Sunday, October 25, 2009

First flight of Sticky Stuff

Posted by Drew
My father, who has been flying for years, decided several years back to build his own aircraft. There is a certain amount of pride put in to a project when building anything. After 7 years and countless hours of work and research, my father rolled his aircraft out to the flight line for the first time. With no fanfare or spectators, he took to the air. She flew true as a Hawk and was as nimble as a Sparrow. Dad named his aircraft Sticky Stuff. To be blunt, the name relates to the fact that all of his money seems to stick to the airplane. Not a detail was overlooked when he built it, and the craftsmanship is incredible. The aircraft resides in Pennsylvania where my parents still live. Sticky Stuff is an RV-8 aircraft by Vans Aircraft. She has been flying for approximately 2 years, and Dad approached me about flying her almost a year ago.

With my busy schedule and the fact that we are geographically separated by quite some distance it has been a challenge to get out to Pennsylvania and learn how to fly Sticky Stuff. Many people assume that my occupation as an airline pilot would make it easy for me to just jump in and fly this little aircraft, but nothing could be further from the truth. Everything from her control inputs to her performance characteristics demand respect and a thorough understanding before flying solo.

With the help of Dad and Mr. Ed Condon, a good friend of Dad's, I was able to get some great instruction. My dad sent all of the performance publications to me several months ago for my review. When I came out to Pennsylvania we spent a day at the airport hanger. Being able to touch the switches and work through the systems was a great benefit to me. Mr. Condon took me up in his RV-4 home built aircraft so that I could get used to the control inputs and performance characteristics of a similar aircraft.

Anyone can paint flames racing back from the front of a vehicle. Dad decided in keeping with the name of his aircraft that he would paint honey dripping back from the leading edges of her. The picture above shows a close up of the paint job on the wing.

Before soloing I went up for another flight with Mr. Condon. This time I flew Sticky Stuff with Mr. Condon riding along. The above picture shows the two of us strapping in and preparing to start the engine.

After flying in the local area for a bit and getting a feel for the aircraft we came back to the airport and I dropped Mr. Condon off. My Dad, Lucy, and Mr. Condon all watched as I taxied out for my solo takeoff.

Click on the play button above to see a short video of my takeoff.

Of course what goes up must come down. Click on the play button above to see some video of my landing.

I will never understand how my wife runs the video camera and takes a photograph at the same time. Here is a picture of my first landing roll out in Sticky Stuff.

Unfortunately, the sun was setting fast and our vacation had come to an end so we put the aircraft back in the hanger and headed back to my parents' house. That evening we celebrated in style. Dad brought home some beers from around the world and Mom made a delicious dinner with baked apples for dessert. You might wonder why the big hubbub with regards to flying Sticky Stuff? There have been a lot of sacrifices in my family to see my Dad's dream come true. During the building process, I called home one week and at 1PM my mom was making breakfast for my dad. I inquired why breakfast so late? Mom responded that my father had been out in the garage until 2 AM working on the aircraft. There was much time, attention to detail, and dedication put in to the building of Sticky Stuff, and it truly was an honor to be asked to fly her.


  1. That is a beautiful plane. Your dad is very talented. Good job to Drew and his dad! Great pictures and video, Lucy!

  2. What a great write up! I am so jealous. I hope I can strap into Sticky Stuff some day too.