Many homebuilt aircraft are rightly considered hot rods, with small airframes and big engines. While Van’s Aircraft, by far the volume leader in kits sold today, has not changed the size of its RV-14 two-seat kitbuilt, it has spec’d a new version of Lycoming’s IO-390 engine to give it more performance.
Called the IO-390-EXP119, the engine is rated at 215 HP and provides, according to Van’s, a significant upgrade in performance over the standard-issue IO-390, which is nominally rated at 210 HP. Key features of the EXP119 are a lightweight cold-air induction system fitted with an Airflow Performance FM-200C fuel-injection servo. Between the new induction system and an RV-14-specific exhaust system, Van’s says power is up considerably over the regular IO-390 installation. As a result of the new engine spec and some tweaks surrounding engine cooling, the RV-14 has gained 13 MPH in top speed, 11 MPH in cruise speed and an increase in maximum rate of climb from 1800 FPM to 2050 FPM.
While the RV-14 keeps the previous gross weight of 2020 pounds, it can carry more now. The new configuration saves weight via a 7-quart oil sump, aluminum induction pipes, a billet-housing oil pump and a revised accessory case that no longer has drive pads for the vacuum pump and tach drive. (These moves reflect the wholesale move toward electronic instruments in newer homebuilts.) There are also changes to the firewall-forward hardware, including a new cowling and a pilot-controlled “exhaust ramp cooling flap system.” All these changes drop 10 pounds from the engine, according to Van’s.
The RV-14 is a larger-cabin outgrowth (literally) of the popular RV-7 series, although it also incorporates a number of improvements that dramatically reduce build times compared to earlier RVs. An RV-14 kit, which can be built as a tricycle-gear or taildragger, with all the quick-build options costs just under $50,000. Engine, avionics, paint, interior and other components are extra; most RV-14s with all-new components are completed for around $150,000. Price for the engine and related FWF components has not been set but are expected by Sept. 1.