my Experimental RV-4

I have been a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association since 1962, even before I started flying. The idea of building my own aircraft became compelling. I attended EAA conventions in Oshkosh and Sun N Fun in Florida for many years always intrigued and fascinated by the beautiful aircraft. Finally, after my family was grown and I started back into aviation and flying in a serious way, I began to investigate the possibilities.

In 1990, I selected the RV-4 for a project and bought the tail kit to see what it would be like. Looking at the estimates and reports from other builders, I estimated about 2000 hours over two years or so to build it depending on time available. The cold reality is, the project took over three and one half years and over 5000 hours. These hours were invested by myself and my son, Devin, with lots of help from his friends, Eric and Mark.

The end result is shown above. The aircraft is beautiful to look at and flies as wonderful as it looks. First flight was at Coronado Airport in Albuquerque on 20 November 1993. I did the test flying, except for the aerobatic envelope, and have flown all but about one hour of the 200 hours now on the aircraft.

The aircraft features an IO-360 Lycoming engine with 10.5 to 1 compression pistons giving an estimated 230 horsepower driving a constant speed prop. The aircraft was originally designed for 160 horsepower, so the extra horses provide spectacular climb capability. It also has inverted fuel and oil systems.

The aircraft weighs 1108 pounds dry. This is heavy for an RV-4 and is the result of the big engine, prop, inverted systems and the very complete avionics suite. Overall, we are quite pleased with the weight given all the extra goodies.

The IFR Panel I spent most of my working career in aviation related industries including time doing cockpit layout work for military aircraft. I tried to use everything I knew when I designed the cockpit for my 4. I like to say "every switch, control, and display is where it is for three reasons." The result paid off. When I am in the cockpit, everything comes naturally to hand or eye.

The cockpit of N493DB

The general layout is power control on the left, aviating controls in the center and navigation to the right. Radios and communication is in the stack between my knees. The cockpit features a digital map referenced to GPS. The map is the Argus 5000 and is a wonderful navigation device. One other unusual feature is a "lift reserve indicator" or LRI. It is the instrument all the way to the right on the panel. This instrument has a needle connected to a differential bellows arrangement driven by an angle of attack probe mounted to the right wing.

This aircraft has been sold. There is a sales description and specification posted on this site. Click on the little "Little Airplane" Logo on the right to see it.

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This page and all of its content are copyright 1996, 2004, 2012 by Dave Brickner