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Old 04-30-2016, 09:02 AM   #1
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Aviator History

For those interested in RV historyÖ

Together with fellow owner Carol Earle, we are making an Aviator history page. I found some press releases and industry news online and Carol has been able to get some great information from contacts she met while at the August Goshen rally. She is going to try and get some actual production photos. Anyone should feel free to contribute.

The originator and general manager of the project was Kevin McArt. After a year and half of development, the work began in earnest in 2011 at a dedicated Forest River plant in Goshen, Indiana. Although three models were planned, only two were produced, the 29-foot Electra and the 34-foot Wright-Flyer. A larger model to be named the Spirit of St. Louis was never built on the Aviator platform. The first units were completed at the beginning of 2012 and all 70 units were sold as 2013 models beginning with serial number 1906. Each unit took about a week to build. Both models featured a wood-free structure with a foam-insulated solid fiberglass roof, a 2-inch thick composite floor, 5-inch thick composite walls, and a single slide-out. The cabinets are composite as well which allows for their unique curved shape. All these features created a truly solid and rot-proof trailer. Also included was an internet-ready Sony entertainment system, all led lighting and 50 amp electrical service. The aerodynamic front featured large panoramic windows made by Guardian Glass. Two full body paint schemes were available: The classic gray/silver or the colorful premium paint package. The Aviator won the Best in Show award at the 2012 RV industry trade show held in Louisville, Kentucky.

But all this did not come cheap. Designed to complete with Airstream in the high-end trailer market, the Aviator listed retail price was between 80 and 90 thousand dollars. This out-priced most buyers. Combined with an ongoing economic recession, high Airstream brand loyalty, and similar Q/C problems as the rest of the RV industry meant Aviator production would soon end. Slow sales also meant bargains were to be had and most units sold new for between 40 and 60 thousand. The few used units sold have shown the Aviator to be holding its value quite well. Once the initial bugs were worked out, time has proven the Aviator to be a solid and well-built trailer unique to the industry.

In 2015, the three leftover Aviator bodies were painted white and used to build a bunkhouse model trailer. These three units were sold by a salvage dealer and other than the body, have none of the special features of the original models.

The photos include Kevin McArt at the National RV trade show, Inside looking out, a sales brochure, and wall and floor composition close-ups. Hopefully more to follow!
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Old 04-30-2016, 09:10 AM   #2
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That is interesting.

Although you may not need it, when I try to do research on things past, a good site to use is the wayback machine at https://archive.org/web/

This sites takes snapshots so to speak of internet web pages. You can put in a website url and it will show you all the dates it took a snapshot, and you can really go back in time and read things that aren't on the websites now.

Although, you may be able to click on some old links when visiting as snapshot site, I have found you can usually only go back about one level in the links, but this depends.

I had a great site that I get a lot of my jokes from, who had their server crash with no backup. I have been using wayback.org to read some other older stuff that was archived thru the wayback site.

I use wayback.org to get older information/brochures from the Forest River Inc. site too.

Want to have real fun, use it to look at how our forums used to be in the beginning. We've come a long way baby.
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Old 04-30-2016, 09:32 AM   #3
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Ken,

Fantastic job. I will forward this to Susan and see if she can pass this about and get more information. Good Job!!!!
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Old 04-30-2016, 09:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
That is interesting.

Although you may not need it, when I try to do research on things past, a good site to use is the wayback machine at https://archive.org/web/

This sites takes snapshots so to speak of internet web pages. You can put in a website url and it will show you all the dates it took a snapshot, and you can really go back in time and read things that aren't on the websites now.

Although, you may be able to click on some old links when visiting as snapshot site, I have found you can usually only go back about one level in the links, but this depends.

I had a great site that I get a lot of my jokes from, who had their server crash with no backup. I have been using wayback.org to read some other older stuff that was archived thru the wayback site.

I use wayback.org to get older information/brochures from the Forest River Inc. site too.

Want to have real fun, use it to look at how our forums used to be in the beginning. We've come a long way baby.

I tried to use this and put in several veriations. No history there. is there a scret on using that site?
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Old 04-30-2016, 09:52 AM   #5
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I tried to use this and put in several veriations. No history there. is there a scret on using that site?
What site are you trying to search for. It's not a search engine so to speak, but a website archive. You put in the websites url that you want to see.
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Old 04-30-2016, 10:00 AM   #6
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What site are you trying to search for. It's not a search engine so to speak, but a website archive. You put in the websites url that you want to see.
Went to the Archive site that you posted. Typed in Aviator history, Forest river Aviator and nothing came up. Just trying to see what else we can come up with.
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Old 04-30-2016, 10:04 AM   #7
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Here are the three floor plans For Aviators!

first-Spirit of St Louis
second-Wright flyer
third-Electra
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Old 04-30-2016, 10:05 AM   #8
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Here are the three floor plans For Aviators!
The First one was to be the Spirit of St louis Aviator
second picture is the Wright Flyer
third is the Electra
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Old 04-30-2016, 10:06 AM   #9
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Went to the Archive site that you posted. Typed in Aviator history, Forest river Aviator and nothing came up. Just trying to see what else we can come up with.
It's not a search engine. It's a website archive. You have to know the url of the website that you want to see that is backed up.

Say for example you want to see the history of the website of forest river forums. you would enter in the search part of the wayback site, the url for the forums... which is the www. followed by forestriverforums .com
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Old 04-30-2016, 10:08 AM   #10
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If you don't already have this, here is a pdf of an owners manual for the Wright Flyer.:

http://www.forestriverinc.com/Images...2013Manual.pdf
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:02 AM   #11
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If you don't already have this, here is a pdf of an owners manual for the Wright Flyer.:

http://www.forestriverinc.com/Images...2013Manual.pdf
Thank you so much!
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:47 PM   #12
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Thanks for posting... Very interesting. I love history of any kind.... but RV history is always interesting.
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:03 PM   #13
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Thanks for posting... Very interesting. I love history of any kind.... but RV history is always interesting.
So glad you found it interesting. Ken has done most of the work. I have made some contacts thru Goshen and try to find as much as I can to help him out. We do love our Aviators. In the beginning it was a love hate relationship. But now that the bugs are worked out we love it. They are very unique and I believe Forest River got ahead of time on this camper. They did a great job designing it. It is literally rot proof. No rubber roof to worry about replacing. That is what attracted us to it. It is a shame they were only made for one year.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:10 PM   #14
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Another page in Aviator history...

Aviator owners, I found something on RV Trader that should make us all happy. There is a Wright-Flyer listed for $51,800. This is more than some sold new! It seems our orphaned sales flops are turning out to be a pretty good investment. The design team's hard work in producing a durable and innovative travel trailer is apparently becoming much more appreciated.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:28 PM   #15
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I think people are just now recognizing the innovations and upgrades that come standard in the Aviator and seeing the real value. The floor alone sold me! The dinette didn't hurt or the two A/Cs. I could go on, but I'm preaching to the choir here.
There is no way I would turn mine loose for $60,000 with all the solar work, battery bank and inverter system. I'm a happy camper! Everywhere we go, we get compliments and questions. Very few people have ever heard of it or seen one. I've told this story to so many people, I feel like I should print out the original brochure and pass them out.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:43 AM   #16
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That is good news. We are in Hendersonville, NC camping until July 7th. We will be sitting inside and see people stop and admire out Aviator. Some will ask what is it. And like Mije said I feel like to need to get done brochure and pass them out. Everyone says it is the nicest TT they have ever seen. We are enjoying it for sure.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:26 PM   #17
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Hi All,

I owned Wright Flyer #1919. Mine had issues too but I have to say Forest River really stood behind the product with pride. They paid me to bring it back to the factory from Florida and have it repaired. It also had a paint peel issue and they repainted my by and outside shop there in Goshen. They did a fantastic paint job and painted it in beige and maroon. What a difference in the way it looked. After I got everything fix and the way I liked it, my wife at the time wanted a class A. What a mistake on several fronts. The 2 class As I have owned since the Aviator have been repair nightmares ever sense! I miss the Ole Aviator! But I have to say stopping for gas was a PITA. It took an hour to get out of the station because of the people talking to you! Still it was a revolutionary unit and I'm sure Airstream is glad it's out of production.


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Old 08-16-2016, 09:35 PM   #18
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:36 PM   #19
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Has anyone ever seen this unit lately?


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Old 08-16-2016, 09:51 PM   #20
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Wrifgt Flyer #1919?

[QUOTE=ToyBoy;1292061]Hi All,

I owned Wright Flyer #1919. Mine had issues too but I have to say Forest River really stood behind the product with pride. They paid me to bring it back to the factory from Florida and have it repaired. It also had a paint peel issue and they repainted my by and outside shop there in Goshen. They did a fantastic paint job and painted it in beige and maroon. What a difference in the way it looked. After I got everything fix and the way I liked it, my wife at the time wanted a class A. What a mistake on several fronts. The 2 class As I have owned since the Aviator have been repair nightmares ever sense! I miss the Ole Aviator! But I have to say stopping for gas was a PITA. It took an hour to get out of the station because of the people talking to you! Still it was a revolutionary unit and I'm sure Airstream is glad it's out of production.

You might want to check that unit # again or we both have a unit with the same #1919
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