Santa was very good to RAFE!
Bob Abresch father was a WWII Bomber Pilot and Varieze builder who unfortunately passed away last summer .
Bob’s Dad had taken the Varieze home to work on it, so it was dis-assembled and being repainted . Not sure what to do with his Dads airplane Bob contacted Ken Mathews, President of EAA Chapter 187 . A few summers ago I flew the Sid Tolchin LongEZ to Austin and gave a presentation about RAFE to Chapter 187. After talking to Bob Abresch the Chapter officers decided the best place for his Dad’s airplane was RAFE. Last week RAFE volunteers hooked up our trailer and drove to Austin, Texas where they met with Bob Abresch to bring his Dad’s Varieze to its new home at the RAFE Ellington Canard Base in Houston.
Austin is about a three hour drive from Houston. It seemed like a straightforward mission, drive to Austin, load up the Varieze and head back to Houston. I had to do some airline flying that day so RAFE Board Member Richard Sessions and RAFE Volunteer Dan Wedel made the trip. When I got off work I went straight to EFD to await their return and help unload. RAFE Volunteer George Choquette was already there. After a while of waiting for their return I called Dan Wedel, expecting to hear they were not far away. Instead Dan said “We’re still loading”. It turned out Bob wanted to donate not just the Varieze but all the stuff that went with it, all the parts, materials, tools and stuff his Dad had that are all part of building and owning a Rutan design.
It was obvious Richard and Dan were in for a long day. They’d met at EFD at 0700 and wouldn’t be arriving back until probably midnight! George and I kicked a plan into gear to rearrange the hangar so Richard and Dan could just back the trailer into the hangar and go home. What we didn’t realize is they had a truck bed full of stuff and the rear seats in the truck were loaded too! I arrived the next day and saw not just the Varieze on the trailer but a pile of stuff stacked up on in corner of the hangar. Wow! Thank you Bob Abresch! Preserving and Promoting Burt Rutan’s homebuilt designs is our mission. How we accomplish that is connecting people with these airplanes and keeping them flying, An orphaned airplane like the Abresch Varieze often gets sold to someone with the thought of restoring it and getting it flying. Surely there are qualified people that could do that, but all too often these airplanes wind up never getting completed and never flying again, we see
this all too often. RAFE is now the caretaker of Bob Abresch Varieze. Just like all 10 of our flying airplanes we will get it restored. We’re currently restoring the Franseen Varieze, N86EZ. Bob Abresch Varieze will be next in line. All of this though takes time, effort and funding, Volunteers and donations are what enable RAFE to accomplish this mission. This Christmas season please consider us. Become an RAFE Volunteer. Help us out by buying some t-shirts or even better, become a Sponsor of one of our flying aircraft or restoration projects. Pilot Sponsors get to fly the airplanes, Supporting Sponsors help us keep them flying, Learn all about those programs on the RAFE website under Resources/Sponsorship or contact me directly.
Thank you Bob Abresch for entrusting us with your Dads Varieze and thank you to everyone for supporting RAFE. Merry Christmas!