We have a new airplane completion in the Chapter as Tom White flew his RV-8 on Aug 18th. For years we have only had a handful of few first flights, and in the last three months we have had three. Don Christiansen, Greg Schroeder, and now Tom White. Tom’s RV-8 is the lightest RV I have weighed in all the years I have been weighing airplanes. When Mel inspected the plane I asked him if any parts were missing, because I don’t know how Tom did it. I was impressed with his RV-8 build.
Light airplanes fly the best and Tom’s should be a real nice flyer. Congratulations Tom!
In conjunction with the rash of first flights, we have implemented our plan to celebrate them. So, we exited our COVID caves, gathered together at Northwest Regional Airport (home of Greg and Tom) and safely distanced and celebrated these huge milestones.
Tom rolled out the grill to cook a few hotdogs, and Norm brought a cake to celebrate the first flights. Several other members flew in to help get into the spirit of flight. Norm brought his Glastar. Brad Roberts flew his RV-6 and Joe Migas and A.D. Donald flew their Cessnas in.
Also taking part was Don Christiansen who brought over his recently completed Rans S-21. So we all got a good look at that new airplane as well. We spent several hours looking at new planes, eating hotdogs and cake, and enjoying the rare opportunity of each other’s company in this very strange year. We had a great turnout for our first celebration.
I want to thank Ann Asberry and Norm Biron for arranging our lunch. I especially want to thank Tom and Greg for hosting the gathering. I also want to thank all those who made it out to Northwest Regional which made the day very special.
By Michael Stephan
Since the pandemic has shut down our in-person Chapter meetings, I flew out to Stephenville on an early August morning and met Don Christiansen to award him our Chapter’s First Flight Plaque. With me and holding the camera was Norm Biron. He also brought the plaque.
This is a very special picture, since first flights are rare occurrences. We have only had a few of them the past 5 years. So being able to congratulate a builder for a first flight on behalf of the Chapter is very special.
Don, Norm and myself celebrated by having breakfast at restaurant just down the road from the airport. We don’t get to see Don that often, so it was enjoyable to spend time catching up and listening to some of the stories of him flying the Rans S-21 in the Idaho BackCountry.
One of the revelations that I learned about the Don’s S-21 is the Whirlwind ground-adjustable prop. Don said it was pitched to optimize cruise speed, but when he arrived in Idaho and planned to fly in the high density mountain air, he was able to adjust the pitch to generate more RPM and hence more horsepower.
Having hopped around Idaho for the summer, Don said the airplane will be in the paint shop next month.
At the May Chapter meeting, we had a special presentation of the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of Aviation professionalism, skill, and expertise for Mel Asberry. Presenting the award is Tony Baumgard of the North Texas Flight Standards District Office.
This is a major achievement for any pilot. The FAA is focusing on improving safety and rewarding those that practice that over a long flying career is a great way of doing that.
Mel is a great example of diligence and professionalism. He exemplifies what the award is. All the knowledge and experience Mel has accumulated, he generously shares with the aviation and homebuilt airplane community. We are proud to have him as a Chapter 168 member.