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  #1  
Old 03-21-2018, 09:03 PM
Davy8or Davy8or is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Discovery Bay, CA
Posts: 24
Default My Vans RV conundrum.

I have been thinking seriously about trading my Mooney for a Vans RV-9/A. It better fits my mission which is mostly me flying around by myself in good weather with no particular place I need to go. I think it would save me a bit of money in fuel burn, replacement parts and upgrades and it would be newer with not so much history, mechanics, repairs, annuals and the like on it.

My ideal Vans would be the 9/A with an IO-320, CS prop and either a tip up, or slider, I haven't decided. It would also have to have a nice, standard layout panel with at least two axis auto pilot, dual coms, WAAS GPS, engine monitoring and a good audio panel. ADS-B in and out and a 406 ELT would be great too. Unfortunately there are four serious things preventing me from pursuing this plan. In order of seriousness-
  1. Safety. I like the 9 because it has the lowest stall speed and that means the slowest touch down in an off field landing scenario, but it seems that if you land a Vans on anything that isn't hard and prepared, you end up upside down, hanging from your harness and most times trapped by a stuck canopy. Ditching a Vans in water sounds like suicide, or at least very, very slim chances of a good outcome. I feel much more confident in the Mooney's ability to land off field and in water. I also feel very confident of the Mooney's strength in the airframe. I'm not so sure about the Vans.
  2. The wife. I mentioned in passing that I was thinking of trading the Mooney and she was ho-hum about that... until I told her I was thinking of an experimental! She was pretty strongly against that idea! It will take a lot of convincing that it is just as safe and I first have to convince myself.
  3. The wife. The cabin in the Mooney is tight, but I think the Vans cabin is even tighter. It feels very narrow to me. As we get older, neither of us is getting any skinnier. There is also poor baggage area access, or capacity. While it has only occurred three or four times in the last seven years, it would be nice to keep the ability to take the wife along for a weekend. I'm not so sure how well the Vans can handle this job.
  4. Money. I don't think I can get anywhere near enough money for my Mooney to get a nice clean, well built RV-9 configured the way I want it and then do all the things that will need to be done to make it mine. I will have to sell my Mooney and then likely pony up even more money. While I have the money and could do this, right now is not a financially great time for me to do it.

What do you guys think?
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2018, 09:24 PM
Ed_Wischmeyer's Avatar
Ed_Wischmeyer Ed_Wischmeyer is offline
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 786
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1. Most any plane with the wheels down will flip under the right circumstances, especially ditching. RV-9A with the anti-splat nosewheel brace should be no worse than any other plane.
2. Depends upon the individual airplane. Craftsmanship is an indicator, but the systems installations and cockpit design (human factors) are also significant. Most homebuilt panels are full of human factors errors, and half of homebuilts are poorly wired. Then again, lots of older factory built planes have layers and layers of A&P errors in them, too. And you won't be able to toss the keys to any random A&P for an RV annual -- you'll need to be prepared to hold their hand.
3. Try one on for size. And the Almost RV-14 seatback mods can help. There's also, for the slider, canopy rail extensions to ease baggage access. But it won't be as good as reaching into the back seat of a Mooney.
4. An RV-9A such as you describe, if you can find one, would be on the order of a hundred grand, depending on whether the owner wants to sell or not. Mine, for example, has dual Garmin G3X touchscreens, autopilot, ADS-B in and out, and far more capability than you'd get in a factory built for anywhere near that price.

Best advice? Go hang out with the homebuilt crowd for a year or more, go to Oshkosh and/or Lakeland, pay your dues. Make knowledgeable friends, lots of 'em.

And good luck!

Ed
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Previously RV-4, RV-8A, AirCam, Cessna 175
ATP CFII PhD, so I have no excuses when I screw up
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  #3  
Old 03-21-2018, 09:24 PM
Sam Buchanan's Avatar
Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 3,830
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I'm thinking you probably need to keep the Mooney.....unless your wife gets onboard with an experimental aircraft.

But in spite of that....welcome to VAF!
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1999 RV-6
1918 Fokker D.VII replica

Last edited by Sam Buchanan : 03-21-2018 at 09:38 PM.
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  #4  
Old 03-21-2018, 09:29 PM
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N941WR N941WR is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 11,685
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How much baggage do you bring when you travel? (I'm not calling your wife "baggage"!) The -9 can lift 100 lbs, which is a lot of "stuff". (When we were building I bought four good size duffle bags from Target that can hold more than we want to take. Here's a link.) I have filled those four and added stuff on top of them.

Ditching is never a good option but what makes you think you will be able to get out of your M20, if it is upside down in the water? There is a good chance the door might jamb and you don't have any other options to get out. If you are that worried, you need to buy a Stearman so there is no canopy.

You are on your own convincing her that a homebuilt is better than store bought. All I can say is to arrange a visit to a builder or a completed plane that was well built and let her decide for herself.

The cabin is more roomy than that of your Mooney. You will have to sit in one and judge for yourself. The downside is that the two seat RV's are a bucket and getting in and out can be a challenge.

If you are looking for an RV with steam gauges, then the price will be less for one with a glass panel. You can always change out the panel later, when your cash reserves are built back up. Remember, this is an E-AB and changing the panel, adding auto pilots, etc. is fairly easy and inexpensive when compared to your Mooney.

Good luck with your search.
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RV-9 (Yes, it's a dragon tail)
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  #5  
Old 03-21-2018, 09:54 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 3,406
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The -9's 20 knot (or so) lower stall speed would actually help you in most off-airport landings. From a probabilistic standpoint, that's probably the most important safety factor.

As far as space goes, for two people, the side by side RV's allow up to about 100 lbs of baggage, which is CG dependent. There is a canopy rail mod which makes access better than the stock slider. Regarding shoulder room, the side by side RV's can be cramped, but so can Mooneys. I found (online) a reference that Mooneys have a 43.5" cabin (but that lacks enough detail to make a clear evaluation) and the RV-9's cabin is 40" at the fuselage deck and 43" in the canopy (shoulder) area.

The wife/experimental factor is something you could probably work through. Come visit Homebuilt Camping at Oshkosh and she can sit in a bunch of airplanes, drink the beer.. I mean Kool-Aid, and get a better sense of the RV series and the support that is available in the community.

Cost wise, I'd go with Ed's $100k figure for the airplane you describe. Your operating costs should go down with a new(er) RV vs your Mooney.

Good luck and hope to see you at Oshkosh.
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2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019(?) RV-10
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  #6  
Old 03-21-2018, 10:03 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 14,375
Default Welcome to VAF

Dave, welcome to VAF
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Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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  #7  
Old 03-21-2018, 10:58 PM
Davy8or Davy8or is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Discovery Bay, CA
Posts: 24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Buchanan View Post
I'm thinking you probably need to keep the Mooney.....unless your wife gets onboard with an experimental aircraft.

But in spite of that....welcome to VAF!
Thanks for the welcome! I have actually lurked quite a bit, just never posted.
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  #8  
Old 03-21-2018, 11:57 PM
Lars Lars is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Davis, CA
Posts: 1,045
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Dave, there are a lot of RVs in your neighborhood. I can personally offer you a ride in my RV-7 out of KDWA or O88 (depending on day of the week) and there are lots of others, 6, 6A, 7, 7A, 8, 8A, 9A (no 9s around here, they are scarce) in NorCal if you'd like to give one a try. To fly one is to understand.
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  #9  
Old 03-21-2018, 11:59 PM
Davy8or Davy8or is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Discovery Bay, CA
Posts: 24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N941WR View Post
How much baggage do you bring when you travel? (I'm not calling your wife "baggage"!) The -9 can lift 100 lbs, which is a lot of "stuff". (When we were building I bought four good size duffle bags from Target that can hold more than we want to take. Here's a link.) I have filled those four and added stuff on top of them.

Ditching is never a good option but what makes you think you will be able to get out of your M20, if it is upside down in the water? There is a good chance the door might jamb and you don't have any other options to get out. If you are that worried, you need to buy a Stearman so there is no canopy.

You are on your own convincing her that a homebuilt is better than store bought. All I can say is to arrange a visit to a builder or a completed plane that was well built and let her decide for herself.

The cabin is more roomy than that of your Mooney. You will have to sit in one and judge for yourself. The downside is that the two seat RV's are a bucket and getting in and out can be a challenge.

If you are looking for an RV with steam gauges, then the price will be less for one with a glass panel. You can always change out the panel later, when your cash reserves are built back up. Remember, this is an E-AB and changing the panel, adding auto pilots, etc. is fairly easy and inexpensive when compared to your Mooney.

Good luck with your search.
Thanks for the response! The baggage thing I'm still exploring and it's good to know there is a mod for the slider and the link to the bags you bought are helpful.

Ditching in a Mooney is pretty well documented over the decades and it does pretty well as long as you ditch gear up. They rarely flip unless you hook the wing in big swells. Usually they end up right side up with ample time to get out. Lots of stories out there.

With the Vans, I haven't read any stories of a successful ditching yet. Maybe I can find some here?

The cabin size is just a feeling I got from sitting in an RV-7. It seemed tight and possibly tighter than the Mooney, but I haven't gotten out a tape measure, or done a lot of research on the subject. It just feels like a squeeze which is fine for my solo missions 98% of the time, I'm just wondering about flying two up.

I'm OK with steam gauges for the six pack as that's what I have now, but good radios, a good GPS and a good engine monitor is a must. I have to admit though, my steam gauges are pissing me off right now. My AI is tilted a few degrees to the left sometimes (No way would I fly with this thing IFR!) my HI precesses like a MoFo, but that's expected after over 50 years of service I guess and my ASI wobbles a little, but again, over 50 years old.

I fly only VFR these days and haven't been IFR current since 2006, so not huge deal. However it still bugs me and I've been thinking about replacing my AI and my HI with Garmin G5 units and picking up the functionality of an HSI in the process, but if I'm going to change planes, this would be a huge waste of money.

I flew with my Mooney with it's shotgun panel for the better part of a year, so I can be tolerant, but in the end I hated it. I rearranged to be standard 6 pack and fixed up the radios and added a engine monitor. It's nothing that special, but here's how it looks now-



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  #10  
Old 03-22-2018, 12:21 AM
Davy8or Davy8or is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Discovery Bay, CA
Posts: 24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Boatright View Post
The -9's 20 knot (or so) lower stall speed would actually help you in most off-airport landings. From a probabilistic standpoint, that's probably the most important safety factor.

As far as space goes, for two people, the side by side RV's allow up to about 100 lbs of baggage, which is CG dependent. There is a canopy rail mod which makes access better than the stock slider. Regarding shoulder room, the side by side RV's can be cramped, but so can Mooneys. I found (online) a reference that Mooneys have a 43.5" cabin (but that lacks enough detail to make a clear evaluation) and the RV-9's cabin is 40" at the fuselage deck and 43" in the canopy (shoulder) area.

The wife/experimental factor is something you could probably work through. Come visit Homebuilt Camping at Oshkosh and she can sit in a bunch of airplanes, drink the beer.. I mean Kool-Aid, and get a better sense of the RV series and the support that is available in the community.

Cost wise, I'd go with Ed's $100k figure for the airplane you describe. Your operating costs should go down with a new(er) RV vs your Mooney.

Good luck and hope to see you at Oshkosh.
The slow stall speed is a huge draw for me. The older I get, the more about safety I get. I used to be all about go fast, fly over mountains, fly over oceans, fly at night, fly for hours in the clouds and who cares? But I now think more about what happens when the fan quits and they do quit more than people like to admit. I have not had and engine out, but I have had engine problems with precautionary landings. I always have to figure, that when the motor does quit, it will be in the worst place possible, so I try to think ahead on that.

I have been to Oshkosh twice with my best friend. Stayed a week both times. I have never flown in because my best friend is too big to fit in my plane (so no way a Vans either!), so we have done Southwest both times. I have been over to visit Vans both times, but mostly spent socializing time with Mooney folks, or just a mix of GA folks. I would love to meet up with Vans folks and drink the Kool-Aid... within reason!
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