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Old 08-22-2006, 06:26 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 78
Default RV-4 PIREP: Cam Benton (part I)

RV-4 PIREP: Cam Benton

...sent to me by 'Rick Gray in Ohio at the Buffalo Farm'. Go get a cup of coffee and read the entire thing. It's a GREAT read! dr

(Rick Gray) "Attached is a great email that I got from Cam Benton regarding the recent purchase of his 'flying' RV4. He also was just awarded a prize at (the) Big Country Air Fest Races last week "

Rick Gray wrote (to Cam):
The plane looks GREAT...and CONGRATS!! Didn't take you long to get in the groove flying your new RV4 did it?? So, tell me.....what do you really think about the RV4 now that you've flown it a bit and can make a comparison to other planes you've flown??

Cam Benton replied:
That's a good question, so I'll try to give it a good answer...

To set context, here's what I've piloted:
? Cessna 172
? Cessna 182
? Cessna 210
? Cessna Cardinal
? Extra 300L
? Citabria
? Super Decathlon
? Super Cub on Floats
? Maule M4
? Quicksilver MXL
? Pilatus PC12 (not as PIC)
? ASAP Chinook
? Possibly others I can't think of right now

The RV4 is the best combination of all flying qualities. In other words, it seems to be quite excellent at many/all facets of flight. Here?s my flight report?

Pre-Start Up

The RV4 is beautiful to look at on the ramp. Taildraggers (TDs) seem prettier to me than trikes anyway, but the RV4 is better looking than many other TDs. The stance is sleek and ready. The dramatic cowl curves show strength and beauty at once. It is elegant yet powerful looking and it seductively invites me to go fly as I walk up to it. I can?t say that about the ?A? series of RVs. The side-by-sides lose a little of that from the rear as I think they start to look chubby. The RV4 is beautifully appealing from every angle.

In my opinion, one of the most over looked things in plane ownership is ramp appeal. The Mooney, for example, is beautiful in the air yet almost ugly sitting on its gear on the ramp. This alone would keep me from buying one. Big companies spend millions on PR and consumer reception. ?How will my product be received by my target audience?? Buyers must feel good about their purchase. I feel great every time I walk up to the RV4. I can?t say that for half the planes I?ve flown. It sets my mind in the right place, which might even contribute to safety.

It?s an easy plane to move around with the full swiveling tailwheel. No tow bar required ? very nice.

Getting in is tricky and there?s no real way to do it gracefully. Yet I?ve learned to do it smoothly enough and without need to step on my cushion. Once in position, I find it to be much more comfortable than I expected. The side of my left knee hits the mixture knob. The side of my right knee hits the Master switch. I need to get a thinner cushion behind my back and this would help my legs fit.

The panel is full yet very well laid out. The cockpit is tight, but this has a certain feel that is still ?right?. I like it.

Best in Category - RV4 tied with Extra 300L
Second - Cardinal (Okay, I?m biased)

Start Up

This particular plane starts easily, much easier than my Cardinal with the same engine. It catches quickly and again seems very inviting. Engine starts can be a hassle and I?ve had none of that with this plane. Winter could bring on issues as it doesn?t have a primer knob. We?ll see, but so far I think it?s the easiest starting plane I?ve ever turned a key in.

Best in Category - RV4
Second - Citabria

Take Off

Taxiing is easy since forward visibility is excellent. CIGARS check flows nicely. Trim is difficult to check. Finally a squawk! I?d like to install a trim indicator since a lot of nose down trim is needed when carrying a passenger. Line-up items are simple and power comes on smoothly. Lots of right rudder, then the tail comes up. I LOVE THAT. No rotation needed really. The 4 just takes to the air gracefully. If I forget to get the flaps retracted the 4 reminds me to clean up my act. It loves to be tucked up. Good grief, we?re high already. It out-climbs everything else I?ve flown except for the Extra (300hp) and the PC-12 (turboprop).

Take off is short and comfortable, as long as I use lots of right rudder. My only complaint might be that it didn?t last long enough. It?s a very short TO run when I?m solo. That has its own feeling of satisfaction, but it is a fun TO so it?s over prematurely in a way. Compared to everything else I?ve flown ? no contest.

Best in Category - RV4
Second ? Super Cub (floats, so really a different category)

In Flight

The flaps switch is on my left and I?m late cleaning that up sometimes. It?s not a squawk, since the problem lays in my habits not the plane?s. My Cardinal has it on the right side of the panel and that?s where I go for everything. My right hand remembers to clean up after takeoff items, so the boost pumps and light switches get turned off, but?

Trim determines speed and I try to fly it considering that. Speed builds quickly and rudder becomes less of a push. This plane really ?quiets down? in flight compared to all others I?ve flown. It likes being in the air and slips through it without a fight. Most planes are still laboring a bit in climb out and one can sense it. The RV4 however, can be deceptive as it nicely settles in to its assignment. It feels similar to the other planes I?ve piloted in this regard only when I forget to get the flaps cleaned up. I?m being trained by the 4, as this rarely happens anymore.

With the Master switch on (up) and mixture pulled back, my knees are free to find comfort. The throttle quadrant might get a foam pad, but it?s pretty good as is.

Cruise flight seems wrong when the pitch attitude comes down. My thought is still, ?Can this be right?? I have to concentrate to realize that the sight picture is correct. Flying front seat in the RV4 shows a dramatically different than expected sight picture of level flight. Marc put a small piece of scotch tape on the inside of the canopy which will ?sit? on the horizon in level flight. This is a great idea and I find it to be much more helpful than the AI.

Many planes I?ve flown require a climb past altitude to level off, build speed, drop back to altitude, and trim to stay there as more airspeed generates more lift. The RV4 is different. Get it to the altitude and level it there, trim to catch up and I?m done - very simple and nice.

My 4 is right on book. In fact, a little bit better. The fixed pitch Sensenich prop is pitched for cruise ? not climb. Perfect. A primary mission objective for me was fast cross country flight. It easily ?trues out? at 170 knots, however, I?m not exactly sure what its true airspeed is, since it does not have an OAT. GPS ground speed and wind conditions indicate; it?s fast. The only thing faster I?ve flown is the Pilatus ? (not fair).

Slowing it down is easy enough, but not subtle. The pitch change required seems dramatic from the front seat. It is very obedient, just different from most planes. The sight picture really changes with angle of attack change.

Visibility is excellent. In sharp descents and steep turns it is awesome. Its visibility is comparable to the Extra (front seat) and beats everything else.

Best in Category - RV4 (Pilatus doesn?t count)

(continued in part II)

Note: this post closed by dr. Part II is NOT closed so that discussion can occur at the end of the article.

Last edited by admin : 08-22-2006 at 06:35 PM.
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