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Old 09-02-2020, 07:48 PM
cajunwings cajunwings is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: new iberia la
Posts: 814
Default Jessica

Jess: Iíve followed your story for years. You are a very impressive lady. Youíve come to the right place, the brain trust will do their best to come up with something. My first thought was the 9A might be the best starting point because itís not as responsive as the 6-7-8 and has decent stability.

Don Broussard
RV9 Rebuild in Progress
57 Pacer
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:41 PM
brian257 brian257 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 143

I would think that the modifications could be done with no problem. My question is can you precisely control a faster and more sensitive plane with your legs/feet? Not trying to cast any doubt as to your abilities which are obviously amazing, I just genuinely don't know if you can make the smaller, more precise, and quicker movements that an RV needs landing in gusty conditions. Likely you can write faster and more neatly with your feet than I can with my hands so maybe that is the answer right there. One advantage to something like and RV is that the control forces are light so you can make more use of the finer motion, but less strong foot muscles vs. the stronger, but less precise leg muscles.

I am an engineer and have a machine shop so I could probably help you if needed.

Brian Kraut
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:58 PM
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tcard tcard is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 312

Jessica, We are excited you came to check out Van's Air Force and see how our community might be able to help you succeed in your mission. We fly an RV-9A and are building an RV-8, so we are quite familiar with the construction of RVs that would likely fit your profile. If an RV airframe is identified as a successful platform for this project, we would love to devote some of our skills and help make it a reality.
CQ Headset by Card Machine Works
CMW E-Lift
The other half of a flying RV-9A and an 8 in the shop.

Last edited by tcard : 09-03-2020 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 09-02-2020, 09:57 PM
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sprucemoose sprucemoose is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: MKE
Posts: 1,527


Like many others here I've followed your story and find you to be very inspirational. Welcome aboard VAF.

My turn to think out loud, and slightly out of the box. I'm thinking of the way the Wright brothers designed the control mechanism on their early designs- basically a hip cradle to control aileron (wing warping) control, and can't help but think that there is an idea in there somewhere.

Have you ever flown an RV? Standard advice for any pilot transitioning from a more docile airplane is to get some stick time and see if you like it. You probably will, most everyone does. My memory says you're in Tucson and there are a lot of RVers in the area.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Jeff Point
RV-6, RLU-1 built & flying
CFI, Tech Counselor, Flight Advisor & President- EAA Chapter 18
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:07 PM
jpowell13 jpowell13 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 685

Love your story Jessica. I was wondering just the other day if you were still flying and am happy to hear that you are. I'm not an engineer, but would be willing to contribute to a fund to help offset the expense of modifying an RV. John
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Old 09-02-2020, 11:26 PM
Andy_RR Andy_RR is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 436

This would be the perfect excuse to develop a fully fly-by-wire conversion for an RV with flight envelope protection and even down to voice-activated controls!

"Alexa, turn heading one eight five..."
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:07 AM
jliltd jliltd is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Rancho San Lorenzo
Posts: 983

I had one experience helping a friend modify a Luscombe so he could fly it. He was missing one leg. We basically made the rudder system a "closed loop" where we connected the rudders with a "balance" cable that basically ran around from one pedal to the other which replaced the factory firewall return springs. We put a leather strap on the applicable rudder pedal the strap his foot in place. Then he was able to control the rudders completely by merely pushing or pulling with the same foot depending on whether or not he wanted left or right rudder input. For breaking we installed a brake cylinder similar to the Piper Tripe Acer or early Comanche that was activated with one hand lever. In your case it could be heel brake positioned on the floor similar to the ones found in cubs, Aeroncas, Taylorcrafts and Luscombes.

Dan H brought up a good idea for closing the loop on the rudder controls with a rudder bar. I own a Nanchang CJ6 which has the same differential brake valve on the rudder bar for steering control as the Yak 52 he mentioned. There is a brake lever on the control stick that looks like a motorcycle brake lever. There is zero braking unless that lever is squeezed. When squeezed and the rudder is neutral there is equal brake distribution to both main wheel brakes which equates to conventional stopping in a forward direction. The amount of pressure on the hand lever determines how hard the braking action is. Any rudder bar position past center causes more braking action on the wheel on the side of the rudder bar deflection. The more the bar is deflected the more the differential. Full rudder one way causes all braking on one side.

Another set of projects I saw was a hand control system for a Smith Miniplane and a Stearman that used a tiller bar for rudder control with a twist throttle for the engine (same owner/pilot). I know that's not the same configuration that would work directly for your situation but it shows there workable ideas of many types that might be moved to other more suitable locations in the cockpit.

I have attended one of your talks at OSH and loved it. I also saw you fly your airplane without any boarding issues so I wouldn't worry about the high-wing/low wing decision. An RV should be doable but I bet you have already sat in one if not gone for a flight.

As someone else menioned here, this is all just off-the-cuff brainstorming. But if any group of folks can help it would be fellow VAF'ers and some of the vendors who support us with ingenious modifications.

As an aside whenever my Luscombe friend would show up at a fly-in and I heard folks complaining about a crosswind or narrow runway I would point out to them the guy with one leg just landed a taildragger and wasn't complaining.

(a few more airplanes too)
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:37 AM
Hitt7A Hitt7A is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Mount Vernon WA
Posts: 29

What an impressive inspiration, I would also contribute to a fund that would help you find your way into an RV. As others have said, there is a whole lot of knowledge in this group and I sure hope that someone can make this happen for you.
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Old 09-03-2020, 04:35 AM
Northernliving Northernliving is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 496

Originally Posted by DennisRhodes View Post
What if , you controlled all stick inputs electrically. ie the RV8 fly by wire. Very doable with todays electronics. A joy stick with compatable inputs would be your interface. Same for rudder inputs .
Where else but experimental could you do this. There will be someone on this site who is capabile of solving this !!!
Radio Control type interfaces and controls would be interesting. You would have to think through safety and redundancy, but it would seem very doable with todayís electronics and control systems.

Welcome Jessica. Your commitment to experience the dream and thrill of flight by overcoming adversity is extraordinary and inspiring. Well done.
Brian J.
Boston, MA
RV8 Based at ORH - Purchased
RV8 - The Project #83313 - Under Construction
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Old 09-03-2020, 04:37 AM
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scrollF4 scrollF4 is offline
Moderator, Asst. Line Boy
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Posts: 1,541

Originally Posted by DanH View Post

The RV8A ("A" means nose wheel here) would be the easy candidate in terms of foot control, as the stick torque tube extends through the main spar. It means the torque tube and related parts would merely need lengthening to place a slightly shortened control stick relatively far forward.
Dan points out the issue of running the torque tube through the spar. I would think that an RV-7A or -9Aís side-by-side configuration might give her more cockpit room and options.

Hey Greg Hughes, isnít there a way to modify the 7/9/14 main spar to run the elevator and aileron torque tubes through from forward of the spar? Doublers, etc? That would allow the stick placement forward of the spar.

Sid "Scroll" Mayeux, Col, USAF (ret)
52F NW Regional/Aero Valley Airport, Roanoke TX (home of DR's Van Cave)
"KELLI GIRL" N260KM RV-7A tipper
Catch her on YouTube's "Because I Fly!" channel

Exemption waived.
Proud and grateful 2021 -=VAF=- Contributor

PS: I am not an influencer. I have no influence. Just ask my kids.
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