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  #1  
Old 04-04-2021, 09:35 AM
Memphis Memphis is offline
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Edwards AFB, CA
Posts: 6
Default RV-8 Transition Training

Howdy all,

I thought I would write up a quick trip report for my time in Texas flying with Bruce Bohannon. For some background, I am a 2000 hour Air Force Test Pilot with about 800 additional hours in civil planes. I have been lucky to fly several types of tailwheel airplanes (Cessna 140, Champ, Extra 300, T-6, P-51, DC-3, etc) but Iíve only got about 40 hours overall in taildraggers. So, when applying for insurance for my almost finished RV-8, I needed to get a CFI sign-off and 5 hours in an RV-8.

Bruce Bohannon (https://m.facebook.com/Flyin-Tiger-F...1630299514622/, message me for his phone number), came highly recommended from another 8 builder on my field. I gave him a call and had the training set up for two weeks later. Bruce was extremely accommodating- I needed to do the training over a weekend because of my job, and he had no issues with that.

Be ready to be jealous when you get to his airport. I had to drive, but you could fly in if you want. Bruce has a beautiful grass strip just south of Houston, and his hanger is full of awesome planes (pictures below).

Show up with a good attitude and be ready to learn. Bruce does not charge for ground time, just prop spinning time. We started off with an hour or so of ground school before hopping into the 8.

This was my first flight in an RV, and Iím glad it was with an experienced instructor. The plane is extremely responsive making over-control an issue until you have some time to get used to it. Bruce was adept in providing instruction at key points without being overbearing.

We started by just flying around for a bit to get the feel of the plane, then moved on to landings. We would have done more area work first, but the ceilings were a bit too low. We spent several hours on landings, exploring flap settings, approach angles, emergency procedures, and wheel vs 3 point. Bruce is a big proponent of 3 point landings, and he has me convinced after a weekend. My opinion is that wheel landings are prettier, but 3 points are safer. Happy to have that discussion over a beverage sometime, but itís not the point of this write-up.

After two days of training, I feel way more confident in my upcoming first flight. The time and money were well spent, and it was a very enjoyable experience. If you have the opportunity and means, I highly recommend transition training with Bruce!

-Memphis
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2021, 06:26 AM
Capt Capt is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 670
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I often read the need for transition training with Vans machines, is it just for insurance requirements? The Vans machines are pussycats. I'd never driven any Vans b4, test flew a Rocket first then an 8 next. I test flew the 8 with the owner, handed over the $$$ and flew it home, a non event!
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2021, 08:43 AM
Ironflight's Avatar
Ironflight Ironflight is offline
VAF Moderator / Line Boy
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 12,596
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt View Post
I often read the need for transition training with Vans machines, is it just for insurance requirements? The Vans machines are pussycats. I'd never driven any Vans b4, test flew a Rocket first then an 8 next. I test flew the 8 with the owner, handed over the $$$ and flew it home, a non event!
The reason is simple - not every pilot is above average, as we all think!

The EAA and FAA (in this country) have spent a lot of time looking over accident statistics, and have found that transition training makes a big difference in the Experimental aircraft accident rates. Just liek any statistical analysis, every individual case is (or can be) an exception, but when taken as a whole, training drive down accidents.

I agree that RVís are very easy taildraggers to fly (and I fly LOTS of different airplanes), but people still crash them, and if you look at the reasons why, a lot of those mishaps can be addressed with training.

Paul
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RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
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  #4  
Old 04-05-2021, 09:26 AM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGY
Posts: 3,730
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Look at "Memphis's" CV - he's probably forgotten more about flying than I'll ever know, and he went for transition training and learned something.

I also heard this from Alex D when I got transition training from him - a lot of his customers could fly circles around him (he said) but still saw value it in getting this training.

I think if the conventional wisdom was "just go fly, don't bother with training" we'd have quite a few more bent machines and broken hearts out there.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2021, 04:34 PM
michjor michjor is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Duluth
Posts: 4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt View Post
I often read the need for transition training with Vans machines, is it just for insurance requirements? The Vans machines are pussycats. I'd never driven any Vans b4, test flew a Rocket first then an 8 next. I test flew the 8 with the owner, handed over the $$$ and flew it home, a non event!
I think it's a combination of one ensuring they are competent enough as everyone's experience varies - but more importantly insurance requirements. They have got really tough on type and hours in type - a trip to Bohannan for endorsement in the logbook would likely reduce your insurance premium for the expense of the the 2 days flying with him.
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  #6  
Old 04-11-2021, 07:05 AM
Jhamilton Jhamilton is offline
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Silver Spring
Posts: 17
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I'd also like to recommend Bruce for any tandem seat RV transition training. I just got back from Texas and am very happy with my experience.

I am a low time pilot with only about 250 hours, so I needed to do a full 10 hours for insurance reasons. I already had my tailwheel endorsement, but we still spent a lot of time working on landings.

Bruce is a firm believer in 3 point landings for most conditions, so that was we did the majority of the time. We only spent about 1/2 day on wheel landings, which are much easier so less practice was needed.

He took me to a variety of airports around south Texas and we flew in various wind conditions. He wasn't trying to get me comfortable landing in strong cross-winds, but to learn what my limitations are. In between landing sessions, Bruce was more than happy to practice aerobatics (I still need a lot of work there). He is willing to let you fly to your own limits and make plenty of mistakes to learn from.

Bruce is also very knowledgeable in engine break-in procedures, so for our last day, we ran a practice first flight. I explained the area I'm going to fly in, and airspace limitations (controlled field with a 1500' Bravo shelf directly above). We briefed, then flew the practice test flight, keeping an eye on the engine gauges the whole time. It was a lot of juggling, but very valuable experience.

Finally, in order to get experience flying a new type of plane with no instruction, he let me do a test flight in his Cub. He gave me the numbers and things I could get out of the manual and set me off to fly on my own in an unfamiliar airplane and "figure it out". Once again, very valuable experience, and the Cub is a ton of fun to fly.

To top it all off, he even helped me improve my golf swing!

Bruce is no-nonsense and if you show up willing to learn and with the right attitude, you will get a ton out of it. I cannot recommend highly enough.
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  #7  
Old 04-11-2021, 07:47 AM
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goatflieg goatflieg is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Clarkston, MI
Posts: 726
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I was scheduled with Bruce last September but I cancelled when I realized my RV-8 would not be ready to fly. Bruce recommends that you train right after your plane becomes airworthy, so I'm tentatively planning for this September. No OSH for me this year; that money is better spent on training.
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Martin J Filiatrault
Clarkston, MI
RV-8 #83507 - empennage at hangar; currently working on finishing canopy & wing tips.
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Builder websites:
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Dues paid for 2021... extra payment included for psychological therapeutic services rendered.

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