What is X-Flight?
X-Flight is the personal blog of Brian D. Wendt, a mechanical engineer and airline transport pilot. X-Flight is about designing, building and flying all types of experimental aircraft.
Why Build an Airplane?
Much of this website documents the construction of a Van's RV-8 kitplane — a real, two-person sport airplane, not a toy model. Why would anyone build such a thing? Although a finished kitplane can cost considerably less than a factory-new Cessna or Cirrus, it can hardly be argued that a homebuilt is the cheapest solution for those who just want to "go flying." Inexpensive used production aircraft are everywhere, in various states of upkeep. But aircraft homebuilders are enthusiasts, tweakers, experimenters and perfectionists. For these types, a stock airplane just won't do. Kitplane enthusiasts want to create their own "perfect" airplane -- or something very close to it -- whatever "perfect" may mean to them.
What is an RV-8?
An RV-8 is a two-place tandem-seat sport airplane, sold as a kit by Van's Aircraft, Inc. in Aurora, Oregon. It is one of nearly a dozen aircraft designs offered by Van's, and one of literally hundreds of kit aircraft models available worldwide.
The "R" and "V" in the model name stand for Richard VanGrunsven, or "Van," the company's founder and chief designer. RVs are built primarily from aluminum alloys, using industry-standard techniques and processes that have been proven in over 70 years of aircraft construction.
Experimental? Are you crazy?
All US-registered aircraft must be issued an Airworthiness Certificate by the FAA. Most general-aviation airplanes are issued Standard airworthiness certificates, and might be classified as Acrobatic, Utility, Transport, etc. Amateur-built kit aircraft are issued Special airworthiness certificates, and are classified under the Experimental category. All kitplanes must be thoroughly inspected by an FAA Inspector or Designated Airworthiness Representative to ensure that their design, materials and construction comply with industry-standard criteria for safety.
The Experimental Aircraft Association, or EAA, is a large and diverse organization which supports aircraft builders, pilots, manufacturers and enthusiasts, promotes safety, and operates outreach programs to introduce the young and old to the wonders of flight. EAA's annual "Airventure" Oshkosh airshow is one of the premier aviation gatherings in the world.
Who's Doing All This?
Brian, along with his father, Ron — ace woodworker and T-LAR method expert — began building in November of 2009, at Ron's shop in eastern Iowa, while Brian was living and working as a pilot in sunny Cleveland, Ohio.
After nearly eight years of work, RV-8F N772RW received its Experimental airworthiness certificate on October 5, 2017, and Brian completed its Phase I flight testing by the end of the year.
It is a joy to fly.
Take a look around the site, and feel free to comment or get in touch!