Ron's RV7 Aircraft Factory

Welcome to my personal blog. This site was created as an informal description of my build progress in the construction of a Van's RV7 aircraft. A place where family/friends/builders/curiosity seekers can follow along. It is not intended to be a detailed description of every step in the building process as that would be much too time consuming. There are plenty of sites that do a great job in that arena, that is not my intention with this site. My intention is for this to be a philisophical/motivational/inspirational account of the emotional ups and downs of the life changing journey...and it will change your life. I hope this will give you an idea, through my eyes, of what its like to make this transformation. A note to other builders, I am not an expert so do not put your safety at risk by attempting anything you see on this site until you have done your own research, or send me an email so we can discuss it. Any deviations from the plans are not approved, nor endorsed by Van's Aircraft or myself. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Center Console

I recently realized I haven't really posted any pics of my center console, so here you go. A little eye candy. These were taken before my acro contest, solo, in my plane. I ended up taking second, by one measly point, in Primary to a gentleman in a Pitts. Not exactly fair, but no one said it was supposed to be fair. :) It was a fun time, I recommend it. Although, my plane is now prohibited by the IAC because I don't have the emergency canopy release installed. Oh well, it was a great experience to get to do it once. 

After a lifetime of teaching and coaching in my semi-professional baseball and corporate career, along with my professorship at CU, I have proudly partnered with Brian Tracy and FocalPoint International to make it official. I decided to combine my passions for coaching, business and leadership by becoming a Certified Business and Leadership Coach and I couldn't be happier, I have found my calling, my why.

I partner with small to mid-sized companies that have a nagging feeling they are leaving money on the table, that they just aren't getting what they could out of their time, team or money. It is estimated that fully 86 percent of businesses today are operating below their potential for sales and profitability because of a weakness in selecting the right product or service, selling it aggressively, or accounting and managing.  

Behind me is a team of 200+ amazingly talented coaches around the world and a proven system that looks at 72 distinct areas of your business. This same system has been used successfully on over 5000 businesses in every industry around the globe, and your business could be next. 

Being an aerobatic pilot, builder of an award winning aerobatic airplane that you all know I fly all over the country and lover of all things aviation, I specialize in working with Aviation and UAS/UAV companies. Pilot to pilot; lets fly, I'll be your wingman!

Take a minute to check out my website, there is a wealth of great value available that I think you're going to like. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter for pragmatic business and leadership articles delivered once a month. If you think my services might be of interest to you, reach out to me and we can schedule a short 30 minute phone call to talk about your vision for the business and see if there is a fit. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Photo Shoot

Hello, hello! Its been quite a while since I last posted, I hope you are enjoying the site content without much new stuff from me. Its not been for a lack of activity on my part, its just been a matter of moving onto other things. I am now teaching a Leadership course at the University of Colorado, Boulder so that has been taking up a lot of my free time as I get prepped for the first class. In addition, Sheryl and I just got back from a week vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Wonderful country and people.

I am still flying plenty...well, that's not completely true, I wish my schedule, the weather and budget allowed for more. But isn't that always the way it goes with flying? My latest trip was a spur-of-the-moment jaunt down to New Braunfels (KBAZ) to visit my family and wish my Pop a happy birthday. I decided to go on a Sunday night...loaded up the airplane Monday morning and off I went. Four hours later I was in South Texas, the land of cheap AvGas, I still pinch myself at the utility of owning one of these planes that eats up real estate at 3 miles a minute. It was a wonderful flight. It was bitter cold (about 15 degs in Colorado) so the plane flew like it was on steroids and the air was as smooth as freshly churned warm butter...winter flying at it's best.  

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to get a couple of my photographer friends to do an air-to-air photo shoot over the Boulder Flatirons. With my limited formation flight experience, it was "interesting" trying to stay close to the photo ship without trading paint. I was concentrating hard...if you cant tell from the pics. I wasn't smiling much and chomping on my gum a mile a minute. 

Here are the results for your viewing pleasure. Many thanks to my talented photographer hanging out the open door in frigid temperatures, Julia Kirchenbauer Apfelbaum and her husband (both pilots) Jonathan for flying the photo ship (their Glastar). Julia got me on the IAC banner and also in the Van's 2016 calendar! Many thanks to her for that effort. Cool stuff to see your plane become a fashion model! :) Keep pounding those rivets (KPR) because its gonna be worth it one day!

I particularly like this one over the University of Colorado, Boulder campus and Folsom Field. Nice capture Julia! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Leadership voler launched!

During my graduate studies, my favorite topic was leadership. How to lead and motivate a team, myself, or individuals was fascinating to me. I became extremely curious to know more, to educate myself on leadership topics, so I started reading books to learn more. I then found myself giving a motivational speech on finishing my airplane, as noted in an earlier post, and enjoyed it. One thing led to another and I decided my next adventure would be a leadership blog. The success of this blog was a factor in my decision to launch a new one.  

Voler is the french word that translates "to fly." Read my blog to see how that name came about. The site is This new blog is not necessarily aviation related, although you'll see references, you can't take the aviator out of me. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, check out the site...or "like" my Facebook page under the same name. I will continue to update this blog from time to time also. Links to each have been added to the right column of this site.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Flying into Telluride

A couple weekends ago, we decided to cross another coveted airport off my aviation bucket list. Telluride, tucked deep in the San Juan mountain range of Southwestern Colorado. The San Juan's are about the closest I've seen to the Swiss Alps here in the U.S. They are steep, rugged and breathtaking. The airport sits on a bluff at an elevation of 9,070' MSL. At each end of the runway, there is a steep dropoff of about 1000'. This gives it the look of a pseudo-carrier landing...of course, we have 7000' of runway to work with in Telluride, but you get the point. It was an amazing destination, in fact, it now tops my list as my favorite airport to land at.

Here is a GoPro still of short final, not a bad view eh? We got a little bit of a late start departing Denver, landing at about 3pm. I usually try to be on the ground in the afternoons while mountain flying. It wasn't too bad, a few occasional showers to duck and dodge around. Coming in on runway 27, the winds were 13ktsG20, swinging from 240-270. So it made the landing a little more sporty, but manageable. What you want to avoid is winds from the North, as they will create rotors on the runway. Our flight time was just about 1 hr 20 mins. For curiosity I checked Google maps to see how long that drive would be...6 hrs!! If that doesn't convince you that these planes are awesome, nothing about utility and convenience! 

You can see from the pics, we got on the ground none too soon as dark clouds were brewing. These pictures do not do it justice. The steepness and sheer magnitude of the mountains around the airport are startling to behold. I just looked around and smiled on the ramp. We were greeted warmly by the FBO. They even (Hertz) pulled our rental car around to the plane for us. 

We had decided to stay not in Telluride, but Ouray. It is only about 15 miles away as the crow flies. But because the mountains here are so rugged, we had to drive around them, taking us 50 mins. This is a photo of the scenic backdrop of our hotel, which was walking distance to town.

Ouray is a neat little mountain town. It claims to be the Switzerland of the U.S. I've been there so I will say not quite, but a good approximation in my estimation. This is a photo of the Ouray brewery, which we visited later in our trip.

Views of main street...

We decide to do the obligatory Box Canyon hike right near town. It is the tourist thing to do, and its an easy hike. Touristy or not, it was very pretty, as you can see from the pics. Definitely a must-do for your first time visit. We may venture off the beaten path a little more next time though. 

After the hike, we went to the natural hot springs for a soak. $12 entry fee, soak as long as you like. It was a relaxing end to the day. Unfortunately, no pics of that...but it essentially just looks like a public swimming pool. 

After a nice hike and a soak in the hot just gotta have some good Colorado microbrew! Off we went to Ouray brewery to grab a cold one! 

Got a kick out of this sign as we walked in...

We sat on the rooftop patio...again I have to mention, the pics just do not capture how big that mountain is in front of us. I could've sat there for hours gazing at it, drinking good beer. 

Sheryl, enjoying her dark beer.

As the weekend came to a close, we were sad to go and vowed to come back again. What a gem deep inside the Rockies. If you get the chance, definitely go visit.

I always get a kick out of this aviation lifestyle I am fortunate to lead, and who you might be sharing the ramp with on any given day. Anybody want to venture a guess at what this puppy costs? A lot of RV7's that's for sure. Until next time guys and gals...keep pounding those rivets (KPR) because it is WELL worth it. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mackinac Island & Oshkosh 2015

Its been quite a while since my last post, not for lack of activity with the RV. I hope you are all progressing well with your builds. Here is a little inspiration for you as you slave away. On our way out to Oshkosh this year, we decided to leave town a little early and head up to Mackinac (pronounced Mack-in-aw) Island in Northern Michigan. This was recommended to me as a nice day trip from OSH, when you need a break during the show. It was quite an amazing place to visit. It is a small island that does not allow motorized vehicles outside of emergency vehicles. In addition, it is like being transported back in time to the year 1875. The old houses and buildings are immaculate, as is the landscaping. Put this destination on your aviation bucket list. We are hoping to go back for a longer stay and get a room at the Grand Hotel that was built in 1879.

On our way out, we joined the 200kts GS club again...clipping along at 208kts. Its not every day that you get a 56kts direct tailwind at 11,500 ft but I'll take it every time!

Without motorized vehicles, horse drawn carriages and bicycles are the norm.

Although we were unable to secure lodging on the island, we did land and take a look around. Great little airport. As you can see, lots of Cirrus on the ramp. This is somewhat of a high dollar destination I believe.

A picture of the runway inside the FBO. You can either take the short walk into town or have a horse drawn carriage pick you up right at the airport. 

The runway is paved, but this area of the ramp for transient aircraft, is turf. 

The views from the fort are awe inspiring...

A shoreline selfie...the weather was perfect for our visit.

Views of the Grand Hotel...this place is all original from the outward appearances. We didn't get a chance to go inside as they have a dress code in the evenings and we were not dressed for it.

The one token London phone booth on the island...Sheryl just had to get a picture. :) Not sure who she was talking to?

As mentioned, the landscaping is immaculate.

Grabbing a waterfront drink before taking the ferry back to our hotel at St. Ignace. We had a wonderful day walking around the island.

From there, it was a short trip southwest to Oshkosh. Obligatory selfie at the Arch.

I really enjoy just sitting under the shade of my wing, having a cold beer and watching the airshow. The weather at OSH this year was the best in all the 7 trips I have made so far.

This little bugger sure comes in handy to keep cellphones and iPad's charged while camping with the plane. 

My acro flight instructor flew her S2C out for the Pitts 70th anniversary. Here it is parked with the big boys. This is the plane I learned acro in.

The A350 was a sight to behold parked on the ramp.

Scenic views of the seaplane base...

Our camping spot for the show...I am still trying to learn to pack lighter. We may ship some supplies next time we go to keep our weight down and our CG forward.

Attending an RV party in Schoeller after we arrived.

Watching the free concert...Dirks Bentley

On our way back home after a wonderful week, we grabbed some cheap gas in Wayne, Nebraska. Great little FBO with free sandwiches for Oshkosh week. It was a great trip flying around the country in the little airplane I built in my garage.