Plane Bored in Retirement

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I’ve been building airplanes for the last sixteen years. In that time, I’ve built and flown an RV-6A, an RV-10, and more recently an RV-12. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love building and I certainly love flying. However, don’t you sometimes get bored doing the same things over and over? Me too. So, recently I sidestepped a little and took on some non-aviation projects. First, there was the motorcycle that was going to be my 2013-2014 winter project. The guy I bought it from had already thrown up his hands in defeat. “We’ve tried everything,” he said. “It doesn’t have enough compression so it will have to be rebuilt.” Cool! I get to rebuild another motorcycle. I did one last winter, and it was fun. So, I got it home and prepared to pull the engine. But first, I thought, “Well, they have checked everything, but I’ll just confirm their findings.” So, if the compression is low, let’s check the valve clearance. They were WAY off. Come on, that can’t be it? I checked the compression. Perfect! So I buttoned everything up and hit the starter. Vvvrrooomm. Started right up. My winter project lasted almost two hours. Oh well…

I started thinking that I’m about to turn 50. So, I wanted a theme project. You know, one that’s 50. I found a 1964 Chevy C-10 Pick-up. Rusted, broken down, and on its last leg. Like me! So, my son-in-law, Matt, and I took on the project and we have been having a blast! We’ve stripped it to the frame, ripped the engine and transmission into a million pieces, and have already started to put things back together. We decided to blog about the process. I know, old dogs and new tricks, etc., but you can check it out:

Meanwhile, on the airplane front, another project fell into my lap. A Glastar GS-1, that’s languished for years, found its way to us. It’s partially completed, but the work done is largely un-airworthy. We need to rework a lot of parts, but there’s nothing that can’t be fixed. So, the GS-1 is in the queue behind the old truck. And after that, the RV-8 that’s still in the box – but that’s a story for another time. So, we have several years’ worth of work laid out for us.

Meanwhile, Lori and I enjoy a globetrotting lifestyle as aircraft builder’s assistants. We’re headed to New Orleans to help an RV-14 builder who is stuck building his fuel tanks. Next, up to Wisconsin to help an RV-8 builder finish that last 90% before first flight. Then, it’s off to Sun-N-Fun. Finally, return home and back to work. People ask me every day, “What do you do now that you’re retired?” I look them right in the eye and say, “Oh, nothin’!”

Text and photos submitted by Dennis Milsap.

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