Flight Chops mechanics with toolbox

Building the Official Aircraft of Flight Chops

For Steve Thorne, owning a Van’s Aircraft airplane has been a dream that’s nearly 20 years in the making. The pilot and host of the popular YouTube channel “Flight Chops” (named after his distinctive facial hair) even carried around a dog-eared photo of an RV-7 since 2001.

During a visit to Van’s Aircraft headquarters in Oregon, Steve met aircraft designer Richard (“Van”) VanGrunsven and flew five different RV models. While flying the RV-14, Steve experienced what Van’s calls the “RV grin” — in other words, he was hooked.

“Discovering that such a capable aircraft was both accessible and affordable was inspiring,” said Steve. “The opportunity to meet Van himself to discuss building and flying the RV-7’s big brother – the RV-14 – was very exciting and meant a lot to me.”

In partnership with Van’s Aircraft, Steve is filming the RV-14 build process and sharing all the behind-the-scenes action, with the aim to be flying the aircraft within the next two years as the official aircraft of Flight Chops.

“My hope is that documenting the experience, including the mistakes I make along the way, inspires more people to take the leap and build an airplane of their own,” said Steve.

Flight Chops logo

Check out the Flight Chops YouTube channel and follow along as Steve builds a Van’s Aircraft RV-14 with help from industry partners and friends.


Choosing the Right Prop
The Hartzell Propeller team worked with Steve to select the best propeller for his mission and goals: our three-blade scimitar composite Explorer propeller, which was designed to offer smoother operation and optimize cross-country performance. “Hartzell’s Explorer prop ticked off all the boxes I was looking for—to have a solid prop for cross-country to go fast and far, but to also be able to do aerobatics and have fun with it,” said Steve.

Meet Steve “Flight Chops” Thorne
Raised on stories of his late grandfather’s heroic time as a WWII Spitfire pilot, filmmaker Steve resolved to learn all he can about aviation from IFR to warbird training so he, too, can someday fly a Spitfire, the pinnacle of pre jet-age flight. But no road to our dreams is ever a straight line. As fatherhood, career, and life unfold, Steve refuses to give up on his dream and generously shares his journey along the way, which continues to include some pretty epic detours and adventures.

Steve Thorne from Flight Chops with camera