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Old 12-21-2014, 02:42 AM
CAVU Mark CAVU Mark is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 88
Default Cockpit Size and mods

I may have a chance to purchase a RV-3 at a good price. Problem is I am 6'3" and the 2 RV-3s I have tried on for size are small. Are there any tall RV-3 drivers out there and if so what type of mods did you perform. And I know inseam changes things.

My first thoughts include kick outs in the firewall to allow for further forward rudder placement, knee notches in a new panel, and I don't believe the seat moves aft at all. Any one tall out there?

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Old 12-23-2014, 10:43 AM
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nomocom nomocom is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Caldwell ID
Posts: 242
Default rv-3 fitment

At 6'2" the pedals were way too close. I moved the hinge point of the rudder pedals back (holes already there) and lengthened the connection between the pedals and the rudder cables (fabbed out of light sheet metal). That is all I needed to do.
As you recognize, the firewall will interfere with travel at some point. It sounds like what you need to figure out is whether there will be interference when the pedals are put through the possible rudder and brake motions. IIRC, the key is full rudder and full brake.

It does make a difference on the torso versus leg contribution to height. I suppose if moving the pedals isn't enough, then maybe a custom back pad could be tried, before working on the firewall.

Comfort is relative. I find the cockpit very comfortable but it might be that sitting for hours in a kayak (decked canoe for the Brits) has anchored my expectations low.

best of luck
1990 RV-3 (now apart, upgrades in the works)
1959 C172 O-360
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:48 AM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 14,487
Default Welcome to VAF!

Mark, welcome aboard the good ship VAF
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 12-24-2014, 12:16 PM
CAVU Mark CAVU Mark is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 88
Default Knees and cushions

The 3 I tried at my EAA chapter did have both cushions removed and my knees knocked the panel. Better have good upper arm strength to get out. That is why I mentioned reducing the panel around the knee area.
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Old 12-24-2014, 12:35 PM
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aviationone aviationone is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Posts: 126
Default RV3

If you don't mind doing some modifications to the rudder pedals you should fit. I'm at 6'3" and I built a 3B. What I did was buy the parts for an RV6 overhead rudder pedal assembly from Vans. I cut them in half and installed angles for them to attach just like the 6. I mounted them high enough so you can also put your feet under the pedals in cruise flight and stretch out to the firewall. This was about ten years ago but I should be able to dig up a photo if interested.
Tom Powers
RV8 (Done)
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:56 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
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Location: Boulder, CO
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:50 AM
CAVU Mark CAVU Mark is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 88
Default Mods look good

Excellent suggestions. Thanks. Combined full rudder and braking would need to be watched carefully, and I sure don't want heel brakes.
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Old 12-29-2014, 01:17 PM
arunnells arunnells is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 130
Default RV-3 changes

When I purchased my 3 I made a couple changes. I took 1.5 in out of the seat back cushion so my shoulders just touch the Fiberglass seat back when compressed. With my torso length I never changed the seat bottom, I could take an inch or two out but haven't, but in severe turbulence I do bump my head on the canopy. I am 6 ft with 32 in inseam, but I like leg room. Then I moved the rudder pedals to the front most position. I then fabbed new rudder cable mounting tabs to move pedals forward a bit. When I'm on longer flights I wear narrow shoes, then I tuck my feet under the pedals and can stretch my feet to touch the firewall. My panel is high enough that I clear my knees by about 3/4 in. Not as much room as my 6, but comfy enough.
RV-6 tip up,190hp,Pmag,ported/flowed ECI heads, WW200 prop,older glass panel,long range tank,SOLD
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:14 AM
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KRviator KRviator is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sydney, Aust.
Posts: 716

Since this was one of the first threads that came up in Google dealing with the RV-3 cockpit size, it seemed appropriate to annotate some dimensions from the RV-3 preview plans as regards the cockpit sizing. As I'm 6'5" tall, but only 180Lbs and suffering empty nest syndrome now my -9 is flying, I'm investigating the RV-3 while attempting to convince the KRviatrix another RV build wont cause AIDS....

Now, since these dimensions are sourced from the preview plans, there may be some error vs actual measurements from an in-service RV-3. They're worth what you paid for them!

So, on to the dimensions.
  • From the F305 bulkhead located immediately behind the seatback to the firewall is 49.0 inches at the lower longeron.
However, the plans show the seat back is hinged to the seat ribs approximately 3.05" forward of the F305 bulkhead, meaning you have a total of 46ish" from bumcrack to firewall.
  • From the F305 bulkhead to the firewall is 53" along the top longeron.
  • The seatback is 18" wide and 24.375" tall.
  • The cockpit width is 24" from skin-skin at both the knees and backside.
  • There are approximately 20" from the seatpan to the top longeron and another 18" from the top longeron to the canopy roughly where your head would be for a total seat height of approximately 38". This is slightly variable depending on the cutout of the seat ribs & consequent butt position.

So all up, when compared to the -9, the RV-3 cockpit is between 1" & 5" shorter (dependant on rudder pos'n in the -9, I used Van's published cockpit sizes for the -9 dimensions) and has roughly 3" less headroom.
Once you have tasted flight you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return - Leonardo DaVinci

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RV-9A 19-8519 - Finished on 10th February 2016 after 4 years, 9 months and 19 days! The 1020th RV-9 flying.

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Last edited by KRviator : 05-03-2017 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 05-21-2017, 10:21 AM
CAVU Mark CAVU Mark is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 88
Default Well I bought the plane

I moved the rudder pedals as far forward as possible. I don't see mounting, floor vs. hanging as much difference since the travel needs to be the same regardless of where they are mounted. I removed most of the seat cushion and I still haven't flown the plane!

A recent test flight revealed a fuel leak, issues with the radio which previously worked and some elevator issues. So, back to the shop to learn all about Proseal.


P.S. a bargain is not always a bargain.... but we all know that, don't we.

RV-3 restored
Stearman - built - waiting on FAA and DAR
L3 building for San Diego Air and Space Museum
Helio Courier constructing

Last edited by CAVU Mark : 05-21-2017 at 10:21 AM. Reason: none
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