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Safety Articles From The RVator

Article Title Author Date of publish Size So, who’s this guy Eustace Bowhay? (Eustace hosted RVTalk #17 - look for the link below)

For RV pilots and builders who have never had the opportunity to meet Eustace Bowhay, here’s a little background.

Eustace is one of the few people around who’ve accumulated over 20,000 hours of flying time without ever having a military or airline career. He spans aviation from before WW2 to the present day. His first flight, as a boy of 10 or 11, was in a Gypsy Moth over his native Saskatchewan.

It’s a great story…Eustace and his mother lived on a farm outside of town, and every weekend the weather permitted they’d go into the city for supplies and a bit of recreation. He would spend part of his Saturday morning at piano lessons. Nothing in this world was going to make a pianist out of Eustace, but he went to please his mother and because she gave him a quarter so he could go to the movies after his lesson.

Eustace soon discovered that the airport on the edge of town was far more interesting to him than any movie, so after his lesson he’d go down and hang on the fence until it was time to go, just hoping to see an airplane fly. He’d time it carefully so he could run back to town and meet his mother at the theatre…he knew she’d never approve of something so dangerous as flying!

After a few weeks of this, one of the local pilots on the other side of the fence motioned him over to a hangar and opened the back door. Completely awestruck, Eustace stepped through the door and into what was to become his world for a lifetime.

In the hangar was a brand new Staggerwing, painted royal blue. Out in front, a pilot who needed to warm the oil in his Moth invited Eustace to occupy the front cockpit. Stricken to silence by his good fortune, Eustace pulled on a leather helmet and goggles and held on as the upright Gypsy engine rattled the Moth into the air. They flew out over the prairie and over Eustace’s home. When they returned, Eustace realized he was late meeting his mother and dashed into town, maintaining a minimum altitude of about six inches the whole way. Without comment, he climbed into the car and home they went.

At the dinner table that evening, his uncle casually mentioned that an airplane had circled the farm several times earlier in the day. Did Eustace know anything about that? Oh, no, Eustace said. He’d been at piano lessons and the movies the whole day. Everyone at the table broke into laughter. When his mother handed him a mirror he saw why: the Gypsy had been spraying a fine mist back over the fuselage for the entire flight and the oily outline of the helmet and goggles was clearly printed on his face. He looked like a surprised raccoon.

When Eustace tells this story, the memories of that day – more than seventy years ago now – are printed on his face as plainly as the outline of those goggles. He still remembers the smell of the paint and dope on the Staggerwing and the exhilaration of banking and seeing his home between the flying wires of the Moth.

After that came flying and more flying. Eustace instructed thousands of students in the RCAF, some of whom died in combat just weeks later – he’s never fully accepted that waste and a bit of grief is with him still. After the war he instructed thousands more, as well as flying Navions and Aeronca Champs and God knows what else away from the factories and back to Canada.

Supported by his wife Nora, he formed his own company, providing charter air service all over the Canada and the Northern Territories. He flew and flew; in Aztec, in Cessnas, in Beavers and Otters. He acquired a P-51 from the Canadian government and flew it all over the country keeping an eye on his operations. He owned and flew a DC-3 for many years. He’s got 9000+ hours of water operation…1000 hours of it in a Grumman Goose. He’s landed parts of a bulldozer on the edge of the Arctic Ocean in a Beech 18, helped weld the machine back together and build a landing strip and watched the bulldozer leave, intact, in the hold of a Hercules that flew into the strip to retrieve it.

And all the while, one of his primary concerns was keeping other pilots safe. He preached, cajoled, and extolled safe flying at every opportunity, bringing his vast experience to bear and distilling it to benefit the newest of pilots. We will never know just how many pilots are alive (and airplanes unbroken) because Eustace had a word with them, planting some seed of care and awareness that allowed them to avoid danger.

He joined the RV ranks in the 1990s by building C-HAY, a 180 hp RV-6 which he flew on wheels, floats and amphibious floats. In the RV community he found many low time pilots venturing into the world of relatively high performance and became their mentor. At the factory, Van’s people learned to listen carefully to the tall, white haired, slightly deaf Canadian fellow with the suspenders. There was a little “eh?” and a little “oot” in his speech, as well as a whole lot of humanity, wisdom and humor.

Eustace and Nora have been to many of Van’s Homecomings and many RV pilots have met and talked with them. If you’ve ever had a chance to sit and talk with them, you’ll have realized that you were in the presence of truly fine people

(Eustace passed away in 2006)
Safety Article Richard VansGrusven Oct '97 180KB
Flying Heavy Richard VansGrusven 2nd issue '98 209KB
How To Fly A Nose Gear RV Unknown 5th issue '98 131KB
An Aerobatic Epistle Richard VansGrusven 6th issue '98 4.2MB
Airport Culture: Not An Oxymoron Richard VansGrusven 1st issue '99 706KB
A Slow-Flying Epistle
(Proficiency at slow flight is the key to flying confidence and safety)
Richard VansGrusven 2nd issue '99 1.3MB
The Back Side of the Power Curve Richard VansGrunsven 3rd issue '99 333KB
How To Fly An RV Richard VansGrunsven 5th issue '99 1.37MB
Accident Review Richard VansGrunsven 6th issue '99 1.26MB
Flying Your RV Starts Before Your RV Ken Scott 6th issue '99 600KB
A Turn For The Better Ken Scott 1st issue 2000 554KB
Forward Visibility: Don't Leave Home Without It Richard VansGrunsven 2nd issue 2000 500KB
Taking Off Richard VansGrunsven 4th issue 2000 800KB
How *NOT* To Make A First Flight Doug Leihy 5th issue 2000 450KB
After Lift Off --- What Now? Richard VansGrunsven 6th issue 2000 1MB
Getting To Fly-Ins In One Piece Richard VansGrunsven 1st issue 2001 700KB
The Showoff Demon (If you haven't met him, you will...) unknown 3rd issue 2001 563KB
Casual Formation Flying Van 2001 781
How To Land An RV Van 2001 781
RVTalk #17 by Eustace Bowhay. Eustace talks with a RV-9A owner who had a roll over event.
(more RVTalks)
How Slow Can You Go? Rob 'Smokey' Ray 5th issue 2005  
 There I Was, Level at 3,000 Feet, Doing 100 Knots Amit Dagan 1/3/06 N/A



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