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Tue, Jul 25, 2006

Did You See A Couch Go By?

Unique Transportation At AirVenture

By ANN Correspondent Rose Dorcey

It took a while to chase down this story, literally. After all... When you ask AirVenture attendees if they've seen a couch go by, they think you're off your rocker. But it's not everyday you see a turquoise 1950's era davenport drive by, so I hopped in my truck and tracked through Camp Scholler to find the elusive machine.

I found it by mid-morning, near a group of nine friends and family members who were hangar flying outside their motor home. The group are related by their love of aviation. Many have built or a building an RV-6 or RV-9. Most are from the Minneapolis area, employed as Northwest Airlines mechanics. Two sat on the couch.

This isn't just any couch, mind you; it's the most unique form of transportation seen on the AirVenture grounds. Other unique transports are found at this very campsite. Some of these nine industrious men use unicycles or motorized bicycles to get around. Now we understand what kind of group we're dealing with.

I asked what was under the hood, errr, the cushions. The couch is powered by a six-horsepower Tecumseh engine. Mounted on a custom steel frame, it runs up to 45 mph. A motorcycle throttle and brake lever control the speed; the same bar moves up and down to control the turns. Just like a 747 tiller, I'm told.

It has off-road tires, replaced after breaking the originals from too-fast cornering, and they've been driving the heck out of it.

Clay Adams owns it. Clay is better known as owner of a gorgeous Travel Aire in the American Barnstormers Tour. Clay lent the couch to his friend, Stein Bruch, president of SteinAir, an avionics dealer and instrument panel manufacturer near Minneapolis.

Besides being the proud owner of the Travel Aire and the sofa, he also owns a motorized Lazy Boy, and a Weedwacker Margarita Maker, said Bruch. "Plus a whole lot of other crazy stuff," he added.

Looking like something out of a cartoon, the davenport gets a lot of attention as it motors through the grass. People smile and wave.

"There's two kinds of people, those who openly stare, and those who wouldn't be caught dead staring at it," said Bruch.

John Bruch, father of Stein, said that most people have told him that it's the neatest thing they've seen in the years they've been at Oshkosh.

"Little kids to grandmothers just think it's the neatest thing," said John.

"To me, something you can build is better than something you can buy," explained the eldest Bruch, a Sturgis, SD rancher and RV-9 builder. "It's very different, but I bet next year they'll be more."

FMI: www.airventure.org

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