March 25, 2023

by Michael Stephan

In the morning of May 6th, the RV-10, N56VA took to the skies for the first time with Charlie Wright the builder and the pilot.

A small gathering of curious onlookers watched the event, just a few of the Grand Prairie builders including his son Ben.

Since the RV-10 had a new Lycoming engine under the cowl, Charlie needed to make a longer flight to help with the beak-in of the O-540. To do that he stayed in the airspace just above the airport and out of the Class-B and orbited for about an hour, coordinated ahead
of time with the GPM tower. It didn’t hurt that the Airport Manager is also a friend.

Since that first flight Charlie has made a few more flights. He is employing the Additional Pilot Program and is nearly finished with the Initial Tests Package (ITP). Once finish with that he will add an additional pilot on further test flights. His two sons Ben and Chris are both experienced pilots and I’m sure are very interested in being that additional pilot.

Charlie pushing the RV-10 back in the hangar after a successful and uneventful first flight.


N56VA’s dual Garmin G3X IFR instrument panel (Photo when airplane was under construction.)

Charlie did such an excellent job on the build that there very few squawks. After the first flight the examination under the cowl reveal a leak free engine install. The only issue was a slight discoloration on the inside of the cowling from the heat off the exhaust. On a recent flight, I monitored the speed on one of the flight tracking apps and saw a ground speed of 203 mph, which doesn’t seem that remarkable except it was done without gear leg fairings and wheel pants. So, the RV-10 is going to be much faster that the RV-9A he built previous to this RV.

The next step is to continue the Phase I flight testing, using the steps in the Additional Pilot Program and the EAA Flight Test Manual.

N56VA is a full IFR equiped airplane with a Garmin G3X panel. So, there is plenty of discovery and tweaking that will happen during testing.

First Flights are rare and we are excited about our first one of 2021. One, I hope, of several that we have this year. As any builder will attest, completing an aircraft is an exercise in small victories and patience, and this is a second completion of Charlie’s.

Congratulations Charlie on an excellent build!!

Go here for more information on the Additional Pilot Program