is a small, honor system webezine trying its best to be a laid back virtual watering hole for builders and pilots of Van's RV kitplanes.  Here we roll civil, don't talk politics, don't employ attention engineers or record keystrokes.  Hopefully after visiting occasionally, you leave VAF a little happier and motivated than you arrived.    Brought to you by the Reeves family

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Jun Wallpaper

Advertise on VAF.

6/24/2021.  Issue #5,346.
  Please excuse the early push - I'm in between sims.
  Need a Contract SIC?

Cap Sighting FIFI

About the caps


3 X RV-8's completed in one day

Flight Youth Engineering (Australia)

Although our primary mission is to engage with High School Students, a couple of months ago we tried a younger student group.

Meet Luke gr2, Lara gr1 and Alex gr3, students who love all things aviation and their 3 newly built RV-8's !


Shoulder Harness

Here's what I've done to try and come close to the AC 43 recommendations on shoulder harnesses. I don't like the individual shoulder loops on the bar and folks have reported one shoulder slipping out on asymmetrical decelerations.  Not particularly elegant but satisfies the "webbing guide positions dual shoulder belts in the middle of the occupants shoulders".


The amazingly efficient wing on the -9

It's been a while since I did a really good cross country, I've made a few that qualified as XC since Sun 'n Fun, but nothing really good. Today everything lined up and I decided to go fly a bit. It's absolutely amazing what $100 of fuel can do.

I'm based in west Texas on a private strip, and decided to continue some efficiency testing that I've had in progress for a while, to get good numbers for transoceanic hops on a RTW trip. With that in mind, I topped off my tanks (67 gallons in the wing) and did a round robin tour from home, around the White Sands Missile Range, and back to home.


7A Wing Attach Close Tolerance Bolts

Just put the wings on for the last time with the close tolerance bolts at the airport. The top row of bolts are no problem. The bottom row of bolts are a piece of engineering nobody could be proud of. There are major interference issues with the gear leg support weldments that prevent getting a wrench on the nut to do anything other than stop the nut turning. You have to insert the bolts with just a couple of threads through, get the nut started, tap the bolt in, turn the nut a quarter turn, tap the bolt and repeat until there are enough threads into the nut that the bolt can be drawn in by turning the bolt. I cooled the bolts down in the freezer overnight before inserting them in the spar fitting (with grease) but even so the bolt turning friction was significant so I don't have a good feel for what final torque I have on the bottom bolts. More of an issue for the AN4 size bolts. Having this poor quality of engineering in such a critical area just beggers belief. I am really surprised that there hasn't been more calls for Vans to fix the design in this area. This may get a pass grade from a FEA viewpoint but is totally unacceptable from an assembly and maintenance viewpoint.


Brake Flange Bolt Pattern

I ran into a snag fitting my new wheel pants today. When I went to install the U-810 fairing bracket I discovered the bolt pattern on the 80's vintage U-403 brake flange are different. I've attached pictures below.

Talking to Van's their thought was to order a new U-403 and hope they can be made to fit (was there an axle diameter change?). The mothership wasn't fond of any method involving less than 3 fasteners on the U-810.

Anyone have some ideas on alternate paths forward to fit this? One hole lines up and I could perhaps drill a second in the fairing flange, but edge distance with one of the three prepunched holes may be an issue. The third hole doesn't line up with anything.

I don't have the ability to weld so that's not my first choice for how to proceed.


What Energy Sounds Like

We know that "energy" is the algebra of how we convert thrust into altitude and/or airspeed, and how we use a combination of pitch, roll (lift vector placement) and throttle to work the variables in that equation. For example, if we are straight and level at 5000 feet at Vmax, and we pull back smoothly on the stick, we can convert that kinetic energy (speed) into potential energy (altitude). If we keep pulling over the top (fly a loop), then we will convert the potential energy we just gained, back into kinetic energy and end up where we started.

The other important energy concept is "P sub S" or "specific power." This is another trade-off problem for the pilot. If we have more thrust than drag (for a given weight), then our "p sub s" is positive: we can go up, accelerate or both. If, however, there is more drag than thrust, then "p sub s" is NEGATIVE. The airplane is going down, slowing down or both; unless the pilot does something and the ground doesn't get in the way. If thrust and drag are balanced, then "p sub s" is zero, and the airplane achieves best sustained turn performance for that power setting. The cool thing is that thrust and drag are balanced when an airplane is ONSPEED. If you can hear ONSPEED (or read it on a gauge--it's when the wing is producing 60% of it's total lift capacity) and ascertain whether you are fast or slow relative to that angle of attack, you have instant SA about your energy state.


Solo riveting fixture (AKA look 'ma no hands!)

After nearing completion of the wing top skin riveting, there are a few that I just can't quite reach. It turns out that back-riveting is actually very easy if you combine a back-riveting bar with a large rare-earth magnet covered in tape. In my case, this is a stack of magnets extracted from old hard drives.

The bucking bar appearing to float mid-air as if by magic:


VXP on RV-4 ...pazmanyflyer PIREP


VAF Calendar

Upcoming Events for the Next 60 Day(s)
06-26-2021 - 08-01-2021: OSH


Mothership Jobs Open listing (CNC Programmer)


----->>>>> How to Minimize the Chance You <<<<<-----
----->>>>> Could be Dealing with a Scammer <<<<<-----
...when using the classifieds.


Model-specific subforums

photo courtesy Van's Aircraft, Inc.






photo courtesy Fred Bauer, Jr.


Would You Build an "RV STOL Super Cub"?

If yes, let me know and I'll add your name in the folder.  I've created a 63-page sales pitch
[ed. 8/2020 update....I have
100+ names saying they will order it NOW and continue to get emails saying the same that I'm just filing away.  We've established demand <g>.]

Watch video (27 sec)


Off Topic



My name is Doug Reeves and I have 2,300+ hours TT, including a PIC type rating in the Embraer Phenom 300 (I am current).  I live in Dallas, TX and work part time in seat support at CAE in their three Phenom Level D simulators.  My ratings and background:

ATP CTP class taken Dec 2020.
ATP Written Passed Dec 2020. (90%)
All checkrides passed on the first attempt.

PIC Type Rating:
Embraer Phenom 300
(Current 2/21/21)
Embraer Phenom 300
Level D Simulator
Right Seat Program
( 488  hrs /  185  sims)
Pilatus PC-12NG
(35 hours)
Cessna Grand Caravan EX
(100 hours)
Van's Aircraft RV-6
(1,500 hours / 300 in formation)



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