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More photos added periodically... so check back often. The text in black is my commentary.
Les Featherston's Rebel's Bluff visit July 5, 2004
My family dropped in on Les Featherston at Rebel's Bluff on July 5, 2004. Les's Rocket is wearing a new paint job that is just plain eye-popping gorgeous. The pictures don't do it justice.
Even though the weather was hotter than blazes, Les patiently gave everyone a ride. My son's girlfriend, Emily Walter, got to ride in the old Aeronca Champ and the Rocket. I asked her which one she liked best and she said "Oh wow, the Rocket was totally cool." Praise like that is hard to beat!!!
Les let me wiggle the stick in the back seat and offered much good advice on flying techniques. I am much indebted to Les for his guidance. (Tom Martin and Harry Paine are also on this list! Thanks to all of you great guys.)
The only downside to going to visit Les was that it made me REALLY, REALLY want to get my Rocket finished!!!!
Les Featherston's Rebel's Bluff Fly-In April 26, 2003
Les Featherston and his Champ
Above, some of the 50 flying machines of all types that made it to the fly-in. Look closely at the second picture, Gary Rodger's RV-3 has just turned on the smoke for a little showing off. Altogether the flying machine count was 50, including a powered parachute and a helicopter. RV's had 23 representatives and there was 1 Rocket present.
Tom Martin and John Crabtree just prior to John's first Rocket ride. John had this to say about the Rocket's acceleration on takeoff: " !@%$#^*& " I suppose that means he was impressed!
Les had a great fly-in. If you weren't there you really missed a rare treat. Les had his church serve lunch which consisted of giant softball sized BBQ sandwiches (YUM!) and all the fixin's to go with them. Dinner was at Les's beautiful home on the bluff above the airport. Dinner was steak, BBQ chicken, and grilled salmon ... awesome. We even had breakfast the next morning sitting in the sun of Les's sunporch. Very nice indeed.
Rebel's Bluff airport lies between a lovely little river (or big creek) and a curving bluff. The curving runway and trees alongside make for an interesting, but easy, right hand pattern for runway 12 or a left hand pattern for runway 30. Several intrepid aviators and their wives were camped next to the creek under the trees. They fearlessly braved snapping turtles, deer, and coyotes during the evening. John Crabtree and I weren't quite so fearless and stayed in the local motel.
Flyin highlights included parachute jumpers, powered parachute and helicopter demos, a little showing off by a few of the RVs, airplane rides for just about everyone. Les (brave guy!) even let me fly his Champ around with him in the back. I don't know if he had his eyes closed during my landing, but I did! LOL. We made it in one piece and could even use the plane again afterwards.
On behalf of about 200 guests and pilots, Thanks go to Les for a great weekend! Vince
Tom Martin had this to say: This past weekend, for me, defined why I fly a Rocket. Les Featherston hosted a flyin at his strip, Rebel's Bluff, and it provided me with a perfect weekend of flying. Rebel's Bluff, MO, is 700nm from our farm in Canada and the Rocket made it possible to do this in 3.7 hours of flight.
There is something about gliding over the landscape at 9500 feet and 200 knots that lightens the heart. Les, and his wife Linda, were the perfect hosts. Their property is beautiful, the curved runway a delight, and their neighbors came out in full force to welcome visitors. This is a property that is a only a dream for most plane owners and I highly recommend that you put this place on your map and attend next years flyin. I would like to note, however, that there needs to be more than one Rocket next year! Well done Les and Linda. Tom Martin
Tom Martin's Canadian Sunset
Fly-In June 22, 2002
Once again, Tom Martin's fly-in party was stupendous! And once again the weather was beautiful, and the food and drink were absolutely top notch.
Some of the highlights from this years fly-in were the drilling contest, the spud gun shootout, and, of course, the ride I got in Tom's Rocket.
The object of the drilling contest was to drill 3 holes 3" apart and in a straight line using only your eyeball for reference. It was immediately obvious that most contestants had no idea how long 3" are. It was quite a sight as most holes were less than 2" apart.
My undefeated streak at Tom's contest came to an abrupt end when two ladies stepped up and put the men to shame. The winner (I forgot her name) mentioned that her hobby was sewing. Those seamstresses know their stuff!
The pneumatic spud gun that Terry Jantzi brought was quite a hit with the crowd. Tom had a target, Osama Bin Spudden or a similar character, stapled to his picnic table which was 100 yards away in the bean field. Before everything was over, Osama looked like mashed potatoes. I sure hope Terry posts the plans for that spud gun on his site!
The other activities included gawking at the planes, a golf chipping contest, eating, drinking, telling lies, sitting around the campfire, and, of course, FLYING.
I was going to ride in the van with Tom while the others flew over to St. Thomas for fuel. Tom changed his mind and decided to take his new Rocket. Wooo hoo!!!! I got another Rocket ride. Although brief, since St. Thomas airport is within walking distance at only 1 1/2 miles away, the ride was quite exhilarating. Tom must have hit some of the RV's turbulence because we somehow managed to be upside down temporarily.
Here's a few pics....
What you see while holding on for dear life.
I saw this posted at the St. Thomas airport. Sexsmith Social Events???? No, I'm not gonna even guess what that group does for fun.
Waiting for U.S. Customs to arrive. We have to pay to get back in our own country. What's up with that?
Here's another place I visited while on this trip. Orville and Wilbur Wright's home and workshop in Dearborn, Michigan. Dearborn, Michigan? Yeah, it's in Greenfield Village next to the Henry Ford museum. Henry Ford moved the buildings there years ago from their original location, Dayton, OH.
Also in Greenfield Village are Edison's laboratories, one of Edison's power plants, and dozens of historically significant buildings of the late 1800's/early 1900's. Very cool stuff, and very well maintained.
The Ford museum is a great museum. It has industrial items ranging from the "Allegheny", a monstrous steam locomotive that would chew up and spit out any diesel locomotive you've ever seen and the "Dymaxium" an all aluminum house proposed by Beech aircraft shortly after WWII. The museum is packed with steam engines, cars, planes, machinery of all kinds and even the Oscar Mayer weinermobile. How cool is that? I highly recommend a visit to the museum and village.
Speedway Airport October 28, 2001
The Indianapolis RV Air Force gathered at Speedway airport for a group photo. I think they had 26 RVs gathered on the ramp, including at least two Harmon Rockets.
Oshkosh 2001 was a great time. There was good weather and plenty of activity in the RV and Rocket tents. The interest in the F-1 kits was very strong and Mark was smiling most of the week.
I was there most of the week and was privileged to talk to several Rocketeers. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll let the photos do most of the talking. Ha ha ha, that Lancair photo below just cracks me up.
Here's a FAT RV-4. Dang, this was what I was really after when I decided to build the Rocket. No, I'm not planning on changing now, but when I started out on this adventure all I really wanted was an RV-4 with a wider cockpit. I even quizzed Mark and John about putting an O-320 on the Rocket airframe.
This RV-4M was built by Joe Meyer of Duncan, British Columbia. He did a fantastic job as you can see in the photos. I would have taken more pics if the batteries in my camera hadn't died while getting these. I had a shot of the nose, but it's lost into digispace somewhere due to low batteries. Dang.
Joe says it flies just like an RV-4. Cool. It's also for sale.... $78,000. I don't know if that is US or Canadian dollars. Call 1-250-746-7395.
The last photo is a shot of an RV-4, Wild Horses. I really like his paint scheme.
Here's a few miscellaneous shots... the aileron access holes on the F-1, a canopy vent installation, a dorsal fin and some funny little elevator root fairings.... a speed mod???? You tell me, I don't know.
Here's a few shots of the F-1 display aircraft and the F-1 tent. Enjoy.
Tom Martin's Canadian Sunset
Fly-In June 23, 2001
John Crabtree and I flew up from Evansville, IN in John's RV-6. We stayed at my parents house in Jackson, MI overnight and flew to the London airshow on Saturday morning. Unbeknownst to us, the rest of the Indy RV group was in St. Thomas chowing down on grilled burgers and brats. We wondered why we didn't see any other RVs at London. It turns out that the Indy group drove (drove?) up from St. Thomas to the London airshow and we never did bump into them. They must have left immediately after Ken Fowler's fabulous Harmon Rocket airshow as they were all at the St. Thomas airport when we arrived.
John and I had barely exited the RV-6at the St. Thomas airport when everyone began putting the RVs and Rockets away for the night. I really felt let down since I thought I might have missed a good opportunity to snag a ride in one of the Rockets. Not to worry, Mark Frederick and Tom Martin soon had me smiling with their promise of a ride the next morning.
John and I wandered around checking out the RVs on the flightline and marveling at the 15 (or more) PZL Dromader spray planes on the ramp.... what beasts!
Soon it was time to head for Tom's house a mile north of the airport for a tour of Tom's 3rd generation farm and their seed business. Upon arrival we quickly found a trough full of iced down Canadian beer and sodas in the yard and drained as many as possible. All that flying really works up a thirst.
Next Tom gave us a tour of his workshop and then invited everyone to try their hand at driving a rivet.... an 1/8" round head in a piece of thin (0.020") angle. This combination of large rivet and thin material is a challenge to even the best riveter. We had over a dozen bona fide, certified, aircraft craftsmen in the room so we should've had over a dozen bona fide, certified perfect rivets.... right? WRONG!!! It just goes to show how finely tuned we are to our own tools. Well, there were a few passable rivets, and several ghastly screw-ups that would have looked awful even on a MIG-15. Sorry, I'm not going to name any names... I'll just say that some of the pathetic examples of squashed aluminum might have been caused by nameless individuals who kept turning the air pressure regulator up and down during the contest. Some people will do anything to win!!! Sheesh. Not me ;-)
We all had to sign our work. Tom had a prize for the winner and I was fortunate enough to VANquish the competition.... yeah, I cheated. When I saw how much trouble everyone was having, I cut off my rivet slightly short so it would drive more quickly, then I stopped as soon as I saw the metal begin to stretch. A little skill, a little luck... and now I've got a new , very nice folding chair with a cool Canadian Maple leaf on it! Thanks Tom! We're definitely doing the same contest when our EAA chapter visits my project next month. Hmmm, I wonder where I can get a chair like that with a US flag?After our sides quit hurting from laughing at each others rivets, Tom and his lovely wife Diane, were cooking again and charcoaled steaks with potato salad, slaw, and rolls were soon in front of us. And if that wasn't enough, Diane was soon serving up fresh strawberries and ice cream. Heck, my wife doesn't treat me that good!
After more beers and many airplane lies, Tom built a bonfire in his side yard overlooking the wheat fields and woods and we sat around and lied some more before retiring. It's a great way to meet great new friends and learn a ton of new airplane info.
Next morning we launched for a local fly-in breakfast at Reese's Corners, Ontario where we were guests of honor. The fly-in was a cancer benefit fund-raiser complete with a car and motorcycle show next to the planes. Very cool.
Tom Martin let me ride in the back seat of his brand new Harmon Rocket II on the way to the pancake breakfast and I must say it was everything I had hoped. My RV-4 was a great airplane, but I think the Rocket beats it hands down. WOW!!!! Did I say that? On the way to Reese's Corners, I did notice that several of the RVs, and even Tom's Rocket, were very susceptible to turbulence. The doggone things just wouldn't stay right side up. ;-)
The Rocket takeoff was just what I have heard... rapid, like tromping the accelerator in a Corvette. And a great rate of climb, just like you'd expect. The plane seemed much more solid in the air than my RV-4. I suppose the slightly longer tail and the higher wing loading are responsible for that. It seemed more stable in pitch than my RV-4 also, but, in fairness, the air was smooth that morning (except for the turbulence that kept flipping us 360º around a point).
The 6 cylinder provides a smooth, low rumble much different than the 4 bangers. Tom's MicroVision engine monitor was showing 22" MP, at about 2200 RPM and just over 10GPH, if I recall correctly, as we kept pace with the other RVs at about 180+mph. At 3500' with a new engine, I don't know if Tom was leaning the fuel or not.
After breakfast, it was on to Port Huron to clear customs, where we sat in the cockpits of the 8 RVs and Rockets until the U.S. Customs agent arrived exactly on time. We had been warned not to screw around as the agents are dead serious about their business, but everything went fine. The agent said that he had forgotten his receipt book, so none of the 8 planes were able to purchase the $25 customs sticker. Oh darn. I guess he figured they'd already bled enough pilots this year. Anyway, we were soon on our way home.Total time for an RV-6 ride from Port Huron, MI to Evansville, IN is 2 hours and 30 minutes...try that in your Oldsmobile.
Those attending were: John Crabtree RV6 with Vince Frazier HRII under construction aboard, Wayne Ray RV6. And oh yes Wayne and his copilot, paint scheme and the udders, milk pail and stool he puts on 9999P had 'em all rolling and many pictures were taken by the local press so Wayne is a celebrity now, Jim Winings RV4, Randy Planzer and son Ross RV6, Tom McCord RV4, Bob Japundza RV6. Mark Frederick and his HRII from Austin Texas, Are Barstad RV8, Loretto Ont., Gordon Baxter RV6, Kitchner Ont., Rick West RV4, Sarnia Ont., Ed Das RV8 Strathroy Ont., Jeff Stokes RV6 Dover Centre Ont., Glen McClarity RV8, Bramton Ont., Charlie Douma RV8 Bramton Ont., And Tom Martin's new, looking for paint HRII. Wander if Tom will win another 1st place at Osh with this one. Tom and his friend, Terry Jantzi, are heading to Austin to pick up 3 more F1s to build.When it was all said and done, Tom Martin provided hangar space, cars, airshow tickets and VIP parking passes, grilled burgers and brats for lunch, charcoaled steaks for supper, and fresh strawberries and ice cream for dessert! We all felt like royalty! And I finally got to ride in a Rocket!!! What a great weekend. Vince Frazier
EAA Bakersfield Chapter # 71 Fly-Inn June 2, 2001
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John Harmon's new HRIII
gobs of horsepower, single place, and a very short wing.
Span........................................20 Fuel Capacity......................47 Gal
Height......................................56 Power Lyc IO-540 ............ 400HP@2900Rpm
Wing area................................99Sq Ft Propeller..............................Hartzell 78 3 Blade
Empty Weight.........................1080Lbs Cruise Speed 75%................260 MPH
Gross Weight..........................1800Lbs Econ. Cruise 55%.................230 MPH
Useful Load.............................720Lbs Redline.................................310 MPH
Power Loading........................4.5Lbs/Hp Stall ..58 MPH
Wing Loading..........................18 Lbs/Sq Ft Rate of Climb S/L.................3600 FPM
2000 So. Union Ave.
Bakersfield, CA 93307
A couple of fast RV-4's at
I can just say it was an Rocket/RV fest... I think there were over 20 Rockets in attendance and plenty of nice RV4's and RV6's.... Of course, there was a real cool Tailwind W10 there too (mine) :) You should have seen Mean Green's RV4... It looks like a "Mini Rocket" and the fit, finish, and appointments are absolutely gorgeous. He is going to have a lot of fun with that airplane. First guy I ever met that has a 10 disk CD changer with a remote so you don't have to mess with disks all the time.
The BBQ was $10 bucks... A great spicy Rib Eye steak with all the salad and stuff along with a soda. Outback catered the food and it was GREAT!
The weather was perfect, not terribly hot like it had been just a day or two before. The building they threw the BBQ in had "Misters" (things that have a mist of water squirting like a thin vapor from them) running across the door openings (like 50 foot door openings) on each end of the building creating kind of an air conditioned feeling without the expense.
John Harmon gave a few rides and also showed off the Rocket III. It's still in the final stages of electrical, plumbing, and baffling but it's painted and on the gear. It looks great with the 3 blade simitar prop on it. I'm sure it will blow us all away one of these days.. Single place Hot Rod with 380 horsepower. I'm certain the performance will be nothing short of SPECTACULAR.
So, that's about it....Lots of very nice airplanes to look at, some very good food and in general just a fine casual day with a bunch of builder/pilots showing how nice you can make these things look and fly. Fred Weaver
Here is a partial list of planes that were spied at the fly-in. I can't guarantee 100% accuracy, but it's close. I try to give credit where credit is due... these guys certainly deserve credit for hard work, perseverance, and craftsmanship.
N771BD Ed McGinity, blue, white, white pants
N96B Ron Bracken, white, lt blue, yellow
N977M Mike Reed, red, purple, white stripe
N737RD Alpha Aviation unfinished, tan cowl
N84A G B Moss, blue, white, gold trim
N888GR Gary Rudolph, white, blue, gold trim
N62HR Nathan Hawkins, red, white
N280 Gary Mussen, white, blue stripes
N36CR Craig Reiner, white, red, black
N230RC Ron Carter, red, silver, black, white
N230A Dave Anders, white, red, fastest RV4, Check out: http://members.eaa.org/home/flight_reports/triaviathon.html
N59ES Emery Spangler, red, white, black stripe
N39TB Tim Barnes, green, white, Mean Green
N50GR Gary Banducci, red, white
N287AW Ray Myers, white, blue
EAA Chapter 49 Rockets
Shamelessly lifted from http://www.eaa49.av.org/
Lamb's Harmon Rocket
Yeah Baby! Check out that fixed front windshield and custom rollbar.
Harmon's Rocket II, the one that started all this Rocket II mania!
Dave B's Harmon Rocket I, an RV-3 on steroids? Cool.
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Last updated: 09/01/06
CAUTION: This web site is not a publication of, nor approved by, Harmon LLC, Team Rocket, Van's Aircraft or any other person or entity listed herein, except me. Be advised that I am a blithering idiot with neither brains nor money and my advice is not to be trusted. So there. You have been warned! Vince