Sometimes we simply forget what great traveling machines our RV’s are. More importantly, we forget what great friendship machines they are!
Three years ago, while attending the Triple Tree Fly-in my son, who was four at the time, and I walked back to the plane to get a toy out of the back and two gentlemen were giving it a pretty good inspection. As we walked up, I introduced myself and asked if they had any questions.
It turned out the son, Paul, had built an RV-6 and his father had just started on a -9 and was trying to decide where to put the little wheel. Neither had flown in a -9 or -9A so I offered both of them a ride, which they gratefully accepted. After the post flight debrief we each went our separate ways.
Later that day, while talking to another friend (I think it was Pierre), I noticed my son was running around with two little girls, the younger one being his age. After finishing with Pierre, I introduced myself to the girl’s mother and grandmother. While chatting with Mom and Grandmother, and watching the kids runaround, expending more energy than I expend in half a day, the two gentlemen I had previously given rides to approached and started chatting. As it turns out, the two ladies were their wives and the girls where their daughters/granddaughters.
Jump a head a few years and our families have gotten together at the subsequent AirVentures and Triple Tree fly-ins and although the kids are only seven now, we often joke about their pending nuptials. (While it is highly unlikely they would ever get married, it would be cool if they remained friends to adulthood.)
This past Saturday, with a high pressure dominating most of the US, my son and I loaded up the plane, left South Carolina at 7:30 AM local time, touching down two hours and fifteen minutes later at KOSU where we visited my brother and his wife for a few hours. As we were on short final into KOSU the controller gave us a warning that there was a fox crossing the runway. My son strained to see the “fox” and quickly realized it was a coyote and he was correct. It was probably one of the larger coyotes I have seen and definitely not something I would want to hit with my delicate RV. Thus, I elected to land long.
After lunch we climbed aboard and pointed the nose North by Northeast and landed a half hour later at 15G, which is just outside of Cleveland, OH, where my son’s seven year-old girlfriend and her family are based.
We spent a few hours visiting, watching the kids play, talking airplanes, and eating freshly baked cookies before departing at 3 PM for South Carolina. (Apparently our friends replaced their kitchen stove, moved the old unit to the hangar, and wired it up. Smart, very smart! Especially if your wife and family like to hang out there and bake fresh cookies!)
After another 2:15 of flying (We had a few knots tailwind.) those 5x500 tires rolled on the grass at SC86 just as the shadows from the setting sun started to reach across the runway.
While the mission was to visit friends and family, I’m still stunned that a simple plane that some hack built in his basement is capable of leaping tall mountains (OK, not so tall, this is the East Coast after all), six states (SC, NC, TN, VA, KY, WV, & OH – Okay, just a little bit of VA, KY, & WV), and back all in the course of a single day. We returned home in time to do a few chores and have dinner. Even though we are lucky enough to live on an airpark, our neighbors continued to be stunned at the range and capability of these RV’s.
Keep pounding those rivets, the end results are worth the effort!
PS. I still haven't convinced Paul's father to put the little wheel at the correct end.
These pictures were taken somewhere over WV.