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Old 01-17-2021, 10:13 AM
ty1295 ty1295 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Jeffersonville, IN
Posts: 426

I built a 9a and flew 230 hours in just the first year. I live in Louisville Ky. In the first year it went from Wisconsin, to Colorado, Utah, Seattle, Texas, Gulf Coast and many place in between.

My wife has 25 hours of instruction in it as well.

If aerobatics is for sure not in the future the 9A is a very forgiving wing and easy to fly, likes to go high, smooth cruising.

Before you make that decision on aerobatics I would find a way to try it just in case. You will either know for sure its not for you, or move to the 7 side. Both planes are great.
Jeff Scott
RV9A First Flight 9/30/19
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:57 AM
n82rb's Avatar
n82rb n82rb is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: fort myers fl
Posts: 989

for the 7 v 9 argument people seem to forget what the design goals of the 9 were. it was to be a aircraft that could live up to the vans legacy with a 235 on the front end. as designed, van hit it right on, however, he underestimated the public again. the first thing that people did was put bigger motors on it and made it heavy and lumbering. the only thing that came out of it was that the wing on it is fantastic at higher altitude cruise. the bit about slower stall, ect is just smoke as all RVs have great slow speed characteristics. as far as im concerned the only reason to build a 9 is if you do a lot of cross country at higher altitudes, thats where that wing really shines. if that is not the mission, then build a 7. you get aerobatic capabilities, a better handling aircraft and you don't get that ugly rectangular horizontal stab. as you can see, im not going to lecture you about putting the seats in the wrong locations. I also didnt mention A models as nobody puts training wheels on airplanes.
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:36 PM
DeeCee 57's Avatar
DeeCee 57 DeeCee 57 is online now
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: LSZF
Posts: 544

+1 n82rb

Call me stupid, but the popularity of the -9 variants always surprised me. It was supposed to be an economical cruiser...
Installing 320s, 360s (any higher bid?) in a -9 beats the purpose of the design, and reduces the safety margins

Sport flying, aeros, big engine, speed? Go for the -7, -8, or -14
Life's short... Enjoy

DC aka Dan

RV-6.9 #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 01-17-2021, 01:31 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,680

This seems to have turned into yet one more 7 vs 9 debate. There are so many already in the archives that I hesitate to add to this one as well. That said, there are at least a couple important items that have not been offered above that should factor into one's considerations if you are making a list of pros and cons for each:

1. The -9/9A has both a substantially better glide ratio and a lower power-off sink rate. Check the CAFE Foundation tests for confirmation. If you at all fly over inhospitable terrain, this could become advantageous.

2. The -9/9A has approach and stall speeds that are 15-20% slower than a -7/7A (48mph vs 58mph per Van's website). If you look at a chart showing survivability of impact relative to velocity, that 15-20% is potentially a pretty big deal (as in its not a direct relationship). Slower speeds also decrease the likelihood of the plane flipping.

There are a lot of great reasons for a -7/7A too. I might even concur in the resale value argument. All in all, though, after having flown one for 9 years, to my mind it still comes down to what Van's suggests it does. If you want to have an aerobatic plane, get a -7/7A. If not, you might be just as happy with a -9/9A.
Steve M.
Ellensburg WA
RV-9 Flying, 0-320, Catto

Donation reminder: Jan. 2022

Last edited by alpinelakespilot2000 : 01-17-2021 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 01-17-2021, 02:42 PM
meloosifah meloosifah is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Indiana
Posts: 249

Originally Posted by Taltruda View Post
The -7 is pretty cozy up front.. hope your friends like to snuggle as much as your wife does!
Modern experimental pilots are so spoiled! 😁 I have a Cessna 140 that I am currently flying - an RV-7 is SPACIOUS compared!!!

I have been in all the 2 seater RVs except the -14. They all have space trade offs. The -8 has more elbow room per person but you are extremely restricted in what you can do with your feet in the back seat. The -7 (-9, -6) gives more options for your legs but not as much elbow room. The -4 is just plain tiny for a 6’-4” 200lb person.

For the OP, who wants to build, I would recommend the -7. It is the perfect do-everything plane, reasonable cost to build, great return on investment, all the options are open for the future, lower insurance than the -8 (potentially)...just can’t go wrong.

The advice to fly each one is the best advice ever. Only you can know which one will fit your needs. Van’s site explains why to pick which one and everyone likes their choice best but you need to fly them and decide what benefits are most appreciated and what limitations you can live with.
RV7a (converting to TW and then ready to install the engine and panel)

1946 Cessna 140 (currently flying)
1946 Piper J3 Cub (stripped for restoration)

Exempt on multiple counts - donated double because this site is worth it!
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:42 PM
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skylor skylor is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 947

Originally Posted by meloosifah View Post
... Very few people enjoy the back seat of a tandem plane.
This false sentiment is thrown about by side-by-side owners and builders more than the the -9x crowd insist that theirs is better than the -7x .

I've never have someone complain about getting a ride in the back seat of my -8, and I've had quite a few passengers. Most comment how great the visibility is. My 25,000 hour 6'2" 82 year old Dad has probably spent a couple hundred hours back there, and my SO nearly as much. Here are some of my passengers enjoying the ride:

Friend Annie


Significant Other


Back Seat

Do you think Tom Cruise and company would have preferred rides in the right seat of Intruders instead of the back seats of F-14's and F-18's? I think not!

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Old 01-17-2021, 04:03 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,151

Well, there are lots of ‘choose what I chose’ posts by now. But unless I missed it, no one mentioned ifr other than the OP. No Vans’ airplane is a great instrument platform. ‘Fun to fly’ and ‘easy to maneuver’ are the opposite of ‘highly stable’. However, a competent instrument pilot can fly a -7 or a -9 on instruments. You’ll find the -9 - with its longer wings - a bit less fatiguing. If that’s a concern.
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:58 PM
aggieaviator aggieaviator is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 3

Sorry to hit and run, I've been lurking my own thread since I posted my question and have really enjoyed and appreciate the feedback so far.

There doesn't seem to be a 'right' answer. I have to consider what I foresee as meeting my mission and wants in the relative near term. I was leaning 9A, now I'm somewhat back on the fence with the 7A. Decisions...decisions. As others have said, I'm just going to have to fly in both to know.

I see some folks mentioning the Conroe EAA group. I had previously reached out to Joe and did the virtual meeting a couple of Saturdays ago. I tried to meet up with Joe but things didn't go as planned. I'm interested in meeting other RV owners in the Houston and surrounding areas. Please shoot me a DM if you're in the area. Again, thanks for the feedback.
Jeremy Brown
Trying to decide which RV to Build
Donated Jan 2021
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:37 AM
Ralph Inkster Ralph Inkster is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 1,211

Originally Posted by aggieaviator View Post
Sorry to hit and run, I've been lurking my own thread since I posted my question and have really enjoyed and appreciate the feedback so far.

There doesn't seem to be a 'right' answer.
From all the folks that responded - There doesn't seem to be a 'wrong' answer.

From your posts, you prefer a SBS airplane so that means choosing between a 6 - 7 - 9 - 14 model. Flying characteristics between them is nominally different and easily mastered. Your choice of equipment can make any of these models fit any roll you want it to do. Really, all you need to do is flip a coin, choose a number & you will be on the way to getting that coveted 'Vans Smile' award!
built a few RVs, rebuilt a few more, hot rodded more, & maintained/updated a big bunch more
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