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Old 03-21-2017, 06:48 PM
Tomcat RV4 Tomcat RV4 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Jacksonville,Fl. 32246
Posts: 248
Default RV-4 landing

I recently read long write-up on take off/landing RV8, any one or several people have any
Comments regarding same on RV4 ?
Tomcat RV4
dues paid and worth every penny
Life is uncertain -Eat desert first !
U F O Member since Dec 2017
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:01 AM
springer springer is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: AZ/MN
Posts: 347

Originally Posted by Tomcat RV4 View Post
I recently read long write-up on take off/landing RV8, any one or several people have any
Comments regarding same on RV4 ?

I have owned both. -4 was easier for takeoff and did not require much additional right rudder when the tail lifted. -4 was also much, much easier for me to land as it tracked straighter during the rollout and was not anywhere as sensitive as the -8. I can apply the brakes on the -4 with my heels on the floor which I cannot with the -8. I landed both tail low then pinned the main gear.
RV-4 '88-'09 Built & Sold
RV-8 Purchased
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:22 AM
Xkuzme1's Avatar
Xkuzme1 Xkuzme1 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: KC, MO
Posts: 346

If I am on take off on grass with my 4, I will usually stay in a three point unless it is bouncy. If it is bouncy I will go ahead and lift the tail and continue the take off. Taking off on pavement I almost exclusively do a tail up take off. I will raise the tail as soon as possible. When I start the take off roll I have the tail pinned down and then when I reach a speed where I think the tail will come up I push forward on the stick to raise the tail.

When I land on grass I almost exclusively do three point landings because it allows me to come in just a little bit slower. Often times during a three point landing I will notice the tail wheel is going to be close to hitting first, so right before touchdown I will goose to throttle and that will level the airplane a little more, and hopefully I get a true three-point land. On pavement I almost exclusively do it to point landing (wheel landing). Doing the two point landings eat up a lot more runway and requires me to land with a little bit of power. On the wheel landing on pavement I like it more if I run the trim a little forward and find myself pulling back on the stick just a hair. It's hard to land a 4 in a wheel landing with a perfectly trimmed airplane.

Speeds: grass 3 point touchdown is normally 60-65. Fly approach at 70 mph.
Wheel landings I fly the approach at 75-80.

My grass 3 point landings I use about 7-800 feet. My wheel landings use 1500-2000.

RV-4 - 0-320 (160HP)
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:35 AM
mbuehler mbuehler is offline
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Tacoma
Posts: 75

Long geared RV4. I can't get a consistent 3 pt out of it, so all my landings are tail low wheel landings (and they work well). About 72kts with a little power in until over the numbers, then pull power and hold it off until the mains touch - then pin it and bring the tail down shortly after. Stops easily in under 2000'

Take off is tail pinned until 35kts, then tail up until 55kts at which point I'll lift off (and give it a lot more right rudder).
Martin Buehler
2004 RV4 N1080J
IO320 - CS - IFR
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:55 AM
Tomcat RV4 Tomcat RV4 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Jacksonville,Fl. 32246
Posts: 248

Tomcat RV4
dues paid and worth every penny
Life is uncertain -Eat desert first !
U F O Member since Dec 2017
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:09 AM
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smokyray smokyray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: TX32
Posts: 1,829
Default Nice landing...

I built my RV4 back in the late 80's and have had a few years (and mistakes) to perfect/reject Ah Vee Four landing techniques.

I operated my RV4 primarily off a short, rough turf strip less than 1500' long with trees. 150/FP with a climb oriented prop.
Takeoff, Grass: rolling helps shorten takeoff run, pop flaps (manual flaps) at 50 and it lifts off, climb above obstacle at 80/ accelerate to 100 climb at 100-120.
Landing: Grass: 60 KIAS, power-on, 3/4 aft trim, full flaps, three point, braking on touchdown, full aft stick.
Pavement :Style points, 65-70 approach speed, roll on in wheels attitude, slowly lower tail to runway...


PS: The RV4 is the easiest tail dragger I've flown IMHO. My Rocket was a bit more challenging with the longer nose and reduced forward visibility, but nothing like a T-Craft on a windy day...

Last edited by smokyray : 03-22-2017 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 03-23-2017, 11:30 AM
WAM120RV WAM120RV is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Coventry. England
Posts: 611
Default Take off and landing


Without knowing your reference points in what you have flown it is difficult to give proper feedback. However, I have flown Cubs, Luscombes, Grob Slmg, an Ogar Slmg, Rv7, RV4, RV6, Tailwind......... I won't mention nose gear.

The main difference between all these types is torque effect from the prop on take off, bigger engine more torque... And how quick the aeroplane responds to control input, followed by the rate of response.

RVs respond very quickly and the rate of response is fast too. So you require deft and accurate footwork......... No size 14 shoes hammering down.

A problem with how RVs are set up is the angle of the brake to the rudder bar, you have to consciously move your feet down onto the bar on takeoff to make sure you are not holding a bit of brake in. There is a fix for this which allows for a bit of displacement if the foot on the rudder bar which you can buy. It allows the foot to sit on the bar without touching the brake.

I hope someone chimes in on this because I would like to buy one fir my 4 and need to know who sells them.

In terms if landing the 4 is a pussycat, 70mph is my approach speed with full flap slowing to 60 over the fence. When I am about 10ft above the runway I pull all the power of and glide the last bit, slowing up as I do so and three pointers are easy. I do 1500 ft grass strips a lot and without trying hard it is easy to stop in 400ft. They pretty much roll out straight and true, crosswinds up to 15 it are easy.

Takeoff requires attention especially in a crosswind because you might have the wind trying to weathercock you one way and be feeding in ridder to correct it, then as you bring up the power the torque reaction might try to send you in the opposite direction. A 4 is much more likely to bite you in that situation than when landing when you are only dealing with a cross wind. Having said that because the controls are so effective and the aeroplane is off the ground so quick with practice it becomes more easy to deal with.

Steve Arnold

In completion stage of Loehle P5151
Built and now Flying G.BVLR Vans RV4
Rebuilt G.BDBD Tailwind
Rebuilt G BVTN Kitfox
Built G CDCD RV9A with WAM120
Riveted wings on Glastar G.LEZZ Now (G. SKUA)
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:24 AM
Vac Vac is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Niceville, Florida
Posts: 386
Thumbs up +1 for rudder pedal extensions

Steve brings up a great point, and the rudder pedal extensions really help improve the ergonomics of the pedal configuration. I have them installed in my -4 and find them quite helpful. They bolt on and increase the diameter of the rudder bar. The machining gives the sole of your shoe something to bite to help anchor the balls of your feet with your heels on the floor. They also help with differential braking if you slide your feet up.

Here are some options that a google search turned up:

Basic RV landing techniques are discussed page 226-244:

No right way or wrong way as long as you fly a stable, on speed approach and keep it straight. I prefer tail-low wheel landings in my short gear -4 with a 69" prop diameter, but that's just a personal preference. I'd never hazard a public opinion of wheel landings vs three-point, so I just occupy the hazy middle ground and nod a lot


Mike Vaccaro
RV-4 2112
Niceville, Florida

Last edited by Vac : 03-24-2017 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:09 PM
precession precession is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 146

I concur with those who say the most important thing for successful wheel landings (2 point) is touching down tail low. The tail low is necessary to arrest your sink. Then stick forward on touch down. Try not to flare too high, which leads to bouncing. My ASI shows @65mph "over the fence." (Short gear, 70" diameter 2-blade prop.)

Last edited by precession : 03-24-2017 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:41 AM
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BruceMe BruceMe is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shawnee, Kansas
Posts: 748

All this input is great and I concur... but I'll add a few more things nobody else has yet mentioned. Anyone big in the back seat dramatically changes the feel. Where you where used to light and snappy inputs solo with strong positive elevator feedback, that goes to zero (literally) at the rear CG limit. Ground handling changes dramatically as well, lots more momentum in the turn which is something you have to get used to. I loved flying my RV-4 solo... no as much dual. For my aircraft it wasn't bad until you got someone over 150.

One more thing... I'm a big AoA fan and I've had one in all my RVs since '98. I couldn't tell you what the IAS was, but after calibration on the Dynon DA10 and Garmin G3X, two bars of yellow was a good 2-pt approach, one bar of red for 3-pt or short field.

The biggest factor on short fields isn't how slow you get it on approach... although that is important. By far the biggest factor is how quickly and smoothly you can get it on the ground stable enough to apply full brakes without hippitty hopping which those big springy gear love to do especially on grass.
Bruce Meacham

Built/Own RV-4 254MM
Restored RV-6 4074V
First RV RV-3 3456B

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Last edited by BruceMe : 03-29-2017 at 05:12 AM.
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