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RV-9A v. Lightening
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deuskid



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 26
Location: St Louis, MO

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:54 pm    Post subject: Re: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

vettin74(at)yahoo.com wrote:
if anyone would like a play by play comparison between the lightning and a RV-6A i would be mor ethan happy to share, i have flown more than 100 hours in the lightning type aircraft and many hours in others including a intense flight check of a local RV-6A...i know how they both fly and can give an opinion of both with out speculation on how each may or may not perform.....

nick



I would very much welcome 'a play by play comparison'....

btw, I have 3 sisters.... and they all sound like those being described in this thread Shocked
Laughing

John


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deuskid



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 26
Location: St Louis, MO

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:55 pm    Post subject: Re: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

A related question [no, not on sisters... on -9As v. Lightnings]...

-9As can operate off of grass...

Any difficulty there for Lightnings?

thanks,

John


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max.givan(at)ngc.com
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 9:57 am    Post subject: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

Buz and All

I have been considering a Lightning, however one of the 'issues' that I have with this aircraft is that it's early versions are not very 'stable'.
Your comments that:

'a stable cross country platform is probably some boring store bought C or P airframe. Sport aircraft will never be as stable as those - and generally no one that flys sport aircraft wants them to be'

is certainly not true for me. I would intend to use 'my' Lightning for extensive cross country with light IFR and for those purposes you really need a reasonable level of basic stability in all 3 axes. This is a pilot workload and safety of flight issue. Can near neutrally stable aircraft be flown by competent pilots? Yes, albeit with much higher workload. I dont want C or P stability levels, however, there are basic, well established flying qualities criteria from sources such as MIL-F-8785C. Just good basic aircraft design principles. I am experienced pilot and also an Aerospace engineer
(Flight Control and configuration design) with many years designing military aircraft so I have some solid basis for my opinions. Again, I think the Lightning is a very interesting design but from information I have read and heard on actual flight characteristics, I believe it needs some attention to the basic stability and control issues before I would write a check for one. Yes, I know about the recent aft fuselage mods to get CG foward, however I believe it may need another iteration to improve stability and real world flying qualities. For the local VFR, psuedo fighter pilot flying crowd, the current configuration might be just fine. I am following current builders progress and flight testing. I will probably end up buy one but I want more info on basic flying qualities first.

Max Givan

From: owner-lightning-list-server(at)matronics.com [mailto:owner-lightning-list-server(at)matronics.com] On Behalf Of N1BZRich(at)aol.com
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2006 4:56 PM
To: lightning-list(at)matronics.com
Subject: Re: Re: RV-9A v. Lightening

Hey Jack, Buz here.
This list is a great thing for sharing information with others when you have something informative to share. But my thoughts after reading some of your message were - he must have flown a really different Esqual than the ones I have flown and the engines must not have been installed correctly for good cooling. The heating issue you mention is totally an airframe installation situation - not an engine issue. So bottom line, I actually thought Pete went kind of easy with his response. My opinion.
Here are some other statements you made that I thought were misleading or hard to understand what you were really saying:
-You said: On a cross country platform it is my opinion that the Lightning will not be as stable or as fast as the RV.
Since I am pretty sure you have not flown a Lightning, how did you form this opinion? Actually, a stable cross country platform is probably some boring store bought C or P airframe. Sport aircraft will never be as stable as those - and generally no one that flys sport aircraft wants them to be. Will the Lightning be as fast on XC? That will depend on which Lightning and which RV-9A. Differences of opinions is what makes horse races. Heck, I have a friend building an RV-9A (has been doing so for many years) and I can't wait to blow by him in my Esqual.
-You said: Balanced control surfaces on the RV were great, the Esqual and I suspect the Lightning not as good.
I am confused by what you mean by balanced control surfaces. The Lightning has aerodynamic and statically balanced rudder and elevator - the Esqual does not. Are you maybe talking about control feel, or stick force per "G" perhaps, or rate of change of aircraft displacement based on some specific control input verses airspeed? Not sure what you are saying.

-You said: Stability for cross country was better in the RV than the Esqual
See above about sport aircraft and cross country , but my Esqual is a great cross country airplane. There is some required trim adjustment as you burn fuel, but you can easily trim it hands off. As long as you are above the bumpy air down low, it is as smooth a ride as my Bonanza was.

-You mentioned the term: well harmonized control input.
Once again I am confused. I completely understand "harmonized controls" referring to control feel, but if we are talking "input" than that must be something that comes from the pilot. If the pilot does not have at least good hands (mine are golden) then the input may not be well harmonized. Yes, I'm joshing with you here.

In closing, I hope you can understand why Pete was so concerned. There is just too much of the "old wives tales" type of information and "hangar talk" based on hearsay in aviation. We need to keep the information flow going, but it must be based on facts and not hearsay.
Well, I'm ready to jink-out if you are tracking and I am in your pipper, so take any shots. Seriously, the fact that you took the time to send your message shows that you care and some of your information was good. I would just caution you about opinions without facts.
Blue Skies,
Buz

[quote]

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pete(at)flylightning.net
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:24 pm    Post subject: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

Max,

It sounds like you really want a Cessna. The Lightning and many other sporty aircraft like Vans RV’s, kit Lancair’s, Glasair’s, Esquals and others are not “hands off” aircraft. They must be flown most of the time. But – that’s part of the fun that we like to have in the aircraft. It sounds like the Lightning is not the aircraft for your goals. We can make it more “Cessna like” but that is not what meets our goals for the aircraft. Responsive handling for fun coupled with enough cross country stability that does not tire a pilot out after 3 or 4 hours is what we have. As you said, the Lightning is early in its development but we feel we are really close to the goals we were aiming at.

Pete


From: owner-lightning-list-server(at)matronics.com [mailto:owner-lightning-list-server(at)matronics.com] On Behalf Of Givan, Max
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 12:58 PM
To: lightning-list(at)matronics.com
Subject: RE: Re: RV-9A v. Lightening


Buz and All

I have been considering a Lightning, however one of the 'issues' that I have with this aircraft is that it's early versions are not very 'stable'.
Your comments that:

'a stable cross country platform is probably some boring store bought C or P airframe. Sport aircraft will never be as stable as those - and generally no one that flys sport aircraft wants them to be'

is certainly not true for me. I would intend to use 'my' Lightning for extensive cross country with light IFR and for those purposes you really need a reasonable level of basic stability in all 3 axes. This is a pilot workload and safety of flight issue. Can near neutrally stable aircraft be flown by competent pilots? Yes, albeit with much higher workload. I dont want C or P stability levels, however, there are basic, well established flying qualities criteria from sources such as MIL-F-8785C. Just good basic aircraft design principles. I am experienced pilot and also an Aerospace engineer
(Flight Control and configuration design) with many years designing military aircraft so I have some solid basis for my opinions. Again, I think the Lightning is a very interesting design but from information I have read and heard on actual flight characteristics, I believe it needs some attention to the basic stability and control issues before I would write a check for one. Yes, I know about the recent aft fuselage mods to get CG foward, however I believe it may need another iteration to improve stability and real world flying qualities. For the local VFR, psuedo fighter pilot flying crowd, the current configuration might be just fine. I am following current builders progress and flight testing. I will probably end up buy one but I want more info on basic flying qualities first.

Max Givan


From: owner-lightning-list-server(at)matronics.com [mailto:owner-lightning-list-server(at)matronics.com] On Behalf Of N1BZRich(at)aol.com
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2006 4:56 PM
To: lightning-list(at)matronics.com
Subject: Re: Re: RV-9A v. Lightening
Hey Jack, Buz here.

This list is a great thing for sharing information with others when you have something informative to share. But my thoughts after reading some of your message were - [b]he must have flown a really different Esqual than the ones I have flown and the engines must not have been installed correctly for good cooling[/b]. The heating issue you mention is totally an airframe installation situation - not an engine issue. So bottom line, I actually thought Pete went kind of easy with his response. My opinion.

Here are some other statements you made that I thought were misleading or hard to understand what you were really saying:

-You said: On a cross country platform it is my opinion that the Lightning will not be as stable or as fast as the RV.

Since I am pretty sure you have not flown a Lightning, how did you form this opinion? Actually, a stable cross country platform is probably some boring store bought C or P airframe. Sport aircraft will never be as stable as those - and generally no one that flys sport aircraft wants them to be. Will the Lightning be as fast on XC? That will depend on which Lightning and which RV-9A. Differences of opinions is what makes horse races. Heck, I have a friend building an RV-9A (has been doing so for many years) and I can't wait to blow by him in my Esqual.

-You said: Balanced control surfaces on the RV were great, the Esqual and I suspect the Lightning not as good.

I am confused by what you mean by balanced control surfaces. The Lightning has aerodynamic and statically balanced rudder and elevator - the Esqual does not. Are you maybe talking about control feel, or stick force per "G" perhaps, or rate of change of aircraft displacement based on some specific control input verses airspeed? Not sure what you are saying.



-You said: Stability for cross country was better in the RV than the Esqual

See above about sport aircraft and cross country , but my Esqual is a great cross country airplane. There is some required trim adjustment as you burn fuel, but you can easily trim it hands off. As long as you are above the bumpy air down low, it is as smooth a ride as my Bonanza was.



-You mentioned the term: well harmonized control input.

Once again I am confused. I completely understand "harmonized controls" referring to control feel, but if we are talking "input" than that must be something that comes from the pilot. If the pilot does not have at least good hands (mine are golden) then the input may not be well harmonized. Yes, I'm joshing with you here.



In closing, I hope you can understand why Pete was so concerned. There is just too much of the "old wives tales" type of information and "hangar talk" based on hearsay in aviation. We need to keep the information flow going, but it must be based on facts and not hearsay.

Well, I'm ready to jink-out if you are tracking and I am in your pipper, so take any shots. Seriously, the fact that you took the time to send your message shows that you care and some of your information was good. I would just caution you about opinions without facts.

Blue Skies,

Buz
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dashvii(at)hotmail.com
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:24 pm    Post subject: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

Max,
Let me jump in here since I have experience with the planes. The
Lightning is only what I would call close to neutrally stable in the roll
axis. You seem to be basing your comments on something that you picked up
on that Buzz said. Hopefully he'll jump on and clarify this a little. I'd
also caution you to make a statement like that without flying the aircraft
as there's no real basis for comparison.

'a stable cross country platform is probably some boring store bought C or P
airframe. Sport aircraft will never be as stable as those - and generally
no one that flys sport aircraft wants them to be'

If you have never flown a light sport aircraft then you won't know what he's
talking about here. You aren't going to make a light sport aircraft be able
to handle turbulence as well as a heavier airplane. You also aren't going
to get a low wing light sport to handle turbulence quiet as well as a high
wing. The second part of that I think he was really talking more about
manueverability than stability or controlability. What makes part of it fun
is a rapid and responsive roll rate. I believe that I also hold the current
highest trip length in a Lightning. I have flown over 1600nm with the plane
in one shot. I couldn't take my hands off for a few minutes and drink a cup
of tea or whatever, but It flew nice and stable. There were no pressures
needed to be excerted on the stick, just a handhold on the stick. During
this trip I flew over the tops of building clouds and over the tops of the
Rockies and the plane handled turbulence surprisingly well.

I would personally say that this plane has at least as good if not better
stability and controlability as the Esqual. I think that it has superior
manueverability (faster roll rates, better climb rates). I also like the
feel of the plane much better. There's more of a solid control feel but not
a heavy feel on the controls. This is one of those planes that you can
really "feel" out the plane and it becomes an extension of your body. If
you want hands off flying cross country (and don't want a Cessna) that is
fast, efficient, at a great price, and looks great then one of these could
be for you. Just include the dual axis autopilot like Buzz is putting in
his Esqual. (I don't know about you but I try not to ever really fly hands
off even with the autopilot on)

I don't know if you got a chance to read my partial pilot report that I
posted earlier and it got erased. If you didn't I'll post it again. Brian
W.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:25 pm    Post subject: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

Hi Max,
I am afraid we may be talking semantics here.  My first thought is that some how we both need to know what the other means by the word "stable". My other thought is just how important is the others definition of stable if we are happy with the cross country capability of what ever airplane we are flying, and... I have never flown an airplane that I didn't like. (I just re-read that and I am not too sure you will get my meaning, but heck it is late and I had a long day, so I hope you understand).
I will start off by saying that the Lightning and the Esqual are both good cross country airplanes. Heck, I have 175 hours on mine in the last 8 months and probably at least half of that is cross country. Also, in the past (or currently), I have owned a Cessna 170, a Beech Debonair, a Beech Bonanza, a Piper J3 Cub, and a single seat Pitts. I have flown them all on lots of XCs and only the Debonair had an auto pilot. The Bonanza had one, but it was so old that I took it out. Trim them up and you can look at a map or what ever while continuing to hand fly the airplanes. Of the above, the least stable of course was the Pitts, but it was pure fun to fly - even on long XCs. The longest of which was from California to Virginia - and lots of other shorter trips through out the southwest when I was competing in aerobatic contest. The airplane that I have the most time in (something like 4000 hours) is the F-4 (C, D, E, slated E, F). Is it stable? Well, I guess it depends on the definition of stable. Obviously I have flown lots of cross country in those as well (mostly IFR where you need to be pretty accurate with your altitude and heading. Did I use the F-4 auto pilot. Almost never. Heck, even the Dash 1 had a warning note: Do not engage below 5000 feet. That is how much they (and I) trusted the auto pilot in the F-4. Well, that and the fact that most of what we did was in formation.
Max, the point of all of this is that some airplanes that some people might consider "not stable for cross country" are flown cross country every day by others that love them and with no trouble. Kind of like "different strokes for different folks". When you evaluate an airplane and share your thoughts with others, you run the risk that someone will not fully understand what you are trying to say. Perhaps this has happened here. I don't know where you live, but I would invite you to take a flight in my Esqual. I have probably had 30 or so pilots fly it up to this point. If they are current I put them in the left seat. Most initially over controlled in pitch, but after "calibrating" their hands they had no problems. That is my Esqual. The Lightning is a better airplane in every respect.
In closing, here are a few things to consider:
First, don't read some message that talks about some airplane and believe what is written it if that person has not flown that airplane. And so far, everyone that has flown a Lightning has loved it. Sure, the list of Lightning pilots is only five people long, but that list will quickly grow.
Second, it sounds like we may have some common back ground as far a military aviation and aerospace engineering. I see by your e-mail address that you must work at Northrop Grumman.
Third, come fly my Esqual - I am serious - or be sure to fly the Lightning demonstrator as soon as they get one built.
Fourth, read my message to Jack again after you have seen the above.
Blue Skies,
Buz
[quote][b]


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

All,

Here's a email that has me just chomping at the bit to correct some real
inaccuracies from someone who didn't sign his name!

Let's start with stability for cross country. We had the opportunity to fly
a RV-6 for a few hours a few weeks ago to compare handling. The RV was
great but - the Lightning was its equal. The Lightning was more stable in
roll and about the same in pitch. The RV pitch forces got quite heavy with
advancing speed while Lightning's did not. If you are equating the
stability of Lightning to Esqual you are on the wrong track and putting out
an opinion not based on any fact.

The Lightning cruises 5 knots slower than the 160 hp RV 6 that we flew. On
a three hour flight that would equate to 5 minutes difference. Yes - it is
a bit slower but it uses 5.5 gph vs the 9 that the RV was using. On that
three hour flight with gas at $4.00 it cost $42 to gain those 5 minutes.

Engine maintenance is probably easier with the Jabiru engine. If you are out
in the boondocks you can get Jabiru plugs, dust caps, rotors, and even mags
at most auto stores. Try walking into your autozone in a town where there
is no aircraft maintenance and asking for parts for your Lycoming mag!
Granted, there are not many A&P's with Jabiru experience but the number is
growing and in a few short years there will be a selection of places near
home where you can take your Jabiru engine for repairs that cost far, far
less than a Lycoming repair.

As far as the "heating issues" you mention with Jabiru: those are
installation issues that are no fault of the engine. If a Lycoming was
installed with the same engineering as most of the Jabiru's with :heating
issues" were installed you'd be telling us about Lycomings with heating
issues - but you'd have to leave off the bit about smooth running. As far
as the Rotax being an alternative - only the earlier Esquals in Europe were
Rotax powered. Since 2003 when Jabiru was introduced as an option the vast
majority of Esquals have been Jabiru powered.

As far as structural strength - you are wrong again about Lightning. Esqual
probably is not as strong as an RV but Lightning is built stronger than the
Van's product. We can show you photos of Lightning wings loaded to 11 G
positive & negative. I'd like to see the Vans wing loaded to 11G. I have
the feeling there would be some crumpled metal.

The final point of your email is a good one - it needs to come down to pilot
preference. As you say - it's "your money, time, and life". That's why
when an unsigned email comes along with facts that are just wrong or
unsupported opinions disguised as facts - it is good to hear the other side.

That's what the internet is for, right? Anyone can say anything at any time
- right or wrong - and not take responsibility for it.

Pete

--


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deuskid



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 26
Location: St Louis, MO

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:38 am    Post subject: Re: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

pete(at)flylightning.net wrote:
Hello John,

The Lightning can be equipped with IFR instruments and an autopilot.
Cockpit is 44 inches wide.
There are 4 flying and 26 sold to date.
It is not within the rules to "convert" a non LSA compliant plane to a LSA
compliant one as the rule states the aircraft must have been "originally
certificated and continuously operated" within the parameters of light sport
to be flown by a pilot with light sport privileges.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Pete Krotje
Arion Aircraft, LLC

--


Pete -

A 767 pilot that flys an RV and building another [has like 17k hours] made the following comment as part of a larger post in VAF forum re: LSAs:

...We have had kit planes and that have met the LSA's spec planes for years, but they where never real popular: Kitfox, Sonex, Sonerai II. The KR2 and VariEZ make a nice LSA, but they are too fast. Existing factory planes that meet the LSA spec: Luscombe, Aeronca, Cessna (140) and Taylorcraft are great planes but somewhat long in the tooth. Still I would look for one to buy or fix up before I bought a new plastic LSA for $95,000. A nice old C140 cost a fraction of that. LSA's cost are crazy money for a tiny two seat plane with a go slow mission....

George knows a ton about FARs and aircraft and I'm confused that he'd reocmmend rebuilding an a/c to use as LSA. Is he mistaken about beigng able to do so?

thanks

John


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:16 pm    Post subject: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

It sounds like John is a bit out of touch. If he thinks that Kitfoxes and
Sonex are "never real popular" he is mistaken. Sonex just sold their 1000th
kit in only 6 years. There are well over 1000 Kitfoxes out there. Granted
all those figures look small compared to Vans. It is true that acquisition
cost is higher for a new airplane - it always is. Operating costs for the
new LSA's, though will most probably make up the difference plus C140's do
not qualify as LSA and who wants to fly a Taylorcraft when so many larger,
more comfortable, and more efficient plastic LSA aircraft are available.

Pete

--


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deuskid



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 26
Location: St Louis, MO

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:48 am    Post subject: Re: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

pete(at)flylightning.net wrote:
It sounds like John is a bit out of touch. If he thinks that Kitfoxes and
Sonex are "never real popular" he is mistaken. Sonex just sold their 1000th
kit in only 6 years. There are well over 1000 Kitfoxes out there. Granted
all those figures look small compared to Vans. It is true that acquisition
cost is higher for a new airplane - it always is. Operating costs for the
new LSA's, though will most probably make up the difference plus C140's do
not qualify as LSA and who wants to fly a Taylorcraft when so many larger,
more comfortable, and more efficient plastic LSA aircraft are available.

Pete

--


Pete... I quoted George for the comment he made about restoring an older aircraft for LSA use rather than buy new.

You have said the LSA regs don't allow a 'regular' a/c to be re-designated as LSA while George seems to indicate otherwise.

I'm trying to understand the two viewpoints.

You are correct tho, Geo doesn't like LSA because he believes the regulations are arbritrary and over limiting. He did comment that your regular Lightning [and the RV-9A [and one other model I can't recall]] are excellent aircraft and the right way to go lighter - and don't limit speed. The comments he made above were part of a larger narrative where he was making the point the a new Cessna that costs $1000k and is limited isn't a very good value.

So, is George mistaken about refurbishing an older a/c for LSA status?

Thanks

John


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:10 am    Post subject: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

The LSA rule states that for an aircraft to be flown by a pilot with Sport
Pilot privileges it must have been "originally certificated and continuously
operated within the parameters of the LSA rule". There is no way to make an
aircraft LSA compliant that was at any time in its existence a non compliant
aircraft. That's why a C140 does not qualify. That's why no one can take a
C140 and change it's gross weight to a lower number to make it qualify.
Can't change props either to slow the aircraft down or add vortex generators
to stall slower. If the plane has ever operated out of the parameters you
can't fly it as LSA.

Pete

--


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deuskid



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 26
Location: St Louis, MO

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:25 am    Post subject: Re: RV-9A v. Lightening Reply with quote

Thx Pete

appreciate the info.

John


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