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Old 04-17-2017, 02:24 PM
Jets410 Jets410 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Columbia
Posts: 10
Default RV-10 true useful load w/ real people?

Hi All-
My wife & I are completing the tailcone on our -10 (in the garage, while raising five kids!) and are headed for the QB fuse next. After reading an article about Piper Dakotas, I found myself wondering, "What is the real world useful load on an RV-10 with four real-world adults? Van's website says, "It will carry four FAA standard people, full fuel and sixty pounds of baggage.", then states, "accommodates four full-sized adults."

Useful load = 1070 (2700 Gross -1630 BEW)
I figure 4 full-sized adults = 900 lbs.
Leaving 170 left for fuel = 28 gallons = two hours w/o reserve.

That's ok when flying our friends one hour to the beach for dinner, fueling, and coming home, using a Lycoming IO-540 at 14 gph (rough high-end estimates from what I see on these boards).

So the question is, are there some more actual numbers RV-10 fliers would like to share on the heavy side? Does anyone carry four linebackers and still have enough gas to fly more than an hour? Is my data incorrect?
Thanks, -Scott
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:42 PM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 1,433

Four real people (two men, two women), full full and the baggage compartment filled to the top. Flew to Key West from Virginia on a hot day. No problem (other than dogging the afternoon Florida thunderstorms).

Disclaimer - if you fatten up your RV with Lexus interior, air conditioning and such you will not enjoy such performace. My plane has a full glass panel, a heavy base/clear coat paint job, O2 and a heavier cowl and plenum. Empty weight is 1685.

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Old 04-17-2017, 02:44 PM
Auburntsts's Avatar
Auburntsts Auburntsts is online now
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dumfries, VA
Posts: 2,533

Well yeah. Van's uses the FAA standard of 170lbs per pax not the 225 you used. I weigh 190 and my wife weighs 150 so I typically get full fuel and a little baggage with 4 adults. But the useful load is a zero sum game--if you and your pax weigh more then something has to give, and partial fuel is the only card you have to play. This is not unique to the RV-10--a lot if 4-place planes are really only 2-place in practical terms.

As for fuel planning I typically cruise at 11 gph which gives me 160 TAS so leaning out will give you a bit more endurance/range.
Todd Stovall
RV-10 N728TT - Flying!

Last edited by Auburntsts : 04-17-2017 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:45 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 3,183


What gross weight did you use for your airplane?

Kyle Boatright
Atlanta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:30 PM
jwilbur jwilbur is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Culpeper, VA
Posts: 595

Originally Posted by Auburntsts View Post
.... my wife weighs 150 ....
You are so gonna be in the dog house. .....
-Joe Wilbur (N520LW)
Phase II - 11/2017
First flight - 8/2017
Pink slip - 7/2017
RV-10 Build Log
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:38 PM
Auburntsts's Avatar
Auburntsts Auburntsts is online now
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dumfries, VA
Posts: 2,533

Originally Posted by jwilbur View Post
You are so gonna be in the dog house. .....
Nah....I've learned the art of pre-emotive apologies. IOW, money can't buy happiness but it can buy flowers, massages, jewelry, etc. seems to work...
Todd Stovall
RV-10 N728TT - Flying!
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:57 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 5,092

I think I'm a real person even though I'm not a linebacker!
My -10 is light- BEW = 1607 lbs. No ac, no fancy paint, Basic interior. I even gained a pound or two of useful load by swapping out my gtx-327 for a Trig TT22. Every pound adds up. My wife and I together (note how I hide her weight!) are just a bit over FAA standard at 350 lbs which leaves 380 lbs for another couple and bags, with full fuel. Not linebackers but maybe punt returners! BTW, I flow matched my injectors and routinely cruise at 160 KTAS on 10 gal/hr, so even with your load I'd have 2 hours PLUS an hour reserve.
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:07 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 14,086
Default Its a truck

What the others have said----it holds a lot.

Not yet mentioned yet, but something you need to pay attention to is how the C/G acts when loaded heavy. As you burn off fuel, the C/G can go out of range to the rear

Always figure your C/G at take off and landing fuel loads to be safe.
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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Old 04-18-2017, 01:41 AM
paul330 paul330 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 977

Mine weighs in at 1650lb which I think is pretty average. So with full fuel load I can get 4 reasonable (not Texas!) size adults.....

My problem comes if I reduce the fuel to 2/3rd load to get 100lb of baggage as well. Then I run into C of G issues. I have a lighter MT prop plus a strobe pack, ELT and ADHARS behind the baggage bulkhead. Next time my battery needs replacing, I'm going to go with an Earth-X, save myself 15lb and shift the C of G forward significantly.
Mercy Air, White River FAWV
ZU-IIZ - "Zeus"
2018 Donation Made
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:24 AM
Flying again!'s Avatar
Flying again! Flying again! is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Keller, TX
Posts: 352

CDC says the average US male weighs 199.5 and female weighs 166.2. With you useful load this leaves 346.6 lbs for fuel and baggage.

I took my wife and adult son and daughter to the Bahamas and had full fuel plus 100 lbs of baggage. I did swap out my battery for a Li Iron battery to keep CG within limits. I allocated 20 lbs baggage per person to have room for safety items (life vest, PLB, etc.).

Worked out great for a week trip!

As others have said, everything is a trade-off.
RV-10 N331JH 3rd owner (First flew in 2005, #15 flying)
Northwest Regional 52F
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