Lately I have been thinking about building another airplane to replace our Cherokee. I want an all metal aircraft with good short field performance, good density altitude performance, speedy, and able to fly high and far. (Not too particular am I?) Amazingly enough there is an airplane out there that can do all of that and the airplane I decided to look at is the Van’s aircraft RV14A. All of the airplanes in the Van’s fleet have great reputations and are known to handle well but I chose the RV14A because of it’s size, roominess, and ability to go far on a tank of gas.
I was pleasantly surprised that if you want to get a demonstration flight or tour the factory in Aurora, Oregon all you have to do is call them up and arrange the flight. (The tour is free and the demo flight is as well as long as you meet certain minimal criteria.)
The first tour is at 9:00 am. so my wife and I met Ken at Van’s and he showed us the factory and gave an excellent breakdown of the operations and what the build would be like if we decided to put an RV together. It was immediately obvious that everyone at Van’s is excited about their airplanes and to see all of the behind the scenes activity was truly impressive. They had all of the stock neatly placed on shelves and the metal shop where all of the parts were manufactured was cool to see as well. Ken answered all of the questions we had and made us feel at home…totally no pressure, informal, and informative!
Next stop the hangar where all of the prototypes are.
The RV14A was down at the end of the lineup and we made a beeline to see it. As we walked around the airplane Ken explained its features to us and let us sit in it and even took our picture. This is roomy airplane, no bumping elbows in this one! After getting our picture sitting in the airplane he pulled the airplane out of the hangar, did a preflight, and the demo flight began. (Both my wife and I are pilots so we each got a chance to fly.)
The RV14A is equipped with a Lycoming IO-390 and constant speed prop so there is no shortage of power and shortly after takeoff power is applied you are quickly in the air and climb out is an impressive 1900-2200 fpm. Once we leveled off at our cruising altitude Ken let us fly some maneuvers to get the feel of the airplane. I was impressed at how responsive and well harmonized everything is, not jerky or over sensitive just smooth! After some slow flight and stall demonstrations it was time to go back to the airport.
All good things must come to an end as they say and after a perfect shortfield landing we taxied in, debriefed, and sadly said goodbye. What a perfect way to spend a morning…I’m sure there is an RV14A in my future!
|Specifications Van’s RV14A
• Crew: 1
• Stall speed: 56 mph