Noll’s white and blue RV-9A started its life as many homebuilt
airplanes do, occupying the two-car garage of his family’s home in
Yuma, Arizona. For three years and four months, he enlisted the patience
and help of his three children and his wife, Debbie, to complete his
dream of building a flying machine.
Bob Noll and his daughter, Katrina, at Bob's RV-9A, the
representative 30,000 certificated homebuilt aircraft. Photos by
wanted to do something like this my whole life,” Noll said. “I can
remember when I was a kid going out in the backyard measuring out how
much room I needed to land an airplane.”
completed the plane on February 1 of this year, made the first flight a
few days later, and ultimately received certification for what will be
recognized as the 30,000th homebuilt airplane in the United States.
EAA homebuilders’ community manager, “The systems the FAA use to
report aircraft certification have no way to identify the exact 30,000th
airplane, so EAA established a program to honor one homebuilt.”
for the honor was relatively simple.
airplane had to be certificated in 2008, and it has to be attending EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh 2008,” Norris said. “Builders that met the
criteria simply registered when they arrived, and the honorary airplane
was chosen in a random drawing.”
a typical year 1,000 to 1,200 homebuilts are added to the FAA rolls.
However, 2008 is well ahead of most years with approximately 1,600
already on the books. The actual 30,000 threshold is expected to be
achieved in July.
gives a great deal of credit to his local EAA chapter (Chapter 590) for
making his dream a reality.
received a considerable amount of help from the chapter,” Noll said.
“I had tech counseling sessions pretty regularly throughout the
project, and it is a great help just networking with other builders and
aviation enthusiasts. And, of course, going flying together whenever you
chose the RV-9A design like many others prospective builders do. “A
gentleman in the chapter had one, and he invited me to go for a ride in
his,” he said.
was obviously impressed with the design as he added, “The rest is
history from there.”
construction Noll logged 1,500 hours of building time, though he
estimates he expended at least 1,000 more beyond that. He had no
aircraft building experience or experience with aircraft construction
techniques prior to starting on the RV.
started with the empennage…and a couple of the chapter guys said they
wanted to come out and see what I was doing,” Noll said. “I was
having a little bit of trouble with a couple of the rivets, and when
they came out they said let’s just fix this. So they showed me how to
drill them out and rivet it all back together.”
don’t have any formal training, I am an accountant by trade, and you
really have to have a support base to do something like this.”
patience,” he added.
the duration of the project Noll enlisted family help with tasks like
bucking rivets and dimpling rivet holes. On one weekend, with the help
of one of his sons, the family was able to skin an entire wing.
is Noll’s third visit to EAA AirVenture, and the first time in an
airplane. He flew here with his 17 year-old daughter, Katrina, who also
is a certificated private pilot. Other than making a small diversion for
weather in Kansas, the flight went smoothly.
airplane already has 100 hours on it and is performing exactly as the
book says it should.
will receive a plaque from FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell
Thursday, recognizing the 30,000th homebuilt honor. His RV-9 can be seen
on AeroShell Square.