Originally Posted by N8RV
How long until Paul spills the beans on how the RV-1 flew? With his recent experience test flying Junior, I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to hear how it compares with other RVs.
I mean, it's not like he has a job anymore, right?
OK, gotta pick some quote...someone I can pick on.....Don, you're off the Christmas list (which I write on those long, overnight shifts flying the ISS....)
Sorry to be so late to the thread folks - and thanks for all the well-wishes, on behalf of the ENTIRE team that has worked to get us to this point. Louise and I just got back from Fort Worth - we stayed over to work with a number of folks on this and other projects, and were hoping to fly the RV-1 again today. Unfortunately, by the time the ceilings had lifted, the winds had picked up something fierce - even getting the -3 into Hicks was a challenge.
Below is an excerpt from the post-flight report I just wrote. the airplane really does fly like an RV, it's just not as light on the controls as what we are all used to in the modern airplanes. Above all, however, it is honest. What else but honesty would you expect from Van?
Thanks again for everyone that has helped to this point, and for everyone that will be helping out from now until the tour is over. It will take a whole lot of people spread around the continent to pull this off, but I have confidence in the RV community. Look for a chance to help out when the RV-1 comes near you!
Taxi and take-off were normal for a tail dragger. The brakes are definitely sensitive, but once the pilot calibrates themselves, it should not be a problem – they need to be very careful the first time they are applied however. Lateral stability on the ground is not as positive as most RV’s – once the tail starts to swing, it feels like it would have a tendency to go around – more like a normal tail dragger than the very stable RV’s. The tail wheel is very firm, and sends considerable feedback through the airframe when hitting bumps – pilots should be aware – no damage appears to be done by this.
Take-off was normal for an RV- tail came up in about 100- 1500 feet of roll, acceleration was good, and control at lift-off was positive. Speeds weren’t recorded on this flight, as we really don’t know how accurate any of the instruments are. The initial rate of climb was quite good – about what we would expect for the horsepower. The airplane felt well-trimmed with the tab in a neutral position, and pitch forces were normal.
The airplane was climbed to 3,000’ over the field (field elevation approximately 850’), and several orbits were performed to evaluate handling. In typical RV fashion, roll and pitch are harmonious, and the rudder is fairly heavy at normal flight speeds. Roll and pitch are sluggish compare to a modern RV, but perfectly adequate and not out of the ordinary for production aircraft. Comparing it to modern RV’s, the controls are more like an RV-8 than an RV-4 – good, but not at all light. Trim is quick, but the range is not great. Turns to both left and right were performed, and stability seems strong in all axes.
Most of the cruise testing was done at approximately 2350 RPM, but the tachometer calibration seems questionable. Airspeed was about 140 mph indicated at that setting. Flaps were lowered through full range below 100 mph, and stability was good. Stalls were not approached (although the landing behavior was excellent, so we anticipate good stall characteristics). Oil pressure was solid at 80 psi, oil temperatures never got above 140 – 150 degrees. VSI reads in the correct direction, but calibration is unknown. Airspeed indicator and altimeter appear to be reasonable. Compass may or may not be adequate – will have to further evaluate.
After orbiting the field several time, the flight let the pattern, flew about four miles to a neighboring field, then returned for a pattern entry.
Flaps were lowered below 100 mph to two notches on downwind leg. Trim was all the way nose up, but additional backpressure was required to hold an approach speed of about 75 mph. This was not uncomfortable, but it appears that there is inadequate trim force available to hold a slow approach speed. I considered lowering full flaps on final approach, but the geometry of the cockpit and flap lever made this too difficult to attempt on final, so the landing was accomplished with 2/3rds flaps.
The landing round-out and flare was positive, very stable, and easily predictable. A three-point landing was attained on the first try, and brakes were not applied until it was clear that the airplane was done flying. Control was good, and there was no tendency for it to depart either right or left – surprising, given the visually obvious gear alignment issues. The alignment does not need to be adjusted for flight purposes.
Post-flight shutdown was normal. After de-cowling, the only problem found was a seeping oil cooler hose fitting that needs to be replaced.
Paul F. Dye
20 Feb 2012