There is a term given to “the other guy” in a fighter plane – GIB. Which simply stands for “Guy in Back” and most often referred to the bomber or navigator. Of course, it need not be chauvinistic.
The RV-8 is a very nice cross country flier and the trips are fun and fast. Most male pilots hope their wives (girlfriends, mistresses) will enjoy flying and thus they are the “Girl in Back”.
For the first few years, Zen was quite the road warrior. She racked up about 10,000 miles a year. I don’t drive much these days so it has been my hope that she’d enjoy flying … or, at the very least, relax and snooze.
This past week I decided to give Zen a safe space in the airplane and insure it was as comfortable as possible.
The ideal crate would be 20″ long. Unfortunately most crates are either much smaller or are 22″ long. Metal work was needed to eliminate those extra 2″.
Once secured into the plane, the next challenge was air flow. The RV-8 is a greenhouse in the summer with its bubble canopy. The crate allows for a piece of fabric to serve as a shade and some light weight PVC – heated and curved – redirects the air vent right into the crate.
Zen and I finally had a chance to make a good test flight.
She was not happy with “engine start” but almost immediately settled … sitting but not pensive. Taxiing and the run-up had no effect. Takeoff was a non event for her (although with the heat and humidity, the plane was complaining a bit). It was 85F and Zen was not phased. We climbed to 4,500 feet and Zen decided this could be a while and lay down. She didn’t sleep but she didn’t fuss. I did steep turns and even a pretty rapid descent. It wasn’t until some slow flight turbulence that Zen sat up. It was a 40 minute flight and an easy wheel landing.
Zen was happy to get out but I think that is because she has been trained she gets a treat after de-planing