For days, the employees at Van's Aircraft had been watching the "hobbs meter" on their own website, waiting for news of the one thousandth RV-9/9A to fly.
On November 20, 2015, John "Bert" Bertucci of Prairieville, Louisiana, rang the bell with his new RV-9A.
According to John: "I have always wanted a plane of my own, so in June 2013 I purchased an unfinished RV-9A as a retirement project. I closed in my carport and went to work. Don Broussard, an A&P/IA and professional pilot, has been my mentor all the way through, visiting every six weeks to “inspect and correct.” Don made the first flight. I flew chase with Robert Viator in his RV-6A – the same airplane Robert used to give me 6.5 hours of transition training. I have now flown my own RV-9A with no issues with either airplane or pilot."
Dick Van Grunsven, designer of the RV series was similarly delighted. "We've always known the RV-9 is an excellent airplane and have enjoyed flying it all over the country. It’s nice to see that 1000 pilots have shared the pleasure."
Van's is aware of 9,250 RVs that have flown (although the real number is undoubtedly higher). The RV-9/9A the fifth RV design to exceed 1000 completions.
Living at an airpark has a lot of advantages - easy access to your plane (and shop), the ability to go flying for a few minutes before dinner (or before breakfast) without a lot of travel time, and having neighbors who are like-minded enough to consider airplane “noise” to be music. One other advantage is that it is easy to provide overnight accommodations to fellow aviators looking for a place to get some rest.
We had the pleasure the other night of taking in a couple of guys on an amazing trip – amazing not for its duration, but for its distance. A former Russian Air Force officer who goes simply by the name of “Vlad” currently lives in New Jersey with the RV-9A he built and completed a few short years ago. Since that time, Vlad has been known to jump in the airplane at a moment’s notice to depart for places unknown – sometimes, even to him! The other day, he found a friend who needed to build cross-country time towards his ATP ride, and offered the use of his time and plane for a little “jaunt across the country. “
After 7-1/2 of building I finished my RV-9A in May 2011 and it was painted in 2012. It is running a Lycoming O-320 E3D 150 HP engine with an Ed Sterba 68-74 prop.
The panel is almost all TruTrak with dual EFIS screens that toggle between EMS and EFIS with a two axis autopilot plus Gemini PFD backup. Other avionics include Garmin SL-40 com radio, GTX327 Transponder, PS engineering intercom, and an IFLY 720 GPS.
All lighting is by AeroLeds. The leather interior is by Flightlines Interiors.
I have to thank Jay Pratt, Jim Vroom, Mel Asbury, Bill Coleman, Sheril Helton for all their help in making this happen. Also, my wife for her support and encouragement. I started this build with a good friend who was building his RV-9A at the same time but passed away before he could finish his dream. Nat Dayton, this is for you my friend.
On July 31, in AeroShell Square, during the 2008 EAA AirVenture show, Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell allowed EAA President Tom Poberezny to award the 30,000th Experimental aircraft airworthiness certificate to Robert Noll and his daughter Katrina, of Yuma, Arizona, who have built an RV-9A together.
In fact, the RV-9A was one of several aircraft that applied for and were awarded experimental airworthiness certificates in the last six months. All of them were entered into a lottery to select the ceremonial 30,000th experimental aircraft. But the Nolls will tell you that it was certainly an honor worth flying to Oshkosh to receive.
As for the airplane, "It was a family project," said Robert Noll, as his daughter stood beside him nodding.
"Mom designed the paint and the unique logo, and I helped Dad with the build," she says.
Sturgell noted that 10% of the certificated general aviation fleet are now Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft, and that number is growing.