Serendipity and Rans S-7 number 10 and 11
serendipity (good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries)
Since April of 2003 when I flew in and, of course, had to buy my first Rans S-7, my ďaffairĒ with the S-7 has been full of serendipitous events.† Even my wife commented as we were towing home S-7 #11, that I lead a charmed life.
Rans number one was a
Below is #1 with clamp-over-the-wheels skiis during the winter of 03/04.
That purchase was the beginning of a long series of experimentation with this marvelous aircraft that provided just the performance I wanted in a floatplane. Rans has made a huge number of changes over the years to the early S7 that came out in 1985 and, although I didnít know it at the time, # 1 which was a 1998 model was a highly evolved version except for that 2 cycle engine which does not have the best reputation for reliability. To get more reliability, I had to move up to a 4 cycle 912. My belief is that it is not usually economically sound to do an upgrade but better to sell what you have and buy one with what you want. So, with that in mind, I sold #1 to get another S-7 with a 912.† That was the start of a long series of transactions which allowed me to experience most of the Rans versions of the S-7.
Last Fall when I was selling S-7 # 9, one caller mentioned there
was a Rans for
To me,† this seemed to be serendipity but wait til you hear about† # 11.
Rans builders and flyers discuss their loves in a Yahoo userís group. Back in 2007 a guy by the name of Ed Miller announced he had bought an uncompleted S-7 project and had some things to discuss. While the S-7 is a next to perfect flying machine, in my mind there are a few minor improvements/changes that are worthwhile. As Ed talked about what he wanted to do, I realized he and I had similar interests. He didnít like the accessibility of the battery. He wanted to have an easily removable instrument panel. He needed better cabin heat and an improved flap handle etc. etc.
Ed and I talked by
phone a few times and I planned to visit him at some point. His was not for
sale but I felt a visit to such a kindred spirit would be worth while. In the Fall of 2007 I was working on a purchase of the top of the
line S-7S model in
In the second week of
February 08 we stopped for gas in
Later that month I tried to contact Ed but without success. He also stopped internet activity and didnít respond to my email.
In the summer of 08,
another guy, Brian Olofsson, joined the Rans group and began asking questions
about an S-7 after having purchased a partially completed project. He was from
OK so not everything works out for me and thatís life.
Curious to hear how
Brian was doing with the project, I contacted him a month or so ago. Brian is a
busy guy. Not only is he an MD but he is also crazy about flying and an
entrepreneur. He recently sold the flight school at the
It turns out,
however, that he hadnít got to the S-7 project yet and was trying to work out
some better way of getting it finished. After a couple of weeks of negotiation,
Brian and I worked out a mutually agreeable arrangement and we headed off to
It took us two and a half days to get it all packed (Iím slow). Here it is ready to roll:
Lexy after she packed what Brian described as three pickup truck loads of
parts, including the engine, into our van with room to spare. No, thatís not
our driveway. We are just heading out from
So, three years after talking to Ed about all the great things he was doing with his S-7, I can now experience them first hand and will get to be the first one to actually fly the plane. Just how serendipitous is that?
Now let me tell you
why my wife also loved the trip even after three days of working in a grubby
hangar (sorry Brian) packing up all those parts. She likes architectural things
and so planned a side trip with some tours to
What also made this trip worthwhile were the great conversations we had with Brian and his wife Cheri. Building and flying is only part of the pleasure that playing with airplanes brings.