RV-14 Demo Flight - OSH 2014

Having not touched the build since about April, I was happy to finally be back at OSH and get a chance to touch a real RV-14 up close.  I got signed up for the demo flight, to see if continuing the build would be "worth it", and give me a little motivation boost.  I'll just cut right to the chase and here's my report...

The RV-14 is a beautiful plane from the outside. I think Van's did exceptionally well in choosing the colors and scheme for this baby.  I actually think I'll do something similar, but of course use the same colors as what I used on the RV-10...not just because I like them a lot, but because it gives me just three paint colors to worry about.  I may do one small change though...I'm not yet sure, and clearcoat my entire plane when I paint.  We'll see later on that.

Anyway, climbing in to the RV-14 I knew what to expect, from sitting in the demo last year. It is far nicer to be in than the RV-7 that I almost went with.  I took a flight with a friend who built many planes, including an RV-7, and after flying in his I was sadly disappointed in how low into the cockpit you feel.  Your view isn't as nice, and it is a little tight getting into.  With the RV-14, not so much.  You have a great view, and the cockpit is very comfortable.  Keep in mine that I'm currently maintaining my "fatty" status, weighing in at maybe 240-245 during OSH.  Yeah, far more than I want, but we'll just keep working on that, hopefully faster than working on the plane.

The panel of the demo plane was laid out better than last year, with a little more EFII (is that plural for EFIS, or is it EFISES? :) ) and I found the seating to be comfortable in the as-built configuration.  The view was great, the canopy operation was nice, and I was absolutely thrilled to have a sun shade and consider that required equipment.

It didn't take long though to find a couple things I didn't like as much.

First, while there is adequate space in the cockpit, I don't really consider the RV-14 to be "large" anymore.  It certainly is more crowded than my RV-10.  My right arm, just above my elbow, hit the side longeron immediately under the canopy on the high sidewall. The RV-10 has pockets in the door for elbow room, and I'm going to miss that a lot...especially in winter.  I'm going to have to find a way to cover that longeron with something to keep it from being a freezing mass of metal on my arm in the winters in Wisconsin.  And, below that longeron it does open up, but directly to the exterior skin.  In the RV-10 there was room to insulate the side walls and cover with cover panels. I don't think this will be as practical in the RV14.  I think we'll have to have thin sidewall insulation (for those of us who want to insulate) and find a way to over-wrap the exposed aluminum on the sides without reducing cockpit space.  I probably won't insulate and pad as much as I did in the RV-10, but I'm definitely going to do some of that, as in this part of the country it would just be too cold during some seasons.

The next thing was the push-pull controls.  I mentioned to the guy giving the demo ride that I wanted a quadrant.  He thought that they probably sell a quadrant that would work, but he hadn't heard of it being any sort of standard option on the RV-14.  I will definitely want a quadrant, without a doubt, so that will take some additional planning.

The only other thing was the sun exposure.  I didn't realize how much more comfortable the RV-10 really is, until I got in it 15 minutes after getting out of the RV-14.  It is much more comfortable, much larger, much nicer to be protected from the sun, and all around a "better" airplane from a comfort perspective.  That said, they are really two totally different airplanes with slightly different missions also.

Flight wise, it ran smoothly, handled well, and did everything the way RV's do them, so I had no complaints with the ride.  I think it'll be a great plane, and I decided I should continue building.  I have now ordered my prop, and engine, and have many of my avionics that will be going into the plane, so there are only a few things left to gather, and now that September has hit, it's time to start pounding away on it again.  I think that the RV-14 is a definite step up in airplane kit and comfort from the smaller RV's, but for those of us that built and fly RV-10's, it's going to be a bit of a step down.  If you were going to do an X/C trip and had both planes at your disposal, the RV-10 would win hands-down every time. But for going out and playing in the local skies, or the occasional X/C, the RV-14 will suit quite nicely.


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