Van's Aircraft has designed a hugely successful suite of homebuilt aircraft, with over 10,800 RV's built and flown as of early 2021. I've been privileged to check out the RV-6, RV-7, RV-8, RV-10 and RV-12 in-flight over the past few years. All the RV series aircraft have very responsive flight controls, crisp aileron response, great visibility, and are just a joy to fly.
The latest addition to the RV-series is the RV-14. I have been planning checkouts for the sale of a late friend's Pipistrel Sinus, based at Sequim, and the new owners offered to shuttle me from Renton in one of their personally owned aircraft. Two of the new owners, Dave Miller and Bill Benedict, had recently built a gorgeous RV-14A, painted in bright Porsche Racing yellow, so their offer of a couple of RV-14 flights sounded great!
I met Dave Miller on the ramp at Renton, next to my Warrior. My first impression was that the RV-14 sits taller than the RV-6/7. Cockpit entry was easy, and I noticed the welcome head, leg and shoulder room. The upright seating position and large bubble canopy provides outstanding visibility. Dave gave me a quick RV-14 safety overview, then a short orientation on his impressive avionics suite. Dave's RV-14A is equipped with a Garmin G3X, G5 and GTN-750, a Garmin autopilot, and a glareshield-mounted Angle-Of-Attack (AOA) indicator, which is a great head up instrument for maneuvering and optimal flying in the pattern and landing phase.
Once cleared for takeoff, Dave gave me the flight controls right after a spirited acceleration and very short takeoff behind the powerful 210HP IO-390 engine. Similar to the other RV-series aircraft, the airplane just feels right as soon as you take the flight controls. It flies like a small fighter, being very responsive and crisp but not jerky. As I climbed out from Renton, my only issue was staying below the 3000 ft base of the Class Bravo, since the -14 really likes to climb. I throttled back to 55% power, which still gave us a respectable 148-knot cruise speed, burning only 8.5 gals per hour! Although larger than the RV-6/7, the structure meets the aerobatic category standards of +6/-3Gs when flown at the aerobatic gross weight of 1900 lb. Although we didn't fly any aerobatics on our two flights, I did a few steep turns and reversals, and combined with the great cockpit visibility, I had visions of flying fighters resurrected again.
The RV-14's generous wing area and large slotted flaps kept our landing speed low into Sequim and Renton with smooth landings on both runways. RVs are known for short-field capability and the RV-14 is no exception. The combination of good cockpit room, great visibility, lots of power, superb handling and awesome avionics made it hard to give the RV-14 back to Dave as he headed home. I'd like to check out RV-14 formation flying in the future, since the handling is so superb.
Dave - Thanks for the opportunity to fly the newest bird in the RV series, you built a great one, and yes - I WANT ONE!