Design objectives for the VM-7 were that it should be easy to construct, should cost under $10,000, and should have good performance. Without the engine and propeller, it cost $6,000 and took 2,000 working hours to build. Plans would be made available to amateur builders when the aircraft had proved its capability in competitive aerobatics.
The prototype flew for the first time in March 1978 and according the FAA received a CofA a year later, March 28, 1979. Reportedly the aircraft was destroyed by fire during December 1979, however, on December 4, 1979 the aircraft was reregistered to Bishop Aviation, Inc of N. Richland Hills, Texas. Reportedly Murphy began construction of a second example, with the intention of having it completed it time to compete in the 1980 World aerobatic contest, however, there is no information a second example was ever completed. The registration N5P expired and was cancelled on October 14, 2014."
WINGS: Cantilever mid-wing monoplane. Wing section NACA 23015. Constant chord. Light alloy structure, comprising a laminated main spar, passing through fuselage under pilot's knees, and twenty hydroformed ribs, covered with light alloy skin panels, bonded and pop-riveted in place. Symmetrical, balanced and sealed ailerons.
FUSELAGE: Light-alloy semi-monocoque structure, mostly bonded but with some pop rivets.
TAIL UNIT: Cantilever light alloy structure. Fin integral with rear fuselage. Trim tab in port elevator.
LANDING GEAR: Non-retractable tailwheel type. Wittman type cantilever spring steel main legs. Main-wheel tires size 5.00-5. Cleveland brakes. Streamline fairings over main wheels. Steerable tailwheel.
POWERPLANT: A 200 hp Avco Lycoming O-360 flat-four engine, driving a Hartzell two-blade constant-speed propeller, with spinner. Engine fitted with IO-360 sump, manifold and fuel injector. Main and auxiliary fuel tanks in forward fuselage; total capacity 17 gal (64.4 l). Second auxiliary tank optional. Oil capacity 2 gal (7.6 l).
ACCOMMODATION: Single seat, inclined at about 15°, under forward-sliding canopy.
Span: 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m)
Length: 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
Wing chord, constant: 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Propeller diameter: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Empty weight: 797 lb (361.5 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 1,250 lb (567 kg)
g limits: + 14/-14 Never exceed speed: 215 mph (346 kmh)
Max level speed: 200 mph (322 kmh) at sea level
Max cruise speed: 175 mph (282 kmh)
Econ cruise speed: 150 mph (241 kmh)
Stall speed: 50 mph (80 kmh)
Climb: 3,000 ft (915 m)/min
Takeoff run: 150 ft (46 m)
Takeoff to 50 ft (15 m): 250 ft (76 m)
Landing run from 50 ft (15 m): 1,200 ft (366 m)
Service ceiling, estimated: 18,000 ft (5,485 m)
Range: 250 mls (402 km)