RV-9 Construction Page


Back in the spring of 2000, I went to a kit aircraft web site at the request of a co-worker. I was immediately interested as I was just beginning ground school. It didn't take long before I stumbled onto Van's Aircraft web site. Before I knew it I had my brand new truck up for sale and was re-organizing my life and finances 'cause I just had to have one of those planes. 

Van's RV-9 taildragger

I found a local RV-6a builder who was willing to take me for a ride, then showed me his current RV-6a QB project. I sold my truck the next day. With some money freed up I went down to Arlington Airshow, to inspect the new RV-9a. I went for a test flight and was very impressed. I immediately bought the empennage kit. 


The truck was actually less expensive than the RV & it was already assembled, however when I hit 60mph & pulled back on the wheel, nothing exciting ever happened.

 I chose this plane as I would like a plane that can get me and a friend into remote, rugged places with a little gear and yet still be fun to fly simply for the sheer joy of flying as this will probably be 80% of it's use. It may not be capable of blazing speed aerobatics and hauling large dead animals out of the bush, but it should be a damn good compromise.

RV-9a Tricycle Gear

Before buying this kit I had begun flight lessons, with a good friend, Ron Miller as my instructor. Since then I only pick up a few hours on occasion as all my time and money are devoted to this project. Ron is a commercial bush pilot and instructor with thousands of hours logged. Ron will be the test pilot and I will then finish my training in C-FSTB. 




Previous to buying the RV-9, I had a conversation with Eustace Bowhay, builder of the RV-6f. He had expressed a strong opinion about the better suitability of the "9" as a floatplane. As I'm planning a float installation as well, this was another reason for choosing the "9".


I plan to eventually mount this plane on skis as well. I have heard that there is at least one RV-6 on skis in Norway. Another of my hobbies is mountaineering and I want to have the ability to land on glaciers to open up access to great many more peaks. 

    RV aircraft have a free castering nosewheel and rely on differential braking for steering. As a skiplane there is no differential braking and not enough prop clearance for a nose ski. Sooo, this means I will need a taildragger for ski operations as a tail ski is easily steerable.

    To accommodate this I have installed the tailspring mount in the fuselage. Van's also offer's a mount called a "float mount", which has taildragger main gear mounts as well as a nose gear mount. It is actually designed to be used for mounting on floats, however it is often used by builders that want to be able to convert from a TD to a TG. Another local builder, Ken Panrucker has just finished an RV-6 with this mount. So far he has been only flying as a TD & is very happy with it,

    As I'm also using a rotary engine, I wanted a modified version of this mount, So I had a partial mount made which only had the gear legs- no engine mount, which was provided directly from Custom Components, who are Van's suppliers of engine mounts. More on this mount in the engine section.


Long Range Fuel

This aircraft normally has 18 usg fuel tanks located in the inboard leading edge, for a total of 36 usg. I wanted more. Much, much more. Sooo, I made the outboard leading edges into 17usg fuel tanks for another 34usg. Not satisfied with that, I then converted the wingtips into 7usg tanks for an additional 14usg. Now I needed a way to manage these six tanks, so for a variety of reasons which I will cover in more detail in the Fuel Systems section, I decided to use a header tank. A header tank should be large enough to provide a usable reserve, so I made it 5 usg. This totals up to 89 usg, or about 12.5 hours. All this fuel is located on or close to the CG, so it will not be adversely affected. Span loading of the wings is actually improved, while stability will also be improved. 

Why did I do this? Well lets just say that while I may not follow in the footsteps of Jon Johansson, I want to make sure that I don't limit my options.


Rotary Engine

This aircraft will be equipped with a 13B Mazda rotary engine. I will go into detail about my reasons for choosing this engine in the engine section.


Torx Head Screws

Micro Fasteners made 100 degree, flat head, 8-32x5/8 screws at the request of members of the RV-List. I'm very happy with them, however tests by another list member showed that due to the superior grip of the drive it was possible to over torque the screw until the head snapped off. I don't feel this to be an issue as his same tests showed them to also be of superior strength to the Phillips screws. A little common sense when installing these, precludes any chance of over torquing them. However, John Fleischer of Micro Fasteners has automatically sent 500 replacement screws with the smaller T-15 head. He has verified that it is not possible to torque this smaller drive to failure. While I didn't feel that it was necessary, I was quite pleased to find these in my mailbox this afternoon. As before, I feel that they look real sharp and will make future maintenance much easier (no more fussing with them #?!@??!!#! Phillips). Since I have them I will use the new T-15's in all structural applications, but will use the T-20's for non-structural applications.

These can be found at http://www.microfasteners.com/catalog/products/SSCFCMXS.cfm


Muffler Housing

Most aircraft have no mufflers or provisions for mufflers, which I find most disturbing. In Europe this has become such an issue that they are now forced to comply with noise regulations. Flight over many population areas is restricted and mufflers are becoming mandatory. I decided to address this issue now, while it was possible to build a housing to accommodate a muffler. This is covered in more detail on the muffler page.


Where In The World Are You From?

Add a pin to the map to show where you are from

All Men Dream: But Not Equally


Those Who Dream By Night In The Dusty Recesses Of Their Minds 

Wake To Find That It Was Vanity:


But The Dreamers Of The Day Are Dangerous Men, 

For They May Act Their Dreams With Open Eyes To Make It Possible

T.E. Lawrence

Comments or Criticism Welcome

experimental aircraft web site

August 22, 2008