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Old 04-15-2022, 12:47 PM
Shadowist Shadowist is offline
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Cave Creek, AZ
Posts: 6
Question Advice for flying/maintaining an RV-9A

Hey everyone!

After years and years of hard work, I’m finally in a position to acquire my own plane, an absolute dream of mine. I’ve chatted with a variety of folks and it looks like the RV-9A would fit my mission the best. I haven’t flown in one, but I did get some time in an RV-7 back in 2014 and absolutely loved it. An experience I think about all the time.

For the type of flying: Mainly x-country flights within a day’s worth of flying from Phoenix, AZ. Reaching cool places, slowing way down to soak in the sights. Maybe once a year or two, take on a multi-day trip to visit family on the East Coast or trek up to Oshkosh. Flights all in VMC, but would like to use this aircraft for my IFR ticket. Only light cloud busting, nothing extreme is planned.

Building would be tons of fun, but also realized that I simply don’t have the time when what I really want is to fly and maintain an already airworthy plane. I wouldn’t shy away from panel upgrades though! I love doing electrical work

If anyone has some time, I’d love to see if anyone would want to answer some questions:

1. Is there anything you wish someone told you before you flew/maintained a 9A?
2. Any must-have modifications I should look out for?
3. What is your most favorite experience with the 9A?
4. Least favorite experience?
5. Any parting advice for a potential future owner?

I imagine the 9A isn’t that much different from the 7 from what I’ve been reading. If anyone has a 9A in the Phoenix area and wouldn’t mind chatting about your setup, definitely let me know! I’m up in the Cave Creek area, so basically down the street from Deer Valley.

Edit: Forgot to mention I’m a low time PPL (<100hr). I keep my vehicles forever, so I’m going into this expecting this will be THE aircraft I grow into and keep for a looooong time.

Last edited by Shadowist : 04-15-2022 at 01:57 PM. Reason: Added some experience info for better context.
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Old 04-15-2022, 01:13 PM
MacCool's Avatar
MacCool MacCool is offline
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: central Minnesota
Posts: 1,029

You are me, two years ago. I was looking for either a -7A or a -9A and the -9A manifested itself first. After 50 years of flying certified airplane, this has been a revelation to me, and my only regret is that I didn't consider Experimental Aviation much, much sooner. I would have been really happy with the -7A, but I have no real interest in aerobatics (-9/9A is not aerobatic) so I really didn't care one vs the other.

Like you, I had no interest in building an airplane - for 40 years my entire professional life has revolved around difficult problem-solving and I didn't particularly want to carry that that far over into my non-professional life. As it is, I do some of the maintenance but mostly turn that stuff over to my A&P. I have spent a fair amount of time and money upgrading my panel, which I did myself (with help). That's been both painful and gratifying. My involvement in maintenance has been spotty and is mostly limited to removing floors/panels/fairings for condition inspection by my A&P. Maybe I'll do more after I retire in a few months.

I found this plane and was flying it home from St. Louis about 4 weeks after beginning my search. It wasn't cheap, but it was and is much more airplane than certified for a lot less money in both the acquisition and the maintenance. That's not to say that it's cheap (it isn't), but it is a LOT cheaper, a lot newer, and a lot better equipped than any certified airplane I know of. It is an absolute blast to fly.

Absolutely no regrets. My it. Your experience will be augmented by finding a guru to assist you. I was fortunate to find a friend who was just that. He has saved me tons of money and kept me from making mistakes. He helped me find the plane, evaluate it, negotiate the sale and did my transition training. In the process he made me a better pilot.

Call or email anytime. I'm way across the country from you, but I'll help any way I can.
RV-9A, 2011, bought flying
IO-320D1A (factory new), C/S
IFR equipped
AFS 5400/3500, G5, IFD440 navigator,
bunch of other stuff
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Old 04-15-2022, 01:39 PM
BH1166 BH1166 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Eatonton Georgia
Posts: 708

Flying it !
Not Flying it
Enjoy the journey…..eyes glued to the FS ads !

non 9A driver ��
RV6A Purchased N72TX
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Old 04-15-2022, 01:44 PM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is online now
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 3,671

I recommend you train on how to manage the red mixture knob. Do so until you get repeatable LOP cruise data as this will be the foundation for cross country flight planning.

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Old 04-15-2022, 03:06 PM
Dan 57's Avatar
Dan 57 Dan 57 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: LSZF
Posts: 968

Building would be tons of fun, but also realized that I simply don’t have the time
It sure „would be tons of fun“… maybe, but for many it ain’t. There are builders, and there are flyers. Builders and flyers, not that many… But the flying sure is fun, for all
As for the -7 vs -9A, well, one is a sports airplane whilst the other one‘s a cruiser…
Your choice really…
- ain't the Destination, but the Journey -

RV-6.9i #25685, slider, O-360-A3A (carb/dual Lightspeed II), MTV-12-B, HB-YLL owner & lover
RV-4 #2062 HB-YVZ airframe builder
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Old 04-15-2022, 03:11 PM
MikeinPhoenix MikeinPhoenix is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Scottsdale
Posts: 70
Default Owning an RV-9A

If you’d like to send me a pm with your contact info, I’d be happy to connect with you. I am based at DVT and purchased a RV-9A about 8 years ago. I’ve put 900 hours on the plane and it’s been an absolute joy to own and fly. No regrets!
Mike McCann
Pulsar 1
Scottsdale, AZ
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Old 04-17-2022, 08:39 PM
airguy's Avatar
airguy airguy is online now
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,844

I just crossed a thousand hours on the 9A I built and haven't looked back once yet.
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2022 dues paid
N16GN flying 1,000 hrs and counting on 91E10; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440, G5
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
Pending Repeat Offender - 10 kit is on order. TDI? Turbine? Stay tuned!
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Old 04-17-2022, 10:49 PM
bruceh's Avatar
bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,609

I have written a bunch about flying and maintaining my RV-9A in my blog (link in my signature).
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 900 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and Flying Over the Hills Blog
2022 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor, Pre Buys, Build assistance - canopy/tanks/fiberglass/electrical/repairs
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Old 04-18-2022, 06:25 AM
terrykohler terrykohler is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,062
Default If You Plan is to Eventually Pursue an Instrument Rating…

The 9/9A is a great choice. With a wingspan longer than the 6 or 7 series, it has a much slower roll rate, which translates into more stability. The 6 and 7 guys will tell you that the stability difference can be made up with an autopilot (I have one too), but there’s something very comforting knowing that you really don’t need it. A precision approach with just feet on the pedals and working only the throttle, is doable in a 9 -not so much in the others.
If you want to really know what a 9A is capable of, where you an go and what you can do, use the search function on this site and type in “VLAD”. No further explanation is necessary.
Terry, CFI
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Old 04-18-2022, 07:37 AM
MacCool's Avatar
MacCool MacCool is offline
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: central Minnesota
Posts: 1,029

Regarding maintenance...bear in mind that you can do whatever component of work on your E-AB airplane that you are comfortable with, with the exception of annual Condition Inspection, and limited by your common-sense belief in your mechanical skills. Many people, myself included, save money by doing the work themselves, either assisted by an actual A&P/IA, or having them review the work afterward. For my Condition Inspection a year ago, I did the work removing the interior, floor, bulkhead, as well as cowl, wheel pants, fairings, and inspection panels. That CI cost me $750, which was way below what I had budgeted. (that didn't include the actual cost of the boost pump that was leaking and had to be replaced). At my current CI that he's doing, it will be more because I didn't have time to open all the panels and fairings, and I'll have him install an oil cooler shutter and replace my fuel flow sensor (red cube). I could do those installs myself, if I wanted, but my personal policy is that I don't do any repairs or work forward of the firewall.
RV-9A, 2011, bought flying
IO-320D1A (factory new), C/S
IFR equipped
AFS 5400/3500, G5, IFD440 navigator,
bunch of other stuff
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