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Old 12-04-2020, 09:58 AM
00Dan 00Dan is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 132
Default I now own a -4!

I went through with it yesterday - I am now the proud owner of a 1988 -4. Short legs, original wheel pants, and a Great American prop. A real blast from the past compared to the newer kits.

As always I have tons of new owner questions. I had started another thread regarding landing light installs and got some great answers.

I believe the prop is a Great American 70 x 74”. On a 150 hp -320 it’s making 2050 static, 2200 on takeoff/climb, and spins up to just over 2700 at 8000’ FT. It seems pretty cruise biased. Anyone have experience with this prop? I haven’t done full cruise performance testing yet (the previous owner usually flew with it pulled back so he didn’t have good numbers on upper end performance).

Is a modern prop worth the squeeze? I know pressure recovery wheel pants are good value and those are on the list.

Is the swivel tailwheel from Van’s any good, or should I consider one of the aftermarket forks? Pushing the non-castering wheel into my hangar is always fun.

I have to weigh it for myself but the W&B I have shows 943# empty at 60.64”. I ran some sample calculations and I’m definitely at the rear CG limit with a couple of my buddies and no bags. What would be the best way to put some weight on the nose?

I’ll post more questions as I think of them.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:18 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,767

Congratulations on the RV-4!

I'll defer to more knowledgeable folks for your answers. Just wanted to welcome you.

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Old 12-04-2020, 11:18 AM
titanhank titanhank is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Friendswood, Tx
Posts: 464

You need a 10lbs landoll weight ring on the flywheel or a 19lbs sabre crush plate. You can also use a 9lb dive weight clamped to the alternator bracket if your cowling will clear it.
Harmon Rocket #1
10-1 pistons

1959 Piper PA22-150 Tri-Pacer

Rv7a sold
Rv6 sold
Rv4 sold
Rv3 sold

Last edited by titanhank : 12-04-2020 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:32 AM
fixnflyguy fixnflyguy is online now
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Posts: 1,378
Default Good choice you made!

Welcome to the wonderful world of the RV-4. I wont elaborate on how its the best RV.., but I am biased. I built mine, and work on alot of others.This website will fill you with more intel than you can digest, so sit back and read,read,read. I am not familiar with your particular prop, but I do believe most everyone will own more than one prop during their ownership. Yours sounds to be in pretty good RPM range to be honest. A new higher end prop will likely do better, but I advise spending some time flying it, meet others and compare notes before pulling the trigger. As far as the AFT CG concern, it is the nature of a light fronted, wood prop basic -4. My situation is the same, but I learn to manage a few things. Big PAX, carry max fuel and stay above half tanks, loading the baggage with 2 up needs to be light cargo. Learn to fly with a back seater in steps..lighter at first, then move up. Be prepared for extremely light pitch control that can bite you on the landing flare or abrupt pull-ups.Moving the battery to the firewall will help slightly, but not much. I have the OEM tailwheel you do, and refuse to replace it because it works so good. 11 years of pulling in my hangar, picking the tail up by the spring and walking it around..not for everyone! I am the only one who moves mine, and I know not to push it backwards. There a zillion other good options out their for full swivel. Feel free to contact me via PM for specific stuff or learn what I have learned about the -4 over the last 25 years..there is plenty of experience on this site. Have fun!
Bill E.
8A7 / Advance NC
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:13 PM
00Dan 00Dan is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 132

Good comments so far. Iíll look into the weighted crush plate and flywheel. My first several hours in type were actually dual instruction with a big guy in the back - I didnít solo until yesterday, so I have an idea of what the stick forces are with aft CG.

I plan to fly the plane for while before spending money on big ticket items.

Hereís another question. I could conceivably be in position to use this plane for travel (just me) in a year or so. What would be the most cost effective way to get an IFR panel?
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:58 PM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 8,326

Congratulations Daniel! They say RV4 is the best in the Vans family enjoy and stay VFR
Where is N666BK?

Не имей сто рублей, а имей сто друзей.
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Old 12-04-2020, 04:41 PM
Jvon811's Avatar
Jvon811 Jvon811 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: KFNT Central Michigan
Posts: 210

Welcome to the fleet Dan! You did pick the best RV, but I'm also biased, but I'm also right...

How old is the W&B? 60" sounds like the old W&B form. Personally, I would do things to lighten the tail before adding weight to the nose. Does it have a big beacon on it's back? A heavy Whelen power supply in the fuse? Flyboy Accessories sells a light weight tailwheel and you could even upgrade to full castoring while you're at it if you'd like. Moving the battery to in front of the firewall is a good idea too. Mine is up on the right side, mounted to the engine mount inside the right cheek. If you already have an airplane that light, and unless you really intend to carry pax a lot, I would try not to add any weight like a landol ring or dive weights unless you have to.

The prop sound very much like a cruise prop. My Warnke is 68x74 and has similar climb and cruise numbers with 160hp. Personally, unless you plan on flying through a bunch of rain, I wouldn't change the prop until you need to (more horsepower if you choose).

As far as the AFT CG... Run the numbers, you might find you're still within limits with more than you think in the backseat. THAT BEING SAID, Bill is 100% right when he talks about stepping it up. 3.5 years and 500+ hours in my -4 now, my opinion is that it's a different animal with a heavy tail. Still extremely flyable, but different. For example, I'd guess that flying solo, it takes maybe 20lbs of pull on the stick to get to 3.5-4 G's. With a 180lb'er in the back seat? Maybe 5-10 lbs of pull. I've never put a strain gauge or scale on the stick and tried, I'm just guessing. Just something to be aware of before you fly with 2up.

Welcome to the club Dan. PM sent too.

RV-4 N249P
O-320, Dual P-Mags, Warnke Prop, Short legs, Manual Flaps, GRT Sport EX
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Old 12-04-2020, 04:50 PM
RV7 To Go RV7 To Go is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 307

Originally Posted by 00Dan View Post
Good comments so far. Iíll look into the weighted crush plate and flywheel. My first several hours in type were actually dual instruction with a big guy in the back - I didnít solo until yesterday, so I have an idea of what the stick forces are with aft CG.

I plan to fly the plane for while before spending money on big ticket items.

Hereís another question. I could conceivably be in position to use this plane for travel (just me) in a year or so. What would be the most cost effective way to get an IFR panel?
My 1990 RV4 was a 160hp O320 with a Prince CF prop and SkyTech LW starter. 940lb MT. With full fuel I could have 185lb for 3hrs or 200lb for 1hr behind me, before the CG went out the back of the envelop.

I modified my TW to full swivel. Vans supplied a dwg showing how to modify the bent TW spring. Used a Vans swivel TW bracket someone on the field had. Worked great and was an easy change since my spring came out easily. I added footwells for the back, an extra heat muff for our cold winters, extra vents for our warm summers, canopy partial open catch for taxi air and a few other little things.

Had a great 4yrs and 450hrs in the 4 and still miss the centreline seating and wonderful characteristics. Working on another one now.

RV4 - Bought 2013 Sold 2017 after 450 hrs
RV7 - Built in 6.5 yrs & Flying 2017
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:09 PM
Scott Hersha Scott Hersha is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,808

Congrats on owning the best flying RV ever built! Your airplane is light, but as another poster has said, check when it was initially weighed. Mine was weighed early and the empty weight didn’t include engine oil at that time (around 7 lbs/gal, or about 14 lbs if you fill the crankcase of your Lycoming). You should probably re-weigh your airplane. Put in whatever amount of oil you would normally carry (6-7 QTS). I was concerned with CG on my RV4 when I replaced my metal Sensenich prop (42 lbs) with a carbon Sensenich prop (about 22 lbs installed). My empty weight didn’t change very much because the original W&B calculation didn’t include engine oil, and mine did. My CG did move aft .50”, however. It didn’t make much difference. Most RV4’s have an aft CG that needs to be monitored if you carry a passenger. If you have luggage with 2 up, you are likely near your aft CG limit, and maybe gross weight limit, and you should check where that CG will be at the end of the flight after burning off fuel, which moves the CG aft.

As far as your tailwheel is concerned, if pushing the airplane into the hangar with a non-swiveling tailwheel is your concern, as it was with me, consider this:

This works right out of the box, and it collapses for travel if you want. I put a slightly shorter spring on mine from Menards (about $2) to give a little more squeeze, but it probably wasn’t necessary. I have gotten good at maneuvering the non-swiveling tailwheel while pushing it backwards while pushing on the HS when I don’t have the tow bar with me. It’s not hard to do. The non-swiveling tailwheel assembly is lighter. If you want to change it to full swivel, consider this:

It weighs 1 lb less than the standard Vans full swivel tail spring, and if you mount the lightweight tailwheel from JD Air (and others) you’ll save another pound. That’s big deal at a point 10+ feet aft of CG:

If you do this with your tail spring, send skydesigns your existing bent tail spring, and the new full swivel fork from wherever you get it, and have them precisely drill it for you. Then all you have to do is assemble it when you get it back.

This solution solves your full swivel condition you are concerned about, and helps to alleviate some of your tail heavy concerns.
RV6/2001 built/sold 2005
RV8 Fastback/2008 built/sold 2015
RV4/bought 2016/sold/2017
RV8/2018 built/Sold(sadly)
RV4/bought 2019 Flying
Cincinnati, OH/KHAO

Last edited by Scott Hersha : 12-04-2020 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:30 PM
sjhurlbut sjhurlbut is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 870
Default Great

Awesome - enjoy!!!!!!!!!!
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Steve "Stu"
Cold Lake, Alberta
7A #70015 - C-FZQX - built - sold
7A #71629 - C-FSIS - built - sold across Atlantic
7 #70215 - C-GOJU - flying - sold
7 #70703 - C-GMIY - flying - sold
6 #60119 - C-FHBZ - built - Airventure 2016 Bronze Lindy - sold
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