The date was October 15th, 2015, a day that was a long time coming or maybe it just seemed that way to me. The occasion was the Airworthiness Inspection that all experimental aircraft must undergo prior to its maiden flight. A small group of people, who all had a part in the construction of “Gabriel”, waited for the arrival of Lowell Farand, our DAR (designated airworthiness representative).
In the days leading up to the inspection we had gone over the plane with a proverbial fine tooth comb because we knew that Lowell would soon be doing the same. Bolts and screws were checked for proper torque. Control cables were checked for proper tension and safety wired. Navigation, landing and strobes lights were checked for operation. Weight and balance computations were made and documented. Flight control surfaces were checked for correct deflection and access panels were removed to allow Lowell to inspect all that needed inspecting. In short, we were as ready as ready could be.
Finally 1800 aka 6:00 pm arrived and so did Lowell with his lovely wife Gay. She accompanies Lowell on all his inspections to assist him in anyway she can. If you ask me, I think they really just enjoy each others company, but I digress. Once the inspection began all we could do was sit back and watch the “master” at work. Oh did I mention that we prayed under our breath a lot. As we watched Lowell go about his duties we could tell that this was not his first rodeo and it was quite apparent that he had not spent any time in a barrel, if you catch my drift.
Well, time came and went that evening and it was all over but the shouting. “Gabriel” had passed the inspection with flying colors, then Lowell made out the Certificate of Airworthiness and presented it to us with a smile and a hearty congratulations.
On a more serious note I need to make it clear that none of this would have been possible if it were not for our home church Elijah’s Fire International and all the folks that volunteered, donated money or supported our fund raising efforts.
A special thanks to our Rosie Riveter gals and the members of EAA chapter 132 in Elkhart, In. who opened up their hangar for the final assembly and donated so much time and knowledge helping us complete the build.
All this serves to remind me that “God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.” Vicki and I want to thank each and everyone of those who had any part in “Gabriel” coming to be.
So what’s next? Well on October the 31st, at 0900 aka 9:00 am the test flight is scheduled to take place, weather permitting. We will be documenting the flight with cameras on the ground and in the airplane. Dan Hulse, our webmaster and fellow builder. says that he will put it on our website for all to see. These are exciting times so keep checking back.
Well it’s time to close the hangar door and call it a night.
Good by for now, Flyboy Greg
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