First Trip with the RV14 (and other stuff)

Added 9/7/2016

I got a bit tied up working on things and playing with the new plane, so this is a catch-up compilation of a bunch of stuff.

First some mods and general upgrades

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First, I ordered some brake pads from Aircraft Spruce for my Grove Brakes.  Just for reference sake, they are RA66-106-4K with rivets of part number 105-2 (105-002C).  This is for the Grove 30-4M caliper and 020-001 Torque Plate.   Nice to have those ready just for when you need them.

The 2nd thru 4th photos above are for my final modification to the installation of my Safety Trim.  Refer to this page on for more information on the way it all works, but, this is a microswitch that will sense when the flaps are not in reflex.  This is so that I can force my trim speed to be full 100% speed by lowering my flaps out of reflex.  The RV-14, just like the RV-10, has an almost dangerously fast trim speed to it, that can also make it hard to precisely trim while in high speed cruise. If you had a stuck switch, it could be a big problem in a small amount of time.  Because of this, the elevator should be set to a slower trim speed when in cruise, or in this case, anything over about 100-110kts.  I have an airspeed switch that will do that.  However, if you want to force full-speed trim, such as when coming into the pattern, it's easy to do by adding a microswitch to the flaps that will send the trim to full speed when the flaps are lowered out of reflex.  This switch works real well. The 2nd photo above is the package from the switch I used...I bought it years ago when I did the RV10 referenced in the above link.

Below you see one more mod that I think you should highly consider before you finish your FWF.  The first 2 photos show the peak filed down on one peak of the alternator attach bolt.  You need to install the bolt with the head side forward or the nut will hit the belt.  But, if you ever get stuck in the field and have to remove your alternator, this will be a major pain because the ring gear prevents the bolt from coming out.  If you grind off one peak, you can get the bolt out past the ring gear.

I had an "interesting" experience on my first trip with the RV-14 that prompts me to warn you all....carry a spare key at all times, and have a bunch made up.  My key blanks I got from Aircraft Spruce for $5.50/ea and now I have 5 keys.  I hope I don't ever lose another one.  Yuck!

The 4th photo is just a reminder for myself.  I've run into a little bad luck lately with airplanes and I think I'll just remind myself of it by that stupid fortune cookie note. :)

I also shot some photos of my alternator belt. I carry a spare with me at all times when traveling.  The 4th picture in the bottom of this section is some SMC 4mmx2.5mm Polyurethane tubing.  I recently bought a Mountain High O2D2-2G system for my RV-14 and I wanted some spare tubing for the regulator to unit's easy to find on Amazon.

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Now for a very cool bag!

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When talking to Abby from Flightline about wanting a tool pouch and general cockpit bag for all my spare parts, tool kit, first aid kit, spare oil, and other items, she was telling me about a great bag that she found that would fix all my problems.  She pointed me to Mission Bags, a company that makes some awesome bags, including an "RV Flight Bag".  I didn't hesitate on this one but went all out for the leather one.  This bag was designed to fit behind the seat of the RV's.  It turns out that for the RV-14 it's just a couple inches too tall to fit below the seat back support bar, especially with the latching mechanism in place, but that doesn't mean it won't work well.  Check out the photos of this bag. Plenty of pouches for all your stuff, and, the way it's built, the large center pouch is accessible by simply folding the seat forward.  So you can get into it very easy at fuel stops, or, in flight you can reach pens or other items that are stored in it's external pockets. I put my tiedown rings and many other things in there.  The bag that I got is designed with a hump in the bottom floor of it for a flap tube that some RV's have, but again, the bag isn't RV14 specific and we don't need that feature.  

The only thing that I found lacking in the bag was a better way to secure it on the bottom.  I suppose some RV's would keep it from moving by that flap tube under it, fitting in the slot.  But without that, look at picture #3 below and that is how my bag looked after getting a little light at the top of a loop.  I didn't want my bag to flop around the cabin so I added another strap to it.  The bag has 2 straps that can go around the seat bar that will keep the bag from sliding backwards.  What I did was to cut 2 aluminum strips about 2-3" long and drill holes in each end of the strip.  One end I put under the bolt that holds the seat belt buckle.  That left a free floating hole on the other end of the strip to attach a snap to.  Then I have that snap and webbing go around the bag, and at the back side of the bag is a plastic snap buckle to make it easy to remove.  I added the attach points to all 4 seat belt buckle location so I can move the bag from side to side of the plane as needed, for Weight and Balance or accessibility purposes.

If you're looking for a great bag for your RV, check them out. I shot a photo of the letter that comes with the bags too...they sound like a very good company.

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Flightline RV-14 Cover!

For those who saw my plane at OSH, you already know that Abby made a cover for the RV-14.  That was a prototype that was a great but not perfect fit.  Since then, I've sent it back to her for a little shortening and to have my N-Number embossed onto it.  Now it's complete!  Her covers are about the best thing you'll ever find for traveling with your RV. They keep the inside cool even when it's hot and sunny, and keep the dust and rain out of your plane.

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First Trip - Johnson Creek Idaho!!

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I guess I must operate under the theory of "Go Big or Go (Stay) Home" because my first trip with the RV14 was a big one.
I had been wanting to get to Johnson Creek Idaho for a LONG time, but with the airplane building hadn't really had a good chance.  I promised myself that this year I would get there with the RV-14.  Despite the RV-10 definitely being more comfortable, I wanted to take this plane on a long x/c to see how it did...since it's advertised as an aerobatic x/c plane.  As it turns out, it does do fairly well...however I am still learning a bit about the voodoo that lurks within this IO-390.  I am slightly disappointed to report that this plane when loaded heavy will not keep up with a lightly loaded all.  The RV-10 simply has the edge in cruise.  Now again, this is a lightly loaded RV-10 compared to a heavily loaded RV-14.  But I was still just slightly disappointed.  In fact, we were flying with an RV-9A in our group, and basically they could just about keep up with us on speed, but for 2GPH or more less fuel flow.  (They were very heavily loaded also)

Now one thing I should say is that when it comes to fuel flow, I can't make any accurate statements at this time. I know my flowmeter is calibrated very precisely in my RV-10, but it was not on this trip.  The RV-10 I flew with had never been precisely calibrated.  I had just done one single rough check of my flowmeter and was satisfied that it was close...but never tweaked it all the way in.  The result was saddening, when you compared these 2 uncalibrated systems.  As I flew on the trip, the RV-10 and I would show the exact same fuel flow...lets just say 10.2gph at maybe 10,500' or 8,500'.  The difference was, the RV-10 had it's throttle pulled back at least a couple inches, and I was running all out...both of us L.O.P.  Now the silver lining in the cloud was this...after the trip, we compared out gas receipts and I consistently bought about 3 gallons or so per leg less fuel than he did.  And his flow meter seemed to also be reading a little high.  So it is not possible that we had the same fuel flow rate.  I was just still a bit sad that the RV-14 and RV-10 aren't more closely speed matched for trips.  In the end that means rather than flight planning for 160kts, I'd have to flight plan for maybe 150kts.  Not that big a deal, and when flying in groups you will never usually get your top performance anyway.

At any rate, I have a lot to do...take more trips, record fuel burns, and ultimately calibrate my flow meter.

Additionally, I have some weird stuff to figure out, such as when flying the IO-540 if I'm LOP and WOT, and I power back, my EGT's drop.  Makes sense.  But, if I'm flying the IO-390 and I am WOT and I power back, my EGT's rise.  I have no idea what the heck is up with that.  I can tell you that the RV-14 seems to get high on EGT's any time you aren't WOT.  So if you're climbing out, you probably want to be WOT for best cooling.  I also, despite having set my ground lean down to 10-20 rpm drop, seem to have a quite a bit of backfire anytime I pull the throttle way way back in flight...and you can see the EGT's rise when you do this...indicating that fuel is burning in the pipes.  So to me, the engine seems to be set up too rich when not at idle, but maybe I"m missing something.

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The day we left we had some ceilings to deal with, which we dealt with by flying above them.  Much smoother up top.  In my RV-10 I have WSI weather, but in the RV-14 I have only ADS-B Weather.   I found this to be a huge disappointment.  We spent quite a bit of time out of ADS-B coverage when flying near the Rockies.  Not only that, but in the row below you can see that at times we were having to scoot over mountain ridges, but under cloud ceilings.  We were 2000AGL or less some of the time, and during those times, we not only had no traffic, but no weather or anything either....this is precisely when you need it the MOST!!  So my advice still stands. If you fly lots of x/c flights, invest in satellite based weather such as SiriusXM or WSI.  The ride and trip was smooth until we got over the mountains heading to Salt Lake City to join up with Sean and his RV-10.  We went that route to avoid all sorts of rain over the Montana rockies.  Once at KBTF, we had some hot weather, saw Sean's new plane, and headed out for Johnson Creek.  There are lots of wild fires out there this year, so we had some smokey haze along the way but it was all easily doable.

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Johnson Creek is a spectacular place to camp.  It's a great runway and any RV can handle it if you're careful.  I would highly recommend watching some youtube videos and reading things about how to fly in there if you do it, but otherwise I'd consider it a medium toughness for a normal pilot, and a beginners strip for a bush pilot.

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I really didn't get enough pictures taken on this trip, but I had to grab a couple of KPOY, Powell Municipal that we stopped at on the way home.  We flew over Yellowstone Park on the way home because it wasn't much out of the way and it provided a good pass thru the mountains. Then stopped for fuel at KPOY.  The airport is sloped and on a plateau, and it's a pretty cool takeoff when the ground drops out from you.

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Quick day trip

With one kid that needs to shop for a college, I found myself one day out for a flight to take her on a college tour.  Just had a couple of pics from that outing.  It's amazing to think that one of the kids that built my RV-10 with me back in 2005 is now planning her next year of going to college.

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