Bernie Weiss, St. Paul, MN
RV-7A, N527DB, October 18, 2008

The Story of SPII

(- Doug Weiler, from the December 2008 issue of the RVAtor's Log)

skypig 2

As of today this writing, Van’s website counts 5951 RVs that have been completed and logged their first flight. And undoubtedly each one has its own unique story. First flights are the culmination of years of sacrifice of time, money, relationships and other interests that are relegated to “second” place. Bernie Weiss’ RV-7A took to the air for the first time on September 21 with yours truly assigned as Joe the Test Pilot. When Bernie started his RV, I can recall a lot of doubts as to whether he could really succeed with this seemingly monumental task. I think most first time builders are equally intimidated. Even a so-called “quick-build” appears overwhelming at first.


It wasn’t too long before Bernie formed a strong friendship with several Minnesota Wing members including Pete Howell, Alex Peterson, Tom Berge, and Peter Fruehling. With their help and encouragement, the project began to take shape. For the last year, Tom Berge and Bernie have worked to iron out all the myriad tasks of engine, avionics and related systems. Bernie’s day job leaves little time during the week so nearly all of their work was done on Saturdays.


N527DB is powered by an American Engines IO-360 with dual Lightspeed electronic ignition. The plan all along was to build a capable IFR cross-country RV so the end result sports a dual Chelton EFIS system, Garmin avionics, a Tru Trak three-axis autopilot, XM satellite weather and a luxurious Aero Classic leather interior. Super-painter Dan White applied the pearl metallic paint with blue and gray trim. It is nice!!

Sky King 001

So I know you are waiting for the back-story to “Sky Pig II” (aka SP2). Bernie also owns an E33 Beech Bonanza and for the past several years he has been tagging along with us to our various pancake-seeking excursions. I think it was Alex Peterson who first coined the nickname “Sky Pig” for Bernie’s Bonanza. We were all just envious us of that smooth, quiet Beechcraft with room for 4 in stretch-out comfort. But at 15 gallons per hour to feed the 300 hp Continental, it was a little big of a gas “hog”.

As the final touches were being put on the RV-7A, we were placing bets as to the final empty weight. The airplane was loaded with LOTS of goodies so it might be a little on the “meaty” side. I think I guessed 1175 and Tom, Alex, Peter, and Pete all wagered somewhere in the upper 1100’s. Well the final tally was 1218 so Pete didn’t waste any time in christening it “Sky Pig II” and whipped up the rather cool logo. Fortunately Bernie has a great sense of humor and is still speaking to us.!!


Louvers were in Spring of 2009 in hopes of lowering the oil temperature. It did help somewhat.


Bernie and son Stephen.