W o r d s F r o m A u s t i n
Ol' TedOl' Ted was ex-Airforce and spent his latter years flying a Sikorsky flying banana on rescue ops. For about 20 years..and he had seen a lot. I said at one time to him, that I thought a Mooney was pretty cool...fast..you know what I mean. He countered with," Well, they go down hill pretty fast ". I wondered why he said that, because they all do that, but Ted had seen some rescue missions in the mountains where there was nothing to rescue ..just a mangled Mooney...and he felt so bad. Ted was a most wondrous man to know...completely self deprecating and yet able to guide me through another step of aviation thrill and experience I would never have had were it not for him and his guidance. What I am talking about is close formation flying and how it lets you see what a flying school would never mention and that is how we look up close when we fly.... I now have in my treasure of possessions, a few photos of an RV at 10,000, with a snow capped peak of a mountain as beautiful as Fuji in the backdrop....an RV in full glory...up close and totally magic. I also have some pictures...just try that sometime when you are in close and holding a camera at the same time......of the same RV at 200, yes, both indicated and altitude...above our beloved river and landmark, coursing this way and that same as the white water... I thrill to it still. But Ted is gone, but not his gift of opening the RV door to me and how we danced together. The RV is a truly remarkable entity, just like so many other things we try our hand at playing. It is both challenging and comforting because it is as quick as a Mongoose after the Cobra's head, and at the same time, as docile as a good quarter horse ...one that you could put a 2 year old on. Mind you, the key to all this is common sense....take off can be accomplished by feeding in the throttle gradually and you apply any straightening correction which you can see is obviously needed... it does say "hello" !..."keep sharp here ! "...and maybe the landing is what set you up for the sweats the most. But it is a non-event if you plan it before you took off.... Really, that broad fat wing is there to save your bacon and at the same time, let you rip along like no Masserati can match. Approach is the same...keep the damn speed down, keep the sweet spot in the same place, let her settle and round out at a reasonable moment and she ..."arrives"..... It will very likely be the best greaser you will make in the next 10 hours. I used to look forward keenly to the Pilot reports on how to fly an RV, and after having owned and flown one, wonder if it was of any use other than another .."gee, this is what you must prepare for"...kind of reporting.... After your solo, you can write your own Pilot report....you and the airplane are better than you think. Mind you, my sister is still a terrible driver after 40 years of driving a car and I can't feel good, ever, riding along with her, but it goes like that... Some people were never meant to drive. Some pilots aren't either.... It blows me away that many people will quickly accept a ride with a pilot they know nothing about. Take Crazy Hank as an example.....he didn't last long... I was driving out to the field one evening just at dusk...can't remember why other than to look at airplanes...when this car went ripping by me and drove out to the grass, where Hank jumped out and undid the ropes and took off...no prefight..and immediately had to crank in a hard right since a Cessna was headed right at him, landing on the same runway, but 180 degrees to Hank.... I marveled at that...almost as much as when I saw a Cavalier stand on the Port wing and carve through the parking lot as a new owner/pilot fought torque on takeoff.... That one ended OK ...our own special airshow....but Hank did not.. Ol' Hank upgraded to a Mooney and took 3 friends along on his death drive...bad weather and all...Hank never did take any instrument time....who needs it when you are this good ? Why all this rhetoric now....can't say really, except that airplanes and people all come in varying degrees of thrills and capabilities, and some instruments are played more beautifully and fully than others depending on who is at the controls and how much common sense and respect they hold for that instrument...... I would like to fly a Rocket and I know I can, but money does get in the way.... I would fly a Champ and love it if that is all there was there to strap on.... If you watch TV pro golf and realize that of all the weekend guys who knock that little ball around, there are, in the entire world, only a few..pros...who are better than all the rest in the world.. Well, Van has done the same thing for you and me.. Look around and see what is available...not counting military..tain't fair...and see what choices of light airplanes are out there that can do what you want a sport plane to do .... Well, there is the key isn't it ? that term..Sport Plane ?......there ain't many...at least not out of Wichita....well, you could try on a Yak, I guess, but are you ready to spend as many maintenance hours on one as you do flying it ?...and for how much ?? Some people, when they decide to build at all, take a few years to get an RV flying..some are much quicker, but if you want to actually live the thrill of holding this racehorse in your fist and zoom up there to playland, then keep the dream alive and keep plugging. I could buy a concert grand and struggle myself through lessons on how to make the music, but I know while I am struggling, that the instrument is just there waiting for me to unlock and free the symphony of power and beauty that lies in wait...silent for now...waiting.... The thrill at hand and waiting for you is at once blinding and yet awakening.... Austin.