First Flight

Two days before the first flight, my wife organised a hangar-party with my family and grandparents. We all toasted and drank champagne with caviar, a real treat.

Me and my dad toasting at finishing the RV-7 now known as PH-MNX.
Since I only have a little over 80 hours ‘under my belt’ and never landed an RV-7, I decided to take a ‘safety pilot’. Maarten is a retired Dutch Airforce pilot, who flew F104 (Starfighter) and has a lot of hours on his RV-7 (PH-PLP). He’s a great guy and I’m really grateful he joins me on the maiden flight of my RV.

We selected a nice winter day with almost no cross-wind and the runup and take-off went perfect.

During the climb to circuit altitude I already found the first issue. The plane has a left-leaning tendency, it’s minor, but still something I have to fix.
Other issues are a failing elevator trim (the damned thing worked every time I tried it the last 3 months). Also I couldn’t find the ‘efficient’ power setting with the combination of ULPower 520iSA and the Airmaster prop.

The approach on final was a little too low, but the landing went very nice (again no cross wind component). Maarten didn’t have to intervene. During the second flight we found the stall speed of 49kts clean and 45kts full flaps. Also Maarten showed be how to properly execute a barrel roll and we checked the speed up to 188kts. Next time we’ll need to approach the Vne (200kts).

Second landing was better, but I had issues keeping it center (veered to the left). Nothing major, but enough to get a slap on the wrist from Maarten.
Taxiing back to the hangar to remove the top cowl and check the engine.

Two words: RV Grin.



Apparently a spotter (Bart Hoekstra) was alert and made this beautiful photo of my landing.

2 thoughts on “First Flight

  1. Congratulations!

    Absolutely beautiful paint job! Stunning!!!

    It looked like your takeoff was a bit shaky — it looked like you were unfamiliar with the pitch sensitivity of your plane… but overall, excellent!

    I’m surprised that a low-time pilot would choose to build a tail-dragger. Personally, I would have gone with the tricycle gear version, leaving the ground-handling quirks of the conventional landing gear until you had a few hundred hours of flying experience.

    As for the ‘left-leaning’ tendencies, that is all a matter of aerodynamic trim refinements which can only be known after the first flight.

    Enjoy your new RV! The ‘RV Grin’ you showed says it all!

    1. Hi Milo,
      Yes even worse are the Touch and Go’s. As soon I try to lift the tail, it ‘violently’ swings to the left. I really need to get a grip on that.
      Landings go pretty good, mostly a small hop and it feels easy (until now I only did three point landings).

      I understand that it yis surprising to build a tail-dragger. When I started building I wasn’t even doing flight training yet. But I figured it would take a while before the build is finished. The main reason is that I just think a tail-dragger looks better. If Van’s would have a retractable, I would have chosen that one. Once flying, a plane with wheels ‘sticking out’ is ugly (in my eyes). Conventional landing gear is the next best thing.
      I’m not planning on building more than 1 plane (I love doing it, but there is also work and family). So it’s all or nothing. Also I like challenges and people in my local EAA chapter said it is dangerous to fly a tail-dragger, which is one of the best incentives to me.

      All is all I find the RV-7 really easy to land and handle on the ground. I admit I carefully select the fly-days on cross wind component. So I’m planning to fly to a field with multiple runways, so I can try different crosswind angles.

      Thanks for your feedback.

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