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Chapter 91 Adds Welcome Wagon to Homebuilt HQ
By Larry Young, EAA 169501, President Emeritus Chapter 91
April 2017 - As one of the co-chairmen of the Welcome Wagons at EAA AirVenture 2016, I was on duty taking calls and dispatching wagons when the annual rain shower came, effectively shutting down our operations since none of the present wagons are equipped to move people in inclement weather. I sat there thinking that what we need is a Welcome Wagon No. 4 with a roof and side curtains so folks can be taken where they need to go in dry comfort.
At the time, I had a 2000 Chevy S-10 pickup and I had been thinking about upgrading to something newer. My thought process went something like a lightning strike. I figured I would make a proposal to the board of directors of EAA Chapter 91, offering to donate my S-10 to the chapter if it would construct Welcome Wagon 4. My proposal was met with one “Is a pig’s fanny pork?” and some along the lines of “Let’s do it.” The vote was a formality. The project was turned over to the chapter, and we were on our way.
I contacted chapter member Tab Sunderland, who is an expert fabricator. His welding is a work of art. Tab procured all the necessary metal plate and tubing, cut it to length, and completed the framework by the end of February 2017. I found a used pickup bed cover at a very good price, which will be the roof of the passenger compartment.
Mike Dooley, who assumed the duties of president of EAA Chapter 91 when I stepped down, has been involved in the project from the beginning. Mike has been able to furnish any tool needed. It has been said, “If Mike doesn’t have the tool, it hasn’t been invented yet.”
Other Chapter 91 members have also assisted with the project, including Pam Ratliff (staining and finishing the woodwork), Phil Ishmael (bench seat fabrication), Keith Schult (metal fabrication and welder assistance), and Gus Schlegel (donated the Sonex canopy for the windscreen).
What’s next? Chapter 91 EAA Technical Counselor Mark Burrow is working his magic as a composite fabricator, creating a windscreen for the passenger area. Once the windscreen is finished, the entire assembly will be taken apart for painting. We will then reassemble it and take it to an upholstery shop for fabrication of seat cushions and side curtains.
The finish line will be AirVenture 2017, where Welcome Wagon 4 will receive its EAA decals and join the others in greeting our homebuilders on the flightline.