Real world numbers for a Vans RV-9

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by Dav8or, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    I'm hoping to get responses from actual RV-9 owners on the real world numbers for that plane. Both performance numbers and ownership costs.

    I am toying with the idea of selling my Mooney and buying experimental. At this point, the Vans line of aircraft are the only ones that make sense for me. I think I would be happiest with an RV-7/A, but they are priced a bit out of my price range. That leaves me with the the RV-9/A and possibly the RV-6/A.

    I am a little reluctant on the 6 because it is more of a "hand built" airplane and more dependent on builder skill for it's quality and consistency. My understanding is the 7 and later have the benefit of the CNC matched hole construction, so there is uniformity, better quality assurance and replacement parts are easier to fit. Also the 7 and 9 have many design refinements over the 6.

    While I have not totally discounted the 6, I am most curious about the 9 at this point. I have read all the stuff on the Vans site about it's performance, but I am really more interested in actual owner's experiences. It seems the vast majority of 9s have been built with carbureted 160hp engines and a fixed prop. I would much prefer an injected engine and a C/S prop, but that does not seem to be the Vans way.

    Anyhow, any help, advice or comments from owners would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Line Up and Wait

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    the reason that there are not a lot of C/S prop FI engines is that the plane was designed with a 235 FP in mind. the 160 is about the biggest that I would put on that airframe. there are also C/G problems with the C/S on that airframe I have been told. the performance numbers that that you see in the real world are what van has listed. a bigger engine on an RV will give you little on top end, mostly it will give you better climb. My 180 C/S RV-4 is within 2 knots of what vans says it should do. If i had it to do over, i would not put a C/S on my RV. the best RV's are the ones built light and simple.
    as for design refinements, i wouldn't say that. the 6/7 change was mostly to reduce the parts count in the factory. make the 7 and 8 more common, as they were the top selling kits at the time. most 6's are built better than any spam cans out there. I would not shy away from a 6 if you find one that checks off the other boxes on your list. I favor the look of the 6/7 over the nine. personal choice, but I really do not like the look of the skinny wing and rectangular stab the 9. also, what fun is it if you cannot get upside down every now and then.
    all models of the RV are great airplanes, just look for what you want in an airplane.

    bob
     
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  3. zaitcev

    zaitcev Pattern Altitude

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    In addition to what Mr. Dav8or asked, it would be great if someone chimed in with experience of IO-290 in RV-9A. Every time one of those shows up, it's a screaming deal. Is it an unsupported motor, unreliable, or what?
     
  4. Craig

    Craig Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Pop over to Doug Reeve's sight and join up. Anything you would want to know RV is there.
     
  5. jwyatt

    jwyatt Filing Flight Plan

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    Ditto on Craig's recommendation for VAF to find plenty of info on the RV's. I built & fly a 9A, injected 160HP. I had the engine shop set up the CS-capable engine for a FP prop, to avoid the extra cost of the CS at the time I was building it. I did my transition training in a CS-equipped plane, and yeah, you notice the performance difference. The prop I put on turned out to be overpitched, so my performance is not optimal as I can't get enough RPM; the prop will go back to Catto after the summer for a repitch.

    Check out Catto for FP props -- his RV series has a good reputation for performance. There are also some ground-adjustable props (Whirlwind, Sensenich) that builders are starting to use. I look at the CS swap once in awhile and tally up the price, then remember why I have a FP... If I had it to do again I may choose one of those ground-adjustable options so the pitch could be dialed in without having to ship the thing around.

    Performance-wise (remember this is suboptimal b/c of my prop situation) I plan 145kts at 7gph (LOP cruise); I expect to hit Van's published numbers with a prop change.
     
  6. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Seems silly to have a slick exp aircraft and not take advantage of FI and a CS prop.

    I hate cruse props on take off, even more so on a G/A

    Climb props suck on a X/C


    Hence the CS prop.


    Outside of an ab inito trainer or a J3 or ultralight, CS is really the way to go.
     
  7. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    Why the aversion to C/S props?? The engine is set up for it, so... ?
     
  8. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    Whoever the hell Doug Reeves is or where I might find his site. :rolleyes:
     
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  9. Craig

    Craig Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sorry...I'm on a number of sites that get kinda cranky about direct mentioning other sites that are somewhat similar. Doug's site is vansairforce.net or .com, either will get you there.:)
     
  10. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    Cost is the biggest factor but if you figure the performance difference over 1000 hrs or so the reduced fuel burn and faster cruise and climb pays for it. Don
     
  11. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    Yeah, I'm starting to get that the RV-9 is the cheap bastard's plane of the RV line up. I see a lot of them with carbs, fixed prop, steam gauges, no interior panels, etc.
     
  12. mcpilot

    mcpilot Pre-Flight

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    Hey there. Just sold my Mooney 201 and now fly an RV7a. I love the plane. It has an O360 and CS. It is about 10 -12 kts faster than my Mooney. The 6 and 7 are aerobatic the 9 is not. The 9 is a great buy though. They are still very fast and very nice to fly. I would not hesitate to buy a 6 if you find one you like.

    The biggest difference of my 7 over the Mooney is handling. Nice in roll and pitch no float on landing.
     
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  13. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Line Up and Wait

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    not at all, it was designed for a different role. it has a different wing, it has a slower stall speed, it is not as crisp handling, it is not aerobatic, its is somewhat easier to build than a 7 or 8, it was designed as a lower power, easier, as if any RV is hard, handling aircraft. fixed pitch, carb, steam gauges is what it is designed for. those that want bigger engines, C/S props, tend to pick the 7 or 8. a RV-9, and all RV's in my option, should be built light and simple.
    bob
     
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  14. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    With the price of a Skyview why would anyone put steam in, doubt it would save much money at all.
     
  15. jwyatt

    jwyatt Filing Flight Plan

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    No aversion at all, in my case it was simply a cost consideration, but I wanted to have the option to switch later on. It would have been about 10k for the prop & governor, I have about 4K in the FP prop.

    Lots of variation in all the RV models. The other 9A in the hangar with mine is CS, FI IO-360, full IFR panel, complete interior... I chose the 9 because I came to it as a low time pilot, mission was VFR fun flying and x/c travel; I plan to get my instrument ticket eventually and the rumor during my research was that the 9 is more stable than the 6-7-8 models. Started the build just a couple years out of college so money was an issue...hence the basic build with provisions to add the other stuff later as funds permit.
     
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  16. flyingriki

    flyingriki Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Hate to have to say this, and its going to tick off some RV guys, but....they are famous for exaggerating performance. You'll hear same model, same engine, same prop, same conditions, wide variations in performance. We've been chuckling about it for years. RV guys chuckle about it too!
     
  17. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Pattern Altitude

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    im sure a used CS prop can be found for less than retail. Especially at the experimental level, don't be cutting those blades with unnecessary "prop overhauls" and the things will last forever.
     
  18. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    Real world cruise speed for the RV6,7 and 8 with a IO or O-360 and a C/S prop is right at 200mph. My RV7 with 210 hp would cruise 205 at 75%. My friend's RV8A with a little more HP will do about 210. Another RV6A I flew with 180hp would do low 190s. They are all docile enough for a low time pilot. The RV8A builder had 60hrs tt in a Cherokee and we checked him out in less than 10 hours same with the RV6A owner was also a low time guy. The other good reason for a C/S prop is for CG. It will go past aft CG with a lighter fixed pitch prop with two up and much baggage even if you are under gross. They are great flying airplanes and nice cross country cruisers. Don
     
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  19. FORANE

    FORANE Cleared for Takeoff

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    I own a RV-9A and have it for sale.
    They are super easy to fly and a safe aircraft with a low 38 knot stall speed.
    Lands easier than a 152.
    Ours has a 150hp low compression 7.5:1 cylinders and we see 150 kt cruise with a sensenich metal cruise prop.
    Climb solo is 1500 fpm or 1000 fpm with 2 onboard and will maintain a climb better than 500 fpm through 12000.
    We have done 500 nm cross country and had an hour fuel reserve.
    You are far away or I wold say come on over and I would take you for a ride so you could see for yourself.
     
  20. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    Many people have no idea how to measure and report performance. It begins with being able to accurately interpret engine power, which can't be done without both MP and RPM, plus corrections for density altitude. Then you have to accurately determine TAS at that setting. Too often you see " I was running 2500 rpm and the GPS was showing 160 knots". That information alone is almost worthless.

    Van's site shows real world performance figures. If I was looking for an RV, I'd expect it to be within a couple of percentage points of the factory numbers for the airframe and engine combination.
     
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  21. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    Kyleb, Read my post. Those are true airspeeds at 75% power. I didn't even look at the Vans numbers before I posted those and they match Vans numbers almost exactly. Don
     
  22. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    I was trying to build on your post, not discredit it. No harm intended.
     
  23. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well it made me look so the OP can look also and compare my numbers so your right it did build on the info. No offense taken. Dave I have built one RV7, finished another for a friend, helped build a RV6 and I have several hundred hours in all the models except the 3 and 14. The 6 is the best deal as they run thousands of dollars less than a comparable 7 but is tough to find a really nice one. They are a lot of fun and very capable airplanes so don't worry about being low time. My friend is giving primary instruction to a kid right now in his Dad's RV6. He solo'd it in about 15 hrs and is well on his way to his PPL. Don
     
  24. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    I'm not worried about transition at all. I have been flying for almost 20 years, have well over a 1000 hours, most of it complex and checked out in lots of different planes and this would just be another. In fact on Wednesday I'm getting my BFR done as a check out in a Rockwell Commander 114 as I have never flown one of those. It should be fun.

    My concern about he 6 is just as you have posted. I worry about quality consistency due to it being a pre "matched hole" CNC kit. The quality of an RV-6 seems to be more about the builder than the Vans factory. The 7 and later are leaving the factory in such a way that quality consistency is much more assured... or so I have read. I agree that a 6 is the bargain and maybe I'll have to knuckle under and find a really good one somewhere. I have also heard that parts replacement is much easier on the 7 and later because the parts fit from the factory, whereas the earlier planes require custom fitting.

    I am interested in the RV-9 because it seems to be a good value too with it being later model construction, but I am discouraged by the basic simplicity I see in the Barnstormer's offerings. Carbureted O-320s, fixed pitch props and absolutely terrible panels. I have learned from my Mooney experience that you always want more and I really feel like I want fuel injection and a CS prop. More speed is desirable too. I would focus on the RV-7 if it weren't for the price.
     
  25. FORANE

    FORANE Cleared for Takeoff

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    These planes fly so well with a fixed pitch prop, I personally have never once wanted for a CS in our RV. The larger wing on the RV-9 climbs very well and doesn't require much runway length even with a fixed prop, 2 heavy guys and full fuel. The 9 has a different wing than the 6 or 7; it is 10 feet longer and a different design in addition to being prepunched. Why add the weight and maintenance costs of CS?

    Having never flown with fuel injection, I guess I don't know what I am missing there...

    Many of the RV-9's do have poor panels; not mine. I have ads-b in/out, weather and traffic, terrain, GTN-650, aera 560, coupled 2 axis autopilot capable of approaches, full engine gauges, OAT, AOA, alt air, electric trim, and more.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
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  26. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    Dave, there are lots of 6s that are really well built it just takes a little looking. I'm just the opposite of Forane. Having flown several of both C/S and F/P 6's and 7"s I would not have one without not only for performance but again the CG. I had the Airflow Performance FI with tuned injectors on mine. On the same power setting I would see 205mph ROP 10gph and 196-7 LOP 8gph. There are some old AD prone C/S props and if you avoid them there isn't much maintenance. As far as panels,if you find a nice one with a weak panel it is easy to instal something like a Dynon Skyview in it. All the hardware including EMS, 2 axis coupled autopilot, ADS B in and out, TXP, Navcom, 3D vision etc for less than $20,000. Don
     
  27. colojo

    colojo Line Up and Wait

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    Hi Dave. Fellow Mooney driver here who bought an RV-8 3 years ago to fly around for fun on weekends.

    The key to buying a flying homebuilt is patience. I spent two years looking at RV-8s before I finally found one worth buying. Like you, I already had my Mooney so there was no need to hurry. I looked at 22 frogs before I found my princess, but it was well worth the wait.

    If you're going to Oshkosh, be sure to walk the RV camp in the north 40. It will give you a very good feel for the full range of build quality out there, plus you can speak to some current owners.

    Good luck!
     
  28. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's completely up to the builder. The first RV-10 I flew in had a fixed 2 blade prop, fabric interior and all steam. Still a great plane but the guy who built it obviously was extremely cost conscious.. he even saved money by not using all the bolts on the gear weldments :eek2:
     
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  29. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    I really like the fuel injected / constant speed prop combo for running LOP as well as performance options. No carb ice and you can also use the prop to extend your glide in an engine out. I've been flying with this combo quite awhile now and don't really want to go back.

    I don't really need an all glass panel, but I have to say I am a bit spoiled and really like my set up now which is a little glass and a little steam. I just look at what's for sale and some of them with their shotgun panels really make me wonder what were they thinking??
     
  30. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    Yeah, I'm sure taking your time is the way to go. My Mooney is paid for and I have the money to just outright buy an RV, so I could take my time, but I don't have a place to put two planes, nor do I want two planes. One of them would have to go on tie down until the Mooney sells and that may take awhile. I have never sold a plane before, so I fear the worst.

    I feel like I should sell the Mooney first, but if it takes as long as you took to find the right one, the county would make me give up my hangar and I really don't want to do that. Oh the horrors of first world problems!!! ;)
     
  31. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    What do you want to spend on one? Don
     
  32. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    I don't know, probably around $55,000 to $65,000. About the same as I might get for the Mooney.
     
  33. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    I'll be happy to store and fly one for you in the mean time... :)

    I'm so selfless...

    John
     
  34. zaitcev

    zaitcev Pattern Altitude

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    That's my budget too and I'm actively looking. But I have to warn you that it appears that nothing but RV-4 is decent at this price. I'm still aiming at RV-6, because I have no choice: I'm far too tall for RV-4 (tried to sit in them a couple of times). So I'm going to get one of the run of the mill RV-6s with high time and steam gauges.

    I may be able to get an RV-9 at this price, but it has to be something undesirable, like IO-290. FORANE's asking price is $75k. Looks completely worth it, but I don't have the money.
     
  35. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    And that may just be it. I looked a little on Barnstormers and Trade a Plane and there seem to be some offerings in my range, but without actually looking at them... who knows?? My price range may be completely unrealistic. I may just have to stick with the Mooney. The idea that I would have to sell the Mooney for maybe $55,000- $60,000, then buy an RV that costs $15,000 more, then spend at least another $10,000 to fix all the things that bug me, or it really needs, is not very appealing.

    Overall, flying is becoming less and less appealing. It's a stupid addiction that costs you more and more until you're dead... kinda like heroin. :(
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  36. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    I hadn't looked at RV prices for awhile and I'm surprised at how much they went up over the last couple years. Sold my RV7 in 2012 for $78000 and it looks like it would go for $100,000 these days. Don
     
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  37. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Lol, the RV4 is the only RV I'd even debate buying, it'd need a big engine, CS prop, speed mods, glass and leather ofcourse ;)


    [​IMG]

    Now THATS a RV!
     
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  38. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Line Up and Wait

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    to bad that's not a n RV. its a rocket.
     
  39. zaitcev

    zaitcev Pattern Altitude

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    If I were a midget too, I'd love it, even with its lack of useful baggage space. There's also an option of Harmon Rocket. There's a local guy flying one of those.
     
  40. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Line Up and Wait

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    total BS, im 6-1 and 250 and fit in my 4 just fine, it tight but if you want a corvette you give up the comfort of your vista cruiser. by the way, a rocket does not have much more room than a 4, from the shoulders back it is stock RV-4 size.
    bob