Saturday, January 05, 2008

More on (or 'Moron', if you prefer) landings

Regular readers (both of you) will know that I go on and on about the quality of my landings in the RV-6. Irregular readers (hint: try more fiber in your diet) will just have to take my word for it: a smooth landing in my RV is the exception rather than the norm, and I do talk about it here a lot.

In any event, I was reading a thread in the wonderful RV related forum run by Mr. Doug Reeves (I often refer to is as 'the Dreeves Forum') and came across a couple of sentiments about landing RVs that I thought I'd share:

I also wonder about the "easiest to land" comments and am unable to justify them with the RV landings I see at fly-ins.

It is my experience that the tailgear RV is difficult to land "perfectly" on a real consistent basis. The short wings require the pilot to be precisely on target for correct airspeed and glide angle in order to grease a landing. The springy gear is unforgiving of high sink rates and/or high landing speed. Too much of either will launch the plane into a series of hops resulting in the landings often observed when RVs flock together.

Don't get me wrong, RV's are very straightforward landing airplanes. I'm just thinking about how easy it is to get a frequent PERFECT landing...minimum float, silky arrival, no hops chirps or bounces. RV's have very springy gear and are sensitive to airspeed.

Among tailwheel airplanes, my observations are that RV's are the most frequently bounced of any type I've seen.

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one.


  1. Dave, check your tach calibration. I read a thread on Doug's website some time back in which another RV'er checked his & found the actual rpm was about 875 vs 650 indicated. One nice SIDE effect was that his landings were MUCH easier and improved.
    Also, on a couple of different threads, it seems that the first indication of tach failure is reading low. Perhaps dry lube in the tach cable? Since you have an older plane, that could be part of your problems. Just a couple of thoughts intended to help your RV experience be more gratifying.
    Oops. Just remembered that Van has an excellent article "How to Land an RV" that lists appropriate flap settings and speeds for normal (and otherwise) approaches that result in consistently satisfactory landings.
    I don't remember exactly where it"s at, but GOOGLE is our friend.

    surf21 at xmission.c_m

  2. Oh, don't get me wrong: after a couple of years flying the RV, I get consistently satisfactory landings. I just don't get consistently great landings. On a calm day with no pax, I can grease it on 75% of the time. Crosswinds and/or gusty weather, well, not so much.

    Of course, the goal of a perfect landing every time is not realistic, nor is it attainable. But it gives me something to whine about when I don't get it, and people that know me know that I'm not happy unless I have something to whine about! :-)