Below is a list of FAQ's that have been asked of me over time. I've tried to make it simple to read and concise.
Q. What's an RV Super 8?
A. Is it an RV8, with a six cylinder IO-540 engine. Most use a c4b5 260hp model.
Q. What has to be done to convert a regular RV 8 to a Super 8?
A. My favorite question because the answer is so simple. Shorten the engine mount, lengthen the cowl, throw the battery in the tail to keep the CG in range, and go fly. Seriously. That's it.
Q. How many of these flying?
A. 6 that I am aware of, others under construction. Larry Boggs( larryboggs at systecservices.com) has answered every ? from me and has been the bulk of my info. His is one of the Dragon Super 8's. Also Jeff Roberts (JRRV8 at aol.com) has also been helpful.
Q. Where can I find info on the web about this.
A. Welcome to my world. This is a huge problem. Im it for now. Those that have gone before me have no computer skills.
Q. What does Vans think about this?
A. They don't like it one damn bit. Any manufacturer would not be happy when you ignore the rules and increase the risk.
Q. Why a RV as opposed to a purpose built F1 Rocket or a Harmon Rocket?
A. A most excellent question. I really spent some time with this. Here is a bullet list of MY thoughts.
I like Vans. Been there, done that, stable company, parts readily available.
The Rockets are sexy and look great, but... I dont like the steel tube round gear. Wiggly wobbly
I like the fwd baggage hold to be able to balance loads
Nothing fly's like an RV for total performance.
Insurance. Cheaper on the RV series
Cost of the kit. RV=$17.5k slow build or $25K Quick build. F1=$35k+ Quick build only. Since wanted to modify a few things, I wanted the slow build and saw nearly a $20k difference. Now to be fair, this is not an apples to apples comparison. But FOR ME, this is how it netted out. Now I love the F1, and Mark Fredrick (Team Rocket Owner) is a friend. But this was a dollars question for sure.
The cost of a Super 8 will be cheaper than a regular 8. The engine prop combination is cheaper for a 6 cylinder than the 4 cylinder. Thank the rest of the RV's for eating up the worlds four cylinders. Wait till the RV-10 eats up the 6 cylinders.
Another excellent discussion from others. Go here:
Q. What about Insurance?
A. Insurance can get a bit tricky. I spoke to a couple of companies. Basically They treat a Super 8 like an RV 8 with a big engine, similar to a turbo Arrow. It is still an Arrow, but it is still more risky and takes more skill and more expensive. The quotes on an 80k hull with my experience level in RV's, which is high, was $1800.00. Thousands less than Rockets.
Q. How do you get the cowl lengthened? Shorter Engine Mount?
A. By sending to a fella John Marshal (317-862-2389) in Indianapolis and he will do it for you. Cowl is $300 to lengthen, Engine mount is $700.
Q. What is the performance specs of a Super 8?
A. From Larry Boggs, here is his data.
Everything on the plane standard, other than the io540.
Climb solo 3000'+fpm
Empty Weight is 1250lbs
IO-540 C4B5 260hp
Aztec Prop, chopped to 76"
23 squared, 11.5gph, 215pmh easy cruise
To the wall, 3000', 2650 rpm, 19gph to keep her cool, 235mph
Q. What about the prop?
A. Oh your gonna like this too. Hows an Aztec prop, chopped, overhauled, to your door for $3,100 sound? Other props have been tried for a lot more money, and this one works the best. And the price, well you can see it is very good. Now the very bad news. The gentleman doing these props has the absolute worstest, crappyiest, lousy customer service of any, I mean Any, aviation supplier I have ever dealt with. Nat Ramsey from U.S. Propellers in Gibsonville, NC is the man who has built these purpose built props for the Super 8 fliers. It took him 8 months to get the pieces together, then he took my money, would not answer phone calls. Had his admin Mary run interference on every call. He lied, delayed, and jerked me around for weeks. Told me it shipped. It didnt. Told me tomorrow, weeks went by.. And so on. I was nice, sweet, begged, and threaten him. I called 7 times a day, and tried to leave him alone for a week. I tried every angle to get him to either gimmie my money back or send me my props(I paid him for 2 cause my buddy wanted one for his Super 7). This went on for weeks. Now Im gonna give you his number, but do not EVER say that I did not warn you. 800-395-7767 , 1001 Springwood Ave. Suite 1 ,Gibsonville, NC 27249. The only upside was that I finally did get my props. They look good and well done. But a lot of prop sops can do that. My hub is a HC-C2YR-1B and my blades are F-8465-7R. First 50 hour report is they work, but I am getting vibration that could be the ole fat Hartzell 2 blade vibration blues.
The blades on the 540 prop are thicker so you will need one AN washer on the back plate to keep the blades from hitting the backplate.
Q. What's the downside?
A. Well certainly the RV was not designed to be buzzing around at 235. And one must remember that the RV was originally designed to fly acro in the 160mph range. Those who have flown these planes a lot can tell you that the RV gets a heavy stick above 180mph mark. The Super 8 is not an airplane to be rolling at 230mph. Torsion loads on the wing do not allow for enough tolerance for this. But, if you fly the plane within the standard RV envelope for acro, and cruise around at 220, then it has been demonstrated you will probably not die. Your results may vary. Ken Fowler flies his Harmon Rocket to over 300mph. So there are numbers and there are doers. I plan on flying acro in the RV envelope, cruise at 220, and climb like a homesick angel.
Q. What about all the formation flying?
A. Well thats what the throttle is for. Other fast planes, like the rockets, fly formation with other normal RV's all the time. And when flying at those slow speeds, the 6 cylinder is 25% more efficient than the lower hp 4 cylinders. Its still an RV.
Q. Any other tid bits of info?
A. Larry and John recommend std lord mounts, not the acro ones. You will have to build a firewall recess for theoil filter, or use the B&C 90 deg. adapter. The Marshal engine mount takes AN7-35 bolts. Some setups have updraft sumps, some fwd facing. Some carbs, some FI. Some use vans airbox, some not. Just have to figure that out when you get to it.
Q. What does the firewall fwd look like?
A. Well go here and browse the pictures of John Marshalls Green Dragon Super 8.