Talk me out of building a Van's RV

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by iamtheari, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    I measured the door opening. It’s at least 68” useful width (the doors swing nearly 180 degrees which would give 72” but it’s good to be conservative as @painless’s experience teaches us) and 79” height. So it’s very likely that I would be able to fit the fuselage and empennage out through the door before putting on the wheels, but much less likely that it would fit with the wheels attached.
     
  2. EppyGA

    EppyGA Final Approach

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    RV-14 with tail wheel......

    RV-14.jpg
     
  3. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    Is that yours? Either way it’s a thing of beauty.
     
  4. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    After you have spent 1000 hrs on building fuselage and wings, a couple of hours to knock out the walkout doors and re-frame the opening afterwards seem rather minor.

    I have an unfinished space in my basement that says 'plane building workshop' on my set of the house plans and 'Movie Room' on the one my wife gets to see :smilewinkgrin: .
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  5. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I have wanted one of these for years. Unfortunately they are no longer in production

    http://www.lakesideguns.com
     
  6. EppyGA

    EppyGA Final Approach

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    Not mine. It belongs to a chapter member. His dad was a pilot for Cox Media Group and ordered one of the first kits. They got it partially completed and the dad passed away from his third bout with cancer. His wife and son found someone locally to finish the plane for them. They get the credit for us being able to start our youth program at the chapter by asking folks to donate to the chapter in lieu of flowers. It brought us some $13k in donations. The son, Zak, is a great kid and has a bright future in front of him. He seems destined to end up at the Cox Media Group.
     
  7. nauga

    nauga Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Test V. Specimen
    The 10,000th RV has just flown...and all under the same company leadership. I doubt any other kitplane can say that.

    Nauga,
    somewhere in the 4-digits
     
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  8. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, quite an accomplishment, for the company and all the builders.

    Press release sez that since the first RV-3 plans were offered in 1973, an average of 1.6 Van's aircraft per day have made their first flights! And the 10,000 number represents only the aircraft that have been reported to Van's as having flown...likely a high percentage. So sad that many never get past the tail kits. :(
     
  9. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not sure what this means. Van himself stepped back from day-to-day operations a while ago, and they've been through several company presidents as well as chief engineers. I'm really curious to see how their new strategy does. They used to be all about performance and economy; the RV-14 would seem to change that since it's bigger, more expensive, and slower than the RV-7. In exchange, you get a bit more cockpit room and an easier build. Will thousands of builders think the exchange is worthwhile? Time will tell...
     
  10. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    The demographics are changing. Today's builders have come to expect easier and faster gratification in the form of far better build manuals, parts that cleco right together, panels built by pro shops, etc. Vans has an opportunity in this area to modernize its RV7, 8, 9, and 10 kits to provide builders with semi-stock avionics, wiring harnesses, etc, which could increase Van's profits while making the kits even easier.

    Right now, I'm not sure what mission their next airplane should fill. They already cover a huge portion of the market.
     
  11. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Cleared for Takeoff

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    @EppyGA This probably isn't helping talk him out of building a RV lol

    nice bird mate...
     
  12. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    I think the so-called change you refer to predates the RV-14. The -10 is hardly aerobatic or economical by Van's conventional standards.

    Judging by the girth of many of the people trying to stuff themselves into the -9 Van's had at OSH this year I would say the roomier -14 probably has a bright future...
     
  13. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't disagree, just pointing out that it's a shift and the company is far from being under the same leadership it was originally. As I said, time will tell if this was a good or bad thing for Van's.
     
  14. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The change was comparing the aerobatic two seaters. Of course the RV-10 is different (duh) as is the RV-12 and RV-9 for that matter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  15. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    For those with RV taildraggers, do you find your plane to be difficult to ground-handle in windy conditions? The newer planes seem to have good-sized tails that might make them squirrely while taxiing in crosswinds.
     
  16. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    I have an RV-6 (small tail). I've never encountered a wind that caused a noticeable problem taxiing the airplane.
     
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  17. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    Those damn spindly castering nosegear RVs are more of a PIA to taxi in a stiff x-wind than the tailwheel RVs. If you can land safely, taxiing will not be a problem.
     
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  18. nauga

    nauga Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I was under the (perhaps mistaken) impression that while Van was no longer the [President/CEO/whatever title they use] he was still involved in the day-to-day operations and engineering *and* subsequent 'executives' came from within, whereas many (most?) other kit manufacturers have changed hands and org charts and bank accounts several times over. I believe Randy Schlitter and Chris Heintz are also notable exceptions. Personally I think that's a good sign, but I like the designs and trust the designer(s).

    Nauga,
    and the test of time.
     
  19. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ken Kruger succeeded Van as the engineering honcho, and when he left five or six years ago was replaced with Rian Johnson. How much Van is still plugged in is an open question I think.
     
  20. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    You stated "They used to be all about performance and economy...". That is what my observation keyed on.

    You can make all the nits you want about the continuity or lack thereof in the leadership, or whatever else you want. Fact remains the RV-10 was the design that first steered Vans away from the nimble, aerobatic, relatively economical designs the company built its reputation on.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  21. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you're going by aerobatic, I'd say that started with the RV-9/9A. And I'd point out that the -10 borrows some design points from it such as a similar airfoil and a constant chord stabilizer.

    Anyway, it's not a big deal. You can consider yourself correct if it helps.
     
  22. N3368K

    N3368K Line Up and Wait

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    Not in my RV-4. RVs are easiest taildraggers in the world to fly.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  23. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    OP - Just order your first kit and get to it!

    Or save bunch of time and money and buy a flying 6.
     
  24. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    I received the USB sticks with the plans for the 7 and the 14 last night. I read all of the empennage plans and skimmed the rest of the plans for the 14. It looks very doable. I have some aerobatic lessons scheduled at the end of the month to help me decide if I even want a plane that can go upside down. And I'm trying to work out a chance to sit in at least one of the side-by-side RVs that someone has completed so I can get an idea how they fit. If I can make it to Oregon soon enough, I'll also take the factory tour and demo flight. I am waiting for a life event to conclude in mid-January before I order anything, but I am ready to order the recommended tools from Cleaveland and the empennage kit from Vans once that is done.
     
  25. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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  26. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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  27. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    yellow peril
    You won't regret building a RV. If you have good basic mechanical skills you will be able to finish it. One thing about building a RV is you will probably find several builders in your area that can help. You can build 90% of the airplane in a single car garage. One tool to get is a tungsten bucking bar. If you can only afford one the 4"x1"x5/8" with the angled end will do most of the airplane. If you commit the only way to build an airplane in a timely manor is to work on it every day. Even if it's only for 1/2 hour do something every day. My first RV 7 took me 1400 hours and 14 months. I worked on it 100 hours a month. When you break it down the airframe will be 1/3 of the project, firewall forward is about 1/3 and avionics, interior and finish is 1/3. I would definitely go with the quick build option as it will save you almost a year of work. The other nice thing about the RV is there are all kinds of aftermarket place that do things like interiors, fairings and other stuff. The Classic Aero interior I had on my 7 looked as good as any factory interior.
    Whatever model you choose they all fly really nice. I have flown all of the series except for the 3 and 14. We have transitioned several low time pilots and usually takes about 10 hrs for the tricycle models. Tailwheel will take just a bit longer but as others have mentioned they are very docile. As you build it would be good to do some aerobatic/tailwheel training and I'm sure you will be able to find someone who has whatever type you decide to build. When it comes time to test fly put your ego aside and find an experienced RV pilot to do the first few. Whith the change in rules you can go with the test pilot on those first flights and get some dual so you can then fly on your own. Good luck and have fun with it. Don
     
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  28. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks for the encouraging words. I am very excited to start...if I decide to build, that is. One great thing about the plans for the 14 are that you start with the vertical stabilizer, which only has 6 parts plus the skin and is huge, so even just looking at the plans it sucks you in with that "You can do this. Look how easy it is to build this gigantic airfoil." The first few steps of the build instructions gave me the same feeling as the old homebrewing book I learned from, which on about every second page said "Relax, don't worry, and have a homebrew."
     
  29. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Van's always has you build the tail feathers first because the skins, spars, ribs, etc. are smaller and less expensive. It's a given that you'll mess a few things up in the build and add to your aluminum scrap pile! Could be that the way the -14 kit is engineered, there are fewer chances for screw-ups. The good news is you can order everything a la carte, for not much more than the cost of the aluminum it's made from.
     
  30. CJ Rader

    CJ Rader Pre-Flight

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    Oh geez, this forum is dangerous. I accidentally wander into this thread, which then leads me to Trade-a-plane.com and various other dark corners of the internet vying to sell me an RV-9A.. Aaaaaaaaaahhh!!
     
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  31. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Cleared for Takeoff

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    How do you home builders deal with the Vans service bulletins?
    https://www.vansaircraft.com/public/service-rv9.htm

    Are they required like ADs are, or strongly suggested?
    How would someone who is looking to buy an already built RV check that they're done?
     
  32. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Vans has no authority over anything that someone else manufactured. So, no "requirement" But, one would be less than sensible to not at least consider whether they are applicable to a particular aircraft (or not).
    One example - https://www.vansaircraft.com/pdf/sb07-2-6.pdf tells you to put an AN3 bolt in the stick socket on the passenger side. Now, I don't have an RV, but I did modify my passenger side stick to use a pip pin (a little cutting and welding was involved) to make the stick removable. Would I feel the urge to act on this service bulletin? Nope.
    On yea olde othere hande, https://www.vansaircraft.com/pdf/sb16-03-28.pdf check for cracks in the aft spar web would be something that would be foolish to ignore. Of course, the bulletins assume that one has built the aircraft according to directions - were one to have an RV under construction, one could modify the wing per the SB, install "factory" modified parts (if they exist) or come up with your own fix.

    To see if these were done, one would have to inspect the aircraft carefully. The aircraft may or may not conform to varying degrees to the original design. There may or may not be log entries. The only log entries for the first few years for my ride were the condition inspections. And, I am quite confidant that there were un-logged repairs / modifications made prior to my purchase. But, personally, I just log all work done.

    See: https://www.vansaircraft.com/pdf/letters/buying_a_flying_rv.pdf
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  33. edo2000

    edo2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's exciting. I own an RV9A, purchased, not built. I have friends who have built and they all say it is one of the most rewarding and most frustrating things they have ever done. I got the 9A because the wife preferred the side by side seating and a good deal on a very nice airplane popped up near me. I've had aerobatic airplanes in the past, and I often wish that I had a 7 or 7A to have the aerobatic capability occasionally. On the other hand, I am more than impressed by my 9A's performance, handling, economy and comfort. I do 90% of my flying above 9000 ft msl (home airport is at 6000) and, with only 160hp, the 9 outclimbs and outruns my old Grumman Tiger by large margins.

    In my opinion, you can't go wrong with a Vans. Good luck. Dooo ittt!
     
  34. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Cleared for Takeoff

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    What fiberglass parts did y'all have to make for your planes? Are they custom to the plane, or do they all share the same shape? I'm assuming they're all the same shape if the plans are followed... Are there any videos out there on making the fiberglass parts for a VANS plane?
     
  35. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    In today's kits, all of the fiberglass parts are provided. You may need to adjust them to fit, but you won't need to fabricate anything from scratch.
     
  36. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Cleared for Takeoff

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    Reason why I was asking is that I have a friend that is very good at making custom carbon fiber components, and was wondering if there was a market.
     
  37. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    There's still plenty of fiberglass work. While reviewing the plans, I put together a spreadsheet for the RV-14 to count up the steps in each section and keep track of any that I have not completed (as well as time working on each one, etc.) As a point of reference, the entire wing other than control surfaces is 42 pages and 238 steps. The canopy is 37 pages and 407 steps just on its own. The cowling and cowl baffle add up to 54 pages and 462 steps. And the gear leg and wheel fairings for the taildragger are 24 pages and 246 steps. It looks like 1,158 steps out of the 3,647 total are on these fiberglass-heavy sections.

    But little to none of that is fabricating parts from scratch. It's mostly fitting and filling in joints. For example, they have a few videos to help with the process of getting the canopy pieces all bonded into one cohesive unit out of metal, fiberglass, and plexiglass.
     
  38. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    There probably is a market for things like cowlings to fit engines that the kit cowling does not work with. For example, putting a Subaru car engine or a Rotec radial engine into the plane would almost certainly require a custom cowling to be fabricated.
     
  39. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    The fairings that come in the kits are one place Vans falls down on. The last kit I built was in 2008 and the stock fairings took a lot of work to get them fit right. They might have improved them since then as the fairings on my friend's RV12 were pretty nice. There are a couple aftermarket places that make fairings that actually fit. Look at the Van's Airforce site and there are all kinds of advertisers. The Van's cowlings and wheelpants are nicely done.Do not get talked into any automotive engine conversions. Go with a Lycoming or Superior.
     
  40. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Apparently that's how Advanced Aero Components started before they bought the old Glasair rights. Look at the http://advanced-aero.com/products/ website for a good sample of small carbon fiber parts. It's spinners, fairings, intakes.