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All First Flights

Denis Rottler’s RV-9A | KTRL - Terrell, TX RV-9A #92111

Congratulations to Dennis! He writes:

I bought an RV-9A kit with quite a bit of the heavy lifting already accomplished in January 2019. After working in my garage for 2 years and 9 months, I was able to move the completed fuselage and all the bits and pieces to my hangar at KTRL. Two months later to the day, the local DAR, Mel Asberry, issued me my Special Airworthiness Certificate.

Between insurance issues, LODA’s, and COVID, the first flight didn’t happen until March 7, 2022, but IT DID HAPPEN! The AOPA insurance program is the way to go for folks like myself with zero time in an RV-9A. Getting LODA’s turned out not to be an issue. Fortunately my mentor, friend, CFI/CFII, and a RV-7 builder/owner satisfied the requirements of the FAA Additional Pilot Program. More importantly, he agreed to fly with me for the first flight and several transition training flights. I am a 300 hour pilot with most of my hours in a Piper Archer II.

On the afternoon of Monday, March 7th, we taxied around a bit for him to get the feel of the plane and the Dynon Avionics. When he was comfortable, he said “what do you think?” and off we went. He executed the first takeoff with me following on the controls. We orbited within gliding distance of the field and executed some gentle maneuvers generally as outlined in the EAA Flight Test Manual for the first flight. Absolutely no control or stability issues. We did have to keep an eye on the CHT’s and adjust as required. They stayed below 500F and stayed well above 400F for the duration of the flight. With the exception of an intercom setting that blanked the ICS when the COM radio was receiving, there were no issues. I had to read the manual on the ground to get the setting corrected. Due to not being able to talk on final and receive instruction, my buddy made the landing.

We flew four days in a row that week. We logged 7.8 hours of dual with 10 landings and I logged 1.7 solo hours and 10 landings for a total of 9.5 hours and 25 landings. It was a great week with absolutely brilliant flying weather on Wednesday and Thursday. I am however a bit afraid to add up the fuel bill for the week!

The next 30.5 hours are dedicated to Phase 1 and completing the remaining EAA Flight Test cards.

Kudos to my friend who sold me the kit. He did a fantastic job building the big pieces. The plane flies true and straight thanks to his attention to detail on the control surfaces. A huge thank you to my friend and mentor who provided incredible technical support and encouragement from the pre-buy inspection of the kit to the start of flight testing. Words don’t do it justice.

Keep pounding those rivets because the RV Grin is REAL!

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