It seems like yesterday that I saddled up my (then) two-year-old RV4 to travel to Oshkosh WI for Van"s 25th anniversary. The goal amongst us RV8R"s was to have 250 examples parked in the "section" in one way shape or form. Back then I was living in the Hampton Roads VA area and despite all my pandering, nobody on my airport wanted to go. Ok then, solo I would go. (BTW, in 97"100LL was $1.35 a gallon, UW dorm rooms were $15 and arm bands didn't cost you an arm)
The flight to OSH was glorious and uneventful with my Lake Michigan foray at mid peninsula (88nm) being my first RV pond crossing of sorts.
The arrival was a non event and even fun in the high pattern at 150 knots passing all the Cessnas going into holding as it was "showplane or exp only" allowed to land that day. I felt bad for them, but no too much
As far as I was concerned EAA stood for Experimentals and I was proud to bring one in.
Once on the ground I was vectored by brave volunteers to Area 51 where all the RVs were assembled. Back then it was 3"s 4"s and a few 6"s, not much pre-punched "junk" to see, yet. Van was milling about and stopped to shake my hand. The buzz word question in those days was "what did you come in at?" The cool answer was always "under 1000" in my case 935# no paint, no interior, no money! Nowadays I see instrument panels that cost more than my whole airplane. ($22K) and pilots who weigh more, just kidding.
The Vans tent was buzzing all week with rumors and stories of 250 RV potential attendance and 25th anniversary "stickers" for us all. Wow!
Myself, I was just glad to be here. After building my RV4 on a very tight budget in military housing overseas wondering if it would ever fly, it did! My little "Four" exceeded all my expectations brought me to OSH in style and got a thumbs up from the man himself. *Wonders never cease!
Now, 15 years later I see all the hoopla all over again. New faces, lots of new, more expensive airplanes but same company. Solid product, good value.I'm happy to say that after all these years my unpainted, low budget "935 pound day fighter"RV4 is still featured on Van"s website. I am honored.
Good, bad or indifferent no matter how you kook at it, RVs are mainstream. We"re no longer the grassroots rivet bangers. We have hit the big time....
Congrats Mr. VanGrunsven!