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One Week Wonder on Track for Completion

Van’s RV-12iS built by Oshkosh visitors to taxi down flightline this afternoon

By James Wynbrandt

July 28, 2018 - One week after the project began, the One Week Wonder — the Van’s RV-12iS kit aircraft being built on-site by visitors to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 — is on track to taxi down the flightline under its own power just after 2:30 p.m. Sunday, when the project officially ends.

“It looks like it’s nowhere finished right up until the end, and then it will all come together,” said Ron Wagner, EAA Lifetime 30248 and chair of volunteer ambassadors, yesterday at the One Week Wonder pavilion at the Four Corners, as the electronic clock on the wall counted down the time remaining for completion. “I’m not seeing any concern on the faces of the Van’s people.”

The aircraft kit arrived here just as it would if you ordered one to build at home, Ron said, and it’s a far cry from the Long-EZ and other group-build kit projects he organized back at EAA Chapter 161 in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

“The modern kits are unlike anything I’ve ever worked on,” he said. “It just amazes me, the tolerances are so much better than even model airplanes — it’s got to be one-thousandth of an inch. The rivets and the clecos just slide in. If the holes don’t line up, you better see [the part] is not on backwards.”

All attendees of any age able to hold a rivet gun are welcome to help finish building the aircraft today. Aluminum practice panels allow first-timers to quickly learn the proper technique. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a child, an A&P mechanic, or the FAA administrator [who also participated in the project] we have a process to demonstrate you have the capability to pull a rivet.”

The percussive sound of 10 to 15 rivet guns firing punctuated his comments. “Those are the ones they’ve worn out,” he said, pointing to nine rivet guns standing on the floor. 

Everyone who participates signs their name on the aircraft and receives a name badge and commemorative pin. “You’d be amazed how proud people are after they’ve pulled a rivet,” said Ron.

At AirVenture 2014, some 2,500 visitors participated in building the first One Week Wonder, a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer, and project leaders think this year’s retinue of riveters will equal or exceed that number.

With the project on track, Roger Munsterman, EAA 540555, co-chair of EAA facilities, who arrived a week early to prepare for the project and stays into the night to prepare for the following day’s build activities, could momentarily relax. “We’ve spent some long hours,” he said.

A designated airworthiness representative inspects the aircraft “at least once a day,” and will sign the certification paperwork on Sunday, Ron said. “When there are this many people, there’s always an opportunity for a mistake,” he added.

After the fly-in, the RV-12iS will be “very, very carefully inspected” by the EAA aircraft maintenance department, and following its first flight and mandated 40-hour fly off, it will be painted in livery conceived for the project by Scheme Designers. Though paint will cover the signatures of the hundreds of builders, their names are recorded digitally for posterity. The RV will then replace the Zenith One Week Wonder, which is currently on a tour of EAA chapters and aviation events, and later it will join the EAA flying club in Oshkosh to help EAA staffers earn their pilot certificates.

Meanwhile, it’s hoped some of the hundreds of builders will be inspired by the experience — and the ease of building a kit aircraft — to build one of their own.

“Any concerns you have — ‘Can I do this?’ — forget them, because you can,” Ron said.
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