Vans Airforce


Why Build?



Aero Club C172

Steve's RV-6A

Bill in his shop

Bill's RV-6A

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Friend's planes




     I guess I always had a desire to learn to fly. Up until 1998, I either had the money and not the time or the time and not the money. I remember talking to a salesman for ultra-lights once a few years ago and when he figured he wasn't going to be able to sell me an aircraft, said to me, "You need to get your priorities straight. If you want to fly, push it up on your priority list, or you will never do it.."

It didn't have an immediate effect, but the advice hit home and "learning to fly" made it to a space on my to-do list. So when I met up with my long time friend and flight instructor, Larry Richardson, at the local flight breakfast and he suggested I check out the local Aero Club, it clicked.

I scheduled an introductory flight with him and joined the club. The plane was a 1970 Cessna 172 with 150 HP engine, the typical trainer airplane. Larry instructed me from August 1998 to June 1999 when I finally got my private pilot license. I couldn't get enough flying in. It seemed that when I was flying, it felt like I belonged up there.

Although Janet wasn't too keen on the idea**, I wanted us to do some serious traveling by plane to all the great destinations all around the country. After crunching the numbers of what it would cost in money and time to rent the club plane, not to mention the limitations of the underpowered Cessna, I came to the conclusion that we had to have our own plane. I started to research planes, capabilities and costs. I discovered that to get a plane that was fast enough to travel to either coast in a short day and be safe to travel through the mountains, it would be expensive to own and operate a certified aircraft. My search expanded to home-built airplanes.

I looked at and ruled out Kitfox, Zenith, Euorpa, Glassair, Mustang II, Thorp and all ultra-lights. When my good friend Steve Steinhoff suggested RVs and then when he actually bought a partially built kit, I started getting serious about become part of the RV community. I sought out and found other RV builders in the area to visit. One of those builders was Bill Gast. When I visited his project RV-6A that he was building in his basement, we hit it off. I volunteered to help him build one night a week and that started a strong friendship and builder's relationship that has endured. I spent 4 hours every Tuesday night at Bill's. I helped him build and in return, I learned many builder's skills.

I had decided to build an RV and had the same problem that many prospective builders have - which RV to build? About this time, Vans Aircraft was developing the RV-9A. It was the first RV to take advantage of the latest technology that uses computer drafting coupled to a machine that cuts all the aluminum and punches most of the rivet holes. It is called matched hole technology. After helping Bill build his RV6A fuselage, I knew how difficult it was to build with no holes pre-punched. I didn't rule out building an RV-6, but other factors entered the equation. The RV-9A was developed for the "low-time" pilot. ( I had only 150 hours logged in the Cessna at the time) That fact along with the easier building feature convinced me to select the 9. I ordered the tail kit.

I continued to help Bill every Tuesday night but worked on my own plane every weekend. Three years and 2500 hours later, Moody Blue flew for the first time on Oct 2, 2003.

We now have over 800 hours on "Moody Blue", traveled to 38 states and visited many wonderful places.

** Janet has since come to enjoy our trips and hates to drive long distances in the car.

This website is dedicated to my friend and mentor, Larry Richardson, who was taken from us prematurely. Larry is sorely missed.

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