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This story was written by Jess Meyers of Belted Air (www.beltedair.com). They manufacture propeller speed reduction units (PSRU) and other auto power conversion solutions for aviation and can be contacted at BELTEDAIR@aol.com.
What Can You Take in an RV?
It was the week before Copperstate 2000 and it looked iffy if the ground crew would get there before we did. What do you do with a spare drive for display and boxes of giveaway sheets, let alone the tent for covering the engine and front end upon arrival? The question was put to Tom Jones, the lightest guy in the group. "Well, I could ride the Honda down to Phoenix. I would probably beat you as you always stop for food somewhere along the way". Yeah right!
So, we started the loading the heavy stuff at the bottom followed by all the tie downs, the bucket holding the emergency stuff drinking water, compass, space blanket, etc. - the usual for a weeks stay. "Did you check the weight of the papers in the big boxes?" "No", I answered. "We will probably run out anyway and we won't be bringing them back". Not the best answer, but the only logical one I could come up with. "What about our bags?" again he asked. Well, with the slider all the way back I think we can jam them in, was my best reply, and the tent? Well, if you get in first I can stuff it between us and we'll make a zero flap landing, don't need them anyway as Williams is over 10K in length. I think it's the old military attitude; your intentions are honorable, as you have to go anyway. At least with old Bonanzas you can tell you're out of range as they settle to the tail before take off, but the little RV just stood there as if nothing was in it.
Next stop the fuel island to make sure we had plenty, as it was only a couple of hours to PHX. Not knowing if we had to hold when we got there, we figured we would burn it off on the way over. An old airline pilot once said, "The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire and then a teacup is too much". With that in mind we topped her off.
Jones crawled in full of confidence, and then complained when I shoehorned my carcass in the other side. The Chevy fired first blade and we were off, only I did notice it took about an extra 100 rpm to taxi out. Couldn't be that heavy, could it? After the brief run up we were on to the runway. We were cleared for a takeoff and we were gone. "Seems we used another 100 feet or so", Jones commented. "Yep, a full 5 seconds more". The climb settled in at 1000 fpm off from the usual 1150 but we were up in cool air in no time with a course set for Williams. After passing KGM Jones asked if we were going to land for food. Nope. We were making such good time and it was going to be hot when we got there, so we pressed on.
At the 1:45 mark comparing the GPS to the map, I said to Tom, "looks like they moved the coordinates for PHX". "Lost again", he commented! Well not really, but what's wrong with this picture? Well, I wasn't watching either the GPS or the Map - just sort of having a good time. We came in the back way and made good time. It's just a matter of skirting the Class B and on to Williams.
Two hours and 15 minutes and we were on the ground but way out from the flight line, ground wouldn't answer as the same guy was working the tower and there were two other planes and one was having some sort of engine problems so we waited. "Guess you're going to have to open the cowl flap", Jones laconically mused. Darn it if he isn't one heck of a flight engineer. He mothers over that Chevy like it was his baby. Well, we waited for a full 20 minutes while a Supermarine Spitfire landed and was crying that his water was boiling. He only came from 30 miles away. Ten minutes more and we were at the display area, temps were only 190 on the engine, (thermostat temp) and 170 out of the radiator.
Another successful flight.
How much does the RV hold? Enough for two men to take 15 minutes to unload it (and fill a 10X10 tent). The flight back without all of extra stuff was quite a pleasure. Not once were we out of Van's CG range, a little overweight maybe but not out of CG.