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Vans RV-7 - Public Domain Photo One of the best homebuilt airplanes you can buy is a Vans Aircraft.
In 1973 Richard VanGrunsven started his own homebuilt kit company and made these aircraft out of aluminum and the type of construction he used for these small planes is called, monocoque , which means that the external fabric supports the load or in this case the airplane. He made them all low wing and they come in either a tricycle or taildragger type. Many of these sturdy aircraft can be used for aerobatics.
Vans aircraft are extremely popular and outsell all other homebuilt airplanes. The responsive controls is what makes them suited for aerobatics and they are both fuel economic and fast. They range from RV1 to RV 12 and have one to four seats. The Vans Aircraft Company can be found at Oregon's Aurora State Airport. As you can imagine this airport is the best place for Vans aircraft owner fly-ins.
The Vans aircraft featured in this photo is a RV 9A. It looks like it seats two persons and has a nice paint job. This reminds me of a tall tale I would like to tell about this little plane.
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One day while mowing my large yard I was surprised to hear a buzz above the sound of the mower. The noise got louder and I felt like ducking as a shadow passed over me. An airplane had just zoomed overhead and I quickly realized that it was the one my neighbor had been building for the last couple of years. He had finally gotten it to fly and I was seeing it on its maiden voyage. I turned off the mower to watch and listen as the tiny homebuilt circled around and the pilot waved from above. I waved back and clapped my hands in delight.
My neighbor Tom was a pilot and had spent considerable time working on this project and it was delightful to see him really flying it. Tom also has a small airstrip on his property and a large shop where he was building the plane. Now I could see his dream of owning his own aircraft and flying it from his own property come true.
Tom circled around few more times before he headed off and disappeared behind the hills. If was hard to continue my boring job of mowing but I needed to get the job done so reluctantly started it up again.
Maybe 15 minuets later I heard the buzz again and watched as Tom flew back over and landed on his airstrip. It was a perfect flight and I ran over to congratulate him. Maybe he would give me a ride since it had two seats. But I was disappointed. Tom did promise I would get a ride but he needed to work out a few bugs and make sure it was completely safe before taking any passengers. I understood. I didn't want to go up until it was completely safe so I was content to wait.
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