The end of Act 1

I decided that my time as an Air Force civilian was complete; it’s time to move on to Act 2. Lots of friends and family joined me for the retirement ceremony, including my friends and fellow QBs Don McPherson and Vince Orlando who joined me in a dram of the Blue Label.


My sister and her family flew in from Kentucky and we had a great time at a Sox game. The Sox obviously didn’t know that VIPs were in attendance and had the unmitigated gall to lose the game.

Jacob, Whits, Joshua and Elizabeth

Random tasks…

Finally getting a lot of little cleanup tasks done while the avionics harness is percolating at Approach FastStack.

First, I installed this…

Mystery device

First person to guess what it is gets a ThermosWorks sticker or a free beer at Oshkosh 2019.

Second, I dug out the cockpit lights from Oplite and fabricated a small bracket to mount them on the roll bar support.

Oplite 6sOplite wires

These lights are extremely well-made by my friend and fellow RV builder Rich Mileika. In addition to Oplite, Rich owns and operates Machine, Inc, a precision machining company in the greater Boston area. If you need quality cockpit lighting, try Oplite…you’ll like ’em.

And lastly, I replaced the stock Van’s flap motor with an upgraded version made by Pat Hatch at PH Aviation Services.

This motor has several advantages over the stock unit. The motor and jackscrew are separate so grease can’t migrate into the motor windings, a common problem with the Vans motor. It also has limit switches to stop the motor at full extension on either end, and also has a position sensor to report flap position to whatever device needs it.

The only downside is that the flap support bracket must be modified to accommodate the new motor. Rather than trying to rework the existing bracket, I bought new parts from Vans and started from scratch…only took a couple of hours, and Pat’s motor will save some wiring work later on.

I’m not dead yet

For anyone who’s following this website, I’m still alive and very much focused on the RV.  It’s just that any spare time I have (which isn’t much) is going toward working on the airplane and not toward website updates.  But just so I have something to prove to the FAA that I really am building this airplane, I’m diverting some precious building time to some updates.

Stay tuned…

Free to a good home…

Back when we put all the small fuselage pieces together into one big pice, I built a spiffy rolling stand to hold the fuselage so I could be moved easily around our small garage. It was adapted from plans provided by Lars Pedersen on VAF.

It served its purpose well, and we’ve used it as we attached wings and tail, fitted the canopy, and prepped the interior and firewall.

Wings on...

But now that the landing gear is on the fuselage (hopefully) for good, it’s time to pass the stand to someone else who can put it to good use.

Wing stand 2

It’ll definitely fit an RV-6, -7, -8 or -9 fuselage, and maybe a -10 as well but I haven’t measured it to be sure.

Wing stand 1

I’ve added some little jackscrew thingies on each corner to make it easier to level the fuselage when/if needed.

It’s free to anyone who will come to the Nashua NH airport and pick it up. All I ask is your promise that you’ll put it to good use on your RV project, and that you’ll pass it on to another builder when you’re done. If you’re interested, use the “leave a reply” link on this post to send me a message and I’ll get in touch with you.

A great RV day

Today was a great day, for many reasons. First, I was invited on a dawn patrol breakfast flight with Bob DiMeo, my EAA Technical Counselor, and a group of pilots from eastern/central Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Dawn Patrol was heading to Keene, NH (KEEN) to a little diner right outside the airport. Bob has a beautiful RV-8 painted in Tuskeegee Airmen colors.

Bob's RV-8

We departed Nashua with a Bonanza.  You’ll see it in the panorama below, just above and in front of the right wingtip…

En route

Mount Monadnock was in the way…

Mount Monadnock

…but fortunately the RV-8 is pretty maneuverable.


The weather at KEEN was good but deteriorating…there were snow showers moving in from the southwest. The ceiling had come down a bit by the time we left, but we had no problems getting some. All in all, a great flight and I got to log some back-seat stick time in Bob’s RV-8.

Once back at Nashua, we started on more RV fun. Once again I wedged my not-petite frame into the tailcone to back-rivet the ELT antenna doubler…

ELT antenna mount

…while Bob managed the back-rivet set on the outside. Then we moved onto riveting two heavy angles to the rear cockpit bulkhead. I didn’t get any pictures of those parts, so you’ll just have to imagine us working on them.

We then clecoed the canopy side rails in place and riveted them to the fuselage longerons. Here’s Bob expertly clecoing the rails…

Bob clecoing

These rivets weren’t particularly hard to set, but there were a few that took a little extra time and the use of a very narrow bucking bar.

Riveting complete!But in the end, the side rails look good on the fuselage.

Forward canopy railsThe seam between the forward and center rails came out well, which means that all the work I did bending the longerons really paid off.

So…between flying, breakfast and good progress on the fuselage, it was a great RV day!

Santa knocks it out of the park

Santa, a.k.a. my wonderful wife Ellen, really surprised me with this awesome gift…it’s a custom-built model of our RV7-to-be with the paint scheme we designed with Jonathan McCormick of Plane Schemers.

Dave's present!Turns out that Ellen has been conspiring to do this since July, and even went back to Jonathan to get the exact colors he used in the paint scheme!

Another picture?  Sure, I knew you’d want one…

Another model pic

Farewell, old shop…

Today was the last day in our home – we’re selling it to move on to better things. I spent several hours cleaning out the last remnants of my airplane-building shop, and building a handrail for the stairs that the new owners insisted on.

Twin Circle Garage - now vacantThe garage is bare.  We did a lot of good RV building here, and I’m a little sad to leave it behind.