Welcome to The RV Journal

You are visitor number, uh......

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Welcome to The RV Journal hosted by Sam Buchanan. Even though this site is primarily about the construction of my Vans RV-6 aircraft, there is a lot of info that will be interesting to anyone building or considering a Vans RV. This site is a great example of what happens when a small and seemingly innocent endeavor gets totally out of hand. In November of 1997, I began this web site chronicling my adventures and misdeeds associated with the construction of RV6 N399SB. It wasn't long before it became evident that the RV-6 web site was turning into nearly as big a project as the plane itself!

When this site was launched in 1997, it was on the leading edge of the builder website phenomenon that was to occur in following years. There now are hundreds of web sources available for current builders, but as long as folks continue to express their appreciation for this legacy site, it will remain available for all who find it useful.

Since N399SB was completed in 1999, Vans Aircraft has introduced several new models. The newer kits have reached a state of evolution that was unseen when the RV-6 kit reigned supreme. However, there are still many RV-6/-6A kits under construction, and the techniques detailed on this site are necessary for completion of any of the current RV kits. So hopefully this site will be entertaining and useful for current builders even though their kits most likely are documented by computer generated drawings and the components have rivet holes pre-punched. Regardless of which RV is being built, attention to detail and project discipline is still required if the builder is to finally enjoy a new aircraft.

I can assure you the journey is worth the effort!

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Sam just couldn't stand an empty shop; here is another project:



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Here is where the journey begins.....

Sam Buchanan's RV6 project, N399SB
(Assembly logs, lots and lots of photos and other good stuff)




(Note: The email link at the bottom of some pages will open an email box addressed to sbuc@traveller.com. If this occurs, amend the address to sbuc@hiwaay.net; the Traveller address is no longer active.)


The panel in N399SB has really changed since the plane was put into service 9/1/99!

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(click photo for larger image)

The flight instrument section of the panel features the Dynon EFIS, Trio EZ-Pilot solid state autopilot, and the Trio EZ-2 vertical autopilot. You can read about my positive experiences with the EZ-Pilot and the EZ-2.


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The EZ-Pilot is a direct retro-fit for Navaid installations since it is compatible with the Navaid servo (also available with the Trio Gold Standard servo), and the compact size eases installation in cramped panels. The EZ-Pilot control head is the three-inch square gold-anodized box; it ships with either an adapter cable for the Navaid harness or with the Trio servo. The feature set of the EZ-Pilot is very impressive and it is performing superbly. The EZ-2 LCD switch and encoder consist of the two small gold boxes at the top of the photo. These controls interface with a small processor mounted behind the panel and the Gold Standard servo mounted at the elevator bellcrank.


Installing and Flying the Trio EZ-2 Altitude Hold System

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Installing and Flying the AlTrak Altitude Hold System

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Lightweight Battery Installation

Conversion of Manual Flaps to Electric

The Sportcraft Internal VOR Antenna

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Installing and Flying the
Lift Reserve Indicator

Compliance with the

Rudder Pedal Service Bulletin

Installing the Team Rocket Gear Fairing Set
(N399SB picks up SPEED!)

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Also, repitching the Sensenich metal prop

N399SB Undergoes an Engine Rebuild

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Installing a Navaid Autopilot in a Completed RV
photo-illustrated article on mounting the servo on a wing-tip rib

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Smooth is Good!
has the prop dynamically balanced

Coooold Weather Updates; (Ok, cold for Alabama...)

Oil Sump Heater

Aileron Pushrod Boots





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Editor's Corner
Sam rants...


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Construction Tips


title2.jpg (7562 bytes)Three RV's Travel From Alabama to Arizona and Back


TVRVBG_logo.jpg (8221 bytes)The Tennessee Valley RV Builders Group


Check out the interior by D.J Lauritson!


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Gary Rodgers's RV3
The RV3 put Van's on the map. Check out this nice version of the "Little RV that Could"


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RV Pilot Survives Bird Strike!


Working Smart
Sam muses about how to get the maximum bang from your shop time


How to Register Your RV
Includes links to Advisory Circulars 20-27D and 90-89A

Condition Inspection checklist

Kevin Horton's
RV Link List

The RV Yeller Pages

  Flight of  Rediscovery
A pilot discovers the charms of a 1940 J3

  The Beat Goes On

Sam's account of a most memorable J3 flight 


Sam flies with Van's factory instructor Mike Seager
(and the RV6 survives!)


Ever been asked how high one of them thar RVs will go? Terry Jantzi found out!
Read his account of a record setting flight.


Need RV Insurance? Check with Scott (Sky) Smith


Van's Air Force
World Wide Wing


The RV Journal Product Reviews

Product Review: "Aircraft Painting 101" by Sam James

Using a Cessna Towbar with an RV

Product Review:
The AeroElectric Connection

Preview Review: Koger SunShade

Product Review:
18 Years of the RV-Ator

Product Review:
Edge Former Tool

Product Review: Tatco Hand Squeezer

Product Review:
Tank Dimple Dies

Product Review:
Chip Chaser

We don't have real fancy legal mumbo jumbo about the ownership of material on this site. However, if you wish to use any of our stuff, like in a newsletter or something, please ask first! You will almost certainly receive permission. We just like to know where our editorial content is going.


"The RV Journal" Disclaimer

You enter this site at your own risk! I am in no way liable for the tremendous enjoyment  and education you will receive by browsing this site. This web site has absolutely no official connection with Van's Aircraft other than financing Van's annual vacation and paying for development of the RV12 through an endless stream of checks, worn-out bankcards, and IOUs. Due to the aforementioned contributions to the gross domestic product of the wonderful state of Oregon, we, builders and contributors to this site, are totally broke. Consequently, if you don't like what is on this site, then SUE US! All you will get is a bunch of used-up clecos and a half-full box of Band-Aids.

To get in touch with Sam Buchanan, you can email, or call 256-232-1524.

Ok, so you rather have Official info about RV aircraft? Just be that way, but be forewarned that if you use the real RV link instead of checking out this site first, a dreaded virus will be downloaded to your computer causing it to play several hours of Barry Manilow music. To get information straight from the home of Van's Aircraft  in the backwoods of Oregon (whatta they know?), hit the photo below. They have a neat info pack and video that will be sufficient to get your pulse rate up and your net-worth down.

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A big thanks to RV8 builder Jeff Hawkins for his contribution to this site!

(Click here to see the redneck version of this page)

courtesy of the hilarious "The Dialectizer"


Talk to Sam

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This site last updated fairly recently  

Please submit all questions and comments to sbuc@hiwaay.net