Linn Gets Ready to Fly the Airplane He Built

Want to buy a brand new airplane for less than $180,000, which is about what you would pay for a new Cessna?  Easy.  Just build your own for $50,000. That is, if you don’t count the labor that you put into building it yourself.  How do I know that?  My friend Linn Hall told me.  He should know.  He did it,  and it’s ready to fly. He has already taxied it around  a little, and he says the Federal Aviation Administration has already inspected and licensed it. 

Linn Hall rolling his RV-6A out of his hangar, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, GA

Linn Hall rolling his RV-6A out of his hangar, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, GA

Oh, if you do plan to follow Linn’s example and build your own plane, you’ll need not to be in a hurry.  It has taken Linn eight years to build his.  It is a kit plane,  but things like wings did not come assembled.  He had to do it, and it took 16,000 rivets.  He had to cut out the dash panel,  and since he didn’t get it quite right a couple of times, he had to keep doing it. 

Linn Hall shwoing how he had to cut out ports in the instrument panel, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, GA

Linn Hall showing how he had to cut out ports in the instrument panel, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, GA

 

RV-6A Cockpit

RV-6A Cockpit

“You must have enjoyed building it to have spent that much time doing it.  How many days a week did you work on it?”  I wanted to know.

“Oh, five days a week.  Not all day, of course. I have to make a living.  I’m a data systems administrator at TSYS.  And, yes, I did enjoy building it. It gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment.”

Linn, who is originally from Oklahoma, came to Columbus to work at TSYS.  A veteran single engine plane pilot,  he brought a Moony with him.  He liked the plane, but he said it was just too expensive for him to maintain.  That’s one reason he built the RV-6A.  He said, “If you own a plane like a Moony, or Cessna,  the FAA says you have to use their maintenance service.   However, if you build your own plane, the FAA allows you to maintain it. That’s a lot cheaper.”

The RV-6A,  a two-seater whose parts and building plans are sold by RV of Seattle, Washington, will cruise at about 185 m.p.h, with gas tanks that will allow you to fly about four hours.   That mean, as an  example, you could fly it from Columbus, GA to Washington, D.C. in a little less than four hours and have a few gallons to spare.

Linn Hall and me in posing in front of his RV-6A.  Fellow retired brodcaster Don Nahley took this picture.

Linn Hall and me posing in front of his RV-6A. Fellow retired broadcaster Don Nahley took this picture.

Being an experimental craft,  he gets to use some parts not approved by the FAA for commercially built planes.  Instead of an aluminium propeller, he is using one made of  a graphite composite over maple wood. It provides better fuel efficiency and more speed. 

Turnabout is fair play so I took this shot of Don and Linn

Turnabout is fair play so I took this shot of Don and Linn

He also uses a dry cell battery, which he says is better than the wet cell ones used in commercially built aircraft. 

Dry cell battery in Linn's kit plane

Dry cell battery in Linn's kit plane

Why hasn’t the FAA approved those for commercially built planes?

“They just haven’t gotten around to inspecting and approving them yet.  I’m sure they will eventually.”

“Are you going to take anyone with you on your first flight?”

“No. The FAA won’t allow that.  I have to have over 40 hours in the plane before I can take anyone up.  I have flown one like it so this won’t be the first time I have flown in an RV-6A, but that 40 hours  has to be in this plane.”

After putting on a few finishing touches,  Linn plans to take his maiden flight early next month.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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One Response to “Linn Gets Ready to Fly the Airplane He Built”

  1. starflight Says:

    Hi I hope all went well with your test flight, some project eh! I had an idea that I would build my own aircraft many years ago, but after realizing the time involved and the possible hearbreaks of setbacks, I bought a Beagle Pup series 2, which I owned for 20 years and loved, having since sold it I yearn for another, a Cub would be ideal.
    best wishes
    Terry

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