Welcome to the Twin Cities RV Builders Group

Twin Cities RV Builders – “Spring” Meeting


Saturday, March 21, 2015, 10 am – noon,

Paul and Doug’s Hangar, Lake Elmo Airport


So What Were You Thinking?


Our resident tech counselor and RV gad-about Tom Berge will enlighten us on some of the amazing “challenges” he has encountered crisscrossing the country, conducting pre-buy inspections, doing ferry flights and repairing and modifying RVs.  It is SO easy to build yourself into a corner and find you have an RV that is hard to maintain, maybe hard to fly, and hard to sell.  And speaking of selling, Doug Weiler will also discuss how he built his RV-7 with the thought in mind that someday he’d have to sell it.  Not yet… but the day may come!!  PLUS...  we'll have plenty of time for builder questions, so bring your problems and they shall be solved!!!!


Coffee and goodies as usual.  Directions:  Turn into the north entrance of Lake Elmo Airport (just south of the RR tracks on Manning Ave).  Go east past the hangars on the right, follow the roads to the left and just past the Civil Air Patrol sign turn right.  Hangar 41C on Mooney Lane. Please park on the hard surface if the ground is soft (we can only dream!!).  Lost?  Call Doug at 651-398-1184.



The March 2015 issue of the RVator's Log is ready for download HERE


I received a nice note the other day from our honorary Icelandic club member Arni Sigurbergsson.  Arni is a retired IcelandAir pilot and has built several RVs over the years.  He also has made several visits to Minneapolis and stays in touch by keeping us up to date on the RV flying activity in the north Atlantic!


Here’s a picture of Arni and his grandbaby Robert Arni at a recent celebration of the arrival in Reykjavik of a beautifully painted B-757 named “Hekla Aurora”.  Arni’s note:


“Hi Doug, IcelandAir B-757, TF-FIU is back from painting in the color of Northern Lights w/new volcano names!   On February 4th, the company invited over 100 office staff & retired pilots to fly from KEF to REK, where employees and relatives were waiting to see the new paint!  I went with my son in law, IcelandAir pilot Fridrik Birgisson and 2 sons Kristofer (3 1/2 years) and Robert Arni  (1 1/2 years) to see Hekla Aurora fly over and land on runway 19 at 1730.  The captain was deputy chief pilot Haukur Runarsson, who made a perfect landing after a 20 min. flight from BIKF!  We look forward to the spring and summer, good weather, and visitors from Minneapolis area if/when time will be available?  With a picture of Robert Arni & grandpa & Hekla Aurora" we send you our best wishes for a good flying year.” 

It's great to hear from Arni and to know we aren't the only ones enduring a gray and grungy winter.  BTW, Click here for a cool video of how this 757 was painted.  And you thought your RV was a project!!!!!!



Certainly we could have not arranged for WORST weather for our meeting this past Saturday.  Fog, drizzle, low clouds and it was WAY TOO warm (give me 10 degrees versus a gloomy 45... this is winter!!) But the hospitality was great and we sincerely thank Harry Odone and Shannan Hendricks for inviting us to their hangar.  Harry's talk on how this massive machine came to RNH and the amazing restoration was fascinating.  It was a tale of determination and ambition mixed with a hearty dose of international intrigue.   The Fairey Gannet is a marvel of 1950’s engineering prowess.

One interesting item that we all found interesting was that all of the paint stripping was done with high pressure soda blasting.  The process worked amazingly well and took of many layers of paint accumulated over many years of military service.  It’s a biodegradable process that eliminates working with caustic chemicals that want to eat you alive.  Would you believe they used 2 ½ TONS of soda in the process. 


Here’s a shot of Shannon, Harry, son Mason and hangar mascot Turbine (who is always in motion) along with yours truly.


For more information, here’s their websites:





Thanks again Harry and Shannan!!



The December issue of the RVator's Log is ready for download HERE


Bob Collins has put together a great narrative of his recent trip out East.  CLICK HERE to check it out!


Local RV builder/pilot Bob Collins worked with AOPA to organize an elaborate ruse to award this year's AOPA Sweepstakes aircraft to Steve Lagergren of Litchfield, MN.  Steve also owns a RV-7 and Sunday’s “secret” mission involved a contingent of club members to make this BIG surprise happen.  Read about it on Bob’s blog on Minnesota Public Radio and AOPA’s website!!


Some photos of our 25th RV Fly-In and Picnic have been added to the Photo Gallery page.  Check 'em out!!!!



RV-4 pilot John Field recently took his niece Mono for a ride in his beautiful yellow -4.  She wrote him this REALLY COOL thank you note...  You'll love it!!! (make all that labor worth every minute!)



RV builder Keith Ulrick is selling is partially completed RV-6 tail and wing kit.  Go to the FOR SALE page for more details



Our resident RV-gadabouts Pete and Andi Howell has been off on another adventure.  Click HERE for the latest......


"Twitchy" ailerons  - check your trailing edges

RV-7 builder/pilot Doug Weiler finds a solution to his hyper-sensitive RV-7.  Check out the Building Tips link.


Chowing down on some serious Middle Eastern food. Goes great with good friends and a ramp of beautiful RVs!!

Although the skies were a little on the gray side, we had a great turnout for our Summer RV gathering at Anoka County Airport.  Thanks to Bernie Weiss and Pete Howell who hosted us at their hangar and arrange for the great food from Holy Land Deli.  Our plan was to feature local RVs that had been painted by Midwest Aircraft Refinishing and we had all six on display!  Thanks to Kris and George from Midwest who made the drive down from Hibbing to see the end result of their craftsmanship.  Here's a link for some more photos.....





Happy builder Warren Starkebaum shows the RV grin after today's first flight of his RV-7.  Test pilot was Doug Weiler flying from Anoka County Airport in Blaine, MN.






Cliff Peterson has put his RV-6 up for sale.  GO HERE for all of the details


Some great news from Nathan Peterson.....


My RV-8 flew for the first time on June 6, 2014. I am pleased to report that nothing fell off, blew up, bent, broke melted, boiled or burned up. As a bonus, it flew nice and straight.


ECi IO-360 from America's Aircraft Engines.

Whirlwind 200RV Prop

AFS 4500, AFS (Trutrak) autopilot, GNS 430W, GPSMAP 696, GMA 240, GTX 327 all from SteinAir.


Thanks to MN Wingers Mike Hilger, Christer Stenstrom, Paul Irlbeck and Tom Irlbeck for making the long journey to Blooming Prairie to eye ball my project and steer me in the right direction. Also everyone who shared information with me and let me take pictures of their airplanes at all the RV gatherings. What a great group!   




Nathan Peterson

Blooming Prairie, MN




Our ever-faithful treasurer Jim Lenzmeier sent me this photo the other day taken at his lake cabin.  In light of our recent meeting at Key Air with a presentation by LifeLink, I knew there must have been a back-story here (knowing that there is generally never a good reason that LifeLink shows up in your backyard, I was worried).  Jim fills us in…


Doug, do I have connections or what!  The boys at LifeLink dropped in to see if we were doing all right at our new cabin.  Don't believe a word of that. Here is what really happened. A grandma, down about 1/4 mile from us, twisted her ankle and shattered it in a compound fracture. LifeLink was in the air not too far away as the 911 call went out.  They responded and landed across the road from us!  The lady was attended to by 4 EMT / nurses, transported by ambulance to the chopper and then on to Superior Hospital.  We took the photo op and there you have the story behind the picture.




Our resident world traveler Pete Howell and his wife Andi were off on another adventure Memorial Day weekend.  This time their study RV-9A took them to a little known scenic wonder of Indiana.  Check out the Trip Log page.....





Congrats to long, long, long-time RV-6 builder Kevin Knutson on the first flight of his beautiful machine!!! 


Kevin tells the whole story......


Yeah, I know it's been awhile...  17 and a half years since I opened the tail kit box, but "Dad's little geeky me-time project" wasn't even on a slow-build timeline. Something over 3,500 build hours, Just enjoying the  process with mods and details as time permitted.  Despite my "legendary" status, In fact I don't even hold the record at Airlake.  Builder Gary Rene' took 23 yrs to finish his Celerity, so I raced ahead of him by nearly six years!  Simply owning an airplane takes a checkbook and a parking spot.  But there's something special about Building Your Airplane, hats off to all the guys who do that.  And repeat offenders, well, you're worthy of a class all your own. 


N80KD flew hands-off first flight, so I guess all that fiddling and measuring paid off, or maybe I'm just living in a world of mutually-offsetting errors.  I'll take it either way.  Initial stall tests breaks evenly at approx. 55 mph indicated and half flaps, couple mph faster clean.  Appears all that pitot-static stuff is working fine, despite being advised my Cleaveland flush static ports   "...would never work..."  Further flight tests may reveal the details of any dark secrets held by Van's pop-rivet static ports.   My mid-time IO-360 didn't explode on takeoff nor did the prop fly off.  I guess it must think its still in its humdrum Piper Arrow, and hardly shrugged dragging me off the ground.  It's obviously still very early, but nothing "good" happened on that first flight to report. 


I would like to also mention much of my no-surprises first flight was due to taking advantage of the RV Flight Safety website and as much information as I could find, to include back-issues of the MN Wing's RVator's Log regarding first flights, landings, etc.  Thanks Doug.   I also traveled to Dallas early this year to get some dual in an RV7 with Alex DeDominicis (he's on the Van's website).   It is MORE than worth it to get instruction in the aircraft you're transitioning to.  That's as true for RV's as it is for jets.  Thanks, Alex...     As one of my early flight instructors observed, "Even a rock in a creek will EVENTUALLY absorb some moisture...".

Can't wait to finish the Phase I testing as I've already fabbed up a carbon fiber battery box to replace the steel Odyssey box.....  saving ounces!   Could be another 3 knots!       


Kevin Knutson


Bernie Weiss just got his RV-9 back from the paint shop (Midwest Aircraft Refinishing in Hibbing, MN). What do you think? Looks pretty cool to me!!!!


Noah Rosenbloom, 1925 - 2014

- Doug


Back in the "old" days of the Twin Cities RV Builder's Group (circa 1989), the choice of which RV to build pretty much boiled down to a RV-4 or a RV-6. Most of us were enthralled by the sporty -4 so the tandem 2-seater was the project of choice 25 years ago. I don't recall exactly when Noah joined the club but it must have been around 1990 and he decided to build a -4. He started the project in his shop near New Ulm, MN but progress was slow. Although his building schedule was sporadic, Noah was a fixture at our meetings. He had an inquisitive mind and always was asking questions and ready to discuss the latest aviation topics.


Over the years, we got to be good friends. He had been a private pilot since shortly after WWII and was always quick to show me pictures of his PT-26 that he owned in the 1950's. He was an accomplished attorney and served many years as a District Court Judge but he had definite passion for aviation. We often discussed the latest airline news and was always curious about my career as an airline pilot. Noah was not into email and for years he would write me these exquisitely typed, formal letters, often with a newspaper clipping, commenting on some aviation news item of the day. I certainly received at least one or two a month. Plus we had many great phone comnversations, always talking flying.


He told me of his friendship with Klaus Scherer who was a retired Lufthansa pilot living in Munich. I believe the story was that Klaus and Noah met at the University of Minnesota after WWII as Klaus was studying in the U.S. They exchanged lots of letters over the years and, through Noah's introduction, my wife and I met Klaus during a trip to Munich in 2003. A very interesting gentlemen who had been a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and had some interesting stories of the war!


Although his flying activities was waning in his later years, Noah wanted to see his RV-4 fly. So sometime around 2006, he and RV master builder Paul Irlbeck dusted off the languishing project and finished it up. Here are some photos taken during our 2007 RV Fly-In where Noah finally got to ride in his RV.



Noah and master craftsman Paul Irlbeck (I'll always remember this RV grin!!)



Noah and test pilot Tom Irlbeck


Noah flew west on January 15, 2014 at age 89. Fair skies Noah.....



Where to Find Us:

Twin Cities RV Builders Group
65 15th Ave SW
New Brighton, MN 55112

Phone: (651)398-1184 or (651)633-8488


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