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18 Years of the RV-Ator









What is it?: Collection of valuable articles from the past eighteen years of the RV-Ator newsletter; March 1998 edition

Where do you get it?: Builder's Bookstore
                                  Winterland Publications
                                  P.O. Box 270
                                  Tabernash, CO  80478
                                  (970) 887-2207
What does it cost?: $27.95

Number of pages: 345, photo-illustrated

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Cheers: An absolute must-have for all RV builders and pilots; binding allows book to open flat at any particular page; includes additional resource list.

Jeers: none

Most RV enthusiasts are familiar with the excellent newsletter published bimonthly by the elves in Van's world headquarters. Included in each issue is news about the latest RV models and technical tidbits and advisories by the factory guys as well as regular builders. What Andy Gold (RV pilot and proprietor of the Builder's Bookstore emporium) has compiled is many of the most relevant and useful articles concerning building and flying RVs from the past eighteen years of RV-Ator publication. Say you don't have backissues beyond last year? No problem, the bestest and greatest is in this book, "18 Years of the RV-Ator".

The publication is printed in an 8.5x11 inch format with a comb binder so it lies flat at any opening. This is really useful so you don't have to weight the pages down with a bunch of proseal-coated clecoes while consulting the book in the shop. It is divided into topics that naturally follow the flow of the normal building sequence. Some of the topics:

Tools and Hardware
Tail Construction (followed by the other major structures)
The Panel
Performance and Flying

Each of the chapters is filled with many articles dating from pre-1984 to the present. All RV models are represented (with the exception of the RV8A) and the overall quality of the articles is top-drawer. Many of the articles are written by Van Hisself, others by factory types, and many by builders who have found the better mousetrap.

I checked to see how many articles were added for the 1998 edition; Indeed, there are many. I was especially interested in the section on "Paints and Primers". This chapter is almost worth the entire price of the book! The majority of the info is from 1997 or later, so if you have the 1996 edition or earlier, you won't have most of this chapter.

A must read is the "Safety Reports" section. This is a list of   "ADs" concerning all RVs. The section is indexed so you can find any report in its respective chapter. Related is the "Operational" chapter which deals with issues that have arisen from field experiences of RV pilots. Nearly any operational hiccup you may have with your RV is covered in this section. The "Accident Reports" is a sobering and educational foray into the "An ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure" area. Don't miss these sections--they are vital to our happy and successful careers as RV pilots.

The last section, "Flying", is about as close to a POH for an RV that you will find. Here is detailed info about climb and cruise performance, techniques, and flight testing. If you have read the entire book to this point, you have more RV knowledge in your cranium than most pilots of certificated aircraft will ever see concerning their planes. The scope of knowledge presented it truly enormous, yet immensely practical for the builder/pilot.

You must have this book! If you already have the 1996 or earlier edition, and are still building or in the early flight stages, you still need to get this edition. Spending $28 every couple of years for the most current info on your RV is chump change compared to the benefits received. Click here to go to the Builder's Bookstore for ordering info (and a lot more good titles for RV people!).

Highly Recommended!


Sam Buchanan



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