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Old 12-02-2018, 04:01 AM
Cloud Basher Cloud Basher is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 2
Default RV-3 Ferry - information please

Hi guys and girls. Looks like I will get to ferry an RV-3 across Australia from East Coast to west. Right in the middle of summer...

I have a couple of questions if anyone has some experience and may be able to answer them for me please:

1. How large is the cockpit to store things like a full bottle of water, and empty bottle (for obvious reasons!) and a few snacks? I haven’t seen an RV-3 in the flesh, but have a heap of time in RV-4 (and some in a 6 and 7). How does it compare cockpit room size to the -4?

2. I have seen pics on the net of the baggage compartment, looks about the same size as a -4?

3. Likely going to get a few cheap window shades to stick to the canopy above my head. Any better ideas?

4. How is the ventilation?

5. Any handy hints for a 2000nm trip in this aircraft (I have done long trips before, but not in a single seater).

Trip will be day VFR only, no autopilot. Plan due to our 35-42 degree Celsius days will be to go as high as the weather allows to keep cool.

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Old 12-02-2018, 05:06 AM
YellerDaisy's Avatar
YellerDaisy YellerDaisy is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Mountain Southwest
Posts: 146

Hi CB, I used to own an RV-3B (O-320-150hp) and flew it about 500 hours. Now I have an RV-4 (O-320-160hp). I'm afraid I don't know the details on how different the -3 and -3B are but I'll tell you what I know.

The -3B cockpit is smaller than the -4, narrower. I'm a wide guy and I had room for drinks and snacks in the -3. That should not be a problem. If you get creative and have space to put a narrow cardboard box between your legs (down near the rudder pedals), you can store lots of stuff but it is difficult to reach while flying. Tying strings on the items in the box helps with the retrieval.

Yes, the baggage space is fairly roomy. I don't think it is quite as large as the -4 (from memory). Seems like the rear-most shelf area is 'extra' in the -4.

In the -4, I can pull one leg up (put one foot on the shelf) and kind of twist myself into some slightly different seating positions to break the monotony of very long flights. Not so with the -3B.

Ventilation is entirely dependent on what vents the builder installed and the fit of the canopy. Mine had only a NACA inlet in the canopy frame and was just 'bearable' on hot days. One of the slick little air doors that Vans sells located down near your feet makes a world of difference.

Cross country performance between my -3B and -4 are very similar. Three hour legs are about all I'm comfortable with (standard fuel capacity, 30 gal vs 32 gal). Flight characteristics are nearly identical. IMO, the -4 has very slightly heavier controls and a slightly slower roll rate. Of course, I'm not a flight test engineer so that's just my uneducated "feel."
RV-4 - O-320
RV-3B - O-320 - "Daisy" (sold)
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:56 AM
rmarshall234 rmarshall234 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 157

I put 500 hours on my -3 and Yeller Daisy has summed it up quite well. Very narrow in there, and I'm a small guy. You'll need everything necessary for each leg of the flight already positioned and available. I used a belly pouch sometimes and a "soft" water bottle like a camelback works really well. You can shove it in any available space regardless of size. Can do the same for a pee bottle I imagine but I never tried that and voiding in the cockpit of a -3 seems like it would be quite a trick. I always found the baggage hold to be more than adequate for one person's stuff. Never an issue and I made some long trips _with_ camping gear. I did have a bit of an empty fwd cg though. Yes, you're in a bubble for a long time so plan accordingly to try to escape the sun as much as possible. And finally, my -3 had a lot of ambient noise - mostly slipstream noise but also exhaust so bring something to protect your hearing and lessen the fatigue. Have fun!!
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:37 AM
swjohnsey swjohnsey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Kingsville, TX
Posts: 47

Think I would get up to 10,000 feet or so to get the temperature down. Wear a hat and sun screen, long sleeve shirt, running shorts. I can't imagine taking a pee in a RV-3 successfully. I have a RV-3 with only 24 gallon tank so I don't have to worry about very long legs. One solution to high ambient noise is earplugs plus headset if you don't have ANR.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:32 AM
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Infidel Infidel is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: WV22
Posts: 849

I did a "static testing" of urinating in a Gatorade bottle in my -4 in preparation for a long cross country flight. I'm glad I tried it at home first. Needless to say, there was more outside the bottle than in it!

I found planning my legs to two hours and sipping water when needed helped immensely. Wearing a utility vest w/plenty of pockets helps keep snacks and essential items accessible.

Good luck on the trip!
RV-4 0320\D3G 160, Whirlwind 200GA 70".
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:24 PM
TnMike's Avatar
TnMike TnMike is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lewisburg,Tn
Posts: 243

Go to a home health supply store (if you have them down under) and buy a condom catheter ... and leg bag as well. Works great on long flights with no mess. Practice at home just in case..YMMV...... Mike
RV3B N931M
Dues Paid
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:05 PM
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Larry DeCamp Larry DeCamp is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Clinton, Indiana
Posts: 859
Default Ditto all above

If it wont fit in pockets and vest, there is no where (safe from going astray) to lay stuff down. Cell phones, sun glasses and pens all end up in bad places.

You can build some clever stowage but that's no help on ferry flight. Take serious consideration of 2hr ( no coffee/water) flight plan. If you must fly farther, a catheter and leg bag will reduce anxiety/improve judgement. FWIW, I used to manufacture them.
Larry DeCamp
RV-3B flying w/ carb / Pmags / Catto 2b / Steam
RV-4 fastback w/ Superior XP360/AFP/G3X/CPI/Catto3b
Clinton, IN
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:01 PM
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G-force G-force is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Castaic, CA
Posts: 536

Perhaps take a page from the glider pilots and dry suit scuba divers and look into a "texas catheter" setup. Basically it is a condom like device with a fitting on the end for a hose that goes to a collection bag (or simply overboard if set up for that) for urine. I would caution you to give the system a few tries before going live to get it all figured out.
Mike Sumner
Castaic, Ca
2018 dues paid
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:32 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
VAF Moderator / Line Boy
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 11,947

I routinely use our RV-3B for long trips, and try to make legs of over three hours by flying high and LOP. Yes, it is cramped, but I guess I have spent a lifetime learning how to manage small spaces for maximum performance. I can easily tuck a water bottle along side my torso on each side, and yes, a vest is a great place to keep snacks - LI like granola bars and gory. The truth is, you’re burning very few calories, so you don’t need to replace many.

I have extensive training in the use of piddle packs I guess - on a long, boring flight with the autopilot flying, I just do it carefully, and don’t spill a drop. An alternative is to use what we used to wear in pressure suits - a diaper. If I am up high and have a tailwind, I hate to drop down for a potty stop, and I prefer a piddle pack.

We have a center console in ours which really makes two tunnels for legs - but I can still pull legs back one at a time and put my feet on the spar for a change of position.

I guess it is what you’re used to - I find the RV-3B great for long trips when its just me, a couple of days worth of clothes, and a pack with computers and camera.


Paul F. Dye
Editor at Large - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
A&P, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:13 AM
Clouddancer Clouddancer is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 166

I can not comment on the effective space you have in the RV-3 cockpit to move, but I have experience of long flights in narrow glider cockpits. The only thing that works for me without spilling a drop (beneath a diaper), is a urinal condome with an urinal bag.
Andreas Uebersax
RV-4 SN2416 in slow progress
VAF donation 2018/12/17
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