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  #1  
Old 10-05-2011, 02:57 PM
Jack Tyler Jack Tyler is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 219
Default Some help understanding the RV-6 choice, please...

I've made a bit of a pilgrimage here at VAF and have surely benefited greatly by the advice so far...and now I find myself here on the '6' forum.

I originally came to VAF because of my interest in building a RV-12, after a great introduction by Mitch Locke. However, I've been troubled by its low value equation (cost + effort vs. the size, payload & level of performance provided). That led me in turn to the RV-9. (We have cross-country plans and, aside from my Navy son who can meet his need in other ways, no one has aerobatic aspirations). I was again provided a very pleasing intro flight in a 9A (beautiful 779RV based at CRG) but, on reflection, both the total kit cost and the build time are higher than I'm willing to accept. And so...we now find ourselves (Patricia is also a pilot) looking at 6's & 6A's out there on the For Sale lots. But other than the Vans website and some unproductive lurking here, we really don't have a feel for what we'd be accepting (relative to the 9 and 7 series) if going with the older design and the no-CNC kit build.

I'm no doubt missing some key topics...but could I please ask some of you to address the following Q's that we have?
-- is the 6 more 'twitchy' (one notch past 'responsive', let's say) than the later side-by-side models? (I realize the 9A I tried on isn't quite like a 7).
-- for those of you who are familiar with the later SxS models, is the 6 noticeably smaller and/or with a less functional luggage area? are there any significant differences in the form factor (e.g. range of seat adjustment, wing loading, slow flight characteristics)?
-- we don't have tailwheel endorsements; just how much more of a handful is a 6 than a 6A in crosswinds, assuming the training is good and the students are capable?
-- and perhaps our main concern: how much more variability in build quality might exist in a 6 model (vs. the later CNC-punched models), and so more of a risk if the pre-buy isn't as thorough as we thought we would be getting?

If there are some other topics worth considering, we'd surely welcome hearing about them. And many thanks for your patience and coaching as we (continue to) climb the RV Learning Curve.

Jack
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2011, 03:38 PM
L.Adamson's Avatar
L.Adamson L.Adamson is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: KSLC
Posts: 4,021
Default

As to being twitchy, I'll just say that the 9 is more sedate. I prefer the control feel of the 6. It's not tough at all, once you realize it takes less input than a Cessna 172. If riding across country in either.........they feel much the same..........smooth air or turbulence. The 9's advantage is a 10 mph slower landing speed. In most cases, the 6 will climb faster, and fly faster than the 9, when the 9 is running a 160 hp versus the 180 for the 6. The 180 HP 6 can be as economical fuel wise, as the 9, when throttled back. Room and baggage wise, the difference is so little, that you won't notice.

BTW--- my 1996 RV6A kit, had pre-punched wing skins. The spar was also professionally built, as many were, as an option.

L.Adamson
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  #3  
Old 10-05-2011, 03:44 PM
Louise Hose's Avatar
Louise Hose Louise Hose is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton, Nevada --- A34
Posts: 1,469
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Tyler View Post
I'm no doubt missing some key topics...but could I please ask some of you to address the following Q's that we have?
-- is the 6 more 'twitchy' (one notch past 'responsive', let's say) than the later side-by-side models? (I realize the 9A I tried on isn't quite like a 7).
-- for those of you who are familiar with the later SxS models, is the 6 noticeably smaller and/or with a less functional luggage area? are there any significant differences in the form factor (e.g. range of seat adjustment, wing loading, slow flight characteristics)?
-- we don't have tailwheel endorsements; just how much more of a handful is a 6 than a 6A in crosswinds, assuming the training is good and the students are capable?
-- and perhaps our main concern: how much more variability in build quality might exist in a 6 model (vs. the later CNC-punched models), and so more of a risk if the pre-buy isn't as thorough as we thought we would be getting?
1. The responsive/twitchiness of the plane will probably vary from plane-to-plane as much or more than from model-to-model. As a low time (~350 hours) pilot when I bought my -6, I thought of it as slightly twitchy, but no more. Certainly more responsive than the -9, tho.
2. The -6 is tighter and carries a little less luggage than the -7. Significant? Maybe. But, the price difference is also significant. I'd judge the price difference more significant than the other issues. I don't have experience to comment on the flight differences.
3. It was certainly a challenge to learn the tailwheel as I had less than 2 hours in TW. But, good transition training took care of that issue. I expect I spent an additional 5-7 hours in training because of it, however. Then again, I haven't bent a front fork or flipped over the nose.
4. Variability in build quality is a great question. Yes, from what I have seen, -6s commonly have much greater variability. But, there are duds in all models, so I wouldn't purchase without a thorough pre-purchase inspection. After six years of ownership, I continue to judge the build quality on my -6 as excellent.
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  #4  
Old 10-05-2011, 03:45 PM
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Neal@F14 Neal@F14 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 2,182
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I don't have any experience riding in/flying either the 9 or the 12 but can offer these comments/opinions.

The 6 and 7 have almost the same exact interior "elbow room" to me. The 7 (and 9 since same fuselage) has better headroom, legroom, and baggage area... and bigger fuel tanks too. Neither the 6 or 7 feel especially "twitchy" to me. The RV-4, I thought, felt more responsive than either the 6 or 7. The RV I've got the most hours in, is an RV-8 and it's got by far the "twitchiest" response of the bunch.... which I've grown to absolutely love

However, when compared to any brand C or brand P spamcan, all the RVs models seem twitchy as heck . After flying for nearly 1000 hours in a Cherokee, I'd developed plenty of bad habits, and learning to fly RV's (first 25 hours in an RV-4) was almost like learning to fly an airplane all over again.

I'd already had my tailwheel endorsement (Cub, Supercub, Citabria, C140) and to me the RV is even milder-mannered tailwheel than those 4... especially the RV-8, it's a piece of cake. The RV-6 lands just about like an RV-4 except since you're not sitting on the centerline in the 6, it sure feels a little squirrelier than the 4. Landing any of the tailwheel models in a crosswind requires you to acquire the proper technique thru hands-on experience and training, so from that perspective, if you're not already good at taildragger crosswind landings, of course the -A models will certainly be easier to do crosswind landings... but once you acquire the skills, then neither nosewheel nor tailwheel offers advantage as long as you're not tackling a crosswind that's beyond your personal skill level.
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  #5  
Old 10-05-2011, 03:49 PM
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jbagley jbagley is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Aloha, or
Posts: 282
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I think there is great value in the older rv6, as you've found. I've had a 6+ foot passenger in my rv6a no problem. It's a small cockpit, but comfortable. I'm sure you can find one locally to sit in for comparison with the rv9.

I think the biggest thing you will find looking at the older used rv6 market is a wider range of build quality. I spent a long time looking at rv4's before settling on an unfinished rv6a kit. Saw a few scary airplanes in the used market that I wouldn't buy at any price. Don't skimp on the pre-buy inspection!

Hope that helps!
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  #6  
Old 10-05-2011, 04:08 PM
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Mel Mel is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 11,229
Default On cockpit room...

To be precise, the RV 6, 7, and 9 are the same width. The seat pan of the 7 & 9 have been lowered to give additional head room and the "foot wells" are longer to accommodate taller pilots. These changes are somewhat minor and can be controlled to some extent with varying the cushion thickness on the -6.
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USAF Vet, High School E-LSA Project Mentor.
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  #7  
Old 10-05-2011, 04:29 PM
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pierre smith pierre smith is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,911
Default The -6's are super good buys!

Jack, I flew my -6A for 5 years and 500 hours, giving around 75 transition trainees checkouts. To a man, they loved my airplane...180 horse, 3 blade Catto and they had -7's -8A's and 9A's completed and ready to fly.

The -6 or -6A's can be bought for way less than the sum of their parts and are exceptional airplanes.

You would do well to contact Jan Bussell near Orlando and fly both a -6 and -6A since he uses both for transition training.

Res 863 467 9354
Cell 561 628 2105.

Best,
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  #8  
Old 10-05-2011, 04:37 PM
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n5lp n5lp is offline
fugio ergo sum
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Carlsbad, NM
Posts: 1,912
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Tyler View Post
...is the 6 more 'twitchy' (one notch past 'responsive', let's say) than the later side-by-side models?...
It is difficult for me to think of any properly built RV as anything close to twitchy. They just aren't. What they are is wonderfully responsive and slop free and those are attributes that contribute to making many phases of flight easier than in typical airplanes. A good example would be a cross-wind landing in strong and gusty wind conditions. That control authority and precision give a confidence I just don't have in a factory airplane where you have to horse it around. Another example would be formation flight. When you see how steadily and precisely 10s of RVs can fly together in bumpy conditions you can see they aren't twitchy.

Sorry, I just hate it when people use "that" word about RVs. I think Curtis Pitts said something like he "has never seen a twitchy airplane but he has seen twitchy pilots." Well I almost feel that way but have flown a couple of airplanes that did indeed seem a little twitchy, a term I would use when the an airplane is very sensitive but not very stable and without much feedback in the controls.

As to the tailwheel, I recommend against buying an airplane with a tailwheel until you have gotten some tailwheel instruction and decided how you like it.

The RV-6 is a terrific bargain today.
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2011, 05:55 PM
Bob Axsom Bob Axsom is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,685
Default I somewhat agree with n51p

I owned a Piper Archer II for 22 years and accumulated over 4,000 PIC hours in it. When I got a ride in Old Blue (RV-6) with Ken Scott in 1996 at North Plains, OR I was surprized at how it flew just like the Archer as far as smoothness is concerned. There was absolutely no tendency to overshoot the desired attitude with any control input, it just gets there faster. With the same engine I think it is faster than any RV except the RV-8. I took me 8 years to build our RV-6A and I have been flying and modifying it for speed for another 6 to 7 years. I love our RV-6A it like Burt Munro loved his Indian Scout.

Build quality - the areas where you are going to find dangerous builder problems are not those that are going to be eliminated by prepunched rivet patterns. One can build a poor quality RV-9 or a 7 or 8 just as surely as an RV-6.

I am interested in speed and travel (and good looks) and nothing else so my views are slanted that way.

If you are interested in speed of the various models you can go to www.sportairrace.org, click on "Records and Stats" then "League Statistics", then "All Speeds by Aircraft Type" and an Excel file will be down loaded to your computer with 1,073 cross country air race flights sorted by aircraft type and speed. This will allow you to get a good idea of how they rank in performance (to me that is speed!).

Bob Axsom

Last edited by Bob Axsom : 10-05-2011 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Typos
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  #10  
Old 10-05-2011, 07:28 PM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
 
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Location: Sidney, BC, Canada
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I've flown a -4, -6, -6A, -7, -8, and -9A at various times. The one I have the most time in is my -6, that I bought used. I find that with the exception of the -9, all the RV's perform pretty close to the same. The -9 loses a bit in roll responsiveness, and seems to refuse to descend when you throttle back... It feels like it will glide forever.

So far, my wife and I have no problem getting ourselves and camping baggage into the -6 with full tanks. We're both active people and not particularly heavy, which helps a lot. But if your weights tend to the higher end of the scale, you may want the -7 for the extra carrying capacity.
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