First Flight For "One Week Wonder"

Photo: EAA
Photo: EAA

Over the seven days of EAA AirVenture, more than 2,500 volunteers pitched in to build an airplane, and on Tuesday morning they got their reward -- the Zenith CH 750 Cruzer N140WW "One Week Wonder" took off on its first flight. "The flight was great," said Jeff Skiles, EAA's VP for community, who took the controls for the first circuit around the pattern. "The Zenith Cruzer has a lot of performance, and lifts off very fast. Like a rocket ship, really." It was Skiles's first maiden flight of a new aircraft, EAA said. He was thoroughly checked out on Monday in another Cruzer as well as a 750 STOL. The airplane had taxied before the airship crowds on Sunday, the last official day of the show.

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"One Week Wonder" Day Six: More Details

Wonder_6

Each morning this week we have started our day by going directly to the One Week Wonder pavilion at the crossroads of all that is AirVenture 2014. The team of volunteers is still on schedule to completely assemble and taxi test a Zenith CH 750 during the convention, which means by the end of the day, tomorrow. Ron Wagner, of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, the number two on the project, told us that Charlie Becker, EAA's manager of homebuilt programs and lead on the project, was doing an important part of the assembly of a kit airplane at the time we visited--he was working on the paperwork so that an Airworthiness Certificate could be issued once assembly and testing is complete. Wagner said that the wings will be installed shortly as they are complete save for some plumbing that must be done when on the airplane; the rudder and elevator controls are rigged, fuel flow is being tested, seat panels and upholstery will be installed soon and they are preparing to do the weighing and calculations for the weight and balance of the airplane.

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"One Week Wonder" Day 5: Details

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As of Friday morning there was still a steady stream of AirVenture visitors coming to the pavilion where volunteers are determined to assemble and taxi test a Zenith CH 750 kitplane before the convention wraps up on Sunday. Nick Heintz of Zenith Aircraft said that assembly is on schedule: The panel has been installed and is being wired, much of the cabin interior is done--the seat belts were being installed when we visited--the tail is on the airplane and the rudder and elevators are being rigged, fuel lines are being installed and the remaining riveting on the wings is wrapping up.

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"One Week Wonder" Day 4: Coming Together

The first thing this morning, we visited the "One Day Wonder" pavilion in the middle of AirVenture 2014 and checked on the project to build and do initial taxi testing of a Zenith CH 750 kitplane before the convention wraps up Sunday afternoon. Charlie Becker, EAA's manager of homebuilt programs, told us that assembly is running on schedule, plus they've not had to work later than 5:30 any evening. The airplane is on the landing gear and the engine is on the firewall--Becker said it's to the point "you can sit inside and make airplane noises." He also said that the detail work, so important to making an airplane fly, is just beginning--the airplane is now at the stage often described by homebuilders as 90 percent done and 90 percent to go.

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"One Week Wonder" Day 3: Infectious Enthusiasm

We checked in at 8:00 a.m. today at the "One Week Wonder" project pavilion where a team of volunteers is determined to build and conduct initial taxi testing of a Zenith CH 750 kit airplane in seven days--front and center in the heart of AirVenture 2014. The atmosphere throughout the pavilion--volunteers and the large, ever-changing group of spectators--was one of enthusiasm. People stopping by said that they had heard about it and had to see an airplane being built in a week. And there had been striking visible progress since we visited yesterday morning--the aluminum is stating to look like an airplane. Charlie Becker, EAA's manager of homebuilt programs, briefed us on the status: They were on schedule, no team was behind; the forward and aft fuselage have been joined together; the fuselage will be put onto the landing gear today; the firewall is being finished up and the engine should get mounted today.

One Week Wonder
Volunteer Ken Pavlou with the "One Week Wonder" Zenith CH 750 and the digital count-down clock.

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"One Week Wonder" Day 2: Progress And Excitement

One Week WonderThe "One Week Wonder" project to build and conduct initial taxi testing of a Zenith CH 750 kit airplane in seven days--right in the heart of AirVenture 2014--was a hive of activity as of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Speaking amid the classic clatter and howls of tools in action on an aluminum airplane, Charlie Becker, EAA's manager of homebuilt programs, told us that he was satisfied with the first day's work of the large group of volunteers assigned to the stations building various components. "The fuselage is on schedule, as is the right wing. The tail is ahead of schedule. Only the forward fuselage is behind, but only by about four hours, which is not a concern at this point. In fact, we knocked off work at 5:30 p.m., yesterday. We didn't feel it was necessary to work into the evening," he said.

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