Forest River Aviator - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-09-2018, 08:12 PM   #1
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Forest River Aviator

Before you all kill me - LOL - I realize this unit is not a FGRV. It has true fiberglass front, rear, and roof. Some sort of composite walls and floor and cabinetry. No wood.

The folks on this forum are some of the more knowledgeable I have met! Has anybody here seen one of these units or know of them? Is the quality there, and can this unit have the longevity of an FGRV?

I'm always doing research, and many of you may know I have struggled finding a bigger egg that I can stand in "IF" we ever upsize. I hate to go to the dark side, but is this unit high up there with quality where I would not regret?

In general, stickies make me cringe! Is this one different and worth a look?
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:25 PM   #2
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Found this on Forest River Forum

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.
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:30 AM   #3
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5 inch insulated walls? Wow! I wonder if tanks are insulated as well. Sounds like an interesting and well constructed future classic. Reminds me of a Beech Starship I flew for a while. Way ahead of its time and an ultimate fail for numerous reasons, but an incredible design and a beautiful airplane. This is a long long trailer though. I can see why you are intrigued.
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:12 AM   #4
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I've been in the Aviator. It's a high-class piece of JUNK!!

Anybody that will attempt a Forest River product (including the R-Pod)...well good luck, you're DEFINITELY not a member of the "Fiberglass group".

I have some friends who bought a new Surveyor years ago and they've had NOTHING but problems with it.

I have friends at Scenic Roads RV that owns the dealership...not sure about now...but at one time, they quit dealing with FR because of the customer service!

I repeat FOREST RIVER is junk!
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Old 12-11-2018, 02:01 AM   #5
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Can't speak much for the Aviator since it was only produced a couple years but if you could be so lucky as to find a Big Foot Silver Cloud I think you would be impressed. It's BIG. It had to be - by far - the best trailer layout I have seen. Unfortunately, I was in awe when I had the oppotunity to tour one and I only took a photo of the outside. Like the Aviator, I think Silver Clouds also had a limited production run.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:09 AM   #6
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Thanks all! Yea I do agree ALL stickies are for the most part junk. What I was hoping was if the "bones" are good quality. The frame, body, etc. I'm a big DIY guy and I can handle all the fixes for the most part.

I have seen (and almost bought) a Bigfoot Silver Cloud. Nice trailer I agree!

I think what it boils down to is when we retire we need a bigger (and taller) egg. The Silver Cloud is 30 years old. The 5.0TA is too small for 7-8 months a year living, and the 25RQ is too short (height wise). So we keep searching! I was hoping the Aviator may be the ticket, to have great bones and I can work on it and turn it into a great full timer rig.

Another one we keep eyeballing is the Arctic Cat 29-5T. But the rubber roof.....

Why cant somebody make a BIGGER TALLER FGRV?

Thanks again!

I'll keep learning and searching - I love the hunt!
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:10 PM   #7
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Joe,

What is sealed will eventually unseal, what is laminated will sooner or later delaminate, and what is made to slide will one day get stuck. Only one of these concerns broadly applies to molded fiberglass trailers.

The delamination part got my attention when I looked at some alternatives. Driving at speed creates low pressure conditions along sidewalls and roofs that essentially pulls the sheathing away from the framing, just the opposite of the vacuum-bagging and pressure techniques used to bond them. The adhesives will either hold or they won't.

Minor leaks at seams and such can allow water inside the panels. Mold will grow or, well, I suspect that it will probably grow...

I looked at Lances. If you watch the factory video you will see that you aren't going to add much in the way of wiring and such as it's generally all routed into channels within the walls. Personally, I'd be bummed if I couldn't tinker with our trailer a bit.

Some folks report great experiences with RVs of all sorts whether by luck, design, and perhaps due to diligence in keeping them sealed and maintained.

I considered that covered (open) storage might help to keep things dried out. In the end, considering our climate and how water can persist when trapped within walls and such, I am not sure that it would allow things to dry out thoroughly. Perhaps this might work in enclosed, heated storage, but that doesn't sound like the fix for spending months at a time on the road.

If having a larger unit is the goal, there's a great variety of options on the market. I sort of envy Technomadia their cool vintage bus and Mini toad.

One approach I considered was to move the bedroom function into a larger tow vehicle as vehicles tend to be well-sealed against water intrusion.

As far as age of the units go, age is proof of endurance. You have to weigh that against all the gee-whiz technology claims in a manufacturing industry that literally has to sell new units in order to survive.

In the end, you pay your money and you take your chances.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:39 PM   #8
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You know what Mike, I fully agree! And I don't want to deal with any of that! Especially leaks and mold! I think we are both similar in our professions, attention to quality, and details. That's why I like the FGRV so much!! A 25RQ would be perfect, and in our driveway if it were just a few inches taller LOL.

I don't know if we will be able to make the jump to non FGRV, and if we do, I bet we regret it in many ways! Luckily we still have time to keep tinkering and looking at options. Maybe in the next few years Bigfoot or Escape will get tired of my posts and make a taller one LOL.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe & Cherie View Post
Maybe in the next few years Bigfoot or Escape will get tired of my posts and make a taller one LOL.
Escape has a new partner, so maybe that's possible.

Or, write to Santa, he's always listening!

Of course, then we're going to find out if you've been naughty or nice.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:59 PM   #10
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Have you looked at the Livin' Lite campers? I like the idea of aluminum framing, no-wood construction etc., but I've never set foot in one.

https://www.livinlite.com/brochures/...-Tour-2017.pdf
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:41 PM   #11
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You realize that as we age we shrink, eh? If you wait, the trailer will be tall enough.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Carlson View Post
Have you looked at the Livin' Lite campers? I like the idea of aluminum framing, no-wood construction etc., but I've never set foot in one.
We walked through a few locally, then they were hen's teeth for a while after the company was sold to Thor. Over the course of a couple years I saw the interior aesthetics improve from an industrial looking environment to a bit more graceful and livable looking. They still seemed "cold"; I wondered if the aluminum framing might defeat the insulation and possibly cause condensation.

Every floorplan on their web page says "Dealer Stock Only", and Wikipedia says "RV Pro magazine reported on February 14, 2018 that dealers were told by KZ that Livin Lite's entire product line was being discontinued", so it looks like the market will be basically limited to used units unless something changes in the future.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:30 PM   #13
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Hmmm, well that's too bad. I thought it was a good concept, but as we know here most people aren't apparently willing to pay for longevity in a camper.
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:34 AM   #14
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I've toured 2 Livin Lites. They seemed constructed pretty well and there was a lot to like about them, but the deal breaker for me was the lack of windows. The models I toured had none front or rear. I like lots of natural light and air flow.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:36 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ibupnorth View Post
Can't speak much for the Aviator since it was only produced a couple years but if you could be so lucky as to find a Big Foot Silver Cloud I think you would be impressed. It's BIG. It had to be - by far - the best trailer layout I have seen. Unfortunately, I was in awe when I had the oppotunity to tour one and I only took a photo of the outside. Like the Aviator, I think Silver Clouds also had a limited production run.
My Silver Cloud in the picture is not for sale . It was purchased for the purpose of being our second home when I retire. In fact, we are headed for TX in a week and a half with it to see how we like that location. Here is what the inside looks like though. I agree that it has a great layout. We actually have rooms to do our own thing, so if I don't want to watch the Cubs or Bears, I can go to another room and watch what I want to watch. And when we add the screen room that you see in my avatar, we even have more room. We love it. We have heard varying numbers of how many were made, from 12 to 17. We have heard 12 the most.

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Old 12-12-2018, 08:02 AM   #16
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My parents taught me that you don’t make yourself better by tearing down the competition . Stick trailers may not be perfect but neither are fiberglass trailers
Stick trailers offer a lot o amenities for a reasonable price , fiberglass trailers often don’t
We’ve owned three fiberglass trailers and as the size and price rose so did the size and extent of the problems (Higher price does not equate to higher quality)
The idea that those who buy fiberglass trailers are extremely discerning customers and those who buy standard trailers leave something to be desired
just doesn’t fit well with me .
When some one finds a Fiberglass trailer that the windows don’t leak , it is a true 4 season trailer , the appliances all work , the roof doesn’t have caulk dripped everywhere , the frame is properly painted and the tires aren’t the cheapest ones available etc , etc , etc etc , PLEASE NOTIFY ME

The fiberglass trailer industry has a long way to go before it has the right to cast any stones !!
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:10 AM   #17
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Joe, just curious as to how tall you are. What interior height clearance do you need?
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:43 AM   #18
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Oliver. Obviously you've never checked them out. They put u up for a night in a local campground. They will send out a tech after you've spent the night IF there are any problems or issues. IF it cant be resolved on the spot, you can take it back up the road about 10 min at the factory. No, the camper MAY not be 100% perfect as it's dealing with 3rd party appliances etc. But the customer service makes up the difference.

Try THAT with Forest River!

I have visited Scamp and the Oliver factory. The pluming, wiring etc. is laid out and looks like "art" work- organized. Yes, it's a 4-season trailer (double-hull) with an alum. frame. Michelin tires, stainless fixtures JUST to name a few of the amenities this classy trailer has. It's not cheap, but it's worth the money. Scamp and Casita could take a few lessons from them on quality and customer service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
My parents taught me that you don’t make yourself better by tearing down the competition . Stick trailers may not be perfect but neither are fiberglass trailers
Stick trailers offer a lot o amenities for a reasonable price , fiberglass trailers often don’t
We’ve owned three fiberglass trailers and as the size and price rose so did the size and extent of the problems (Higher price does not equate to higher quality)
The idea that those who buy fiberglass trailers are extremely discerning customers and those who buy standard trailers leave something to be desired
just doesn’t fit well with me .
When some one finds a Fiberglass trailer that the windows don’t leak , it is a true 4 season trailer , the appliances all work , the roof doesn’t have caulk dripped everywhere , the frame is properly painted and the tires aren’t the cheapest ones available etc , etc , etc etc , PLEASE NOTIFY ME

The fiberglass trailer industry has a long way to go before it has the right to cast any stones !!
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:01 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Oliver. Obviously you've never checked them out. They put u up for a night in a local campground. They will send out a tech after you've spent the night IF there are any problems or issues. IF it cant be resolved on the spot, you can take it back up the road about 10 min at the factory. No, the camper MAY not be 100% perfect as it's dealing with 3rd party appliances etc. But the customer service makes up the difference.

Try THAT with Forest River!

I have visited Scamp and the Oliver factory. The pluming, wiring etc. is laid out and looks like "art" work- organized. Yes, it's a 4-season trailer (double-hull) with an alum. frame. Michelin tires, stainless fixtures JUST to name a few of the amenities this classy trailer has. It's not cheap, but it's worth the money. Scamp and Casita could take a few lessons from them on quality and customer service.
Darral , I agree , Forest River has its problems.
My point was that in the trailer industry both standard stick built and fiberglass trailers leave a lot to desire when in comes to quality .
The excuse that all trailer manufacturers have issues with their appliances so we just need to accept this as a fact of life doesn’t make sense to me
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Old 12-15-2018, 07:23 PM   #20
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