Project Police Check Out Rocket II

Russ Erb

Originally published April 1998

On 11 April 1998, this Project Police officer found himself in the dreaded land of Tehachapi (known to be an Indian word meaning "land to which EAA members won't drive"). No, this wasn't a '60s pop psychology flashback, but a trip with the family to partake of the outstanding lunch fare at The Raven's Nest, located at Mountain Valley Airport. Recent reports of a Chapter 1000 member in this area building a Harmon Rocket II (modified RV-4) had reached headquarters and required confirmation.

We had departed the home 'drome with a long list of things to accomplish for the day, cleverly disguising our true intentions. The disguise was so good that we had departed with no way to contact the prospective victim. Whoops…but inasmuch as our plans included a trip to Lancaster, we took the chance to pop into the WJF terminal where Chapter 1000 business cards were known to reside. It seems that the intended target of this raid had picked up the call sign "Secretary" some time back, and thus had his phone number splattered all over the chapter business card.

We continued on our mission, imbibing in the wonderful lunch fare that is commonplace at The Raven's Nest (that's two plugs--just go and try it yourself). It's not a good idea to go Project Policing on an empty stomach. Departing this staging area, we picked up the cellular two-way communications device and encoded into it the number shown on the card. The prospective victim answered. Ever conscious of mission security, we started a line of questioning designed to disguise our intent: "Here's a hypothetical question. Say a certain Project Police Officer just happened to find himself at Mountain Valley Airport, say, today, and was interested in inspecting your project. How would that Project Police Officer get himself from his current location to a location where such an inspection could be made?" Much to our surprise, he gave us the information without question. Doubly surprising, since after receiving the directions it was obvious that he had buried his location behind many turns and road changes, and would then just give up that security!

Approaching the appointed house, we confirmed it with a man walking down the street, who looked amazingly similar to victim. He was even wearing a Chapter 1000 nametag which read Miles Bowen. Either he knew we were coming, or he hadn't gotten the word that the Young Eagles rally was cancelled that morning and had yet to remove the identification. After parking the Project Police Paddywagon, we were immediately ushered down to the walk-in basement workshop. The first thing I noticed was that Miles had decided to challenge my bid for the "Largest Airplane Built In The Smallest Space" Award. While no comparative measurements were taken, it struck me as about the size of a one-car garage. There was a toilet conveniently placed just on the other side of a wall, with plumbing available for a utility sink.

The next thing that we noticed was the unopened box of Girl Scout Cookies labeled "In Case of Project Police Raid." Though they were not of the chocolate chip type, bribery credit was given. The seal of the box was not broken, since we had Raven's Nest (that’s three) chocolate chip cookies waiting in the Paddywagon.

The horizontal tail was in the jig, awaiting riveting of the skin. The vertical tail was sitting on an unusual jig, similar in construction to a wicker chair.

Inspection of the 4130 steel elevator horns showed high quality welds as would be expected from Vans.

Miles had installed a PVC compressed air distribution system with outlets all around the shop. The water separator was located at the lowest point, where it should be. The compressor was located in a different part of the basement, such that it and its noise were separated from the workshop.

Several nice tables were seen covered with plans and parts, although it was noticed that none of these tables were of the Chapter 1000 Standardized Work Table variety.

The Project Police determined that Miles was on his way to another outstanding Chapter 1000 aircraft project, and was (crunch…crunch…) awarded an (crunch…crunch) A+ rating.

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Revised -- 12 March 1999