<May 12, 2005>

Trip to Van's Aircraft

On May 12, 2005, I finally got off my arse and headed up to Aurora, OR to visit the Van's factory and take a demo ride.

After catching an early flight out of Oakland I picked up my rental car and headed South from the Portland Aiport arriving at Van's around 10:30. The sales staff at Van's were friendly and introduced me to my tour guide and demo pilot, Bruce. Bruce and I spend the next hour or so walking around the factory, which was much busier than I thought it would be, before heading out to the hangar. Unfortunately, the day I arrived, the RV-7 had left for a fly-in in Texas, so Bruce told me we would be flying the RV-9A. That was fine with me, at 6'3" and 200 pounds I was primarily concerned about cabin space, and since the RV-7 and 9 share the same fuselage, I would still be able to determine how well I would fit.

I was quite impressed with the operation, and specifially the flying qualities of the RV-9A, even with only 160 HP 8^) I had the seat in the far aft position and most, but not all, of the lower cushions removed and I was very comfortable as far as leg and head room go. My only wish was for more shoulder room, but it really wasn't that bad, I've just been flying tandem aircraft for a while, and I am not accustomed to sitting next to someone. I won't bore you with all my comments about the flight, but coming from flying a Citabria, I was amazed at how little rudder input (if any) was needed during turns. You could keep your feet flat on the floor and execute almost perfectly coordinated turns. Cool yes, but let's talk about what's really important... performance! I was quite impressed with the performance of the airplane; it was powerful, it climbed well, it cruised fast, but it also slowed right down for a nice landing. In fact, I was so impressed, that I walked right back into the factory and placed the order for the empennage right then and there!

The factory from the road... at long last!

An RV-9 QB Fuselage waiting to be crated.

One of three computer controlled punch/press machines churning out parts.

Off we went over the Oregon countryside in the RV-9A... this thing flys nice!

Bruce, my tour guide and pilot for the day.

Turning base to final at Aurora airport.