Remembering why I build

I get the privilege of flying an RV-7A from time to time for a friend of mine. He lost his medical and is working on getting it back. For now he needs a safety pilot to fly with him. But with schedule conflicts that doesn’t happen as often as he would like the airplane to be flown. So I get the terrible job of going out and circulating the oil now and again.

For the last 8 or so weeks the airplane has been at the paint shop getting it’s new wardrobe. Bob was going for a retro Cessna 195 esque look, polished aluminum with color accent strips. Let me tell you, unlike the Cleveland Indians (Bob is a big Indians fan), Bob hit it out of the park! It looks fantastic.

Bob has been trying to get the airplane back home for the last 3 weeks. It’s a bit of an exercise in coordination as he needs to get a ferry plane and pilot, one of the pilots on his insurance, and the weather to cooperate. He had been successful with 2 of the 3 the last 3 weeks, but today all the stars aligned.

I got a ride up to Hibbing in Darryl Zook’s RV-8. It is a very nice airplane and we went up to 8,500 feet to get above a scattered cloud deck where it was nice cool and smooth. While we were cruising along looking out over the Minnesota Iron Range, which recently lost its snow cover, I was reminded how cool it is we can build our own flying machines in this country.
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When we got to Hibbing Bob’s airplane wasn’t tied down outside where we were expecting it to be. Instead, the mechanic decided that someone who has a fresh paint job should be kept in a hangar and took it upon himself to make it so. How is that for small town customer service!

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Anyways, we preflighted and took off. I am skipping a few details here, but lets just say to do an extra cautious preflight when you leave the paint shop. Be sure that they didn’t, for example, paint over the static ports. That could add to the experience of the day.

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On the way back, I flew #2 position on Darryls wing all the way to South St. Paul. It was a lot of fun to be able to practice my formation skills, position holding, crossing under, rejoins, etc. We did an overhead approach and split up, Darryl did a low approach and headed home, and I landed. It was a nice day for flying. Here is a nice video of it.

With all of this excitement and opportunity to go out and make airplane noises, I don’t feel too guilty to report that I was only able to spend an hour in the workshop today. Between flying, mowing, and volunteer activities time just ran out.

You guessed it though, I sanded out primer. I only got to the bottom of the left wing. Good news is, 90% of the surface area is good to go. I will have to do some spot filling and spot priming but we are very close. đŸ™‚ In the photos you can see the low spot evidenced by the texture.

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