Monday, September 16, 2013

All but one...

For the second time in as many empty hangar situations, the absence of one of my own airplanes has unexpectedly coincided with someone else's need for a temporary storage solution. In the most recent even, an RV-10 builder up north of Columbus asked if I knew anyone that would have open hangar space in September. I didn't, but told him that I would be on the lookout, just in case. And as we all know, it turned out that I knew just the guy: me. With my plane suddenly disappearing to the paint shop, the planets aligned and I was able to offer the space to another RV-10, the owner of which would be spending a few weeks in town.

The plane in question, Blinkie, is a gorgeous RV-10. It's owned by Steve, who is fairly well known in RV circles as 'Steve from Aircraft Specialty.'  That would be a fairly odd moniker (although... Blinkie??) if it wasn't for the fact that Steve is The Big Cheese at an online airplane accessory shop. Hey, if women need to accessorize clothes with shoes/purses, why not airplanes?  Most of the stuff he sells is manufactured right in his shop. Although I told him that he could use the hangar at no charge (it's just sitting there empty, after all), he still brought me some fantastic gifts. I can't get over how amazingly cool this stuff is! I can't wait to get my plane back (end of next week, at latest report) and dress it up:

I've flown in every single model of RV (except for the RV-3, which doesn't count because it only has one seat) but an RV-10, so I begged a ride if a chance arose. So while it looks like I got my ride at the point of a gun, such was not the case:

I thought my Dynon Skyview was some hot stuff, but this Garmin panel took my breath away. These are the kind of avionics that they're starting to put in multi-million dollar business jets:

Steve did the takeoff (which you will see in the video at the bottom of this post) and climbed the first few hundred feet, then I put away the camera and took over. The difference between Van's largest plane (the four seat RV-10) and Van's smallest plane (my RV-12) was stark indeed. The -10 is much faster, faster even than my old RV-6. It's a little heavier in roll than the six, but if I remember correctly, a little lighter than the RV-9. It trims out nicely, but I did notice that I didn't hold my altitude very well in steep-ish turns. That's probably a factor of both my eroding skills (haven't flown in five weeks) and the higher speed of the -10 over the -12. It's solid as a rock in cruise, though, and I could see three or four hour flights being quite easily accomplished.

I flew the downwind to runway 20 at Urbana, and Steve took over for the turn to left base. Which was a good thing - I was having trouble not letting the speed build up again. It sure is a slippery beast!

It was, by far, the nicest plane on the ramp that day!

It needed gas, and Steve didn't want to attempt a hot-start on the Lycoming just to taxi over to the fuel pumps. I lent my normal about of help. Never let it be said that I am always happy to do the least I can do.

For the return flight, I rode in the back seat. Unbelievably, the back seats are even more comfortable than the front! What a great way to travel! And the avionics make it even easier - had we been in the clouds, Steve could have just flown through those purple rectangles in the sky and the Garmin would have taken us right to the end of the runway.

Here is the aforementioned video:

So now the clock is ticking: when will I get an RV-14 ride?

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