By Michael Stephan
I am excited to announce, although a little late, that another Chapter 168 member has built and flown and airplane.
Chris Smith RV-9A flew for the first time on May 26 at Hicks airport with Roy Greer as the test pilot.
Chris took his first flight in N682TX on July 2nd. Chris’ work keeps him very busy and he is diligently working on the phase I test period. Without the wheel pants installed, Chris reports a full throttle, fixed pitch prop, speed of 138 KIAS.
I first visited Chris’s RV-9A project in 2014, which you can see in the April 2014 newsletter In that article I predicted that he would fly within the year (I’m terrible at predicting). Well, Chris travels often for work and that slowed progress. He moved the project to Jay Pratt’s hangar at Hicks to help get over those last hurdles and the RV-9A is still currently there as Chris puts more test hours on it working towards the end of Phase I.
So far, without wheel pants it needs right rudder. If it is still that way after the pants are installed, he will install a trim tab to take away that need for rudder input.
The plane may not stay here for long as Chris has taken a job transfer which will send him to California for a few years. We hope he is here long enough to get his Chapter 168 First Flight plaque and be able to tell us more about his journey through the project and update us on the flight testing.
I hope that his flight is the first of several first flights we have on the horizon. We have about 6 projects skirting the edge of completion. I think they are just a few months away, but I don’t have a strong history of making correct predictions.
I am proud of Chapter 168’s history of producing flying airplanes, and we have another project flying thanks to Chris’ hard work. It is a good looking RV-9A.
On Sunday May 6th, RV-8 N8281V took to the skies for the first time. With Mark Merrell, its builder, at the controls it flew for an hour.
Mark reports that the flight was uneventful. The engine was new and needed the hour to aid in the break-in. The flight circled the Parker County airport at 4500 ft. The autopilot flew part of the flight and worked well.
“I’ve done my speed tests and am happy with the results.” He noted.
As of last weekend, Mark has put ten hours on the RV-8 and has done the first oil change. We will get more reports as the phase one testing continues.
Mark has experience ferrying planes for Van Bortel in Arlington. So climbing into an unfamiliar plane isn’t unfamiliar to him. Although you can’t be any more familiar with an airplane that you built yourself, the flying qualities are however a new experience.
I became familiar with this RV-8 when it spent some construction time at Grand Prairie Airport. I would see Mark’s hangar door open, and I couldn’t resit seeing what he was working on. He had most of the airframe finished and was installing systems and avionics. I was interested in the electronic system controls of the VPX system. Designed by Vertical Power Systems, it replaces circuit breakers, relays, switches and displays the status of the entire electrical system on his EFIS display screen. It uses Electronic circuit breakers in place of mechanical ones. It also has functions that control the flaps and indicate their position as well as trim relays and their position. Built in is a
wig-wag function for the lights. External switches connect to the box, but electrical loads can also be switched using the display screen interface. That box does a some of neat stuff.
N8281V is IFR capable, which is not easy to accomplish in the limited space of an RV-8 panel. For his panel Mark chose Garmin radios and intercom, Advanced Flight Systems EFIS and autopilot, and a Dynon D-10 as redundant flight instrumentation. His panel is very clean and well done.
Mark has a bit more finishing to do before paint, but this is a very nice RV-8.
EAA Chapter 168 congratulates Richard Wingfield for his August 13th maiden flight of his just completed RV-14. The speeds and handling are exactly what Vans Aircraft has advertised with the 210 hp Lycoming IO-390. A little bigger engine for a little bigger airframe yields the same as the previous RVs. The flight was uneventful and everything worked as expected. The big challenge was getting the Garmin G3X touch system configured. And Richard is really excited about the performance of that panel.
Richard was early to order his slow (QB was not available) build kit. Yet Vans was a little slow to get the final kits out after the 2012 Oshkosh debut. So there was about six-month delay in getting this RV-14 into the air. According to Vans website there are now 12 RV-14s flying with the tail wheel version like Richards being only a couple.
As to a little background, this is Richards third RV. The first being an RV-6 that he bought in the early 1900s. It was an incredible build completed in Georgetown and was the first in Texas. The second was an RV-8 that he built in the 2010-time frame. And now this RV-14.
Finally, Richard held an appreciation dinner for all the help he received on this RV-14. As someone said, the restaurant parking lot was full of cars. But the table only included eleven people, all from either Chapters 168 or 1246. This is a good example of how aviation people with amazing talents are more than happy to help someone get their airplane into the air. The RV-14 is a different breed from previous RVs so sometime we need to get Richard to tell us the story.
Congratulations to Dean Eiland for the first flight of his RV-9 N369RV in August 2014. He was honored with a plaque and cake at our August chapter meeting.