Safety by Eustace Bowhay
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by: "Eustace Bowhay" 
Until the time I built my first RV  and started flying it in 1992 I had
no involvement with the experimental group. Since then I have tried to
keep as well informed as possible mainly for safety reasons. I have
subscribed to the RVator since 1988 and have been on the RV-list for a
number of years.

When I first started flying in 1938, on my first flight I was not
disappointed, it was and still is everything I had imagined it would be,
but coming from a farm and ranch background where one is involved in the
handling and mechanics of servicing and repairing of all types of
equipment I realized that an aircraft was going to require some very
special attention. The importance of this has stayed with me ever since.

It has been a steady learning process, but the remarkable thing about it
is, the more you know about it the more you realize that with proper
training and experience and  a well maintained aircraft the chances of
having a mishap are nearly zero.

The key for me has been staying a bit on the cautious side, not pushing
the limits of my ability, be it weather, runway conditions, the aircraft
or what ever.  Fight against being over confident and the tendency to
get careless and a show-off as your pilot in command time builds. ( Hard
to do when flying a P51) The ability to fly instruments is the icing on
the cake and makes you a far safer pilot.

After flying the RV for the past ten years and just finishing a 6A and
being totally involved in the RV world  since 1988 I would like to pass
on some of my thoughts to the low time RV builders to safely transition
into  these fine aircraft.

This post is triggered by the Tampa accident and the post by Jim Norman,
Jim has to be given full marks for this knowing how hard it must have
been for him. Jim's post has caused the best discussion on safety since
I have been on the list.

Build your RV to the drawings using standard aircraft practices and
inlist the help and advice of experienced people.

Know how to select a safe engine or get professional advice.

Everything firewall forward done to certified standards or better.

After final inspection is complete have a AME with at least ten years of
experience go over it again.

First flight should be done by experienced pilot with a minimum of 100
hours on same type of RV.Ideally someone who has a instructors rateing
or has held one in the past and is willing to fly with the builder until
he is satisfied that the builder is ready to fly on his own.


All snags to be cleared before next flight or as many flights as it
takes to get it done.

An ideal scenario would be when snags are cleared and say five to ten
hours have been flown off the builder should start his or her transition
with the qualified pilot from the right seat in the case of the side by
side, then when comfortable switch to the left side and let the check
pilot make the decision when to turn the builder loose.

While the RV's are a straight forward aircraft to fly and have no bad
habits, it is a big jump from a 150 or a172 kind of like going from a
golf cart to Mustang, you have to learn to stay ahead of a much higher
performing aircraft. I have found little difference in the flight
characteristics of the various RV's that are properly built and rigged.
The numbers are much different from say at 172.

Thought it might be of interest to pass on some numbers using my RV 6 as
an example. All the numbers are indicated air speeds in miles per hour
and taken between 5 and 6000 feet.

My RV 6 weighs 1120 lbs. has a 0360 fuel injected engine with a Hartzell
constant speed prop and a full gyro panel, flux gate compass nav- com,
com, transponder and GPS. It flies hands off at 65% with no aileron or
rudder trim tabs and the elevator trim tab is in  neutral at 65% cruise.

At full gross at standard temperature the initial rate of climb at 120
mph indicated is 1200 fpm, at 75% it is 1000 fpm. At the end of a climb
to 6000 the head temps are 400 and the oil is at 180. Indicated speeds
are as follows stalls at idle power at 6000 are, clean 65 mph, half flap
60 mph with a noticeable left wing drop at the break, full flap 58 mph
with a sharp left wing drop at the break.

With a throttle setting of 10" and maintaining 100 mph the vertical
speed is -400 fpm, at idle maintaining 100 mph vertical speed is -1000
fpm, half flap  10" and 100 vertical speed is -800 fpm. full flap 10"
and 100 vertical speed is -1200 fpm.

With throttle at 10" and maintaining 90 mph and half flap vertical is-
400 fpm,idle at 90 and half flap is -1000 fpm, 90 and full flap is -700
fpm, 90 and idle and full flap is 1300 fpm.

Idle RPM at 90 is around 2200-2300 with a governor setting of 2400 rpm
which would indicate that the prop is in full flat pitch.

To maintain level flight and 100 mph in takes about 14 " manifold
pressure.

Cruising at 6000 at standard temperature (was 98 F here the other day)
indicated airspeed at 65% was between 170 & 180 (some light thermal
activity) and the GPS was showing 185 and 194 on a reciprocal heading.

Flying my aircraft at 85 in the circuit would only give a 20 mile
spread, just not enough of a safety factor for someone just getting to
know his aircraft.

Eustace Bowhay -Blind Bay B.C.