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Old 01-19-2016, 07:58 AM
Dgamble's Avatar
Dgamble Dgamble is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 869
Default The value of the RV Community

I have given a lot of people rides in both my RV-6 and now in my RV-12, and I always enjoy it as least as much as they do. Having been blessed with owning a Van's RV for what, nine or ten years now, it's easy to forget what wonderful little airplanes they are. Just as humans can get used to just about anything, there is a similar risk of getting so used to things that they start to be taken for granted - flying with people that have never been in a small plane before, or pilots that have never experienced the physical freedom of a nimble little sport plane, tends to remind the owner of what a special privilege it is to have one of these things.

I have to be honest, though: I don't remember everyone I've given a ride to, but they sure remember me! There's one guy at the airport that has had to remind me twice now that he took a ride with me. And now I realize that I've forgotten his name. Again.

On the other hand, there are some that are very memorable. There was a 50-something guy that had never flown in an airplane of any type, despite a life-long interest. And, or course, many of the very pretty young women are easily recalled.

And then there was Phil.

Phil called me one day last May to introduce himself as a fellow RV-12 builder in search of a ride. Naturally I told him that I'd be happy to give him one, and all he had to do was let me know when he wanted to come to the airport. There was a pause.... then he somewhat reluctantly told me that doing so would be a three hour round trip. "No problem," I told him, "I'll fly out to Zanesville and you can meet me there." That's less than a half hour trip in the 12, so it was no big deal at all.

The ride was memorable mostly because of how ebullient he was. I've seen that in younger people, and sometimes in 50-somethings as mentioned above, but seldom in the late-60s to 70-something group. That's not to say that they don't enjoy or appreciate it, because they do, but this guy was almost giddy. When we landed, we went through the obligatory "can I give you same gas money" dance, wherein they offer a couple of times and I respectfully decline.

Besides the fact that accepting money flies right in the face of FAA regulations, I really don't think it's necessary. I enjoy the flying, and the hourly costs of flying an RV-12 are so low that my out-of-pocket cost is nearly insignificant. And besides, I'm really just re-paying the debts incurred from when it was I that was asking for/receiving rides in RVs.

It's really just part and parcel with the mores of the RV Community.

What I have failed to consider is that what I consider to be a small favor may very well be of a far higher worth to the recipient of my minimal largess.

Obviously Phil had been one of those. When I got back to home base and picked up my phone to close my domestic flight plan (the text I send home to tell my spouse that I had cheated fate once again), I had a text from Phil telling me to make sure to look over to the passenger side - he had left something in the plane.

I did so, and found two wadded up $50 bills.


I had to do something with them, so one of them now rides in the map box, just waiting for the next time I find myself out somewhere and short of cash. The other rides in the glove box of my car, awaiting the same type of situation.

Late last December I received a message from Phil's wife telling me that he had passed away in November.

She told me that she thought I would want to know how much that ride had meant to Phil. She was right.

I took a day to absorb the news of his passing, then remembered that I had taken a couple of pictures of him during the flight, which I try to do with everyone that rides with me. I was able to dig those out of my picture repository and send the better of the two to her, for which she was very grateful.

Then I had a thought.

I never know how to approach these things, so I cautiously composed another message to her that went something like "I apologize if this is inappropriate, but if you need help selling the kit, please let me know and I'll be happy to assist."

She took me up on the offer this weekend, so I drove out to the very nice heated garage where he had been building the plane to assess the situation. As it turns out, it's in extremely good condition, very well organized, and should be very easy to sell. In fact, I may have already sold it.

I also suggested that she would have no trouble selling the specialty tools as well. As I was winnowing them out from the more day-to-day tools, I came across one that I need myself, so I told her I would be making an offer on it.

When I had all of the airplane parts separated out from lawnmower parts and the like, I asked her how much she wanted for the tool, based on the price I found on Aircraft Spruce.

She paused, clearly thinking it through, then finally said, "Well, I guess I need to know what your fee is going to be first."

I have to confess to being momentarily stunned by the question; I can't imagine anyone in the RV community would even consider charging a fee for what I had done for her.

I told her that there would be no fee - in fact, it was a nice opportunity to use the knowledge that I spent three years building, only to never need again. Happy to do it!

She thought for a few minutes, then said "How about $100 for the tool?"

Perfect! I had half of it right there in the car, and the other half sitting in the map box of the plane!!

Thanks, Phil!

Oh, and she also asked if I had known he was ill at the time we went flying together. I had not, but as it was cancer, he probably did.

He very likely knew that our shared flight would be the only flight he would ever have in an RV-12 - I'm tearing up just writing this.

Now I better understand the worth people may be putting on those rides that I consider to be just another chance to fly my airplane.

It can be quite high.


There are some pictures of the tools on my blog:

I'd like to sell them as a set - thinking $750 obo.
Dave Gamble
Grove City, OH

RV-6 N466PG Purchased already flying - SOLD!

The Book: The PapaGolf Chronicles

Built RV-12

The Book: Schmetterling Aviation

The above web blogs and any links provided thereto are not instructional or advisory in nature. They merely seek to share my experiences in building and flying Van's RV airplanes.

Last edited by Dgamble : 01-19-2016 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:50 AM
Guy Prevost's Avatar
Guy Prevost Guy Prevost is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: albuquerque, nm
Posts: 1,188

Wow. I'm all choked up myself. Thanks for taking the time to write that.

Guy Prevost
Albuquerque, NM
RV-8a Built, Enjoyed, Sold
Two Kids: Built, Enjoying
RV-10, Bought, Rebuilt, Enjoying
Build / First Flight Video:

Arguing on the internet is like having a competition to see who can hit a brick wall the hardest. You may win, but you're still an idiot.
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:01 AM
TS Flightlines TS Flightlines is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Ridgeland, SC
Posts: 2,929

Dave--that is an awesome story. WE never know the circumstances of the people, whose paths we cross. You gave a ride to a nice gentleman that meant the world to him, AND his wife,
We all run across people like that, maybe not in person like this case, but through email, or text, of phone calls. Its really something special to have a small part in someones life like that. Kudos to you my friend!
Tom Swearengen, TS Flightlines LLC, AS Flightlines
Joint Venture with Aircraft Specialty
Teflon Hose Assemblies for Experimentals
Proud Vendor for RV1, Donator to VAF
RV7A Tail Kit Completed, Fuse started-Pay as I go Plan, on hold while we develop new products for RV builders
Ridgeland, SC,
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:13 AM
Danny King's Avatar
Danny King Danny King is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Southlake, Texas
Posts: 632
Default Giving RV rides

Thanks for your story. You are so right about sharing flying with dreamers in our community. They never forget those moments with you in the air. I purchased my first airplane in 1972 and have been giving rides ever since. I'm not sure who enjoys the flights more. I have always enjoyed giving them.

I first flew my RV-8 July 12th 2000, so I approaching sixteen years of RV grins. I can honestly say the excitement of pushing the throttle forward, and beginning a takeoff roll, has not diminished over the years. These aircraft are "magic carpets"! A formation of the usual suspects at 52F were flying back from a day at the beach on the Texas coast a while back when Ross "Scorch" Burgess transmitted from his beautiful RV-6: "We don't have a normal hobby". So true. How lucky we are!
Danny King
Beautiful Doll 80434 TT 1710 hours
I0360 A1B6 200 HP
Christen Inverted Oil
First Flight 12 July 2000
VAF Dues current for 2021
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:16 AM
SabreFlyr SabreFlyr is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Marion, IN
Posts: 304

What an incredible story, and so well told! Indeed, this is one of the reasons I'm so glad to be here, on VAF, to read such great stories. And, one of the major reasons why I hope to be a -14A builder very soon (the wife hasn't fully warmed up to the idea). I remember when I was a young pilot getting my ratings and how much I enjoyed giving people their first ride in a small airplane. Everyone's name went in my logbook. Now, for the past 35 years, corporate flying has been my profession. It is still something I enjoy very much and I am so very pleased when someone tells me that I've just given them their first flight in a "small" airplane (Learjet 45XR currently) and how much they enjoyed it. However, since about 1980, no one's name has gone into my logbook even though some were first rides given in a 172 or Cherokee Archer, some even quite memorable.

Now, retirement (perhaps just partial) looms within the next few years. I dearly hope, whether in a -14A or our club Archer, I'm actively adding names and memories to that remarks section which has been so under-utilized for too long!
Ray Dosh
LJ45 driver
RV-14 #140212
Empennage completed
QB wings 95% done
QB fuse in progress
Marion, IN MZZ
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:20 AM
Xkuzme1's Avatar
Xkuzme1 Xkuzme1 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: KC, MO
Posts: 381

Well done sir. Thanks for writing. Thanks for enriching aviation.
RV-4 - 0-320 (160HP)
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:32 AM
Bob Martin's Avatar
Bob Martin Bob Martin is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Posts: 1,278
Default Thanks

Nice write up. Thanks for reminding us.
Bob Martin
RV-6, 0-360 Hartzell C/S, Tip up, 1200+TT
James extended cowl/plenum, induction, -8VS and Rudder. TSFlightline hoses. Oregon Aero leather seats.
D100-KMD150-660-TT ADI2- AS air/oil seperator. Vetterman exhaust with turndown tips.
Louisa, Virginia KLKU N94TB
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:45 AM
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wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,769
Default Story

Thanks for that beautiful story. Someday I hope to give rides as well.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 12/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (3,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit done. Working FWF
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:53 AM
Jaws Jaws is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Out in the woods...south of Booneville MS
Posts: 68

Best seen today! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:08 AM
Tomcat RV4 Tomcat RV4 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Jacksonville,Fl. 32246
Posts: 281

Fantastic writeup....This is why I have been pounding rivits in -4 for many years, main goal is to be able to give rides again , and get back in air regularly ! !
Tomcat RV4
RV4 gone to RV heaven !building Zenith 701
dues paid and worth every penny
Life is uncertain -Eat desert first !
U F O Member since Dec 2017
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