In 2010 I flew my RV-8 N998RV over 170 hours from the Test Flight on May 2 2010 to the Mishap on May 1 2011. That's a lot of flying and a lot of fun. For the last three and a half months, I haven't flown at all, and I have to say I was really missing it! So, I got the great idea to get me another airplane to fly in the meantime while the RV-8 gets rebuilt! I kept my eye on http://www.barnstormers.com for a couple of weeks and a nice RV-6 showed up for sale and best of all it was over in Vacaville, not far from Livermore. The RV-6 is similar to the RV-8, but it has side-by-seating instead of tandem seating. There are a few other differences too, but basically it is, for all intense and purposes, the same basic airplane. I called up the seller and asked some questions about it and we scheduled a Saturday about three weeks ago for him to fly over to Livermore so I could check it out. When he arrived, we pulled the cowling off and I had a look at the engine and stuff under the hood. The plane was built by the seller, Ed Martinson, in 1994 and he has put about 1300 hours on it since he first flew it back then. After the inspection, we went for a little flight so I could check it out first hand and get a sense of how it flew and handled. I was impressed all around by the quality of the plane and so the next week I made him an offer on it and he accepted.
On Saturday 8/20/2011 Ed and I scheduled to meet over at the Vacaville/NutTree airport where he has it based to closed the deal. I asked a good friend and fellow RV builder/flyer, Harry Crosby, and who is also based out of Livermore, if he'd fly me over to pick up the RV-6 Saturday morning and he said he'd be happy too!
I met Harry at his hangar at Livermore about 8:15am and we taxied out in his very nice yellow and white RV-6 about 8:30am. Its a pretty short flight over to Vacaville from Livermore and we landed and taxied up to Ed's hanger about 9:10am. Ed and his wife were waiting for us and the Red and Gold RV-6 was too! We got out and checked the plane out and Ed showed me the typical preflight that he does on the RV-6. We filled out and signed a bunch of various paperwork and I presented Ed with a Cashiers Check for the balance of the sale price (I'd mailed him a 10% deposit a couple of weeks prior.) We had a nice chat with Ed and his wife after the business was complete.
The new RV-6 is a dream to fly! It has a 180hp engine and a constant speed prop and performs almost as good as my RV-8. It isn't quite as nose heavy as the RV-8, so that makes it a little easier to fly, particularly in formation. It was really great to be back in the air again today, to say the least!
Revitalization of RV-6 N360EM - A New Glass Panel & Interior
I flew the RV-6 about 4 hours when I decided that I just really missed having the glass panel and all the electronic navigation goodies that I had become accustom to in the RV-8. I also missed the VP-200 electrical system, the electric flaps, the electric trims, the Infinity stick grips, the TruTrak dual axis autopilot, the race car quality Hooker harnesses, and of course the totally sweet stereo intercom and jammin tunes from the PM3000/Kenwood combination. And I certainly missed the uber-comfortable, all-leather ClassicAero interior I'd put in the RV-8.
Now I knew in the back of my mind that the RV-6 was just a "Flyer" until I could get the RV-8 rebuilt, but that just didn't matter. If I'm going to be spending this much time in something, it just had to be "right" and "cool". Call it a character flaw, call it an obsession, nonetheless, I've learned to just not fight it... :-)
On the evening of Thursday August 25 2011, I headed out to the hangar after work to see what upgrading some of these components would involve. By the time I went home that night, I'd ripped out most of the instruments and avionics, and over the course of the next week or so, I pretty much removed everything else on the inside. But I didn't stop there. I pulled the cowling off, and decided to reorganize things under there as well.
Exactly two months to the day and a lot of late evenings later and with a lot of help of my good friend Mike Woolson, I test flew a completely revitalized N360EM! The transformation has been quite amazing and it really doesn't even look like the same plane on the inside. All of the new electronic goodies work great and I've got most everything dialed in and calibrated.
The last step in the process was to fly it up to Classic Aero in Albany Oregon to get the carpet and side panels done to match the new all-leather seating also from Classic Aero. Its been there for the good part of three weeks now and I'm hoping to fly it home the weekend after Thanksgiving if the weather permits.
Its been quite a journey revitalizing 'ol N360EM and I can hardly wait to get it back and start flying again! Having something as sweet as "The Flyer" now to fly as a surrogate while I'm rebuilding Ruby Vixen will be pretty cool indeed!
This log details all the various aspects of the RV-6 revitalization in both pictures and dialog. Unlike the RV-8 project where I kind of did my documentation along the way, I didn't want to take the time to do it while this project was underway nor did I really have the energy to do it either. I did take photos along the way, however, and chronologically they made it pretty easy to follow up with the dialog and log entries.
Feel free to email me with any questions or comments you might have regarding the revitalization project.