600 Hour Report

Before I go into items found on the airplane in the 600hr. report, let me go through a few great milestones on the airplane:

1. Have been all over the country w/o any mechanicals to speak of while in flight. 600 hours in 9 months is quite a bit of flying.  You can read about some of it in my flying section and the Team RV section.

2. Received my training and IFR rating  in the RV and have shot several approaches to minimums with good confidence in the plane. No more getting trapped. But I still know who's boss up there and it ain't me!

3. Lots of formation flying with my buddies in Team RV. Just having a ball doing this stuff. ACM (air combat maneuvering) is next on my list of stuff to do with the RV and my bud's.

4. Met so many people I can not tell you. Not only is the plane amazing, but so are the people who fly them, as well as the people who want to fly them.

5. Best trip so far has been to the Northwest with RV'ers Paul Stratman and Danny Kight. Just amazing! The video is pretty good of our trip. There are too many 2nd place favorites to list.

6. I am getting more aggressive with my acro habits as I learn and develop more skill. Altitude is my friend, and the plane lets me know when I am too slow and uncoordinated in a maneuver.

OK... on to the report:

1. I have had no serious malfunctions to speak of. Mostly little electrical gremlins.

2. I installed the tip up mod to the slider and I am extremely happy with it. I use it often.

3. Engine if performing flawlessly with out so much as a hiccup. The 600hr compressions are all 77/80 on my new engine and I suspect she will go well into 3000hrs at this rate.

4. Fixed  fluctuating EGT/CHT #'s by moving the charge line from the alt. that was running near the egt/cht lines. The numbers are now stable.

5. Installed some alum. cowl tape on the intake to the cylinders to deflect cooling to the rear cylinders.  Old CHT #'s were about 20deg C difference from front cyl. to the back. Now they are within 3deg. C.

6. I am hugely impressed with the oil cooler installation on the intake baffle. Whilst all my buddies complain on the hot summer days climbs to altitude, mine just stays rock solid cool always.  Turns out the flapper door to cut off the flow does nothing. I cant really explain it except it appears that the cooler is using radiant cooling, rather than heat transfer from air blasting through it. Closing the flapper door, cutting off 75% of the air flow only changes the oil temp by 1deg.C. Bizarre but that's the way it is.  What is also bizarre is that the oil temp, regardless of summer or winter, stays right at 82deg.C. Right on the low side of the operating rage where I like it.  What?.... does my engine have an oil thermostat I don't know about. Cause it sure acts like it has one. Highest temp I have seen is 103degC, after arrival into SnF, slow holds over the plant on a hot day, and a 45min taxi. Still in the operating range. NICE!!!

7. Imron paint is holding up well. No sign of wear.

8. Had to replace one flasher on the strobes at the 400hr. mark.

9. My fiberglass factory tips are showing the sagging in them. I should have installed the reinforcing angles like the guys on the lists said to do. Too late now.

10. I had some whine from  the electrical system from alt. noise, on the intercom. I took the rv lists suggestion and installed the rat shack 4 amp noise suppressor, which worked on the noise, but would cut out, periodically, the transmissions on the com. My comm says 5amps draw in the specs. I then installed rat shacks 10 amp version and I happy with the results. No more interruption and the com sounds great. Even the towers tell me how good I sound. Kwel.

11. I had a nose wheel flat and found MAJOR cracking on the alum. support arms for the wheel pant. I had noticed at the 400 hour mark some increased shimmy but everything 'felt' ok when checking it. It was not until I pulled off the pant, which I had not done since the first flight,  that I found this cracking on the supports. I considered replacing the supports with thicker alum, but I would have had to drill out rivets on the wheel pants and mess with alignment issues. So instead I made reinforcement plates to the existing structure. The weakest point now will be at the fiberglass I suspect. Time will tell if this fix works long term. But I feel pretty good about it. You will see the cracks very clearly if you click to enlarge the photo's. I was very close to having the pant have no support at all. After initially cursing the flat tire when it went down on me out on the runway, I finally had to break down and thank the hole in my tube for making me take the pant off and find this problem.

12. I have been through several sets of brakes and tires.  Not a big deal, but with my long paved taxi's it is no surprise. I can wizz bang a set of brakes and tires in less than an hour start to finish now.

13. I shortened my stick by 3" so when my arm is in my lap, my hand holds the grip. I was surprised at how much more force is required to move the stick with my stick loosing 3" of leverage. No big deal, just interesting.

14. Transponder coax cable sheared at the antennae from and very bad crimp on my part. Was completely a builder induced error.

15. Some slop in the control stick bushing developed from my leaving the bushing a bit long. A washer cured the problem.

16. I routinely pull 4g's on the plane with no signs of stress on the airframe. Good job Van's.

17. I had grease coming out from the spinner which initially looked like it was coming from the grease fitting on the Hartzell c/s hub. Grease was pooled on the inside of the spinner near the fittings. Seemed unlikely every fitting would leak at the same time. But I replaced every fitting. No Joy.. Well after messin with it, turns out is was the nuts loose that hold the spinner back plate on. Those nuts and bolts also hold the prop bearing seal in place. ALL were loose. A design problem in my opinion. The nuts were just regular nuts with a locking washer. I double nutted each bolt. Problem solved.

18. Popping sound when throttling back. Sounds like a backfire. This has been going on since day one. Here is what Airflow Performance says.

There's not much you can do about this situation.  The cause is due to the scavenging effect of the exhaust.  What's happening is that under low load the cylinder pressure is low plus the effect of the exhaust system draws the cylinder pressure lower, this causes the burning process to take longer.  Since the timing is fixed, when you are driving the engine the flame front burns slower so you get the popping sound out the exhaust.  You can try setting the idle mixture a little richer.  This may tend to help since a lean mixture also burns a little slower.  But the root cause would be to redesign the exhaust system or advance the ignition timing under those situations.

Don Rivera
Airflow Performance, Inc
Phone:  864-576-4512
Fax:      864-576-0201
email:  airflow2@bellsouth.net

List of things I really like about my choices on the plane:

NavAid, Garmin coupled 295 panel mounted, center console arm rest and storage, oil cooler installation, am/fm cd player, cigarette lighter (I smoke), dual rate elev. trim, g-meter, ICS Plus Nav/Com (only used for ILS approaches), handles on the roll bar,  total engine package w/ Airflow Performance Fuel Inj., New 360 w/ Hartzell C/S prop (that prop rocks!).

List of things I have and don't use:


Digital playback recorder on the PS engineering audio panel. Never use it


Tonoe cover (sp? covers baggage area) . People like to see the interior in the back so I always leave it at home.


All them damn breakers and switches I put in. I could have saved money and time by making this simpler.


All that leather and interior could have been simplified. There is just too much weight there.


Nose wheel. I wish I'd a built a tail dragger. They look better and are more challenging to fly.


Rocky Mountain Encoder. I just watch the steam gages and rarely use this digital airdata unit.

Stuff I have lined up

bulletSmoke System. I have the stuff. Just gotta put it in.
bulletInverted system. Got to buy it. But Im gonna do it. Maybe real soon.
bulletWatching the rv-10. Ill be kit number 5 ish.
bulletResearching turbo charging for high alt. x-country. Very preliminary at this point.

End of report

Back to Mike Stewart's RV Home