Why the RV-8?

An RV-8 in flight.

I’ll mostly be flying alone, so fun was a priority in choosing the aircraft I wanted to build. I began this journey looking at building and flying a CubCrafters EX-3, a backcountry-capable Piper Cub clone. I love the outdoors, and the idea of being able to land in some field or off-airport strip really intrigued me.

Two things turned me off the CubCrafters build. Insurance is crazy expensive on the EX-3 – over $10,000 a year. That cuts into a lot of avgas! The second item is Southern California’s lack of real backcountry flying opportunities. There are, of course, places to land in the desert – but there’s also a lot of National Forest and Reserve land that’s closed to aircraft. I’d be flying into Nevada or Utah for a lot of exploration.

Enter the RV-8. It’s far from a backcountry aircraft – but it is tailwheel and, with some 6″ tires, should be able to handle some of the dirt strips we have in Southern California. It’s also aerobatic. I’ve been interested in aerobatics but have yet to explore it. That changed with an aerobatic lesson in an Extra 300L, and despite the nausea, I loved it!

So the RV-8 combines cross-country flight with some aerobatic capability, and with upgraded wheels, it will allow for exploration of desert dirt and gravel strips. Being a tailwheel aircraft, the RV-8 will allow me to build time, making other planes more affordable and opening up options if I ever decide to double down on backcountry flying or aerobatics (I very briefly considered the MX Aircraft MX2 kit as well).

I look forward to building the RV-8. Despite Van’s Chapter 11 filing, I plan to finish the build over the next few years. I’ll detail more in upcoming posts, but I have been talking with RVBuilder to help since this is my first time doing metalwork.

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