Flying with Friends: Tom’s RV-4

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Van's RV4

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to fly with my buddy Tom, who built his own RV-4.

Tom is a former Air Force instructor, now turned corporate pilot. He built his RV-4 13 years ago and been loving it ever since.

He can’t bring himself to park it long enough to paint it, but that’s ok, her beauty in function more than makes up for the lack of form. This airplane get’s used – he has over 1300 hours on the hobbs as of this writing!

Tom lives in storm-ravaged Oklahoma on a grass strip. Sans the storm part, he is the envy of most self-respecting aviators by virtual of living with his airplane. 

Since work brought Tom and his intrepid flying machine to Ohio, it afforded me the opportunity to go for a ride. It was big-fun, of course!
You might even see Tom again in a future post.

Flying the Vans RV4

RVs are designed for sportiness. There are not a lot of frills, but they ooze performance. The niche just so happens to be across a range of flight that puts it right in the sweet spot for many pilots; 200mph-ish cruise, relatively cheap to own/operate, short field ability, aerobatic chops, great visibility and handling. It’s not a cargo ship or a globetrotter (although extremists have flown these around the world). RVs are popular and because of that, they are prevalent with over 8,000 flying as of this writing! 

There is also a little stigma with these machines among some pilots.  Some of it deserved, some not. We have also seen our fare share of accidents, although by percentage the airplanes are in line with other experimentals, there’s just more of us.

Many of us are working to try to destigmatize our image. We aren’t alone in this, several other large “type-clubs” are stereotyped unfairly because of a few bad apples; warbird guys, Bonanza drivers, and Cirrus pilots are a few examples of large groups that see some discrimination.  
I say co-exist! I love all fixed wing conveyances! 
So you may notice a trend in this week’s posts. That is by design and will culminate in my Sunday article about my most memorable flight as part of the Blogging in Formation Series that I participate in with five other aviation bloggers.

See ya Sunday!

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