Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Last Trip Of The Season - And It Was A Doozy!

Almost Ready To Depart
    A couple of weeks ago I embarked on my last trip of the season. Sad, I know, but it was most memorable. Some good, some bad, all...ummm...interesting. If you've been following these columns, the first few days didn't go so well (Breakdown #1 and Breakdown #2). I eventually arrived at the Helicopter Gathering in Florida 1100 miles from my home base in New York. Of course, I was two-and-a- half days late, so a lot of what I wanted/needed to get done was delayed. (More on that later!) All in all it was fun, AND I lost another 4 1/2 pounds. The "No sleep, No food, all work diet" works very well, but I wouldn't recommend it! So, what exactly happened?

Early Morning On The Flight Line
Long before I leave for an extended trip (well, extended for me anyway) I try and make sure all my maintenance and servicing is completed. That way I don't have any surprises. Works pretty well when I do the work myself. Not so good when you leave it to someone else. I admit, I should have checked the work, but I didn't. My bad. This time it cost me. In time and money. Ah well. Live and learn. Once the breakdown saga was over, and we arrived in Lake City, Florida, things began to look up. We had a beautiful spot parked right on the flight line along the runway, along with other fellow Helicopter owners. There was water for refilling tanks and my newest version Solar Charging system kept pace with energy demands. The only thing missing was a dump station, but there were public bathrooms and trips to town to mitigate that.

Ready To Disassemble!
After unloading the helicopter from my trailer and moving it to the maintenance hangar I set up camp in the RV. The first couple of days were 90 degrees PLUS! So the Mylar bubble foil window reflectors were an absolute necessity! I left the two fantastic fans running all day (on solar, of course!). One set to Intake and the Other on Exhaust make a wonderful breeze throughout the RV. To be honest, there were a few hours the first two days where the generator got started up and the Air Conditioner used. Hey, I believe in Solar, but I have a Generator and am NOT afraid to use it! That being said, it did need half a quart of oil....I should really exercise it more often. After those two first hot and humid nights, the temps dropped into the high 70's low 80's with nights getting into the 50's. Perfect!! Temperature control inside the RV was easily achieved with vents and fans alone.

Have To Do Part of This Job Again!
Then the rain came. A lot. It's a good thing I was mostly working in the hangar because the flight line was a muddy mess. Just to make matters a bit worse, I discovered a tiny leak on my rear vent/fan unit and had to put a small tarp over it to keep the water out of the ceiling. So much damage can be done by water getting into the ceiling it's VERY important to stop it ASAP! I believe it's a loose screw under the eternabond tape that will have to be addressed in the spring. I've removed and reinstalled both the front and back ones over the years. Road vibration loosens EVERYTHING! Make sure you check your screws before you leave or after each trip. Not too hard to do, but will save you lots of tedious repair overall.

The event was scheduled to end Sunday afternoon, but because of my late arrival and the amount of work I wanted to get done, we elected to stay past Sunday afternoon. We relocated to a half concrete/half dirt section next to the maintenance hangar. There was water to fill the tanks and shore power if needed. But still no dump facilities. The weather held out for the most part, though it did rain quite hard on and off for the next few days. Finally, all was in readiness, we pushed the helicopter out in front of the hangar and started it up. All was good. Once warmed up and having no leaks or other flew. Yes, only a hover, but for the amount of work done (a whole new drive system!) this was unexplored territory. Many thanks to the skilled and brilliant folks that helped out, I couldn't have done such a great job without them! Lots of flying to be done when I got home!

It was really nice having a place to retreat to for a snack or coffee or just a quick rest while working. RV's are awesome! I know, I'm biased. I'm already looking forward to next year's gathering. This time I will be better prepared with the RV ready to go and all systems checked (and re-checked.)

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"


  1. Is your "chopper" a Rotorway? I looked into those about 30 years ago - and that's as far as I got . . .

  2. MrTommy,
    This one is a Rotorway. It's an oddball most of my motorized items. Latest modded engine with a turbocharger designed by a couple of engineers. mechanical fuel injection (NO COMPUTERS!) an intercooler and electronic ignition. Very reliable. AND I just changed out the entire drive system for the latest and greatest. Fun!

    Rich "The Wanderman"

  3. Nice. I've been a chopper fan since the days of Chuck and PT and their Whirlybirds TV show. 50's? A bit envious of your uber-cool look going down the road with a helicopter in tow. [grin]

    1. MrTommy,
      It is most definitely a conversation starter at fuel stops!

      Rich "The Wanderman"


Thank you for your comment. Our moderator checks each one to make sure we keep the Spammers away. So the comment will likely not appear immediately.