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Zeppelinium 07-20-2006 11:40 PM

'Oshkosh' for Airstreams
While viewing it occured to me that there is so much talent on this forum, we could easily do the same kind of technical mentoring that the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) does. Can you imagine a rally where instead of chorus and flag dancing, we had craftsmanship workshops--metal forming, cabinet making, electrical, polishing, laminating, welding, and all the other arts that make restoration of our wonderful Airstreams so engaging?

Now that I think of it, the EAA, for as big as it is and as long as it has existed, has few social rules--they exist to (1) get people into the air safely and (2) to assist homebuilders with the technical skills they need to complete an airworthy aircraft. In their spare time they socialize and tell great stories. Sounds a lot like what I am looking for (as a new VAC member who hasn't been able to get to a VAC rally yet)!

Maybe if we had some cheap land,
middle of the country,
sorta to the north so it would be cool(er) in the summer,
put up some sheds for the tools and demos,
start out small, maybe sharing a place with like-minded folks.
on alternate weeks when they're not going full tilt...

hmmmm, something's coming to mind...
Sturgis? :D Yeah, those guys have talent, too!
Oshkosh? :p Home of aluminitis for sure!
Some small town in Wyoming or the Dakotas that's looking for its tourist lure...?

We could do it!

(apologies to 2Air)

ArtStream 07-20-2006 11:55 PM

Colostomy punting competition
Hey Zep,
Great idea, I love the idea!


InsideOut 07-21-2006 12:12 AM


Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
Can you imagine a rally where instead of chorus and flag dancing, we had craftsmanship workshops--metal forming, cabinet making, electrical, polishing, laminating, welding, and all the other arts that make restoration of our wonderful Airstreams so engaging?

Sounds a lot like what I am looking for (as a new VAC member who hasn't been able to get to a VAC rally yet)!

21 days and counting...some of these talents and the results of most of them will be engaged at the RMVAC Rally. See you there!

<Shameless plug>
Psst...if you are the flexible type, there is still room on the waiting list. It had been up to 7 "waiters" but several spots opened up for could be next!

</shameless plug>

Shari :flowers:

2airishuman 07-21-2006 12:39 AM

welcome to the institute................
hi zep and others......

apologies not needed....
that's some fine rhym'n....
for an aviator...

great idea,
doing this as a annual moving rally could be a challenge
since many tools and materials involved
so having a destination/location would be nice
location is a challenge...
while middle america has it's appeal,
wouldn't the southwest be better weather wise
and more friendly to aluminum?

here is a link to a 'trade school'
for bicycle repair, frame building and so on.....
many similar concepts to airstream restoration...
anyone can take a course from a palate of options...
this place is in oregon and has lodging options too...
since it's hard to sleep inside a bicycle....
bet they'd share space with trailer repair people....

another option is find a institute of higher learning
that may teach shop skills
and lease time and space and so on...
there is a college in mcpherson kansas
where students can get training and a degree
in vintage car building, restorations and so on....
perhaps they would consider holding a summer session
on airstream issues
the forum craftsmen and craftswomen
could be invited as instructors....


Chaplain Kent 07-21-2006 07:28 AM

The region 7 VAC rally will be held just a few miles from the EAA this year and one event was to visit EAA. You are close by why not drive up and join the group? They will welcome you with open arms and wrenches. This is a buddy rally, you do not need to belong to VAC or even own an Airstream! PM me for more contact information.

firefly007 07-21-2006 09:10 AM

Skill Forums
Great idea Zep
I have been a member of EAA since 1970. The organization has grown and become somewhat commercial but the foundation is still there. It would be nice if I could go to a similar function for VAS but this forum is a close second. I have been impressed with the amount of hands on and do it yourself attitude I have seen since I started reading this forum. Much of that participation has left the EAA do to more complicated kits.

Jim & Susan 07-21-2006 09:51 AM

Trivia time boys and girls.

What’s the geographic center of the United States?

Liberal, Kansas

What city is within 650 miles of 65% of the US population?

Nashville, Tennesee

Food for thought.

I love this idea.

GlenCoombe 07-21-2006 10:15 AM

Sounds like we need 'hanger space' with proximity to some of the same talent used in the aviation industry. I'd look for a low use, grass maybe, airport with a hanger for storage.:p
A very cool idea Zep.... run with it!

AirstreamGypsy 07-21-2006 11:03 AM

I wish my 10 Acres had more open space on it. Of course it is not exactly cool in the summer here but there are lots of trees to hide under. The local VoTec is right down the street. Don't know their curriculum though.

I really like the idea!

bhayden 07-21-2006 11:46 AM

Great idea. There's many reasons to own an AS and the ability to tinker I think is part of the attraction for many. The idea of centrally locating it is nice but I don't see myself making the case for McPherson or Liberty Kansas as a family vacation. Nashville would be great but maybe not in the middle of the summer. Us poor Northerners melt in temperatures above 80 degrees :mad: . What are June temps in Mancos CO like?

Seattle is about as far left as you can get so not a good choice for a permanent nation wide event but maybe a regional rally with the DIY theme. The Arlington airport would be a good spot:

A list of other EAA events would likely turn up a similar facility in a spot that's easier to get to. The idea of piggy backing on the Oshkosh event has a lot of appeal. Not quite as "aluminial" but still uplifting would be the Balloon Festival inAlbuquerque. That would be in the fall which presents problems for members with kiddos in school but remember what Mark Twain said, "Never let school stand in the way of your education." ;)


ALANSD 07-21-2006 03:25 PM

great concept. At the first ever Forum rally where 7 of us showed up, we had lessons in riveting, awning work, airbags, interior design, cooking, campfires, and all of it informal. I learned how to rivet the skin and shave the rivets.
Invaluable info for a newbie at the time.
Would love to participate in a real workshop rally sometime.

Zeppelinium 07-27-2006 06:11 PM

2Air' reminds me that I was hijacking my own thread elsewhere, so here's the post, right where it belongs... :p :D :p

Originally Posted by Zeppelinium

... I want to come back on topic and, with a little more insight, modify my original objective. I'd like to see the financial assets of WBCCI and VAC used to create a permanent "center" for Airstream maintenance skills. ...and for more rallies with more formalized skills demonstrations/teaching/mentoring activities.
Here's an example from the current EAA gathering in Oshkosh:

RedSHED 07-27-2006 06:59 PM

I like the idea. We're new here and were thinking of doing the Georgia rally next summer, but the thought of sitting in big sweaty pools watching flags... aw (expletive).

Here's a nutty thought. Jackson Center. Or somewhere near there. Send the kids to Indian Lake for the day... or Kiser Lake... or Lake St Mary's... Wapak, the AF Museum, or maybe King's Island...
an airport would work really well, but maybe a fairgrounds with a couple of decent sized buildings available.

Maybe sessions on:
basic plumbing
leak finding / fixing
bucking rivets
interior "issues"
general preservation

after a few years do one of those Oshkosh deals where they build a Zenair in a week... :-)

SmokelessJoe 07-27-2006 07:10 PM

intriguing idea
Thanks to Zepp and all the other contributors.

This has been one of the most intriguing threads ever to show up here.

Maybe an imaginative small town booster somewhere in middle America will see the post and help bring the idea to fruition.

Things often start like this……


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