build there. Soon, we will set up the jigs, and start building wings. How exciting is that. I am still trying to find some of the necessary tools that are required, but I have not been able to find them at a good price. I think this is all part of the life lessons that God is teaching us. Patience, patience, patience....all is His time.

I will be posting our progress on my blog as our project takes shape. I am so excited to share with all the people that visit this site and have an interest in aviation and homebuilt planes. I am posting the some pics that I took when we unloaded all the boxes into the garage. So here they are:

Notice that the horizontal and vertical stabs are mostly complete. We still need to complete the elevators and rudder and apply the fiberglass parts to them.

My son likes the paint scheme of my old RV4, as it was a standout, and we still have all the designs that were used on it.

So, there you have it. As I get more into the project I will post things that we are doing and as many pics as I can take to show off what we are doing, and to also help anyone else that may be building an RV4 as well. So...more film at 11 !!! - Cpt. Buzz