A couple of years ago, when I was first shown the RV-1 sitting in a dusty corner of a quiet hangar, I thought to myself “you know, I bet we could find twenty-five or thirty experienced RV folks that have built a few airplanes and have the wherewithal to write a four-figure check to buy this thing and give it back to Dick!” Let’s face it – while many, many builders struggle and scrimp to build their RV’s as inexpensively as possible, there is also a large number who are easily spending north of six figures to complete their glass-equipped traveling dreams. With a single SL-40 costing $1400, was it that out of line to figure we could pool some money to say “Thanks” to Van for all he has done?
A year ago, purchasing the RV-1 became a reality due primarily to the generous donation of an anonymous donor who also thinks that Dick should be recognized by the community. I received many notes congratulating Louise and I on the purchase. Let me be very clear – Louise and I did not purchase, and have never owned the RV-1! It was purchased and paid for by the non-profit “Friends of the RV-1”. My dream and vision is shared by others – I was simply the person who bubbled it up to a visible surface.
Through the generous initial donation of the aircraft, we were able to get started on the restoration, and the overall goal of reconnecting the airplane to its creator, then putting it on permanent display at Oshkosh is well on its way. Most of the hardware needed to get it flying has been generously donated by the vendors who support our avocation. Most of the labor required to this point has also been provided free of charge by builders who wanted to contribute – heck, the “Friends” doesn’t even supply lunch on the work days (Jay Pratt has done that)! But there are still expenses with the restoration that need to be covered, and the cost of bringing the entire dream to reality are still up ahead – costs for operating and displaying the airplane will rise as we get it airworthy. We have been very quiet on the fund-raising front to this point, but it is time to think about the future – the fly-in season of 2012, and taking the airplane around the country to it’s finish at Oshkosh.
Friends of the RV-1 is a non-profit, 501 C(3) organization. All contributions are tax deductible. Keep that in mind as the year comes to a close. Those twenty-five or thirty folks I thought about have yet to materialize, but I can tell you that Louise and I have each written one for those four-figure checks. With three RV’s in our stable, I consider it nothing more than a “tip” to honor the man who made those airplanes possible. We’d love to see lots of names in the RV-1 logbook when it gets to the museum. Would you like yours there? Say thanks to Van - Tax deductible donations can be mailed directly to Friends of the RV-1 at PO Box 1064, League City TX 77574-1064, or visit the website www.RV-1.org
for PayPal and credit card donations.