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Old 07-19-2010, 07:42 AM
Larry Stokes Larry Stokes is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 20
Default Reluctant Flier

Wonderful story. It brought the weeps to my eyes. I read it a couple times, and realized the deeper story. It was just a great RV/Human story.
Thank you
Larry Stokes
Aurora, Co
RV-8 wannabe
NY7Q-amateur extra class
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:31 AM
RV7Ron's Avatar
RV7Ron RV7Ron is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 590
Default Excellent as always!

Now, this is a pilot's kind of romance! If only...

Good one Deb, nicely done in more ways than one. I will be forwarding this to a friend who is considering building an RV in the future so he can share it with his wife.
Ron Duren
Mechanical Engineer
"SportAir PhD"-RV Assembly/Composites/Electrical
Denver, CO (KBJC)
RV-7 'Tip Up'
Flying!! as of 3/16/14
IO-375/WW 200G-CS/SkyView/Dual P-mags
N531R "Wablosa" Wings of Red
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:21 AM
zilik's Avatar
zilik zilik is offline
VAF Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Pine Junction, CO
Posts: 655
Default And now about my flying buddy.

I too am fortunate enough to have my wife as my flying buddy. In the beginning it was a learning process for the both of us on each and every trip. We had long hours of boredom and moments of shear terror as we learned to navigate our nations airways.

I remember the first long trip I made without my buddy and I was worried if I could pull it off without her. I'm not kidding, I had never flown a long XC without her. It was a strange feeling flying off to my Dad's house without my wife, my flying buddy, sitting next to me. I did it, but I did not like it. It was like I was leaving an important part of the plane at home. I have only flown one other long XC with an empty left seat and that was to OSH last year. Not only did I fly alone in the cockpit, I was a single ship. OSH was not the same without my flying buddy.

One tip I have learned that was not on Scott's list is. If your flying buddies not happy, the pilots not happy. This really comes into play when navigating weather. If either one of us starts pushing the comfort envelope and the warm fuzzy feeling is waining, no reason has to be given, just let the other know the warm fuzzy is gone and the plane does a 180 and lands at the nearest airport until things improve.

And it's not about the destination, it's about getting there in the plane built in the garage. Remember, the ladies have things they want to see/do too!

My wife and I have had the pleasure of flying many miles with Scott and Deb and hope for many more wonderful travels with them. I always enjoy reading Deb's writings and so wish I could write. So until I learn to write travel stories we'll be traveling with Scott and Deb so that I can read about them and relive fond memories.
Gary "Seismo" Zilik
Pine Junction, Colorado
RV-6A N99PZ S/N 22993 SOLD
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Old 07-19-2010, 02:08 PM
Greg Longenhagen Greg Longenhagen is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: fort myers, FL
Posts: 3
Smile Reluctant Flyer

loved your story on the "Reluctant Flyer" and the photos are excellent.
Do you guys do much camping with your airplane?
You may want to check out
you both exemplify what the association is all about.
Sincere Regards,
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:25 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 15,611
Default Welcome to VAF!!!!

Hey Greg, welcome to VAF.

Good to have you here.
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:08 PM
cattflight cattflight is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 130
Default Timing couldn't be better!

Deb, Scott,

Thanks so much for (re)posting this. My wife and I are heading out for Oshkosh on Thursday and spending 5 nights in a rental RV (sadly, of the 4-wheeled type) to immerse ourselves in Airventure. We are in that exact same spot you described at the beginning of your story...I am enthusiastically shopping for the "right fit" and she is cautiously and patiently waiting for me to make the selection, place my deposit, and begin the project.

Like you suggest, I am being VERY careful to include her in the kit selection process. After all, if mama's not happy, NO ONE IS HAPPY! This aircraft is, like yours, going to be our own little time machine. Making this great nation smaller, getting her back to see family more regularly, and teaching us things about ourselves and each other we simply need to know. Wherein she is already a regular flyer with me, and she has suggested she'll participate in the build, she also enjoys the creature comforts while traveling so I suspect I'll have to include some in-cabin niceties...or dial back her O2 a little bit! ;p

Thanks so much for your insight and for giving us some perspective on how to persevere in this clearly delusional endeavor!!
Paul Catterson
Building Glastar N623PS
Will one day build an RV8
Spokane, WA
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:45 PM
BSwayze's Avatar
BSwayze BSwayze is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Molalla, Oregon
Posts: 955

Scott & Deb,

Once again, you've written an OUTSTANDING article. It deserves to be published in the best of the aviation publications. I can't wait to show it to Jamie. As I've said before, she has so much in common with you, Deb.

You have inspired us both, and continue to motivate us and lead the way. We can't wait to join you in your travels and adventures. It's so good to count you as among the best of our friends.

Thanks again for all your efforts. Please keep writing and posting!
Bruce Swayze
RV-7A Standard Build
First flight November 3, 2019!
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:07 PM
Daniel Snow Daniel Snow is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Gilbert, SC
Posts: 21
Default Another RV9A Wife Response

I LOVED your article - I really thought you were writing about me and my life story! My RV9A pilot and I built ours (okay he did 99% of it) in 2007 but I helped where I could with moral support and cookies - we have about 320 hours on it. When he first finished the plane and he was taking it up for the first time ... well you can just say I was a bit of a basket case. I have come a long way since then - enjoying my first loop and barrel roll this past weekend! It was wonderful!

As I read your article it reminded me of a short synopsis of our first flight for family and friends and thought you might enjoy reading it to. I will post it below.
Thank you again for sharing your article - I really enjoyed it!

Carla Snow - wife of N214D, Gilbert, SC

First Flight
An RV-9A Pilot?s Wife?s Perspective

Undoubtedly my Pilot will have his own version of today's events but as the ground crew (a/k/a wife), I have my own version.

It actually started last night, I had a hard time going to sleep, anticipating today's first flight. I said a quick prayer and finally fell off to sleep. 5:00 am was the waking hour for me. I got dressed and was still not believing that after one year and 4 months of rivets, instruments, paint, the first flight was here. I was excited and only marginally apprehensive about the day to come. That changed though on our "pre-flight briefing" we had on the way to the airport. It is basically about a 5-7 minute ride to the airport from our home ? he used every minute of it. He has never talked so much, so fast. The first thing my brilliant pilot said to me was - there's a hammer in the trunk of the car in case you need to break the canopy to get me out....while I'm absorbing this horrible thought he says - do you know where the hospital is and how to get there? And then proceeded to give me instructions on how to find the hospital (in my defense we haven't lived here long and I have had no use for the hospital up to this point.). I'm panicking a bit now because I'm muddling the directions to the I turn left by Walmart or right?? What's the hammer for, again? Why do I want to smash our new canopy - this isn't making sense. Do you remember how much a canopy costs? I do! To add more confusion - my pilot says - in case you can't get through with a hammer I have a cordless reciprocal saw you can use. Ok, I don't know how to operate a reciprocal saw but that doesn't phase my pilot... I'm thinking didn't we just spend the last 16 + months of our lives following every direction to the "T" on how to build this thing? I still haven't figured out the hammer thing -- it doesn't matter - we are at the airport - no wind, a clear day -"we" are flying shortly.

For the first time in 16 months I'm staring at every rivet wondering if it will hold...did we get a big enough engine....are those lights suppose to blink one at a time .... Why didn't I pay more attention when he was talking about the lights! I am about to shut this whole thing down -- there is no way we are flying today, ?we? just aren?t ready and I turn around to put my coffee cup on the tool bench and decide I have to convince the pilot that "we" aren't ready to fly - there are some rivets on bottom I haven't looked at - and he is pulling the plane out of the hanger - with a nervous smile.

Okay, I realize I could be over reacting a bit so I take a deep breathe - he hands me a hand held radio, camera, video camera, cell phone, blackberry -- where is the hammer? He kisses me goodbye - why is he kissing me goodbye - he will be up such a short time - oh my, I realize I need my hammer...

He cranks the engine and to my satisfaction, it starts the first time. I hop in the car and head to the pre-appointed place I will stand during takeoff. He taxis to the end of the runway. I'm still not ready - I'm holding the camera and the video camera - trying to decide when I can safely put my hammer down - and here he comes down the runway ... Before I knew it he was airborne and I managed to get a few shots of him taking off.

Luckily I was "briefed" about what would happen during this first flight. After a variety of maneuvers, speeding up, slowing down, turning one way, then another my brilliant pilot decided he had to find out the stall speed. Luckily I was "briefed" so I was "ready" or so I thought! All I can say is I have never been happier I had not eaten breakfast because when he said "I'm at 55 knots, 50 knots, 45 43 knots MY pilot and airplane started to fall from the sky! I held my breath - the motor started going faster and I bent over to hurl!

All in all it was a good day - the plane and pilot made it safely back to the ground. I never want to do this again. I feel sick. I never want to see a hammer again. My pilot is all smiles and thumbs up. I just smile right back ? with a smile that says, ?there was never a doubt in my mind?.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:53 PM
grifmara grifmara is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 16

Thank you , thank you, THANK YOU! What a wonderful story. Your writing is so articulate and the message so very helpful. I'm not yet building, but I know for certain that having my wife on board with this project, and the eventual flying, will be absolutely essential. Happy travels to you and Scott!
Mark Griffith
Houston, TX
Future RV builder
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:33 AM
339A's Avatar
339A 339A is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Littleton, CO
Posts: 367

We are overwhelmed by the positive response to our little write-up, and pleased that it strikes a chord with pilots/soon-to-be pilots and flying buddies alike. Thanks for reading it, and thanks especially for taking the time to comment. Your feedback makes the many hours spent working on it worthwhile!

Deb =D
Scott Mills, Front Range, CO
N339A - 1900 Hours!! since 9/11/05
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"In order to discover new lands one must have the courage to lose sight of the shore." Andre Gide

"Never feel sorry for a man who owns a plane" Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) in The Edge
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