November 15, 2008

I'm a Celebrity! (well... we'll see)

My moment of big fame may have arrived! What a fun day this was. I had the most interesting phone call the other day. This lady, Sandi Serling in Lake Oswego is a Television star and is working with her producer to put together a pilot for a show called "Curves Ahead". It's sort of a travel/adventure/reality show about a lady riding a motorcycle across America's backroads, and all the interesting people she meets along the way. Sort of a theme on all the great people that are the fabric of America. If the pilot show goes well, the producer hopes that a network will pick it up and make a series out of it. How cool!

Well... somehow she stumbled on Van's Aircraft. I mean the factory down near Aurora. The guys there took her on a tour of the factory and then up on an airplane ride... I can see why... she's a hottie. She was blown away by it all, and by the idea that an ordinary guy could build an airplane in his garage.

She asked if there was someone in the area that was about halfway into it that she could interview and film some footage for the show. Well, my friend and technical counselor Randy Lervold gave her my name and phone number. So she called me last week and came over for an initial visit. We had a great time visiting. Then she came back here on Saturday with her cameraman and they spent a couple hours here with me. They interviewed and filmed Jamie, too. She did a great job. It was fun! The RV project is the real celebrity, of course. Or perhaps Jamie... definitely not me.

They promised me that when the pilot is finished, I'll get a copy. I can't wait to see the finished product. I hope to be part of something that becomes a series and do something positive to promote aviation and homebuilding. I never in my wildest dreams expected that something like this would come up. Here are a couple of shots from my own camera.

Here she is riding in for the camera, all decked out in her leathers. They shot this several times. It was really funny on one take when she rode right by the house and forgot to turn in.

Here's the cameraman. Great guy. I found out he goes to the same church as my son Luke, and they know each other. Small world! They had recently been working on a Habitat for Humanity project together. Luke and his wife Andria are involved with Habitat.

I pulled my tail sections off the wall before they arrived and took all the blue vinyl off and polished it up for a nice visual. They loved it! I got out my rivet gun and hammered a rivet on some scrap for the camera. They interviewed me and asked questions. Then did the same for Jamie. At one point, I lined up my fuselage bulkheads on the floor to show them how it will all become a fuselage, sat down over the center section with the control stick in my hand to explain it to them and show them where I'm at in the project, and she jumped down there and sat with me holding the other stick and we made airplane noises for the camera. Silly stuff, but they loved it.

We were all finished at this point and saying our goodbyes. I found out she was at the University of Oregon during the same years I was there. Hard to believe she's over 50! Within a few months, she's the same age as I am.

Here's a hottie little YouTube video clip of her being interviewed, if you're interested. Stay tuned... I'll put an update in here when I find out when the pilot show is going to air.

Okay... now that the party is over, it's back to work!

UPDATE: 11-10-2009 Well, here it is about a year later, and I heard from Sandi. They are still working on selling this idea to a network, and seem to be making some progress. They posted a 5-minute "Sizzle Reel" on YouTube. You can look at it right here! I didn't make the cut for the sizzle reel, unfortunately (waaaaaaaaaa...! sniff--- sniff... ) because they had some footage of actual flying airplanes at a breakfast fly-in where she got to go for a ride. Actually, I can't blame them. That's much more interesting stuff than my bulkheads and aluminum parts. But she said I should still be in the pilot show if they get the go-ahead! So we'll see... stay tuned... I'll keep you posted.

Fabrication, deburring, and cleaning - 4.0 Hrs.

Well, I ruined another part today. At least I keep ruining cheap stuff. This time it's the F-729C aluminum angle that goes behind the top clecoes in the picture below, on the back side of this plate. Once again, I drilled a hole in the wrong place. Fortunately, I was able to just grab a piece of angle, cut another one, and move on. I just hope it doesn't put me short on aluminum angle somewhere else down the line.

The work on this bulkhead is finally nearing completion. It's time to take it all apart for dimpling (some of the rivets are flush) and the usual deburring, scuffing, cleaning, and priming. Then comes the fun part... riveting it all together.

I think this looks kinda cool. Sure feels good to have it done to this point.

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