From Afghanistan to Zenith's Rudder Build Weekend

Although I am still in Afghanistan, I ordered my rudder kit and reserved my rudder workshop space for the June session. A few months ago I order the rudder DVD from and have watched it numerous times at my base when I was off duty.  I am eager to return to the United States, meet other Zenith owners, build my rudder at Zenith in June, spend a few more days at American Light Sport Aircrafters down the road from Zenith (maybe building the stabilizer or anything else), then driving home with the rest of my kit (or leaving it at American Light Sport Aircrafter's) and starting the journey that many of you have already started and many have finished!


An interesting anecdote, I was speaking with one of my Afghan interpreters and one of the Afghan Army soldiers and  they could not understand why I would ever dare fly in one of the Zenith planes. (They love looking at it on the web)...they say that if you flew one of those planes in Afghanistan, you would be immediately shot down by a Taliban DIshka, which is a .50 cal machine gun. 


I responded by telling them that is one of the wonderful things about living in America, we are free to buy, build and fly our own airplane without fear of a radical group shooting us down.


Another reason to be proud of being an American!  The right to build and fly our own airplanes (without being shot at!)

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Comment by David DeAvila on April 7, 2011 at 9:18am
Thanks Bill!  I look forward to using your services and facility!
Comment by Bill Carter on April 5, 2011 at 10:11am


Again, thank you for your service. Both you and your sons.

We are looking forward to having you join us at American Light Sport Aircrafters to work on your project after the rudder workshop.

Thanks again,


American Light Sport Aircrafters

Comment by David DeAvila on March 31, 2011 at 3:25am

The story of my Marine nephew who was wounded last July:


Marine Nephew story

Comment by David DeAvila on March 31, 2011 at 3:23am

Mr. Grandpre,

Well Sir, it certainly is a pleasure hearing from you.  Your son is a great NCO and is outstanding in taking care of his soldiers, both U.S. and Afghan along with the interpreters.  If not for SGT Grandpre, I would not have eaten on many occasions due to my mission requirements.  He always ensured I was fed.  In addition, he is one of our best CPOF (Command Post Of the Future) operators. 

He is also the one at "fault" for my buying a Zenith.  He was talking about your project last Fall and told me to look up Zenith on the web and I have been hooked ever since.  I originally was buying a BMW Z car as my multiple deployment gift, but cancelled that to get me a Zenith. 


I love the pictures of your project that he shares with me.


Perhaps we can meet someday and share our project "war stories".



Comment by Randall Wade Grandpre on March 30, 2011 at 10:45pm
 Well I finally get to see the man my son is sending pics. to. welcome to the builders. I really apreciate your service and understand your impatiants to get home and get on with life.we pray for all you soldiers who do so much for this country! God`s speed. Matt`s Dad
Comment by Dave Gardea on March 30, 2011 at 8:53pm
David, I'd also like to thank you for your service to this great country and wish you a safe and speedy return home. I enjoyed your story about why Afghans would not fly Zeniths. I am a 650 builder, have been at this for over 5 years, and am finally getting my airworthiness inspection this coming Friday. If my builder site at can offer any help, I'd be glad to answer any questions once you get your project started. Please don't hesitate to contact me at if I can provide any assistance.
Comment by David DeAvila on March 30, 2011 at 6:37pm

THANK YOU for your service Bob!  I have no doubt Vietnam Vets had greater arduous duty than many here.  I mean after all, look at what I am capable of doing just accessing and writing on the Internet...I believe snail mail was all you guys had plus an occasional phone call capability.


Jerry, thank you for your kind words and well wishes.  I am bursting at the seams to get started on this project. 

Comment by Bob Pustell on March 30, 2011 at 6:10pm
The last time I was shot at in an airplane was in VietNam. Flying here (USA) is better. Thanks for taking "your turn in the barrell" and good luck on your build. Enjoy the build, enjoy being back home, enjoy life. Godspeed.
Comment by Jerold Ebke on March 30, 2011 at 5:05pm


     I am 21/2 years into building my 650. I would like to thank you for protecting my freedom to do the things we take for granted in our dear USA. I hope and pray for your safe journey in the coming months.         Jerry

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