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Old 04-11-2019, 11:55 AM
KatieB's Avatar
KatieB KatieB is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Belton, MO
Posts: 1,145
Default Additional Pilot Program for Phase 1 testing- thoughts?

Hey everyone! I'm still alive, mostly off the grid. I've been working on my PhD in Aviation (Aviation Safety) at Parks College (St. Louis University). One of my topics of interest for research is EAB Phase 1 flight testing safety, in particular, the Additional Pilot Program. I saw a thread from 2017 and 2018 on the subject, but thought I'd start a new one to gather your current thoughts on it.

How many of you have used it? Is it worthwhile? Are you aware of any accidents or incidents that have occurred with a Qualified Pilot on board (RV or other types)? What are your ideas on how to make it more effective?

Katie Bosman
EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council
Rebuilt most of SNF tornado victim RV-3B Tony Boy II (had to sell him, but he's flying!)
VAF Dues Paid 2021!
Thoughts & opinions expressed here are my own, and not those of my employer.
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:03 PM
Raymo's Avatar
Raymo Raymo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Richmond Hill, GA (KLHW)
Posts: 2,340

I used it after not flying much for the two years I was building and had no time in an RV, other than a little back seat flying in an -8 and a F1 Rocket. My safety pilot had many hours in an RV-8 and various other aircraft. Having him along was a big confidence boost and he helped me understand what to expect from the RV during the first take-off and landings.

Having flown mostly in a Cherokee 140, I applied too much right rudder on the first take-off and, though he didn't take the controls, he kept me from potentially ruining years of work and a fine RV-7A.

BTW, it was nice meeting you at the Garmin training last August. I now know how to pronounce Olathe (Ohlaythee)
RV-7A - Slider - N495KL - First flt 27 Jan 17
O-360-A4M w/ AFP FM-150 FI, Dual PMags, Vetterman Trombone Exh, SkyTech starter, BandC Alt (PP failed after 226 hrs)
Catto 3 blade NLE, FlightLines Interior, James cowl, plenum & intake, Anti-Splat -14 seat mod and nose gear support
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:15 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 2,737
Default Pilot

I think it is a beneficial program... assuming the additional pilot meets the appropriate qualifications as is NOT just along for the ride.

It should enhance safety as one pilot can devote 100% of their time to flying the aircraft while the other can watch all pertinent systems and indications...
Aerospace Engineer '88


Dues+ Paid 2020,...Thanks DR+
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:22 PM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,514

I would have used it if it had been available at the time of my first flight. I was a Private Pilot with around 130 hours total time from 23 years earlier. I did a Flight review in a C-172 and did around 10 hours solo in that prior to getting another 7 hours of transition training in an RV-7A. Then my first flight in the RV-9A (I did have a chase plane, which managed most of the radio calls).
Thankfully my first flights were uneventful (other than having radio COMM issues). Having someone along with more experience would have been much less stress. I really don't see a downside to the program as long as the additional pilot meets the guidelines.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 900 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and Flying Over the Hills Blog
2021 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor, Pre Buys, Build assistance - canopy/tanks/fiberglass/electrical/repairs
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:26 PM
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mulde35d mulde35d is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Clarksville, TN
Posts: 244
Default Pilot requirements

I recently read the pilot qualifications section for this program and disagree with one part. The credit given for completion of an accredited test pilot school is aircraft category specific. Having graduated from USNTPS rotary wing course I would argue we received significant training in fixed wing flight characteristics to include numerous flights in C12s, T6, Leer variable stability trainer, and T34 aircraft. I disagree that graduating from the RW track does not allow credit for FW flight test. If the intent is to get another individual in the aircraft who understands flight test and provides experience for those first few critical flights, then their is no reason that experience even in a different primary track shouldn’t be recognized. I would eliminate the restriction from the pilot qualification section to potentially increase the number of available pilots who qualify to assist other builders at this point in their project. Feel free to PM me if you would like additional detail.
RV-14A Sold
RV-10 Empennage - Searching
Wing - On Order

Last edited by mulde35d : 04-11-2019 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:58 PM
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bkervaski bkervaski is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 1,869

Yes! I think it's a wonderful. Especially for first flights.

Having a set of "expert eyes and ears" with you really makes a difference.

Your in sensory overdrive listening for sounds and feeling the airplane and watching the numbers, it can be a bit overwhelming.

Having an expert in the second seat to monitor and offer advice really calms things down and lets you focus on flying your airplane. (Thanks again, Vic!)
RV-14A #140376
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2019 Bronze Lindy
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:07 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 12,840
Default It?s a beneficial program!

I used it on our Tundra program in order to get our inexperienced partner involved in the flight testing of the airplane he did so much work on. It was educational for him, no doubt!

I am not thrilled with the concept for first flights in our simple aircraft - the extra person really adds no value to the testing of the aircraft (for first flights), and it does risk an additional soul when there isn?t a real need - except emotional. Thaty?s my old NASA risk mitigation talking, of course.

But except for that, I believe in the AP, and the EAA might even have collected some statistics by now on if it is doing anything regarding accident rates.
Paul F. Dye
Editor at Large - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:11 PM
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jnorris jnorris is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Oshkosh
Posts: 248

I have worked with several builders to incorporate the additional pilot program into their flight test plan. I think it is a very worthwhile and valuable tool to use in testing a new amateur-built aircraft and I highly recommend it.

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Old 04-11-2019, 04:26 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 2,737
Default Sorry.

"...I am not thrilled with the concept for first flights in our simple aircraft - the extra person really adds no value to the testing of the aircraft..."


it allows the person who is FLYING, to concentrate on FLYING...

That, in itself, is a benefit for first flights...
Aerospace Engineer '88


Dues+ Paid 2020,...Thanks DR+
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:38 PM
mturnerb mturnerb is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Ponte Vedra, FL
Posts: 1,608

I'm planning first flight soon and it will be with Vic Syracuse under the program. I pretty much agree 100% (prospectively) with Bill Kervaski - it will reduce the stress and increase the safety.

There's a good discussion on this topic on the recent EAA webinar discussing their flight test manual/cards.
Turner Billingsley

RV-14A built/sold N14VB
RV-12iS in progress as of October 2020
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