Sat in my first RV-7

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After an email to the Matronics list to beg for a chance to sit in an RV-7 to answer some panel/knee clearance/spacing questions, a gentleman from Southeast airport invited me out to take a look at his RV-7.

Coming over the small hill...the hangars are down to the right, and the runway is left to right.

After talking for a few minutes, I was invited to sit inside. First of all, this was a beautiful airplane. Definitely at the top of the “fit-and-finish” list in terms of quality of workmanship and systems/layout/panel decisions. (Doug Bell imitation tailwheel fork upgrade, smaller tailwheel springs, AOA vane, beautiful panel layout, etc.)

Interesting observations:

  1. The panel is closer (to your face) than I expected. My idea for 2 ten inch screens to the left of the radio stack probably won’t work. The radio stack will still be reachable, but I don’t know if I like having it that far right with a panel that close to you.
  2. It was easier to get in and out of the airplane than I thought it would be. I’m a big boy, and this won’t be a problem.
  3. Plenty of leg/knee room to the left (a 1-inch subpanel would be no problem, although I didn’t do the rudder and brake full travel check.)
  4. Knee room to the right was a little limited, but the throttle quadrant bracket was taller than I have seen before, and was extended to the left a little for the (I think it was a) carb heat knob.
  5. That is (I believe) an 8.5″ AFS 3500.  Knowing my Dynon Skyviews are 10″, I don’t think I could put two of them next to eachother comfortably. To keep the radio stack within reach, the Skyviews have to come down a little to get left. The two directions I am not thinking about are two 7-inch Skyviews, or moving one of the 10″ units to the right of the radio stack and centering the two displays in front of each seat.
  6. Fuel pump switch just right of master. (I have my fuel pump switch planned for just left of the flap switch, which is the right-most switch on the pilot side of the panel. I did this because the pump is most used during TO/LDG…David put his here because the pump is first used to prime before start…hmm. I’ll have to think about this a little more.)
  7. For information only: this is a standard height panel.
  8. The Classic Aero Designs interior was fantastic. David had the sportsman seats (with a highly recommended sheepskin cover on the pilot’s side), which were nice, and the side panels, carpet, and baggage area accessories equally as high class/quality. Bravo CAD.

Look ma! I fit! (Probably should have checked this before starting the emp kit.)

I grabbed a picture of my feet.

(...and hairy legs!)

Here, I was just trying to get scale for a passenger and look at more spacing.

Those are tosten grips. I still can't decide if I like the fighter-style military grips.

Another panel shot. I thought I would be bothered by the headset plug location here. Didn’t bother me a bit.

Dimmers up here to the left are kind of a good idea. I've seen Stein do that with a lot of panels.

Just another shot of knee clearance.

I think I could shorten the throttle quadrant bracket, and have a little more clearance.

Nice Andair fuel valve. Apparently this is a no-brainer upgrade.

A shot of the right side of the panel. Nice compact CB panel.

Here I am, seated in normal postion (not stretching) reaching to the CB panel. I would have to lean about 2 inches to reach the right side of the panel. Not bad.

Hairy arms, too?!

Then, some anthropomorphic assessments…my left arm, in what I will call “relax” position.

Left arm, relaxed on my leg.

Same with the right arm. This throttle quadrant was offset about 2 inches left. I either want the Throttle right where my hand is, or I'll center the propeller control right in the middle of the panel, and work right and left from there.

Another shot of the fuel valve. (Actually I took this shot to look for any good switch locations down here, like seat heat.) Switches down here would be bumpable, but would get them off the panel.

This is the AFS fired up. I like all the information and the layout. Pretty similar to the Dynon in terms of quality. That will probably be a tough choice.

Wierd angle but this is between the two sticks, looking down and right toward the copilot stick. Right behind the stick might be a good place for the seat heat switch. You would never bump it accidentally.

Again the fit and finish was amazing.  A lot of people have pretty ugly looking cowl hinge pin attachments. This one was just a piece of polished (and nicely fitted) aluminum. Can’t beat that.

Great fit an finish. (I would have lined up the Phillips heads vertically and horizontally. Just kidding...kind of.

Other things of note: Slider, Mattituck 180HP, 2-bladed Hartzell CS prop.

An overall shot of the panel.

Looks damn good.

Lot’s of things to think about and ponder. No earth-shattering revelations, though, which is good. A big thanks to David for letting me come see his airplane.

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