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BEAUTIFUL PLANE, HOW FAST IS IT? by Bill Waters rvpilot@bellsouth.net 
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“Beautiful plane.......how fast is it?"

“Boy, it really looks good. How fast is it?” Or maybe, “What’ll she do? Bet she’s really fast! And of course ”How much fuel do ya burn a hour?”

How many times you heard it? I’ve been flying my RV6A now for about 9 months now, and couldn’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve been asked that question already. Yeah, I’m just as guilty as the next guy though. I’ve asked more people than I can shake a stick at the same old question. “What’ll she do? She really looks fast!”

Now, after flying “Juliett” for about 70 hours, I’ve kinda got a different perspective on the whole situation. My typical week is probably like a lot of others.  Go to work. Get off at five. A couple of evenings a week, I might get to go to the “hangout”, as my wife likes to call it, and put in a little time.  Might even spend some time Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon. But after I do all those little odds and ends to the plane, there’s really not a lot of time left to fly. Sound familiar?

And when you do fly, more than likely you don’t really go anywhere, you’re just putting around. Like me, you hunt excuses to fly somewhere. You know, just got to fly for a little bit.  But you’re not just flying, you’re flying in an RV!  It doesn’t really matter how fast or where you’re going. That’s not why you jumped in the plane just to get a few minutes of air time. Sure, the speed is a part of it, but it’s that control feel, the acceleration and power, the stuff that only a person that’s flown an RV knows, that feelin’ that makes you want to go up, even if it’s just around the pattern a couple of times. There are just not too many planes that fly like an RV, except maybe another RV!

Last night was a real good example of a typical flight for me. I had purchased some tickets for a friend and needed to get them to him. Hey, I could fly them over to him! Let see, takes about 45 minutes to drive to his house, and I can fly over I about 10. Only takes about 30 minutes to get to the airport, 20 or so to get the plane out, preflight and get ready. I’ll burn probably 6 or 8 gallons of fuel. Sounds like flying the way to go! Give him a call, not home yet. Oh well, he’ll be home when I get there.  I’ll go on over. Get there, still not home!  Oh well, I’ll wait about 30 minutes. I walk around admiring some of the planes sitting around, check out the local bulletin board and finally it’s time to leave. It’s dark now, and the ride home takes on a whole different perspective. The lights and moon are absolutely beautiful! I take a little detour before heading back to the airport just to prolong the flight (oh, well maybe 10 gallons of fuel!). I’m really not concerned at all that I’m cruising along at 165 MPH!

Sure, you might say “You could do that in any plane!”  Certainly I could, but then I wouldn’t get that same feeling, the one that makes you feel like you’re flying your own personal fighter, one you built yourself! One that if you take a notion, you can do a lazy loop or even a barrel roll in. No “Spam Can” will make you feel this way, or do these things! Or, you might say, “You just like to fly!” This too is very true, but flying a plane you built yourself, no matter what kind it is, gives you a feeling that you just can’t describe to an uninitiated aviator.

Yeah, I’ve made a couple of trips where the speed was really nice. And it’s true, with the speed, I can make that breakfast I might not try in a slower plane. But what it all boils down to is most of the time I’m just boring holes in the sky, looking for someplace to go. But I’m doing it in a plane that really flies like no other, a plane that when you think something, it happens! Yep, no wonder when you see a picture of someone with their RV, they’ve got a grin form ear to ear, the now famous RV Grin!

So next time someone asks “How fast is it?”, think about it and just reply “Well, she’s plenty fast for me!”

And by the way, “Juliett” does about 165 MPH at 2300 RPM, burning about 7 GPH, which suits me just fine!

Bill Waters

RV6A N671JA