By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Over the years we’ve covered a lot of, shall we say, unusual rigs. But an airplane RV? Well, this one used to fly, but it doesn’t anymore. Rather, Gino Lucci’s former Navy R4D plane only flies – down the road – as a Class A motorhome.
It takes a special kind of person to do something like this. But Gino fits that description. He’s a pilot himself, and an aviation inspector, and toss in the genes and experience of a mechanic. Then add into the mix a bunch of enthusiastic offspring, and when dad came up with what might seem a loopy idea, it all gelled. Yes, Gino wanted an airplane RV, and his son, Giacinto, was ready to oblige. We can only image Giacinto burned up a lot of computer time tracking down the appropriate airframe.
Sure enough, Giacinto found somebody with an aging (built 1943) Navy plane in Missouri. Mother Nature hadn’t been kind to the old bird, something about a tornado that effected a “no longer airworthy” definition. Gino and Giacinto took six weeks to work over the owner to the point that he’d part with the old warbird. But what next? How do you develop an airplane RV?
The Luccis found a suitably sized (and sturdy) delivery truck frame, and with some amount of ingenuity crafted a cradle superstructure to bond the fuselage to the truck frame. Is this the time we can say The Fabulous Flamingo was born? We don’t know, but in any event, a few more things were needed. Every good RV needs a bathroom, galley and sleeping accommodations. The Fabulous Flamingo has them all.
The Luccis describe their airplane RV as “a work in progress.” No worries – it looks like they’ve got plenty of energy and stick-to-itiveness to make the old bird soar.
photo: bontragerssurplus on facebook.com