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There I go thinking again

October 30, 2010

So the war chest is well underway.  I had planned to start buying and building in November.  It seems that I’m going to have to adjust my schedule a bit.  I wanted to have my empennage well underway and order my wings before the February price increases.  This could still happen, but I’m going to say that January is going to be a better goal.  Since I’m not married to that either, I reserve the right to adjust it as well. 

I think I’ve come to a decision about something.  I think I have to change my blog name to The Brices RV7.  I’ve been thinking again, something that sometimes gets me in trouble.  I am on the fence about tricycle vs tail wheel.  There are two factors that are leaning me toward the RV7 vs the RV7A. 

  1. The RV7 can be built cheaper.  It’s not an insignificant amount, either.  I don’t have my worksheet handy but as I recall it was several thousand dollars. 
  2. The RV7A (and 9A for that matter) wheel mounts enter the fuselage just in front of the pilot and passenger seat.  Some people put a cover over the mount but in the two flights I’ve been on, the mounts were noticeably interfering with my comfort in the seat.  I’ve had people say that if the rudder pedals are properly adjusted this shouldn’t be an issue.  But the passenger doesn’t have peddles to touch. 

There is one big reason why the RV7 wouldn’t be ideal.

  1. I have 0 hours of tail wheel time and no endorsement.

Now honestly, this shouldn’t be a big deal.  Shouldn’t I be able to get the endorsement and log a sufficient number of landings before I finish the project.  I need to get transition training, anyway, so why not get it on the 7 vs a 7A. 

One topic that has absolutely no bearing on my decision is the ongoing  debate on www.vansairforce.com about the  design of the nose wheel on the “A” models.  The debate has reached near hysteric proportions on the site.  I’ve even seen a post that said someone building a -7A was going to be limited to hard runways because the nose wheel on the Vans aircraft is known to be unsafe on grass.  Hey, I read it on the Internet it must be true.  I have every confidence in the safety of the nose wheel on these aircraft.  Any aircraft nose wheel can be abused to the point of failure.  To the best of my knowledge nobody has ever described a failure during a controlled and coordinated landing on grass.  The stories I hear invariably have the admission that they should have gone around and not tried to salvage the bad landing. 

I think I have time on this decision.  I don’t absolutely have to make a decision until I am building.  I think there are a few steps in the empennage that say if you are doing a nose wheel do this, if it’s a tail wheel do this.  Until I get to that step….it’s still up in the air.  I may even get lucky and not have to commit until I order the fuselage.

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