Tom Irlbeck, Somerset, MN & Cape Coral, FL
RV-8, N214FF, First flight June 2000

Thought I'd throw a picture at you of my "Bear"

Old "Bear" was launched in June of 2000, since then we have logged
almost 1400hrs. It is one of the most enjoyable flying aircraft, outside of the military field of aircraft.

You might have noticed that it is a Navy bird. The markings are somewhat the same as my F-4 Phantom that I flew in the Navy a few years ago. First of all, the paint is PPG Concept, "Blue Angle Blue". Starting with the 214, there are 14 fighters to a Navy squadron, I was the most junior pilot, so I got old 214 which was the oldest plane in the squadron with my name on it. The stars and bar where taken from a picture in the 1945 era that I saw on a Corsair on one of the Navy's carriers. If you look closely on the fuselage you will see VF-92, my squadron number. Then on the rudder, the NG is the Navy identifier, N means the aircraft is stationed in the 7th fleet, which is in the Pacific. The G denotes the aircraft is stationed with the 9th airwing.


The 9th airwing was stationed on the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), which was the Navy's first nuclear aircraft carrier, and was the command ship for the Viet Nam Conflict when she was in the Pacific Fleet. Under the horizontal stab is my N number N214FF. Well you know where the 214 comes from, but the "Fox-Fox" comes from fighter lingo. When a missile is launched while in flight, the pilot calls out over the air, "Fox 1" to notify all pilots in the air that a heat seeking misses has been launched. "Fox 2" notes that a radar guided missiles has been launched. Sooo, I'm launching missiles when I call "214-Fox-Fox", you might say a play on words.

Under the canopy, are a few names, Lt. Tom Irlbeck, that was my rank when I left the Navy, Ltjg Katy Carlson is my wife's maiden name, we met in the Navy, and will be coming up on our 40th wedding anniversary this September, and PC (plane captain) Paul Irlbeck was added for Paul Irlbeck helping me paint the aircraft. Also recently added the two North Viet Nam stars, which has a separate meaning only explained after a couple of beers.

A little info on the Bear. She has a 0-360 modified by Bart Lalond, special cam, higher comp pistons, Light Speed ignition, Hartzell constant speed blended airfoil prop. Dynon D-100, VM-1000 engine monitor, Garmin GPS and transponder. Navaid single axes autopilot. 4 years ago I installed a smoke system, and having fun smoking without inhaling. It took me 2 years 2 months and 10 days, or almost 2000hrs to build her in my basement.

I hope everyone is having as much fun as I am flying my "Bear".

Keep the greasy side up.

Tom Irlbeck and "Bear"