One Week Wonder Day 1–The Race (Against the Clock) Begins

Builder briefing before the start.

We are building an RV-12iS this week. Not just working on an RV-12 build but literally building a complete plane this week. And, what makes this a special, worthwhile event is that crowd of AirVenture attendees will watch the work for a time with more folks at home watching via streaming technology. 

Jack Pelton opens the effort.

Jack Pelton opened the project at 8 am Monday morning and controlled chaos ensued. The Van’s boxes were opened, parts unwrapped and distributed onto organized tables, then the volunteers got to work. Many of the volunteer builders are members of the various teen builder groups from around the country. Others come from around the world. I mentored Eileen Davidson, a young woman from Paris, France, who has no building experience but proved an adept learner. More experienced teens plowed ahead on their own with minimal oversight from Van’s employees and pre-determined leads.

Building starts.

This build is following a modified order to ensure rapid success. Wings were a priority and they were completed today. Tomorrow, drop-in volunteers will have the opportunity to pull a rivet or two on the wings and contribute to the effort.

Van helps wing spar work.

The RV-12 is a remarkably complete kit with match-hole technology, facilitating a quick build, but the factory has also made a few “modifications” to help smooth the road. Significant de-burring of edges was made in Oregon before shipping. Pieces that require separation have already been cut and their edges smoothed. Our tasks are almost entirely assembly.

Noontime progress.

Work stopped at 5 pm and will resume at 8 am tomorrow. Many builders will return but some new faces will show up for each shift. If you are at AirVenture and didn’t volunteer already, think about dropping by to pulled a rivet or two. There will be hundreds of builders on this plane!

End of day


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