Monday, March 27, 2017

40 Hours and beyond!

The Phase 1 test flying is now complete!  It took from February 4th to March 16th to complete the 40 hours.  I had a 50 NM radius around our home airport and I think I successfully explored a lot of it.  The airplane is preforming just like we expected very few minor issues.  I can honestly say that now I understand why there are so many RVs flying out there.  They are really an incredible machine.  They fly fast, they fly slow, they do aerobatics.  They do everything well, a great all around airplane.  I figured I would share some photos from the test flying and the flying I have done since.  I am looking forward to working on my instrument rating in the airplane soon, as well as taking it to some fly-ins this year.  

Myself in front of the airplane Feb. 4th.  Right before the first flight!
Some formation flying with the "Skydogs" a group of RVs based at our strip.  These guys have been very helpful during the testing of this airplane. 

The University of Georgia`s Sanford Stadium.  Athens was within my radius, so I stopped in to my old college town a time or two during phase 1. 
My friend Tyler got some great photos of the -14 in the air  

Over Lake Lanier

My first trip in the airplane was to attend a Millennial Wings fly-in down in South Georgia.  I flew almost everyday so that I could make it to this event.  It was a fun weekend with some great guys. 

We transitioned the Atlanta Class B airspace on the way home.  This is Hartsfield from 4,500ft.

Downtown Atlanta

Epps Aviation at PDK, Atlanta Georgia.  This is where my father`s aviation story began.  He would ride his bike here as a kid to look at airplanes.  This transitioned to working the ramp to pay for flying lessons.  He would go on to earn all his ratings and have a very successful career as a corporate pilot.  It was special for me to bring this airplane back to the place where it all began for this family.  I would probably not be involved in aviation if not for being introduced to it by my father.  This airplane was a chapter that he was not able to finish.  I am proud to be carrying on his legacy by flying this and our other airplane.  I hope that he is proud of what we have done here, I have a feeling he is.

As I said before, I will periodically update this blog with photos of our adventures with this airplane.  I also post more often on Instagram, feel free to follow @Zak944.    

Monday, February 6, 2017

Finally...The first flight

Another RV-14 is in the air! On Saturday the 4th we flew our -14 for the first time.  The airplane handled great and preformed as expected.  

No trim was required, it flies hands off which is amazing.  We ran the flaps down and stalled the airplane, very docile, easy to recover stall speed was 48MPH!  At 2,400 RPM we were seeing 150MPH.  It really is something that the airplane will fly that slow and top out at 200MPH, quite an envelope.   

Here is a little background about the build and the airplane...

The airplane has the IO-390 Lycoming mated to a Hartzell prop.  This combination is really sweet, the airplane wastes no time getting off the ground on the take off roll. The panel was built by Stein and features a Dynon Skyview and a Garmin GTN 650.  This panel has an impressive amount to features I am excited to learn about.  I plan on earning my instrument rating in the RV this Spring.  

The airplane is based at a private grass strip in the North Georgia mountains.  I will be excited to fly off the 40 hour test phase to start exploring the country in this great machine.  

Well done on this design Vans. Now I understand why there are so many of these airplanes flying.  I am excited to learn more about this airplane and enjoy it for years to come. 

Subsequent flights went well, very few minor squaks to work through, thats what the 40 hour test phase is all about. I will continue to update this blog with stories and pictures of the adventures we have with this beautiful airplane!

Just above our grass strip.  North Georgia is a beautiful place to fly! The photo ship/chase plane was Allen in his RV-8, with another RV pilot, Mike behind the lens.  With time we will do some closer formation and get some good air to air shots.  

Great shot of the -14 just before the flight
Myself and Mike just after the maiden flight!

Custom leather interior is very comfortable.  Nice place to be!

Not much to it, but this panel is so smart.  I cannot wait to learn how to use these instruments to their full potential. 

Its all in the details.  The "No Step" decal disappears when the fowler flap is up.

Monday, December 19, 2016

N147GC is officially an airplane!

Today, Monday 19th of December, our RV-14 was deemed airworthy!!  This journey began almost New Years Day of 2013 and the build has now come to an end.  My father started this build and I know he would be thrilled that we carried out his dream and finished the project. This build would not have happened without lots of help from some wonderful people.  We are very blessed to have the aviation community that allowed us make this dream a reality.  

Stay tuned to the blog for the first flight, slated for next week. 

DAR Bill Wood of Taccoa, GA did the honers.  He and his staff were a pleasure to work with and made the process a breeze.  I`ve been waiting for that piece of paper for a long time!!

The finishing touches were vinyl graphics made by an airpark neighbor.   

The fowler flap of the -14 means it does not rub while it travels.  Placing the "no step" near the leading edge of the flap, it hides under the trailing edge of the wing when the flaps are up...slick!

The story behind the N number.  N147GC has a creative and clever meaning to my family.  "14" is self explanatory, RV-14.  "47G" Is shared between this airplane and the other airplane in our family, a B├╝cker Jungmann, N1947G.  "GC" Are my fathers initials this plane was his dream and it will carry always bear his initials.  

The Stein Air panel installed in the -14.  I have only been able to fool with the Skyview and Garmin a little bit, we did do the fuel system calibration yesterday as well.
This interior is comfortable to be in, and smells as good as it looks "real leather"!  The seats, stick boots, and arm rests were done by Bennett Akin of Cleveland, GA.  This airplane was a real team effort by folks around this special place.  Carpet will be added later on down the road to help with sound deadening.  I am looking forward to spending many hours in this cockpit exploring this fine country and learning about flying.

Thank you for following the journey, feel free to contact me if you have questions about the build.  I will continue to update this blog with tales of our adventures with N147GC!
Happy building and blue skys! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

It runs!

Another milestone in the RV build, the first engine start! It was very exciting to hear it fire up for the first time and come to life. We are starting to get close to flying this beautiful airplane. Next up is the airworthiness inspection and then it`s time to fly. I know Dad would be mighty proud of this machine and I am thrilled with how it has turned out.

I was also able to brush up on my RV skills with a hangar neighbor in his RV-6!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Panel install underway.. Interior is in!

We received the panel from Stein last week, the install is underway now.  Also our seats are delivered and installed.  Bennett Akin, our airport neighbor made these custom leather seats for us.  To follow are arm rest pads and stick boots.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The panel... coming soon

Things are starting to fall into place.  This week Stein Air shipped us the panel, it should arrive this Friday (10/14/16).  This and the seats are the last two items we need to get this bird in the air.  

Some specs on the panel:

The goal was keeping it simple, but IFR legal as well:
Single 10' Dynon Skyview 
Garmin GTN 650
Dynon autopilot, radio, and intercom
Chart box on the right side
Aux input, USB charging etc..

I`m probably leaving some things off, but that is the basic layout.

All boxed up on the way to North Georgia!!

I must say Stein has been incredibly responsive and professional.  We went back and forth a lot over the build of the panel and their experience was really helpful in deciding what to use for our panel.  I am excited to see this thing in person and install it in the airplane.

I`m trying to keep my excitement in check...90% there, 90% to go... But it feels like were close to getting this thing in the air!

Stay tuned...

Friday, August 12, 2016

The RV has its wings!

It has been a few weeks since I have posted an update, but the work has continued.  

On July 26th we hung the wings on the RV.  One interesting observation is just how close the tolerance is on the spar and wing attach points.  We had a single layer of primer on the spar and just that thickness was enough to make the wing not fit.  After cleaning the primer off and some creative movements, we were able to get the wings in place.  Thanks go out to Allen and his family all of which were involved in this big day.  As well as airport neighbor and RV-6 owner/builder Mike Fitzpatrick for his help with hanging the wings.  

Since these photos, the wingtips and landing light lenses have been installed as well

We are now working on the interior, we had to figure out the dimensions of the foam for the seats.  I got to climb in and help fit the foam.  

Stein is working hard on the panel.  With any luck we will have our panel either late August or early September.  Another airport neighbor is working on our custom leather interior, which should be done by this time as well. 

I was able to do some transition training in Mike`s RV-6 this past week as well.  Until then, I had only flown in Allen`s -8 for half an hour or so.  We shot probably a dozen landings in the -6, both at our home grass strip and at a local county airport.  I love how the -6 handles, very responsive and predictable.  It just makes me even more excited about flying the -14.  I know its going to be a great airplane! 

The finish line is getting closer... Stay tuned!