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  #1  
Old 04-07-2018, 07:52 PM
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bmarvel bmarvel is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 39
Default 14A flying feedback after 237 hours

LONG POST

Hi all:
I rarely post but thought some of you in the early RV-14 flying stages or nearing completion may be interested in some real-world feedback. I first flew our -14A on September 8, 2016 and now have 237 hours on it. Prior to that I put our RV-8A through some 1700 hours so I know the pros and cons of each. Our -14A was a standard full build kit (SN 140134) with an IO-390 from Van's and the recommended Hartzell CS prop. It is IFR with two Skyview displays, GTN-650 navigator and a back up Grand Rapids Mini-B EFIS. It has an impulse coupled mag on one side and P-Mag on the other. I followed the plans closely and only made minor modifications to them.

In no particular order, here are some thoughts, characteristics, performance data and features that may be of interest to you:

1. Both the wife and I find the -14 to be more difficult to get into and out of compared to the -8. One hand on the side rail and the other in the center of the cross bar behind the seats is required to support your body weight, especially getting out. It takes some stretching to do. Donít let pax grab the instrument panel or canopy, as they are inclined to do. Holding onto the roll bar while facing inboard and standing on the seat, then turning forward while crouched down like a baseball catcher leaning against the seat back is a technique that works. You may end up developing your own method that differs but thatís what I do.

2. Similarly, loading baggage is more difficult than in the -8A. I cut off the upper 3 Ĺ inches of the -14A seat backs to make more room between them and the roll bar above. I find it easiest to kneel on one of the front seats, facing aft, and either have someone hand me the bags or just pick them up off the wings. Placing a hook at the aft end of the support above the baggage compartment serves well for a hang up bag.

3. I cruise at 155 knots TAS at 2300 RPM and 7.5 GPH. This is good up to about 13,500 MSL. Our -14A will go 180 TAS with FT and 2500 RPM at 8500 density altitude but uses 11.7 GPH. Speed and fuel burn is not much different from the -8A, which had a 180 HP O-360. My cruise parameters were selected as a good balance between speed, fuel burn and cockpit noise. You may choose differently.

4. Generally, I take off with full rich mixture regardless of density altitude. The power loading is such that performance is still excellent and the engine cools much better when doing this. Leaned takeoff at high altitude airports results in CHT levels going beyond 400F pretty quickly and you donít really need the additional power leaning provides. The same was true with the -8A. FYI weíre at 5000 feet MSL here in Grand Junction, Colorado and takeoffs from higher mountain airports in the summer frequently involve density altitudes of 10,000 feet. Our highest takeoff in the -8A was at 11,500 density altitude at full gross and it still climbed at 500 FPM. I lean once airborne after the CHTs stabilize.
-14A cruise CHT in winter is just below 300F with oil temp from 165 to 180. In summer, CHT is in the mid 300s with oil 180 to 200. I almost never see 400 degrees CHT unless I lean a bit too much in climb. The IO-390 cools very well.

5. Our -14A, after paint, can carry full fuel, my wife and me plus the maximum recommended baggage weight of 100 pounds and still be a few pounds below gross and forward of aft CG.

6. Starting from empty, full tanks take 50.9 gallons in our airplane so we actually have more than the published 50 gallons total. In phase 1 testing, I burned out each tank in cruise flight and then refilled it on the ground to determine actual usable fuel. For us, usable is 25.6 on one side and 25.3 on the other. Do I believe 100% of the fuel is usable? No, but to the accuracy of the airportís fuel pumps this is what the numbers showed. There is very little unusable fuel. I found the same to be true in the -8A.

7. The Skyview fuel float sensors in the tanks are accurate to about one gallon. I also have a totalizer but itís nice to know the gauges are accurate too.

8. For starting the engine cold I set full throttle and fuel rich mixture and run the boost pump to 3 GPH. Then I shut off the pump, set mixture to idle cutoff and open the throttle about half an inch. It starts right away and then the mixture can be gradually moved forward. I alternate starts between the P-Mag and the impulse coupled mag to make sure each works for start. For a hot engine I do the same thing except no priming is needed for at least the first hour after shutdown. Just set the mixture at idle cutoff, open the throttle a half inch and push the start button. I do open the oil door after I shut down to allow cool air to flow up past the engine. This helps avoid vapor lock if you plan on starting again soon. To help keep the door open I installed a small spring in it.

9. I used the straight RV-8A back seat control sticks in the -14A and set aside the curved ones supplied. The top of my sticks go just under the instrument panel at full forward pitch input and this fits me well. I did not see the need for the curved sticks and their bend location made it impossible for me to fit in the stick grips I wanted.

10. I ended up riveting a trim tab on the rudder and installed a wedge under the left aileron to get the airplane neutral for trimmed flight. I understand some builders donít need anything on the ailerons but I did. But then again I build fast and make mistakesÖ

11. The kit fuel caps work fine for me. I had them engraved with fuel type and volume and they seal well.

12. The engine burns about a quart of oil in 9 hours. This was the new experimental Lycoming IO-390 Van sells and I had hoped to have lower oil consumption than this. I have broken in many engines over the years, all with very good results, but this was the first done at altitude and not near sea level. Getting 75% power up here, unless it is very cold, requires operating full throttle and max rpm so low youíre passing adjacent to the cars and trucks driving on I-70.

13. The -14 plans are orders of magnitude better than the -8 plans. Between that and the fully matched hole construction, the -14 is simply easier to build than the -8 and our -8 was a quick build. In fact, it was an actual joy to build the -14A. I could not believe how quickly it went together.

14. A good place for Home Depot PVC chock storage is in the large lightening holes in the seat back adjustment braces. Chocks are easy to store there and do not require getting into the plane to reach them as you would if they were on the baggage floor.

15. I mounted the tow bar vertically in the very front of the baggage compartment with the nose wheel end in a U channel on the floor and the handle in a clamp on the aft side of the cross brace. It is out of the way and convenient to reach when kneeling on the wing walk.

16. Donít know how, but I managed to shear the pin in the autopilot pitch servo. Easy replacement. This never happened on the -8A.

17. Wish I had discarded the black plastic vents in the kit and used something else. They leak no matter how well you seal them and are very difficult to replace once installed. The kit should come with better ones.

18. Water leaks through the forward canopy seal, near the hinge covers. Need to look at this further since I donít use an external canopy cover to avoid scratching the plexi. I use internal covers instead. May end up just using white electrical tape on those occasions where the plane is parked outside on a rainy night. It is normally hangared so solving this has not been a priority.

19. As have others, I cracked both landing light lenses trying to get a tight fit in the wing opening. You may want to buy a couple of spares just in case you have the same experience.

20. Vanís rudders are easily damaged in the wind when the plane is parked. I made a simple rudder lock with a red streamer on about a three-inch metal bar with two AN-3 bolts in it. One bolt goes through a hole you drill in the rudder control horn and the other goes into another hole you drill in the rudder control stop on the same side.

21. The best way I can describe the interface between our Dynon Skyviews, Garmin GTN-650 and the Grand Rapids Mini-B is that they wire up OK and all work fine but some features are ďclunky.Ē There are numerous operational interface issues that are not discussed in any user manual and are found via trial and error. Even Dynon folks were not aware of some of the issues Iíve brought up. This is an ongoing challenge that may or may not occur with you depending on whose avionics one uses and if they all come from the same or multiple manufacturers.

22. Control pressure is heavier than in the -8A but this is in keeping with the -14 models being more of a cross country airplane than an aerobatic one. But this is subjective so you may see it differently. I've looped and rolled our -14A but mainly use it to turn dead dinosaurs into flying miles.

In summary, I was perfectly happy with our -8A for the 1700 hours and 15 years we had it. I had no intention of ever selling the airplane. But most of our flying was when we lived in So. Cal. with warm weather even though we flew the airplane throughout the U.S. and in Canada. The back seat of both -8 models is difficult if not impossible to heat and air leaks under the canopy skirt are worse in winter than in summer. So when the wife saw the RV-14A prototype at Vanís and then asked me if we could build one, I did not hesitate! Yes, her request to build a new airplane Ė rare as it is in most families -- actually happened. We ordered the kit and I flew the completed -14A two and a half years later. It was a good decision for us and for the -8A, which is now with a very happy new owner in warm Florida.
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Bill Marvel
Grand Junction, CO
RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
RV-14A N465MM - 325 hours and climbing
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2018, 09:51 PM
Jimbot Jimbot is offline
 
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Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to write this very informative post!
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2017 VAF Annual Dues Paid; RV-7A project (wings, empennage and 0-320 engine) SOLD...Another RV empennage kit in my future!

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  #3  
Old 04-07-2018, 10:47 PM
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czechsix czechsix is offline
 
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Location: Spring Hill, KS
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Thanks Bill, I remember dialoguing with you on the old Matronics forum when we were both building RV-8As. Now that I'm also building a -14A I read this post with great interest. A few questions & comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
loading baggage is more difficult than in the -8A.
Are you comparing to the -8A's front baggage compartment, rear compartment, or both? I'm going to miss the -8's front compartment which is super easy to load, but I never found it very easy loading the back compartment (pulling the seatback forward and shoving stuff way back into the hat shelf area in particular could be challenging...surely loading the -14 isn't worse than that?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
I cruise at 155 knots TAS at 2300 RPM and 7.5 GPH
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
Speed and fuel burn is not much different from the -8A, which had a 180 HP O-360.
My 180 hp RV-8A would do around 165 KTAS at 7.5 gph in the 8-10K altitude range (with dual Lightspeed elec ignition). The fuel burn at a given speed must be higher on the -14A compared to the -8A due to the overall larger, higher drag airframe...if you're seeing about the same speed AND fuel burn between both airplanes, I'm betting you have some airspeed and/or fuel flow errors in one or the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
I used the straight RV-8A back seat control sticks in the -14A and set aside the curved ones supplied. I did not see the need for the curved sticks and their bend location made it impossible for me to fit in the stick grips I wanted.
Curious which grips you used? I guess the main benefit of the curved stick is that it doesn't go under the panel when full forward, therefore it can be taller which results in lighter control forces. Let me know if you'll be at Oshkosh this summer, I'd love to try the ergonomics in your airplane compared to the stock setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
I ended up riveting a trim tab on the rudder
Did you need nose right or nose left trim to center the ball for cruise flight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
Donít know how, but I managed to shear the pin in the autopilot pitch servo.
I sheared the pin on one of my Trutrak servos (similar servo design to what Dynon uses). That issue disappeared when I upgraded the -8A to G3X...the Garmin autopilot servos don't have shear pins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
The best way I can describe the interface between our Dynon Skyviews, Garmin GTN-650 and the Grand Rapids Mini-B is that they wire up OK and all work fine but some features are ďclunky.Ē
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
This is an ongoing challenge that may or may not occur with you depending on whose avionics one uses and if they all come from the same or multiple manufacturers.
Yep, my first -8A panel had Garmin, Dynon, GRT, TruTrak, and Microair equipment and the interfaces ranged from clunky to non-existent. The most recent panel with G3X, G5, and GTN650 has superb integration and functions like coupled go around and automatic missed approach sequencing all with a single push of the TOGA button. Baro adjustment is synched between the G5 and G3X display. G5 can keep the autopilot running if the primary display dies. Integrated radio tuning between display, remote Com, and GTN Com. Etc etc...
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RV-8A N2D #80583 - built/flew/sold
RV-14A #140017 - wings complete, empacone in progress...
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  #4  
Old 04-08-2018, 08:57 AM
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bmarvel bmarvel is offline
 
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Location: Grand Junction, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czechsix View Post
Thanks Bill, I remember dialoguing with you on the old Matronics forum when we were both building RV-8As. Now that I'm also building a -14A I read this post with great interest. A few questions & comments:

Are you comparing to the -8A's front baggage compartment, rear compartment, or both? I'm going to miss the -8's front compartment which is super easy to load, but I never found it very easy loading the back compartment (pulling the seatback forward and shoving stuff way back into the hat shelf area in particular could be challenging...surely loading the -14 isn't worse than that?).

Cheers, Mark. Comparing only the rear. In the -8A I could load the rear compartment just kneeling on the wing walk. I can't do that in the -14 because my arms aren't long enough to lift bags over the seat backs and position them fore and aft and side by side in the baggage compartment. It isn't a show stopper but both the wife and I reached the same conclusion with baggage loading and getting in and out. Kneeling on the front seats and facing aft solves the loading problem for us. A side door in the baggage compartment would have had a huge fan base....

My 180 hp RV-8A would do around 165 KTAS at 7.5 gph in the 8-10K altitude range (with dual Lightspeed elec ignition). The fuel burn at a given speed must be higher on the -14A compared to the -8A due to the overall larger, higher drag airframe...if you're seeing about the same speed AND fuel burn between both airplanes, I'm betting you have some airspeed and/or fuel flow errors in one or the other.

You may be right. As mentioned, I've not noticed any significant difference between the two but then again, have not made any detailed comparisons. Fuel burn on the same routes has been pretty consistent in the 8 and 14. I have a local friend soon to fly his -14A which has an IO-360. Will compare notes with him.

Curious which grips you used? I guess the main benefit of the curved stick is that it doesn't go under the panel when full forward, therefore it can be taller which results in lighter control forces. Let me know if you'll be at Oshkosh this summer, I'd love to try the ergonomics in your airplane compared to the stock setup.

Tosten CS-6. I'm 5'9" and 160 pounds so the straight sticks, Tosten grips and stick movement under the panel all work OK for me. I rest my forearm on my thigh and move the stick with my wrist as I did in the -8A. The only time I have the stick full forward is on the ground! Yes, will be at OSH with a friend from Australia who will be flying in with me in the -14A. But I grew up near K.C. in Johnson County so may get through there before OSH in our travels. Will let you know.

Did you need nose right or nose left trim to center the ball for cruise flight?

Trim tab bent slightly left to move rudder toward right in cruise flight.

I sheared the pin on one of my Trutrak servos (similar servo design to what Dynon uses). That issue disappeared when I upgraded the -8A to G3X...the Garmin autopilot servos don't have shear pins.

Yep, my first -8A panel had Garmin, Dynon, GRT, TruTrak, and Microair equipment and the interfaces ranged from clunky to non-existent. The most recent panel with G3X, G5, and GTN650 has superb integration and functions like coupled go around and automatic missed approach sequencing all with a single push of the TOGA button. Baro adjustment is synched between the G5 and G3X display. G5 can keep the autopilot running if the primary display dies. Integrated radio tuning between display, remote Com, and GTN Com. Etc etc...
To be fair, much of this is also available in the Dynon system/autopilot/com when driven by the GTN-650 and the Sky View GPS. But the "buttonology" needed to make all the magic happen is more complex than in a system like yours where one manufacturer makes all the boxes. Builders should consider that fact in selecting avionics. I thought everything just played well with everything else but then again, I've never been accused of thinking very far ahead!
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RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
RV-14A N465MM - 325 hours and climbing
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  #5  
Old 04-08-2018, 09:24 AM
Bavafa Bavafa is online now
 
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Hi Bill,
What a great write up, many of us have dived in the 14 without flying it or even seating in one, a sort of a gamble so this is really a great feedback for me. I built a 7A and enjoyed it tremendously till I made a mistake and sold it. Building a 14A has been a pleasure and much easier. Some of the getting in/out difficulty you talked about exist also in a 7A so that probably be a wash for me.

Anyway, again thank you for a great and objective report.
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  #6  
Old 04-08-2018, 09:27 AM
KeithB KeithB is offline
 
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Thanks, Bill for a great write up - well thought out and organized. It appears we are closely linked - my serial # is 140136. Our build took longer as first time builders (first flight 3/8/17) but we have similar hours - Iím at 225 on our way back from the Bahamas with the infamous ďTom & BonnieĒ.

I have a Superior XP400 with Vetterman exhausts and Dual PMags, and an all-Garmin avionics package. Other than these, my build customizations would all fall under cosmetics.

Quote:
3. I cruise at 155 knots TAS at 2300 RPM and 7.5 GPH. This is good up to about 13,500 MSL. Our -14A will go 180 TAS with FT and 2500 RPM at 8500 density altitude but uses 11.7 GPH. Speed and fuel burn is not much different from the -8A, which had a 180 HP O-360. My cruise parameters were selected as a good balance between speed, fuel burn and cockpit noise. You may choose differently.
I have some very detailed data collected trying to bracket P-Mag timings (with Bill Repucci), but the data is at home. On a general basis however, I see very similar performance data. I typically like 2350 or 2400 RPM, typically fly a bit faster and less economically. At 8000 DA, I get 170kts TAS at 8.2-8.3gph.

Quote:
4. Generally, I take off with full rich mixture regardless of density altitude. The power loading is such that performance is still excellent and the engine cools much better when doing this. Leaned takeoff at high altitude airports results in CHT levels going beyond 400F pretty quickly and you donít really need the additional power leaning provides. The same was true with the -8A. FYI weíre at 5000 feet MSL here in Grand Junction, Colorado and takeoffs from higher mountain airports in the summer frequently involve density altitudes of 10,000 feet. Our highest takeoff in the -8A was at 11,500 density altitude at full gross and it still climbed at 500 FPM. I lean once airborne after the CHTs stabilize.
-14A cruise CHT in winter is just below 300F with oil temp from 165 to 180. In summer, CHT is in the mid 300s with oil 180 to 200. I almost never see 400 degrees CHT unless I lean a bit too much in climb. The IO-390 cools very well.
My experience is closer to sea level - home base is 700 MSL. These engines run cool. I donít think I have ever seen 400 CHT, even with extended climbs. Oil temps run higher (pistons squirters, I believe) and in higher OATs these can run over 200 until settled in cruise. I cruise below 300 CHT almost regardless of OAT. During Christmas week returning from the NE (OAT -5F), I had to run ROP because some CHTs were below 200 LOP.

Quote:
10. I ended up riveting a trim tab on the rudder and installed a wedge under the left aileron to get the airplane neutral for trimmed flight. I understand some builders donít need anything on the ailerons but I did. But then again I build fast and make mistakesÖ
I added a sizable wedge to the rudder equivalent to right rudder. My right wing came in slightly heavy - I compensate with aileron trim (Vanís kit).

Quote:
17. Wish I had discarded the black plastic vents in the kit and used something else. They leak no matter how well you seal them and are very difficult to replace once installed. The kit should come with better ones.
I went with Vanís upgraded aluminum vents during the build and have been very happy with them. Only small leaks relevant at the coldest OATs, with just a slight tendency to vibrate open at certain settings - seems to have lessened over time.

Quote:
18. Water leaks through the forward canopy seal, near the hinge covers. Need to look at this further since I donít use an external canopy cover to avoid scratching the plexi. I use internal covers instead. May end up just using white electrical tape on those occasions where the plane is parked outside on a rainy night. It is normally hangared so solving this has not been a priority.
I did not complete the canopy clip sealing until after painting, which was only a month ago. I have never had a leak, but I avoid flying in rain and use a cover outside overnight. So my experience may be irrelevant, but I think the design of the clips is exceptional (if fragile) and I fully expect they are water tight. More PIREPs here would be valuable.

Quote:
22. Control pressure is heavier than in the -8A but this is in keeping with the -14 models being more of a cross country airplane than an aerobatic one. But this is subjective so you may see it differently. I've looped and rolled our -14A but mainly use it to turn dead dinosaurs into flying miles.
I had an RV-6A before the 14. While I agree the 14 is heavier in feel, it is no less responsive. I have done more aerobatics than with the 6 and find it very capable for the ďgentlemanlyĒ ones. Iím a novice here, however.

I concur with all the other observations although canít compare ease-of-build across kits as this was a first, but the build was a blast.

Thanks again for the write up!
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RV-14A Builder - kit #136
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  #7  
Old 04-09-2018, 10:35 AM
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Chino Tom Chino Tom is offline
 
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Hi Bill!

After the flight you kindly provided in your -8A, it sealed the deal
for me to build ours. We are still enjoying it, but haven't escaped
from SoCal yet. Glad to hear you are doing good. Enjoyed your
post on the 14. Take care.
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RV-8A,180/CS/Carb, AFS 4500 EFIS/EMS
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2018, 05:52 PM
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czechsix czechsix is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmarvel View Post
I donít use an external canopy cover to avoid scratching the plexi. I use internal covers instead.
Bill, I meant to ask about your internal covers for the cockpit area. I found early on with my -8A that the canopy cover would scratch the plexi especially when it's windy and the cover is moving around a bit. After that I hardly ever used it, and I would just throw some towels over the seats and panel to protect the interior from the sun when at Oshkosh. I'd like to make a better internal cover system for the -14 and have thought about how best to do this. Some airplanes I've seen tied down outside have custom reflective covers that velcro into the windows. How did you do yours? Pictures??

Thanks,
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RV-8A N2D #80583 - built/flew/sold
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:18 PM
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bmarvel bmarvel is offline
 
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Location: Grand Junction, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czechsix View Post
Bill, I meant to ask about your internal covers for the cockpit area. I found early on with my -8A that the canopy cover would scratch the plexi especially when it's windy and the cover is moving around a bit. After that I hardly ever used it, and I would just throw some towels over the seats and panel to protect the interior from the sun when at Oshkosh. I'd like to make a better internal cover system for the -14 and have thought about how best to do this. Some airplanes I've seen tied down outside have custom reflective covers that velcro into the windows. How did you do yours? Pictures??

Thanks,
Hi Mark:

I'll certainly take a few photos of what we did but since so many people have problems posting pictures, I may just send them to you and ask you to pass them on. I won't be back at the hangar for a couple of days so until then here's a brief description.

We made internal covers for both the -8A and also for the -14A. The -8A was one piece and the -14A has three pieces. The concept was to act as a heat reflector, protect items from UV and also act as a shield from prying eyes...

We did not use either velcro or reflective covers but a durable light weight white material known in boating circles as acrilan. Any similar white material will do. In the 14A we have one section the covers the glare shield and drops down a couple of inches along its aft end. This is held in place by gravity. The second section attaches in 4 places via button snaps along the top of the instrument panel and goes aft and over the seat backs and along both side canopy rails. This covers the cockpit area and instrument panel itself. The final cover is over the baggage area, attached at the front via button snaps to the cross bar and snaps on the aft bulkhead. All three pieces fold flat for storage and consume very little volume.

The snaps I mention are sold in any hardware store. The male part has a screw on the back side that goes into the airplane and the female part is set into the white fabric with an inexpensive tool sold with the snaps.

Will take some photos of all this in a couple of days and hope I can send them to you for posting if that's OK. If not I guess I can try doing it myself but will take a bit to figure it out. I don't post often so this is a learning curve for me.
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Grand Junction, CO
RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
RV-14A N465MM - 325 hours and climbing
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  #10  
Old 04-10-2018, 04:14 PM
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bmarvel bmarvel is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chino Tom View Post
Hi Bill!

After the flight you kindly provided in your -8A, it sealed the deal
for me to build ours. We are still enjoying it, but haven't escaped
from SoCal yet. Glad to hear you are doing good. Enjoyed your
post on the 14. Take care.
Tom -- nice to hear from you and that my demo flight in the -8A ages ago pushed you to the next level! You be careful now about doing a -14A demo flight .... as you know, this stuff is addictive.

Hard to believe it's been 12 years since we left SoCal. But it was the right choice for us just like building and now doing our best to fly the paint off the -14A.
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RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
RV-14A N465MM - 325 hours and climbing
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