RECENT FLIGHT TRAINING EXPERIENCE WITH BRUCE BOHANNON.
I have a bare tailwheel endorsement done in a Decathlon, and a couple of hours dual in an RV7. Seven hours total, so of course it’s totally logical for me to buy a Harmon Rocket, right? Of course wrong, but I did it anyway, so figured I needed some real time in something similar, dual, before leaping in the HR and flying away. Research on this forum told me Bruce Bohannan was the man to see, so last week I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days flying, discussing and learning from Bruce in his RV8, complete with dual stick, rudder and brakes. I thought it may be of interest to anyone who is thinking a dose of dual in a tandem RV would do them good. Not sure who wouldn’t benefit actually…..
To be able to explore the whole envelope of these wonderful aircraft, with an experienced ‘Vans man,’ a most practical instructor, no airs, no graces, BS or hierarchy was educational, illuminating, satisfying and downright fun. From the first moment Bruce put me at ease, just 2 blokes who were going to enjoy all an RV has to offer. We started with a healthy dose of theory (glad I watched a few 'how to's' first on Youtube so at least appeared knowledgeable) followed by the flying.
Throughout the 2 days stories were swapped, laughs were had, lessons learned. Bruce has a self deprecating sense of humour, and pointed out..... no drilled into me......his philosophy on operating aircraft is a function of 50 years of a normal pilot making mistakes, and based on hard earned and learned lessons, combined with the KISS principle when it comes to aviation.
An example.... we were doing dead stick arrivals from anywhere in the pattern. Bruce hammered me about banking too steeply when lining up with the runway. That's perfectly logical but heh, I was happy, we were doing 100mph, so had speed, I was happy to burn the energy, they were all working out fine, but his point was why do it, it was unnecessary if I banked a bit earlier, and, while handled ok, maybe one day I wouldn't, or I'd be slow,or the crosswind wind would be different etc. A buffer in everything we do, always a 'what if' to audit the procedure. This conservatism from a guy who made a living cropdusting, flying airshows, and went to 47,000ft in an RV4.
We all should fly with a ‘bad things WILL happen to me if I let them attitude, Bruce teaches this in every aspect, but at the same time dispelled a lot of fears those of us perhaps less bold on the controls may have, through a combination of demonstration, followed by letting me have a go. Bruce was the net to my trapeze attempt, so to speak.
Anyway, his field is an easy drive from Houston Hobby, a bit further from IAH, accomodation is 10 minutes away, and there are multiple airports to venture to close by. I think his rates are reasonable too, given the unique product he has.
I would highly recommend flying with him if you are a tandem aircraft owner and want a brush up, (he has a Legend Cub too) or even a side by side driver who has always wondered about the RV8. Don’t expect uniforms, whiteboards and class notes. I had 35 years and 21,000 hours of that, Bruce is a breath of fresh air, and a natural instructor, despite his protestations to the contrary.