1016 meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Western North Carolina Air Museum in Hendersonville. Our summer food format is a BYO (Bring Your Own) model where the chapter provides a few side dishes, utensils, plates, etc and members provide their own food, either already prepared or for cooking on the grills. Of course if someone shows up without and decides they really want to eat we usually have some extra to share. It's a fun cookout/picnic environment that includes a short business meeting to bring us all up to date on current chapter status and a look ahead at chapter plans. A program follows that may cover a current project or other topics of interest to the membership. We try to finish the organized meeting format in short order so we can all have time for conversation and the gathering of like-minded friends.
First of all, a big Thank You to Keith for his presentation on July 13th. I’m a flyer, not a builder and to see and hear about someone else’s project is a bit like trying to fathom what goes into building a Golden Gate Bridge. The detail, the commitment, the skill sets that must be mastered … all that and more would be a real challenge for me. I’m glad there are builders. Jerry Tice, Mike Cola and I drove (thanks, Jerry) to Keith’s workshop west of Asheville on July 2 to see for ourselves what others have described as a truly professional shop.
The first thing I saw on entering the workshop was a stack of 40+ sheets of dimensional drawings laid out on a perfectly level table. Keith explained the designer put everything on these sheets of diagrams that a manufacturer would need to build the airplane. Since every part is fabricated individually, some diagrams are here, some are there, but they’re all included and they all go somewhere.
All these bits and pieces eventually find their place as the construction takes shape. There’s no such thing as going to the airplane store to buy a bracket or a gusset or a thingamajig common to thousands of other airplanes of the same design – every one of these has to be made individually in somebody’s shop.
The Skyote is a design reminiscent of a Bucker Jungmeister – the Skyote being sleeker and smaller. It’s fully aerobatic and does its magic on 100HP or less. See Budd Davisson’s article at: http://www.airbum.com/pireps/PirepSkyote.html
Keith has spent the past 4+ years, at this point, living with his Skyote. He says it surprised him to learn that the building process gave him the patience to accept that every part might not be perfect the first time; when parts might be “good enough” for some, he simply starts over and tries again to make it as perfect as it can be.
I could have spent many more hours listening to Keith and watching him work. I confess to feeling a little guilty taking him away from his work but he didn’t seem to mind taking the time to explain things in a way I could understand.
I didn’t ask the inevitable question: “When will it be finished”? I knew the answer: “When it is as perfect as I can make it”.
We’re anticipating a great turnout for tonight’s meeting and will have more vehicles than usual. The area between Mark’s and my hangar and Jeff Moore’s will be available for cars – Mark may be flying up to about 6:15 so we need to keep our side open that long … we may need some help situating cars to allow for exit .. also will use the apron next to, but not in front of, Jon Smith’s side of his and Jeff’s hangar as Jon expects to be doing some flying. When he’s finished we can put some cars there, too. The aprons of the row of T hangars that belong to the museum might be available on both sides – we have to look at that. If the grass is wet, we will have to avoid the low lying areas as it’s very easy to bog down and make ruts that are hard to repair. Stay high. Check for any markings.
It’s probably not a bad idea to bring a folding chair to July’s meeting/gathering as we expect to have a great crowd – also sitting down makes it easier to eat. There will be a couple of grilling sites and we’ll ring a bell when we’re ready to start the organized proceedings. We like to keep our meetings short and our conversations (airplane talk, mostly) as long as we want. The museum displays are there for your viewing; restrooms and kitchen are also available, courtesy of the WNC Air Museum. There is no charge but, of course, we – and they -appreciate your support.
Our program this month is the one we looked forward to in June, but had to be cut short due to a lack of audio/visual connectors – Keith Plemmons’ Skyote biplane project. After four years of full time learning and building, Keith is closing in on what experienced builders call, with a sigh, the last 95% of the job: Finishing the details. It’s like being third in line at the grocery store behind me (I always pick the slowest line behind someone with a shoebox full of coupons). Keith’s presentation is sure to be an interesting tour of an unusually demanding airplane building experience. Our new A/V equipment, owned and operated by the chapter, ensures we will have top-notch gear to use for our meetings/gatherings as well as an occasional movie night.
We’re all looking forward to a great late afternoon/evening and look forward to seeing you there!