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Timeline - How did we get to this point

The dream.....

During Jan 2002, I was enjoying Christmas / New Year with my family and the idea of building an aircraft started in a serious way. Prior to this it was a bit of a pipe dream and I hadn't really considered being able to attack this size project for a number of reasons (time, money, location etc). At this early point it was very much a "wouldn't it be great if we had a plane" type thought and over the last 2 years this has developed into the start of the project. Building an aircraft isn't something that should be done on a whim, although I'm happy to accept that 2 years is quite a long planning phase ;-).

Research trip

During March 2003 I took a 2 week vacation and travelled from the UK to the west coast of America. The sole purpose of the trip was to investigate, talk to RV builders and then finish at the VANs factory in Oregon to place an order if appropriate.

I cannot express enough thanks to the SoCal RV group, who not only made me feel welcome, but answered my basic / simplest questions so positively and provided some of the foundation and enthusiasm for my current undertaking. During the 10 days I visited 10+ builders, focusing on the 6, 7 or A variations where possible. I learnt a huge amount during the visit, everything from the basic riveting skills and parts identification to experienced opinions and advice on some design choices. I also got to meet a really great bunch of people. Special thanks to Bill, Linas, Dan C, Dan M, Hog & Gary S for your hospitality, organisational efforts and making time for a visitor with a strange accent.... I hope to be able to repay your welcome if you ever make it to our neck of the woods.

One of the areas that became apparent very early on, was that everyone has an opinion and they're not all the same! That said, I did see / hear some common threads in the thinking / principles of the people that have "been there, done that" and that I respected. I am no expert when it comes to planes, I have a little limited experience as a pilot and none as a builder (yet) and therefore consider myself as only a keen apprentice at this point. I want to get as many helping leg ups the cliff of the learning process as possible. The March trip, more than anything else firmed up my approach and attitude to the whole project.

When and how

The next decision was timing and how / when were we going to undertake this project. Well timing it to be able to go to the southern hemisphere summer (December-March) was the easy part of the equation, escaping the British winter was also a nice side effect. The next choice was one solid block of time, or multiple shorter blocks. This is where the company I was working for in the UK really supported me. After initial discussions they agreed to two multiple month blocks as sabbaticals from my job - THANKS GUYS I really appreciate your support. I've now finished in the UK and returned home to NZ and am working on the plane full time and plan to return to Auckland once I'm "finished".

So since the original March USA trip, and the order being placed with VANs, I've spent countless hours reading email groups and web site logs (Dan C, Phil B, Walter T, Roberta etc) trying to get a feeling for good / bad ideas, studying the preview plans and considering my options and making decisions where possible.

Flying / Testing

I'm now flying, testing and resolving problems on the plane, once things settle down I'll be back to a proper job and a more 'normal' life (whatever that is....)

Carl Morgan