Plastic eyeball fresh air vents
With nearly 2000 flying hours in Van's aircraft I have built, I admit to being a big advocate of the company. But now and then I take exception to something and the plastic eyeball vents in the -14A are one of them.
These seem to have worked OK in our RV-8A in So. Cal. with the mild climate. Yes, they leaked air but that was a relatively minor irritant. But here in Colorado those same vents in our -14A ultimately caused me to replace them. They not only leaked air readily because of poor sealing doors with a loose on/off thumb control but also failed to maintain direction. Numerous times one vent or the other ended up moving on its own and shooting air into my or my wife's face and microphone, breaking squelch. It was OK for awhile but we finally opted to remove them and go with Van's more expensive but much better aluminum eyeballs of the same size. They hold direction and seal much better and have the usual twist method for on and off rather than a thumb control.
But not so fast. Because the plastic vents are mounted between two components that are siliconed to the fuselage, you can't just replace the vents. You have to remove and then replace the whole assembly -- NACA duct, eyeball and mounting bracket. While this was not difficult to do with a sharpened putty knife slowly slicing through the silicone, it was both time consuming to get down to bare metal and awkward working under the panel. I bought all new parts for each side since I thought trying to pry the siliconed vents from the NACA duct would break something. All worked OK and I found that the aluminum vents allow significantly more air into the cockpit than did the plastic ones. If only I had known this to start with...
It's your airplane so do what you wish since the plastic vents come with the kit. But after having gone through this exercise I would tactfully suggest you consider the added cost of the aluminum vents and install them in the first place.
Grand Junction, CO
RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
RV-14A N465MM - 280 hours and climbing