Tom Carter, of Big Fork, Montana, enjoyed his career in the cockpit of the F-16, so when it ended, he said needed an airplane that could scratch the “fighter” itch and still provide good cross-country performance and reasonable operating costs. After researching the matter, Carter flew his Cessna 180 to the VansAircraft.com factory in Oregon to buy an RV-8 kit, which happened to be the 3,000th kit sold.
“The RV-8 was everything I wanted,” he says. “You look out both sides of a big bubble canopy. It can fly like a fighter or I can put it on autopilot and relax on a fast cross-country flight, too. I toured Van’s factory and watching their computerized tools in action. The quality of the pre-punched parts was one of the deciding factors for me.” After a brief visit, Carter loaded his new airplane into his current one, donned his new Van’s hat and flew back to Montana to begin building his new “fighter.”