She Fly's, encore!
After 20 months of building, G-OVII lifts off - 13:40
on 18th November 2006 - into the air for the first time. The sight was incredible
as almost two years of work came together.
By Jo - Pile of Metal Assembled in Garage Takes to the
Two years after its arrival and more than 2,000 hours of work later, G-OVII
(Go-7) takes her maiden voyage.
I tend to keep in the background for this RV building stuff, however, getting
involved in seeing the test flights has compelled me to tell you just how
incredible this weekend has been. I am very lucky to live with a very talented
man who has completed an awesome task. I don't know many people who could
do what Tim has done and who could consistently keep up the momentum to do
what he's done for the last couple of years. This is how the test panned out
from my perspective:
This weekend, after watching
Tim work tirelessly for two years, he had the memorable pleasure of seeing
all of his work come to fruition as first, on Saturday, he got to witness
his test pilot, Bob lift off in his RV7 and then, on Sunday, he got to take
to the beautiful blue skies himself.
Having witnessed Tim working in the
garage, come rain or come shine, sometimes snatching a few minutes back in
the house to warm up because his hands have been too cold to pick up his frozen
tools, I and my parents, sister and nephew had the absolute joy and honour
of seeing Tim take off for the very first time in the aeroplane that he had
dreamt for years of building and that he had completed purely from his own
efforts. I can only recall a couple of times previous to this that I have
ever felt as proud as I did on this day.
We watched as he taxied down
the runway and completed checks and then took to the skies like a rocket to
have his very first flight. I looked around and each one of us was looking
skywards, mouths open, tears running down our cheeks and overwhelmed with
the emotion of witnessing one of Tim's most memorable days of his life.
The day before, Tim had been joined by fellow RV builder, David and his wife
Lesley who had dashed from London to be with him while he witnessed his first
flight. I spoke to David who just as excited as Tim and I think, keener than
ever to get his own RV airborne now!
We still have a way to go and there
is still more to do to ensure that Bob is ready to give it the rubber stamp,
however, this was a weekend that none of us will forget in a hurry, a one
off with a one off guy!
Saturday morning and there was a message on my answerphone from Bob. "Weather
looks good and I have a window at 1.30pm, would you like to do the test flight?".
I quickly colected all the equipment and paperwork I needed and headed straight
for Thruxton. I had rechecked everthing and Bob arrived and started looking
over the aeroplane. He checked the PFA permit to fly, and checked the flight
speeds and other details in the RV manual. I ran through the fight systems
with him and and he strapped himself in. The engine sprang immediatly into
life and the RV was up and running. It was a strange feeling as Bob taxied
off - my RV was about to take off! Bob backtracked runway 25, performed powerchecks
and lined up. Even I was amazed as after a short run he lifted off and climbed
at an amazing rate into the air- disappearing over my head. After 20 minutes
Bob called over the radio and returned to the circuit, performing a perfect
landing. I greeted Bob back at Hanger 2, keen to hear how it went. "Perfect,
you don't need to adjust anything".
My RV7 Performance/Specification...........
Top Speed - 210mph
Cruise - 200mph
Take off Distance - 275ft
Landing Distance - 350ft
Rate of Climb - 2'200fpm
Fuel Range - 775sm (950sm max echonomy cruise)
Fuel Capacity - 42 US Gal
Fuel Consumption 7 US Gal/hr.
Engine - Superior IO-360-B1A2 (180hp@2700RPM) That's 5.9L 4 cylinders
Propellar - Hertzel Constant Speed
Dynon D100 EFIS (Electronic Flight Information System)
Advanced AF-2500 Engine Monitor (Fuel Flow, EGT, CHT, Fuel Press', Oil Temp/Press', Trim P', Flap P')
Garmin 295 GPS
EZ-Pilot - Auto-pilot coupled to GPS
Odyssey PC680 battery, B&C Backup Alternator
Backup instruments - Compass, Altimeter, Airspeed Indicator.
Painting - what colour?
Other than "When will it fly?", what colour (color for my American
friends) am I going to paint has to be the most asked question I have received
throughout the project. I am not going to paint the RV myself - having spent
all this money I want the final finish/look to be really great. There are
a number of painters I have shortlisted. Colton Aviation painted my Cessna
150 (G-BAEV) and 8 years down the line it still looks really good. Almost
as new. So, a voice in my head is telling me to go back to them. However,
another painter Mick Allen also has a good reputation and he would let me
dismantle and reassemble (all the control surfaces need to be removed) the
RV for painting. I have also discovered another firm where I am based, round
the back of the hanger has a very good reputation. This would mean I could
prepare the RV for painting and wheel it around to them. Big dilemma. Oh,
and what colour & design am I going for? Not telling, you will have to
keep an eye on my site.... Truth be told I am still undecided.
A break. As I have worked between two and three hours every night for almost
two years on the RV. I have loved every minute of it - honest, even when I
had the odd problem or when Miles rejected all my split-pins. Jo has even
said she would like me to build another aeroplane as I don't moan about not
being able to go flying when the weather is bad. I just go out to the garage
and work away. She is great hey - I am a lucky man to have her.
My Vans RV7 (Quick) Project Overview...........
I had decided to build a Vans RV7, but the availablity of a full kit already
imported into the country by Ray P brought the project forward. I made a
quick trip to Devon to check all the parts were there and returned with
Jerry Parr and a 7.5T lorry to collect it the following weekend......
04-Apr-2005 : I could not fit the final wing skin without help - Jo came
out over a few evenings and helped me rivet the last skin in place.
07-May-2005 : Jo comes and helps fit the first wing. Then fellow RV builder
John Mitchie came over and helped set the wing incidence.
I fitted the engine to the engine mount/fuse in two hrs - on my own!
23-Feb-2006 : The instrument panel construction had it's highs and lows.
I purchased the Dynon D100 EFIS for my primary flight display. After posting
my plans on an RV forum my site received loads of hits and I even got an
email from a builder at Boawing! However a slip with an instrument cutting
die resulted in me having to completely remake the instrument panel - it
was the last hole I needed!.
10-Mar-2006 : Another BIG DAY. The Propeller arrived from Vans, with Jo's
help I had it fitted by the evening!
11-Jun-2006 : THE RV is in the hanger with the wings fitted, all the fuel
lines are fitted and wiring has been run out to the wings.
7/8-Jun-2006 : A long and hard weekend!! In the hanger Friday 8:30am - 8:00pm, Saturday
9:00am - 7:30pm & Sunday 9:30am - 7:30pm. Friday and Saturday I continued
working on the wing tips and airbox at home until 10:00pm. Jo has been a
star and sent me with a lovely packed lunch each day. She is great. The
trailer I purchased to haul my tools and parts has been one of my best ideas.
It has enabled me to have all my tools and all the parts I need at the hanger,
and for security, take them home after - which also allows me to continue
working at home.
23-Jul-2006 : Finally it came time..... TO START THE ENGINE ...... We moved the RV out
of the hanger, I then tied it to the back of my Land Rover and weighted
it down with three 20L (full) fuel cans. The engine started first time easily
and ran for a short while - it stopped and I realised I had selected the
tank that I had drained!! So I took this chance to check the engine for
leaks. I had one on the oil cooler, the joint was loose so I tightened it
and restarted the engine - with some fuel this time! The engine ran well
and I checked the Advanced Engine monitor settings. I stopped the engine,
climbed out and was greated by an excited Jo leaping around excited about
how well it had gone.
Ostensively, I worked on the project totally on my own, but from time to time
I needed some help. Mostly Jo was the first person to come to my rescue, but
as the project progressed I found more people wanted to get involved and be
part of what was being built in my garage.
Having never built an aeroplane before - and it wasn't a subject I studied
at school!! I would like to thank the following for their technical assistance.
- for all his telephone support and encorragement to start
the project. John Mitchie
- help, advice and teaching me how to rive
and advice setting the wing incidence. A great help just up the road! Miles McCallum
- my inspector, a cool character patiently looking over every rivet and split-pin.
- for solving my halon problem. The boys and girls of
the UK RV Forum
- just don't mention halon fire extinguishers, Mogas or
Family & Friends
At first family & friends thought I was a little nuts. "You're
doing what? ..... Building an aircraft in your garage" was the reaction.
This changed quite quickly to a queue of people wanting to come to the first
flight and have a ride. Aleix - (Jo's nephew)
10 years old and one
of my first helpers. As good with aircraft kits as he is with technics, he
was the first person to agree "it could be an aeroplane one day".
Tony - (Jo's dad)
- originally I am sure he was a little worried about
me building a plane his daughter was going to ride in. However after his first
visit he was keen to get involved and helped close one of the wing skins.
- He may be in the USA but John has been a great help with
collecting parts for my arrival. Even his office staff know who I am! Andrew
- my brother
, frustratingly lives over 100 miles away otherwise I don't
think I would be able to get him out of my workshop. Mark (Sparky)
- His assistance started when his car was blocked in while dropping his partner
(Josie) off for ones of Jo's ladies evening/party. I soon had him to work
fitting the spats and he has helped out ever since. Robert Fray
the person who is ultimatly responsible for me building an RV, if Robert had
not taken me for a ride in his I dont think I would have been so entusiastic.
He also took Jo for a ride, that was it. I was building an RV. The boys and
girls in my office who have been bored crazy with me just talking about my
RV project for the past 20 months.
The Most Important Person on my RV Build Project....
Undertaking such a large project as the RV, and especially in the timescale
could only be acheived with the support of my partner Jo. If it was not for
Jo I could and would never have built this aeroplane. Not only has Jo run
the household entirely - I have not visited Tesco's more than twice in two
years, and the only place I hoovered was the garage. Over and above all this,
as soon as I needed any help riveting she was there! Jo has been as equally
commited to building as if she was driving every rivet. Thanks Jo, I love
you very much if it were not for you, I would not now be flying our
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to Vans Aircraft Inc. The contents of this mail is the opinion of the author,
not Vans Aircarft, PFA, CAA of FAA. Please check all information is correct
before you act upon it.