Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Up we go!

Last week, on the blog, I noted the steel structure of the new building would be going up this week. After a blizzard that left the entire area buried in snow and the holiday we thought that things would fall behind a bit, not so! We stopped by this morning to see if there had been any progress and were delighted to see another wall up and, steel being erected. In the next couple of weeks there should be some serious visual progress. Stay tuned for more photos and updates on the new RARE Aircraft facility.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You Betcha!

We stopped by the building site early this morning to take a couple of pictures to share with you all. The building process has been an interesting and fun exercise however, the best part is people pessimistically asking with a smirk, "hows the building going in this weather" and "gee how are they going to do the concrete?"

After a while some of these questions prompted us to ask a few of the contractors whom, smiled and said, "we come up against this every year, don't worry." With a company like Met-Con on the job we have seen the results to match their voice. It has been an impressive site to watch as they work their magic. At this time the following work is complete; Parking lot, apron, foundation, footings, front decortive block exterior wall, electrical service in place with required conduit installed to office areas, block work for internal walls and shops compelte and all the steel is on site to begin erecting the beams. We anticipate seeing walls and a roof very soon.

So, for those of you that don't quite understand how we live here in the north you should come and visit some time. You may not realize it but, we now have heaters in our cars here and believe it or not we even have furnaces in our houses now! Yes, it did take a little while to get use to not needing to throw another log on the fire pit at night but, somehow we're OK with it. After learning more about how the big construction companies do things and seeing the Minnesota can do in play the best part about hearing "you still going to be able to get that building done this winter?" is smiling and answering with my best "You Betcha!" Now with our mind off of the building I think we will go put the skis on the airplane.

Monday, December 21, 2009

One down, another up!

The Fairchild came apart last week so to balance things out we placed the UPF-7 into final assembly. At this point it really begins to look like an airplane however, there is quite a bit to accomplish before we turn the key. We still need to get the gear under it and install all the sheet metal and accomplish the paperwork among many other details. After all, its not the wings that make an airplane fly, its the FAA paperwork! Just check any aerodynamics book.

Need more wrapping paper!

We're wrapping presents at RARE Aircraft. Presents that come in 40' overseas shipping containers! Last week we disassembled the Fairchild and F-2 to prepare them for shipment to Brazil. This is an interesting exercise to say the least. We have shipped to other countries before however, its always a 40' container but different airplanes so outfitting the container is a challenge. The metal and wood fabrication shops will spend some time this week building brackets and fittings to secure the two airplanes into the containers. The guys even made scaled cardboard models of the dissasembled airplanes and the container to help organize this task. We will be sure to share a photo of the airplanes all packed up!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hot Rod

In the Ice Cream Business you get customers that want vanilla and others that want a scoop of it all. Variety is a good thing especially when every firetruck, barn and biplane is red. There is nothing wrong with that whatsoever and, we enjoy recreating the iconic red bi-plane however, sometimes its fun to see how many different scoops you can cram into that sugar cone. Our team has the privilege of doing just that with our current project on the final completion deck. This UPF-7, yes "U", (sorry gang check the TCDS, the coupe top does not change the designation) will be one unique, beautiful and functional airplane that will dazzle the senses. Lets get this out first, its yellow, oh excuse me I meant YELLOW!!! Trim is of course black/red with some special attention to the struts, hardware and other goodies that you'll need to see in person to believe. Today the fuselage and cowling just received the trim stripes. Once the paint is set up, the airplane is ready to go into final assembly. All other surfaces are painted, trimmed and ready for installation. Stay tuned for more photos of this unique and modernized UPF-7. Here is a short list of some of the items that make this one a Hot Rod;
  • 300 hp Fuel injected Jacobs
  • Hamilton Standard Constant Speed Propeller
  • Custom instrument panels
  • Aspen Avionics Display
  • Garmin equipped
  • Engine analyzer
  • Fuel flow
  • Custom interior
  • Coupe Top
  • Cleveland Wheels & Brakes
  • Show Smoke
  • Custom lighting
  • Custom paint & trim.
  • Cowling

By the way, wait until you see the rest of the trim and besides, why not do something different to set yourself apart from the rest of the manufactured herd! Blue sky and tailwinds to all, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ah, memories. I remember playing with a spare R-680 Lycoming Engine Dad had in the shop when I was about 5. I use to pull the rocker covers off and put them on again keeping myself busy. Today, Liam our 2 year old came to the shop to visit. We handed him a 7/16 open end wrench and he went right for the rocker cover fasteners on a Jacobs R-755 engine so, does it warm the heart to know he's like Dad, Uncle and Grandpa or confirm that he's going to be diagnosed with airplane craziness? We'll see but, I suspect he just might end up liking airplanes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Super Sport!

Since this is one of the most popular posts on the blog we have updated it with a recent video showing a general walk around of a new 2011 Carbon Cub SS. Thanks for visiting! See video at end of this post.

This weekend we had the Cub Crafters Factory demo Super Sport Cub at our disposal. We took this opportunity to demonstrate it to as many interested pilots in the area as possible. We started our day at Stanton Airfield, KSYN, where the Cub is king. Stanton has two S2 Sport Cubs on the field as well as a PA-11 and two PA-18's for rent and glider towing. Once we arrived a small crowd gathered around the Super Sport and the demo flights began. Every pilot that egress from the Super Sport Cub did so with an ear to ear grin.

Next Stop was Faribault Municipal Airport, KFBL. The first pilot to fly the Super Sport was Bob Peasley. Bob is a friend and one of our preferred flight instructors for check outs and ferry flights who also owns a Super Decathlon which I might add, he is very fond of. Whats not to like about a Super Decathlon!! After an airline career and being a flight instructor for many years Bob is the go to guy around the Faribault Airport for flight instruction, check outs and plain old good advice. After throwing Bob the keys we asked him to give his impressions of the Super Sport Cub and here is what he had to say;

Nov. 23, 09

Hi Ben:

I want to thank you for the opportunity to fly the Light Sport Super Cub last Saturday. It is a very impressive airplane. Due to limited time I did not do a detailed examination of the outside, paint etc. I was more interested in the flying qualities but my first impression of the out side was that it was very nicely done. In descending order here are a few of my impressions of the airplane.

The take off acceleration and climb are very impressive as should be expected with this weight power ratio.

The ease of entry & exit for this old guy was way better than a “real” Cub or Husky, even with the big Tundra tires. The cabin was most comfortable for me at 6’2” and 225 lbs.

It handled much better than I was expecting. It felt and handled like a much heavier airplane. The control harmony was very nice and the controls were more effective than I expected. As you know there was about a 50 degree cross wind gusting to 18-19 knots. I made my first take off at about a 30 degree angle across the runway to reduce the angle. My plan was to make an attempt to land on the same runway but I expected that the wind would be to strong. Thus I would go around and land on the other runway pointed right into the wind. It turned out to be unnecessary. The airplane was fully capable of handling a 50 degree cross wind at 18 knots. At no time during my 3 landings with 1 notch, 2 notches and full flaps did I ever feel uncomfortable and consider going around. Very impressive for a 1320 lb airplane in this wind!

The engine was very smooth and again gave the plane the feel of something heavier than 1320 lbs. It was very smooth & responsive to small power changes made on landing approach in rough air. Owners will surly be happy with a 2400 hour TBO!

There are a lot of options for glass cockpit panels and I am not real familiar with the various options. However I did like what I saw in this airplane. The panel was nicely laid out. As much as I hate to say it I like the switch locations better than Champion.

About the only negative comment would be the control stick. I definitely like the Champion stick better as it is bigger, more of a handful. Also the stick location was just slightly uncomfortable for me. It seemed like I had to reach a little forward all the time and could not rest my forearm on my leg as I do in the Champ.

All in all I think this would be a very good airplane for a new tail wheel pilot; especially as far as landing. Things happen very fast on take off which can be controlled by using reduced power on take off when learning. I also think it is a very versatile airplane for a pilot wanting lots of fun with fair cruise speed and range for the famous $100.00 burger. I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to do some tail wheel training in one of these and learn more about it.

Bob Peasley Lonsdale, MN

Bob has summed up the Super Sport pretty well for those of you who were more interested in the opinion of a pilot rather than the salesman!

After the FBL flights we also visited three private grass strips in the area, two with homes and one that will remain our undisclosed location for short and unimproved field demonstrations. If your interested in taking a demo flight yourself to see first hand the amazing performance give us a call to arrange for one and see for yourself what this little animal is capable of!

Friday, November 20, 2009


N2279, a 1938 Waco EGC-8 sitting on the taxiway last night at sundown. We are underway with a two day photo shoot of this beauty and hope to get some great shots. This shouldn't be a problem considering we are working with a great photographer. Last night we took some time to do ground shots and today we will be doing interior and air to air as well. Look for more to come in the future on the web site and the blog. We'll be sure to share some exclusive shots from past photo shoots that have not been on the web site before as well as some more from this shoot. Fingers crossed for a clear evening with good light!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ground Breaking!

Last Thursday we held a ground breaking ceremony for our new facility in Faribault. The core family, City officials, our bank and friends were on site to help us celebrate. It was quite exciting to see the past few months of hard work, countless meetings and planning come to reality. The new "ramp" for the building and parking lot are already complete as well as the initial site grade and prep.
We would like to extend a special thanks to the following for supporting our vision and making it possible; All of the RARE Aircraft Family, City of Faribault Mayor, City Staff, City Council and Met-Con Construction. We are excited to be making this transition and are looking forward to sharing the progress in the next couple of months to come! Keep an eye out for updates and photos along the way!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Family Just Got Bigger!

Our little company has humble roots not all that deep that go back to 1975. Dad's garage in Bloomington MN is where it all started. From there we went to "the farm" in Shieldsville MN and then to the Faribault airport. In 2002 we moved the operation to Owatonna MN and now as you have seen in previous posts we are again moving home, to Faribault. The one thing that has really changed about our company is our customer base. We have had the good fortune and privelage of gaining a customer base as broad as the entire United States. Earlier this year we gained a customer in New Zealand and last year the Neatherlands. Recently we had some visitors from Brazil. Despite a bit of a language barrier it was great to connect with some more airplane enthusiasts that share the same passion for aviation as we do. These gentleman did "join the family" and found two of our antiques that struck their fancy as well as initate the process to have a third restored with us. The new owner did say that the airplanes would live on his farm in Brazil which we found to be pretty cool. Jeremy and I were once knee high to a wheel pant on Dad's farm watching him work on and fly the old stuff off the grass strip hoping one day we would do the same. This winter we will be "on the farm" in Brazil, working away on reassembleing the aircraft being shipped there. It's a long ways from home but, we will be among friends and family. Family is everything, some say it's the only thing. Thanks to ALL of the RARE Aircraft Family; Pronunciation; ˈrer, ˈer-kraft, ˈfam-lē Definition: The entire group of artists that restore our airplanes and restoration/aircraft owners that give us the privelage to do what we do, past, present and future. Once your in the "family" your in and thanks for being a member.

P.S. We were hoping the Wacos would fit into the baggage compartment of the Global Express!

New RARE Facility

Cub Crafters!

RARE Aircraft is pleased to announce that we have become a Cub Crafters Certified Sales Center. After visiting the Cub Crafters facility in Yakima, meeting the staff and of course flying the new Super Sport Cub we were thoroughly impressed. What a machine!!! This is the only 180hp LSA out there and this is something that MUST be experienced. Check out our new Cub Crafters page on the site and take some time to visit their spectacular site When it comes to the PA-18 and the Cub Crafters LSA line you will quickly find these airplanes are second to none in their genre, hands down. When Roy the President or RARE Aircraft came back with a ear to ear grin and thumbs up after flying the new 180 hp Super Sport Cub I knew I was in for a great demo flight myself and that this was just not another Cub. This airplane redefines the grassroots airplane and puts a whole new level of fun into flying. We expect our first aircraft to be on site within the next month. Call us for a demo!!

One Company, One Building!

RARE Aircraft Ltd. is pleased to announce the construction of our new facility in Faribault MN at the Faribault Municipal Airport. Several months ago the family decided that we needed to get all three of our shops into one building. We embarked upon the task of designing a new building and seeking out the ideal site in which to place it. Owatonna, our current home was a great opportunity for growth however, the Owatonna airport lacks a building site large enough and the required infrastructure for our new facility. The new facility will have over 25,000 square feet of work space! Construction has already started and occupancy is scheduled for Feb. 2010. Please visit regularly for news and updates about our move and other events within the company.