On the cover of our March 2013 issue was the last fully new airplane introduced by Van’s Aircraft, the RV-14. As Paul Dye wrote then, “On the surface, it appears to be a small step from what is already available in the company’s complete line of aircraft, and while this might have let down the casual observer, those who have looked more deeply into the design have found it both intriguing and exciting. While evolutionary in concept, it is revolutionary enough to deserve a close examination by those looking for a new two-seat aircraft project.” The RV-14 was not intended to replace the other side-by-side aircraft in the lineup but to offer a larger alternative.
“The RV-14 is the next step in the evolution of kit aircraft design, and the kit was essentially designed concurrently with the aircraft,” Paul wrote in 2013. “With the RV-14, match-hole CAD design and manufacturing has progressed in flush-riveted airplanes to the point where the builder can take the part out of the box, dimple the holes (they are already punched to final size and don’t require deburring) and Cleco the assemblies together only once—no disassembly required.”
At the other end of the speed spectrum, Geoff Jones had a feature on a replica Fokker E.111 Eindecker from the U.K. “A fair-weather, single-seat aircraft, it offers a great way for a bunch of friends to enjoy the benefits of unrestricted flying that [ultralights] present. The three buddies I met recently in rural Gloucestershire, England, are Robin Morton, George Simoni and Shaun Davis…they fly together at the same club, and, as often happens in drink-fueled discussions, one evening after a meal together they were listing the favorite aircraft types they’d like to build. Miraculously and independently, all three said the Fokker Eindecker, and there was no turning back.”
Getting to fly the E.111, Jones reported, “I was expecting to have to fly a curved approach, but as I found in the descent to the pattern, the forward visibility continues to be good, and I am blessed with a slight breeze straight down the runway. I do a wheel landing, the best on a hard runway, though three-pointers may be preferred on grass/turf, chopping the power once I feel the rumble of the tires, all the time sensing that the Eindecker is trying to skittishly get away from me, so I keep pedaling the rudder to keep straight. The slightest gust of wind could get under those big wings and spoil my day.“ He emerged unscathed.
Elsewhere in the issue, Paul Dye discussed the value of having a flight-test team around you rather than taking on the task solo. “I love doing things by myself. But I have learned over the years how rewarding it can be to interact with others who share a common interest and similar goals. The homebuilding team is large, vast and diverse. It is spread across the globe and available to all, from the local coffee klatch to the global reach of the Internet. I encourage everyone with a building project or a flying airplane to be part of the team. The rewards are great, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”