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RV vs Katana

Old 9th Jun 2015, 13:35
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Mar 2014
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RV vs Katana

Unfortunately I have a problem: I really need to buy an aircraft due to lack of fun local rental aircraft with good availability. My current rental needs to be pre-booked 1 to 3 months up front if I want to fly in the weekend... if weather is bad that day I can't fly for at least a month. That's not fun and not safe in the long run. The better available aircraft are C150s etc. I did my license in 152/172 and don't want to go back after flying low wing bubble canopies Maybe it's my love for WW2 fighters, or simply that I want to see the clouds, or the runway when I turn in the circuit.

Anyway, as it's my first time buying an aircraft I want to buy exactly the right thing: fun for local trips, capable of 2 hours cross country flights and back again in the afternoon, capable of operating out of 630m asphalt, run on mogas, and after proper training I'd like to do loops and rolls now and then (not in the Katana of course). Speed over 100 knots is not a priority.

I have close to 50k euro cash to spend, and I'm currently saving a few k each month, so financially I'm ok. If the bank is willing (or I wait another year or so) I can afford a 100k aircraft, but I prefer to keep it in the 50k range. If I'm going to spend a lot of money I'd rather have it being my own than a shared aircraft.

My short list mainly consists of a used Katana, but I'd consider any similar aircraft with bubble canopy (preferably without any obstructions in the view). I've been reading a lot, and many people are very fond of the RVs. I must admit that the RV4 looks great, and I really like the tandem seating with a single cockpit up front on the center line, and a passenger in the back. But it's hard to find any RV close by, so trying one out is difficult.

So is an RV (4) good for a low time pilot like me (less then 75 hours)? I would obviously need a tailwheel endorsement and transition training, but how are the other handling capabilities compared to a Katana? Or is it better to first buy a Katana, gain a few hundred more hours and then transition to RV?

I'm not planning to build it myself, and most maintenance will be done by trained mechanics anyway (lack of knowledge and time on my end), so the maintenance cost is comparable, that's not an argument for going experimental for me. Everyone seems to get an RV and stick with it for many years due to all of its good qualities, so I'm just wondering if it's a good move for a low time pilot.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 13:57
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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Hi Pirke,

I cannot comment on the RV in particular. Justed wanted you to know that I have transitioned to tailwheel + aerobatics rather quickly after I had obtained my PPL and I doesn't need black magic to do that. With a capable instructor a little patience and some training I wouldn't expect any problems in flying the RV.

If it turns out the RV is what you want I would rather go for the RV directly than to go for the hassle of purchasing and reselling a Katana inbetween.

Cheers
maehhh
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 13:59
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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Hard to imagine two aircraft more different. The katana is side by side, nose wheel, low powered (80 HP in the A1) and with a high aspect ratio glider type wing. An RV 4 is the opposite of all of these and a capable aerobat as well.

The RV will be much more fun and more of a challenge to master. Go for that.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 14:16
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I (used to) drive motorcycles as well, and there it's usually not a good idea if an inexperienced driver gets a fast bike as his first bike. Getting some more experience on slower bikes prevents accidents. After 3 years driving a "slow" (for a bike at least... 0-100 km/h in 5 seconds) bike, I bought a racer that could comfortably do 250 km/h with 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds. I don't think it would have been wise to buy that rocket on wheels as a starter bike.

But buying and selling a bike is much different than buying and selling an aircraft, at least in my experience. So I really want to it get it right the first time, and without experience in the "fun" (according to everyone's opinion) aircraft, I don't know how I will like them. So that's where I'm currently stuck: how do they compare and are they a smart move for low hour pilots? I do want to keep it safe.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 15:07
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Sounds like the Robin/Alpha R2160 would also need to be on your shortlist. It ticks all your boxes, including the aerobatics one, except I don't know if it can be operated on Mogas.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 15:46
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Sounds like the Robin/Alpha R2160 would also need to be on your shortlist. It ticks all your boxes, including the aerobatics one, except I don't know if it can be operated on Mogas.
Agreed on the Robin 2160, I did my aerobatic rating on one of those and it is actually a neat little allrounder. Handling is begnin, touring speed is good, visibility is excellent. Landing is not a big deal however you need to make sure you don't pull the nose to high up during the flare, since it is quite easy to tailstrike.

It has side-by-side seating which is obviously a big advantage when flying with friends/family. For aerobatics not so much.

You need to be aware that it is a bit limited in terms of aerobatics since it has no inverted fuel/oil systems and a fixed pitch prop. If you fly a decent hammerhead the engine will stop (ask we why I know...). Same if you spin it to the right. The roll rate is on the slow side too.

I'd guess the RV4 is a good pit more capable in this regards but then the Pirke's mission is what matters.

maehhh
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 15:46
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Grumman Cheetah. Sliding canopy, 4 seats, (2 actually useable) nosewheel, easy to insure.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 16:29
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The De Havilland Chipmunk ticks all your boxes.

Last edited by Above The Clouds; 9th Jun 2015 at 16:48.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 16:33
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R2160 has no mogas STC that I know of, I don't know of the AA5, but having no stick and a roof instead of a clear canopy makes it less appealing to me.

Most certified aerobatic capable aircraft can't operate on mogas, and that's the only fuel on my short strip close to home.

Having a stick and clear vision all around me makes me feel one with the sky. That's my main mission In that sense a Katana is already a compromise because of the lack of rearward visibility, but at least there's no window frame to the front. For reference, this is what I currently rent: http://www.test.cycloonholland.nl/wp...4169-Large.jpg It has an annoying center frame, but it's reasonably fun to fly. A bit slow with 90 knots cruise, especially with a headwind, limited in crosswinds (very light 600kg), and ok for touring 2 hours if it's not turbulent. It's definitely better than a 152/172, just not available as much as I would like.

Aerobatics is not my main goal, if it's capable of a loop and roll that's good enough. It's more a bonus that I would want in my ideal aircraft. As I'm still a low hour pilot I still enjoy the €500 burger trips That's why I also consider something like a used Katana. There is a "need" list and a "want" list. But of course: the more I can realize of my "want" list, the better!

I already contacted a school for a basic unusual attitude training with spins/loops/rolls/etc, and I'll definitely wait with purchasing anything before I finish that to see how I like it. As I haven't flown the more capable aircraft yet, I currently don't know what I'm missing if I decide to buy a Katana to gain more experience first, or if I'll be able to fly a RV safely. For now I appreciate everyone's opinion
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 17:26
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I don't know the Katana to fly but the RV4 is a great little fun machine. You are obviously a prudent person and, with the right attitude, a 75 hr pilot could be safe: just make sure you get some decent tailwheel training, and take it carefully while you build confidence.

Having said that, I would look closely at some of the better VLAs etc. For example, I don't know how much a used Tecnam Golf or Sierra goes for in your part of the world. I've owned or part-owned a number of aircraft and would not go back to the Lycosaurus world on the aircraft for which I am paying all the bills.

In terms of performance, with a Sierra you get your 100+ kts on 16 lph of Mogas, with 5.5 hrs endurance. Bubble canopy, open in flight if you want. The biggest downside of the VLA for me is no aerobatics. I quote the Tecnam as an example I know, but there are probably others to look at - although maybe not many if you want to stay in the EASA certified world. (Do you?).

Worth a thought, anyway. Let us know what you decide!
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 17:29
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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A Bölkow Monsun might meet your needs, based on what I'm reading here. But I also think you'd be fine with an RV after a bit of training (at a higher price). If you're worried about flying tailwheel aircraft a nose wheel RV.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 17:57
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Originally Posted by Pirke View Post

Anyway, as it's my first time buying an aircraft I want to buy exactly the right thing: fun for local trips, capable of 2 hours cross country flights and back again in the afternoon, capable of operating out of 630m asphalt, run on mogas, and after proper training I'd like to do loops and rolls now and then (not in the Katana of course). Speed over 100 knots is not a priority.

I have close to 50k euro cash to spend, and I'm currently saving a few k each month, so financially I'm ok. If the bank is willing (or I wait another year or so) I can afford a 100k aircraft, but I prefer to keep it in the 50k range. If I'm going to spend a lot of money I'd rather have it being my own than a shared aircraft.

.
Sounds like an ultralight with Rotax engine would be a perfect fit.
I am planning to become a reseller for a certain model.
PM me for more info.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 18:50
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Check out the RV 6, 7 or 9

Out of the RVs, the RV 4 (and 3) are the ones with the highest 'coolness' factor and closest to cult status. They are therefore also the most difficult to find and, logically, quite expensive.

Although you as P1 may like the tandem seating, it's worth checking whether your typical passenger would feel the same about sitting in the back

You might want to check the RV 6 (as far as I understand - also approved for gentleman's aerobatics), the RV 7 (similar but no aeros) and the RV 9 (updated model of the 7). Again, as far as I know, they all come in an '-A' version, e.g. RV 7A, having a tricycle undercarriage instead of the traditional layout. They should be easier to get hold of, and should be more comfortable to fly - making them better tourers (at least the 7 and 9) without being too much of a step up.

(Of course, getting a tail wheel conversion is not a biggie, but unless you will use it off grass and short runways, there is little point. Handling a taildragger on a hard surface can be a pain and may end up limiting where you go...)

(RVs are not approved for IFR flights, you may need to get an EASA CofA for that if you want to do serious touring, but then they don't tend to drink Mogas...)

If you like the Katana, how about the DA 40? the Diesel version can be quite frugal.

B.

Last edited by Baikonour; 9th Jun 2015 at 19:07. Reason: Correction
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 19:38
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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The RV has got to be the kiddie. They are amazing. I have flown all the variants in my LAA Coaching role and a 6 will be my next aircraft.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 19:48
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a roof instead of a clear canopy makes it less appealing to me
Let us agree to argue that point again after your first tail-over-nose.
I was happy to survive mine - in a high-winger.
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 20:59
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If you're willing to skip the Aeros requirement, but insist on Mogas, then you may well find that the best solution is something that has a Rotax 912 or one of its variants (912S, 912iS, 914). There's a whole series of VLAs and experimentals on the market today, both new and used, for any budget.

Here's a few to get you started:
Aero AT3
Aquila A210
Europa (monowheel or trigear - for a low-hours pilot the trigear is perhaps the better choice)
Evektor Sportstar

See Rotax 912 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for a far more comprehensive list.

As far as the Mogas STC for the R2160 is concerned: A year or two ago EASA issued a document that lists the engine types that can be run on Mogas as far as they are concerned. I haven't checked the details, but AFAIK aircraft with these engines don't need a further aircraft-specific STC to run on Mogas - provided certain conditions are met. You need to do a bit more investigation but it might well be that the R2160 can run on Mogas without a specific STC to do so.

Here's a document to get you started but I don't think it was the final version or form: http://easa.europa.eu/system/files/d...08-6-light.pdf
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 22:04
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@Backpacker: to be able to fly mogas you need both engine approval and airframe approval. Tanks and hoses can degrade rapidly due to 1% ethanol, and vapor lock is a real issue. For example the Robin DR400 has an STC, but it requires completely installing a new fuel system (tanks+hoses+pump) if I recall correctly. But most engines with low enough compressions are indeed allowed. You can check an extensive list here: Petersen Aviation | Auto Fuel STC

I know there are many intersting non-aero VLAs on the market that give a similar experience like a Katana, but most used ones that are for sale are much more expensive. I've flown a Tecnam once, and sat in many things like the Aquila A211, sportcruiser, etc at Friedrichshafen a year ago. They all give a similar flying experiene, but if it's possible, out of all the "want" items, I really like to be able to roll the thing

If that's not possible within my budget or experience, then I'll look for a good used fun 2 seater. Katana's are old, cheap (watch the 6000 hour check), and robust, but some other VLA's are starting to get within range of my budget. I do hear several stories of frequent nose gear collapse in schools or clubs. My usual rental is currently being repaired as well due to a hard landing. The Katana's can handle a bit more beating. But you're right that I should at least consider them as well! Because their younger their interior probably looks nicer and they usually have better avionics. Thanks!

On a side note: if only a new Blackshape Prime BS115 would be cheaper...
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 22:05
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Join Date: Aug 2000
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As I'm now on my third RV-4, I'm obviously biased, but will throw in a few observations:

Suitable for low hours pilot? - Well they are not suitable for conversion training. You can install back seat stick, rudder and throttle but it is not intended for P1 flying. Take-off and landing from the back seat is 'interesting'. But they are quite easy handling for a tailwheel aircraft, so checking out thoroughly in Chippy, Citabrias, Jodel, Emeraude, Condor etc will prepare you for the front seat. The instructor in the back won't do much more than critique. In my opinion the -4 is one of the easiest, best behaved TW aircraft available.

There is not a lot of space, no seat adjustment and limited pedal adjustment so you need to make sure you're comfortable with the fit.

RV-4s do come on the market quite regularly and usually at a lower price than the later models, but they are homebuilt so you need to check the build quality preferably with someone who understands the construction.

An O-360 and CS prop will make them pretty fast but at the expense of payload and handling. An O-320 and fixed prop won't disappoint and would be my suggestion.

Handling is 'sporty' but nothing like a Pitts. Controls are light and smooth and it trims nicely for x-country and even instrument flying (if permitted). Roll rate is about 120-140°/second.

They are pretty easy to maintain using mostly readily available parts. I think of it as like a Chippy with twice the performance and half the running cost.
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Old 10th Jun 2015, 08:22
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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I did an initial Tailwheel rating on an RV4 two weeks ago in Italy funnily enough. Lovely aircraft to fly, I have a couple of friends who own them. I prefer the side by side variants for the social aspects!
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Old 10th Jun 2015, 22:42
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Join Date: Jan 1999
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RV4

I agree with all the positive things about the way the RV4 flys but if you are thinking of buying one take a very good look at the structure in the area of the lower firewall and landing gear mountings.
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