In my not too long -or exiting- life as a pilot I’ve flown just a handful of aircraft types. Like many of you all my training has been done on the awesome Cessna 172. I’ve flown the M, N, R, S and SP series with round dials and G1000. For a short period of time I got to fly a Mooney M20E and really enjoyed every minute of it. Also got some time on C-206 and gliders (Ask-21 and SGS 2-33s).
Around 10 years ago I had a conversation with someone who introduced me to the experimental world while talking about how much he wanted to build a Lancair. That conversation remained in my memory, and every once in a while I would do some research about experimental aviation, homebuilts, kits, etc.
Fast forward around 7 years I came to the USA to get my master’s degree at Embry-Riddle, and got to actually get involved in the amazing world of general aviation here. I started attending airshows like Sun n Fun and visiting the infamous Spruce Creek flying Community on most Fridays during the summer to watch residents perform formation flying and such, while just hanging around with awesome people.
At that time I started to play with the idea of building my own airplane. Looking at different options I came across beautiful designs like Rutan’s Vary EZ or the Cozy (you can find a cool story about a “twin cozy” built at my home country here) but even though fiberglass is a proven method to build airplanes I always felt that aluminum was a better option for me.
That decision led me to start looking at other kits, and from a google search I landed at the online mecca of RV airplanes, vansairforce.com. Once I realized the magnitude of the community, the amount of airplanes already built, and all the support around them (not the same, but reminded me of my VW restorations and what thesamba.com meant to me at the time) I knew that If I was going to build an airplane, a Vans Aircraft RV was going to be one of the possible options.
Looking at the different airplanes that Vans offer my first option became the RV-10, a beautiful four seater. There are a lot of nice RV-10s flying already, and I found some amazing blogs and videos of many of them. The more I learned about, the more I liked it, but I also realized that the amount of money needed is a lot more than what I can actually put into it in a reasonable amount of time.
At first that realization kind of frustrated me, but thinking about other options I started to look more in depth into the RV-9A. Even though a two seater, the airplane offers a lot of the things that are part of “my mission” at a lower cost. It is a pretty fast airplane with good performance, and all that can be achieved with a reasonable sized engine. Fuel consumption and operation costs are lower, which in return should help ownership in the long run.
This was basically the journey I went through to finally decide on building an RV-9A. There were many other things that had to happen for me just to be able to seriously consider this project, and I know that many more will need to align to be able to finish it ( if I ever start!).