Welcome to the Twin Cities RV Builders Group

Join us for our Annual Fly-In/Drive-in Family Picnic


Saturday, September 12, 2015 – eatin’ at noon

Sky Harbor Airpark, Webster, Minnesota


Fall is right around the corner so it’s time to celebrate with our RV friends and neighbors.  Our format is pretty much as the past years.  Bring a dish to share (salads, chips, dessert…. especially dessert!!)  We’ll provide the brats and fixings plus beverages.  Also your assignment is to bring your family and friends and anyone who wants to enjoy a great afternoon of friendship and RVs.  It just doesn’t get any better than this!


Fly-ins:  Sky Harbor Air Park (1MN8)

N44 31.7, W093 19.5, FGT (115.7) 218 degree radial, 9.0 nm, CTAF: 122.9.  Broadcast your position and PLEASE watch for traffic and above all….. SAFETY FIRST!!!!  There will be flagmen to direct you to parking.


Drive-ins:  From Minneapolis:  south on I-35.  Exit at the Elko, New Market exit #76.  East on Cty Rd 2 then south on Cty Rd 46.  Then west on Cty Rd 3.  You will cross I-35.  Take the second entrance to Sky Harbor (Cass Trail).  Follow the driveway to the Furhmann’s on the left.  You can’t miss it!


If lost, please call Doug at 651-398-1184.  See you there!!!!!!!!


Vance Draheim has put his RV-7 kit up for sale.  Details on the FOR SALE page.

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


Congrats to our own Chris Stenstrom for winning a Bronze Lindy workmanship award at this year's EAA Airventure.  His RV-8 was fresh from Midwest Aircraft Painting and the judges were impressed.  Can't wait to see it in person!  




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


RV-9A pilot Mark Erickson has turned his building skills to designing tugs.  His first design was built for Bernie Weiss to move his Beech Bonanza.  It used a gasoline engine and works great for the heavy G33.  A couple weeks ago, Mark finished his RV prototype, which uses an electric motor and several batteries.  Tom Berge has been testing it and it makes pushing a tri-gear RV around a piece of cake.  Next up is a paint job and a few other refinements.  Great for our aging backs!!


Check out the video.....


Some good news from Chris.....



The weather finally cooperated and I did my first flight of the RV-8. Happy to report there were no unplanned events. It performed just as expected. All of the big pieces are still attached and I can even re-use the airplane, so I call that successful.  A slight heavy left wing and just a few other minor adjustments is all that is needed.You can add this one to the completed RV list.


Christer Stenstrom



Fortunately it is rare that I get a call from the FAA (and I really want to keep it that way!).  But recently I received a call from Mark McMullen who is a controller at MSP center.  He was calling me to follow up on a question that I brought up had at a CFI refresher clinic that I attended last month.  I was talking to another FAA controller who was attending the course and I asked him whether the local FAA controllers knew I was ADS-B equipped.  He wasn’t familiar with how ADS-B was being integrated locally as of yet, but he said he’d find out and have someone call me.  Thus Mark’s call…


He explained to me that MSP center and approach can be operated in their Fusion ATC display mode.  What this does is to integrate Mode C, Mode S, and ADS-B traffic data into one single-tracked target.  So what this means is that the controller sees a traffic target whose location and altitude data is generated by a combination of airport and/or air route surveillance radar and ADS-B information.  He said that one of the immediate benefits of ADS-B in the MSP area is that it provides a traffic target in areas that have poor surveillance radar coverage (a good example is in the Eau Claire area).   From a pilot’s viewpoint, this is transparent and even the controller may not know on his or her display whether the traffic target is derived from radar or ADS-B.  As you know, in exchange for providing this ADS-B “out” data, we receive weather and traffic as the ADS-B “in” data.  Having now flown my RV-7 for about 10 hours using FreeFlight’s ADS-B FDL-978 transceiver, I am a true believer in the safety margin provided just by the traffic feature alone.  I can attribute at least 3 instances of a potential “close encounter” averted just in the first 10 hours of use in the MSP area.  Worth every penny!! 


- Doug


Today was one of those glorious days that one MUST go flying, especially coming out of another gruesome winter.  The mission was about 100 miles to the west to the farming town of Olivia, MN.  A great lunch was had at the Blue Max Cafe which is just a short walk from the airport.

Here's the gang: Vince Bastiani (RV-7), Jim Lenzmeier (F/O for Doug), Bob Collins (RV-7A), Bernie Weiss (RV-9), Pete Howell (RV-9A), Doug Weiler (RV-7) - photo by Peter Fruehling (RV-4)

As we all know the RV world is divided into the tri-gear folks who must live with this burden of the "A" designation branded into their psyche and those REAL pilots who live and breathe danger and true adventure.... masters of their taildragger RVs.  Here we have our own Bernie Weiss, RV-9 pilot extraordinaire...

- photo by Peter Fruehling


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


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!)



"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.




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.







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


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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