FLYING RV AIRCRAFT

An RV Aircraft will allow you to fly it like any other airplane, but it’s going to be a little more demanding, to the point where the limiting factor is going to be the pilot rather than the airplane.

WHAT DOES AN RV AIRCRAFT OFFER?

Speed

Absolute speed was never the primary goal, however RV’s are as aerodynamically efficient as possible, and the top speeds will range from around 190 mph to over 220 mph, depending on the model and engine/prop combination.

One beauty of the RVs high top speed is that, while it is available, it is not necessary. In other words, because of its low wing loading, it can cruise efficiently at speeds well below maximum (but still much higher than most small aircraft) using very fuel efficient power settings. When flying at lower altitudes “just for the fun of it”, fuel mileage at normal cruise power settings isn’t quite as good. When sightseeing or cruising around the lower part of the sky, using a 40-50% power setting, yielding a low noise level, smooth engine operation, and low fuel consumption.

Takeoff and Climb

Under standard sea level atmospheric conditions the takeoff roll at gross weight varies between 300 – 650’. At solo weight, this distance is reduced by as much as 45%. Naturally, larger engines shorten the takeoff roll and increase climb performance. If you enjoy flying into private airstrips and out of the way recreational areas, this capability is most worthwhile. An added benefit is good performance at high density altitudes.

The STOL capabilities of the RVs allow you to operate comfortably from all but the most rugged “bush” strips. The RVs’ excellent climb rate gives an extra margin of safety when operating from such places. Just as the RVs have a wide range of practical cruise speeds, the same is true of climb speeds. Good climb rates and angles are possible at just above takeoff speed (about 60-70 mph) for obstacle clearance. More practical climbs are attained at higher speeds, with the best climb rates coming at 100 to 115 mph, depending on weight and the propeller used. Cross country climbs at 120-150 mph can be made with only a slight decrease in climb rate.

Handling Characteristics

RV control response is excellent throughout the speed range. Ailerons retain some effectiveness right through the stall, and on a low, slow landing approach, they remain light and quick. The differential action of the ailerons dampens adverse yaw so well that no rudder coordination is needed for light to moderate aileron inputs. Elevator control is positive and quick, varying from light at aft CG to moderate at a forward CG. Rudder control is very positive, remaining effective right down to taxi speeds. Stall characteristics of the RVs are straightforward and predictable. Spin resistance of all RV models is very good. Very definite pro-spin control inputs are necessary to provoke spin entry. Usually spin recovery can be achieved within the first revolution just by relaxing pro-spin control pressures. From fully developed spins, recovery is achieved by application of normal anti-spin control inputs. Directional and pitch stability are positive for all loading conditions. Roll stability is neutral, and rudder turn and side-slip qualities are quite normal, but rarely needed except in crosswind landings, which RVs handle nicely. Unlike many tail draggers, RVs are well mannered on the ground. Ground handling qualities of the trigear Rv’s are even easier than those of the taildragger RVs. The free castering nose wheel permits easy steering with the rudder alone at anything above low taxi speed. At low taxi speeds, differential braking manoeuvres the airplane easily.

Visibility

In-flight visibility is exceptional. The sloping nose and large canopy give the pilot an almost unobstructed view of the sky. The nose is low enough that most pilots new to the RV will find themselves climbing when their conditioned vision tells them they are level. Rearward visibility through bubble canopies is excellent; it is also remarkably good through the gentle slope of the canopy and rear windows of the RV-6/6A, RV-7/7A, and RV-9/9A. Taxi visibility in the tandem and tricycle models allow the pilot to see forward over the nose.

Aerobatics

By virtue of their wide speed range and relatively low wing loading, the RVs are quite a good aerobatic aircraft. Roll rates are in excess of 140 deg/sec and there is practically no adverse yaw – beautifully smooth rolls can be done with feet flat on the floor. The high inertia and low drag of the RVs permit nice loops at very low G-loads. It is possible to perform a series of aerobatic manoeuvres at cruise power, and gain altitude at the same time.