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Reflections On Flying An RV
By Alex Peterson - alexpeterson@usjet.net

After flying about 70 hours in my 6A in the past 10 weeks or so, I thought I
might share what I hope will be inspiration to those who will follow, and
entertainment to those who've been there.  

Amazement might be one of the best words to describe the overall feeling.
Some of my amazement is that I actually own an airplane, one that is always
waiting only for me.  However, I believe most of the feeling is due to
having created a flying machine with my own two hands, and the overwhelming
feeling of freedom associated with hopping in it and going flying.
Somewhere.  Anywhere.  It really doesn't matter.

And then there is this detail of just HOW these planes fly.  I will never
forget the feeling of acceleration the first time I opened the throttle for
takeoff - holy s*** might have been my response.  I do want to mark out a
quarter mile on the runway sometime...

An interesting paradox with these planes is how fast they are (a good
thing); however, it reduces one's flying time to get somewhere (a bad
thing).  At least we have a choice.  Need to work in more vertical time to
drag out short trips.  I haven't thought to look at the GPS to see if it
really goes to zero when going straight up....  Let's see, when I am
inverted, what does the autopilot do (just kidding, about the autopilot).

Then there was the first sustained max power climb (during the first 8 or 10
hours the engine would get too hot if I held full power/rpm) after the
engine was broken in - 2500 agl in a little over one minute from a
standstill.  The mouth on the PA28/160 pilot I had just talked to about RVs
(he had never seen one) is probably still hanging open after seeing that
climbout.

I had a very bittersweet moment in early December when our group here in
Minnesota lost a fellow RV builder to cancer - this gentleman gave me my
first ride in a C/S 180 RV.  That ride cost me the price of one constant
speed prop.  Anyway, I was honored to fly in a missing man formation with
three other local RV's to pay our last respects to this great man.  No one
had dry eyes.  I was able to share that experience with my wife, something
neither of us will ever forget.

I have found myself whooping to myself in the car on the drive to the
airport (I try not to do this when others are along).  These things just
happen.

Yesterday morning I scraped snow off from the ramp, and managed to drag my
plane out in the 6 degree F wind.  Fell plumb backwards when my sneakers hit
some ice.  Can't believe I didn't bust something.  Had to get to some
pancakes waiting about 90 miles away.  One the way back home, I put in the
new CD I got for Christmas - the soundtrack from the movie Top Gun.  More
whooping (and a few rolls, not the dinner kind).  I had to scrounge up some
help to push it back into the hanger - imagine that, the person I flagged
down just finished an RV4.  I didn't have time to talk, but I'm sure we'll
cross paths again.

Yes, the RV grin goes way beyond being in the airplane - people at work who
ask how it is going are quick to point out that I am smiling when I talk
about any aspect of the plane.

Keep hammering those rivets - you simply won't believe it until you
experience it.  Many thanks to all the helpful posts to this list - there
really are golden nuggets buried within the chaff.  Speaking of chaff, I
better end this message.

Alex Peterson
Maple Grove, MN
6A N66AP flying 70 hours