The toy RV

RV9 bear butte

Military aircraft, flags, fierce mythical creatures, comely young women — these are often the inspiration for aircraft paint schemes. You can get exceedingly elaborate with a design that stands out and attracts crowds, or go the other direction and keep it simple with a white base coat and a stripe.

The Bruch family from Sturgis, S.D., decided to go between the two ends of the spectrum when they designed a paint scheme for their RV-9 drawing inspiration from a child’s toy.

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Backcountry beauty


There are airplanes that are built for show, airplanes built for backcountry camping, and airplanes built for IFR cross-country flying. One of the best things about building your own airplane is that you can create a machine that fits all these categories. Gordon Anderson, from Silverthorn, Colo., has achieved this with his 2012 Sportsman 2+2. The red and gold high-wing was one of the more talked about airplanes at this year’s AirVenture in Oshkosh.

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Zenith slates factory workshops


MEXICO, Mo. — Every month Zenith Aircraft hosts a two-day workshop for people who want to learn about the basics involved in building a metal aircraft. Some people attend to build the rudder for the complete kit they are ordering. Others just want to sample the types of work involved in aircraft construction.

The workshop in October is set for the 11th and 12th and the November event will happen on the 14th and 15th; December is set for the 12th and 13th. The cost is $375 for those wishing to own the rudder they will build and $175 for those who just want the experience of working on a rudder. All workshops occur in the Mexico, Missouri factory and include factory tours, demo flights and meals.

zenith“People come for a wide range of reasons,” said Sebastien Heinz, President of Zenith. “They all leave knowing they’ve learned something, accomplished something and had fun doing it. Some of them will never build an airplane, some will build someone else’s design and many will leave a deposit behind for one of our complete kits.”

During the workshops, the builders are exposed to

  • Reading and understanding blueprints (plans & manuals)
  • Principles of sheet-metal construction
  • The advantages of working with sheet-metal
  • Metal aircraft building and assembly techniques and tips
  • Measuring, drilling and riveting (assembling the Zenair kit)
  • Tools, workshop and skills required to build an all-metal aircraft
  • Hints and short-cuts in assembling a kit
  • Metal kit aircraft maintenance and corrosion protection

The workshops are open to anyone, however space is limited and they do tend to fill up, according to company officials.

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