What do i need to know about *building* a new experimental plane

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by WannFly, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    I just read your blog about moving her to the hangar on 25th. She looks beautiful
     
  2. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude

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    Kate is not in agreement.

    upload_2018-11-28_17-39-25.png
     
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  3. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    I was in the exact same boat when I bought a partially completed RV-7 kit. I saw pictures of builds in progress and had no idea what those porcupine-looking things were. You pick it up fairly quickly. It seems really intimidating before you get into it, but really it's not rocket science.

    I just did my first fiberglass work since the 1970s a couple months ago, repairing some brokenness in our wheel pants. Once I got past the freaked-out stage and decided to go for it, it was almost ridiculously simple. There's a lot of finishing work to get it to look good when you're done, but lucky for me -- it's the bottom of my wheel pants! They still turned out quite well. We'll get to do the other stuff in the Spring when we put the new canopy fairing on the RV-12.
     
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  4. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    Glad to see you have the correct number of blades on that prop!
     
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  5. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude

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    Others have touched on the benefits. I'll gladly take a couple-knot hit for a smoother, quieter ride, so I plan to replace my 2-blade wood prop with a 3-blade composite in the near future. Paint will do far more than a new prop to make my RV-4 look cooler, however. :oops:

    Nauga,
    scuffed not buffed
     
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  6. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Yes, that seems to be the trade-off between 2 and 3 bladed props.

    Have you actually flown a ‘4 (or ‘6 or ‘7) with a 3 bladed prop? I’m wondering if it is significantly smoother given that it’s still swung by a 4-banger.

    Since I’m primarily a traveler, knots are most important to me but the smoothness of a 6-banger over a 4-banger was a revelation. Smoothness definitely has value!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  7. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude

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    I have not flown an RV with 3 blades and probably won't until I get mine. People I trust have tested and reported on them though, and it's a gamble I'm willing to take. :D A knot or two or five doesn't amount to much in the long run for me.

    Nauga,
    shakey
     
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  8. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    Has your prop been balanced? Even before I had mine balanced, other RV Pilots commented on how smooth my wood 2 blade prop was.
     
  9. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude

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    My wood prop has been balanced statically and dynamically. Dynamic made a big difference but I think I can do better. The prop is being replaced anyway, I'm going all-in.

    Nauga,
    on the vibes
     
  10. Ray Eaker

    Ray Eaker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have a 3 blade Catto on my RV-7A and it is VERY smooth compared to a friends -7 with a 2 blade Catto even after his was balanced (mine hasn't been balanced yet). I've not yet had a 2 blade installed on mine so I can't compare speeds but I'd guess maybe 2 or 3 knot penalty, if any. Flying at 9500-10500 at 160 KTAS and 8 GPH is good with me. I probably lose more with the nose gear than the prop.
     
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  11. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    It seems like a reasonable trade off then.

    FYI: my ‘10 can do 160 at 9k @11.2 GPH, or 155 @ 10GPH. Seems like a reasonable trade off as well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  12. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    I love just going over to Van's Airforce and looking at the Panel Pics...seriously gives me panel fever...
     
  13. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    Ask me about it...
     
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  14. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    All of the avionics retailers love VAF too. Peer pressure (rather than any semblance of need or practicality) has sold millions and millions of dollars of avionics to the RV crowd.

    Of course, some would argue that airplanes are not practical, but that's just silly.
     
  15. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    Oh if I had an RV this is the panel I would have! Thing is bitchin’ mate! Need and practicality is boringggggg

    4FED04A0-7533-40AF-9027-464C9254897E.jpeg
     
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  16. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    That's about $30k in boxes and wiring.

    Sez the guy who spent about 80% of that on many of the same boxes and wires.
     
  17. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    Nopes, look up good plane living dude... that’s what you want
     
  18. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Yes, but go with "practical" glass, and you'll spend less than a good six-pack of steam gauges. I wasn't about to sink $30K into the panel...because then I might not be able to afford those pricey Stan Smith tennis shoes. :D

    IMG_4884.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018 at 11:47 PM
  19. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    That’s it? Jeez man I got a hole burning in my pocket. 30K is pocket change for this fella

    I get what your saying haha, but I don’t think you should poo poo someone just for putting in a panel they want. That’s the beauty of an experimental.
     
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  20. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    Yea that’s an RV10 - I follow his YouTube channel, have for a long time. Probably the nicest RV10 I’ve seen. What I posted was is an RV14 panel
     
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  21. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    Can I show mine again?!?

    panel.jpg
     
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  22. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    I like the layout. Just need to get rid of that yellow tape!!!
     
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  23. Ray Eaker

    Ray Eaker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You might get to 30k if you install dual IFR WAAS GPS navigators. I have about 18k in mine (with a few options) with dual screens (no IFR navigator yet). Auto-pilot w/ auto trim, ADS-B in and out. The iPAD is no longer but I have a phone mount on each side of the panel. Once you fly behind this type of setup, you don't want to go back to steam gauges.


    [​IMG]
     
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  24. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    A GTN 750 will put a big dent in your budget and I think that's what's in the OP's dream panel photo. A GTN 650, packaged with a G3X gets you a substantial (like $3k) discount off of retail prices.
     
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  25. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've only heard of GTN 625 package discounts. I will be very happy if I am able to get a 650 at a discount as part of my G3X panel. My panel spreadsheet, which includes backup battery, switches, ELT, and all sorts of other stuff that some would not include as "panel" costs, runs almost $40,000. I would be very happy to find some savings from that...which of course I would promptly reallocate to a stormscope or something. ;)
     
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  26. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I see lots of panels like this and they always seem to take me down the same thought process. For day/night VFR one screen is fine and a radio is fine. If you're going to do actual travel, you probably want IFR and if you're doing IFR, you probably want two screens, both for better sit awareness and for some redundancy. So two screens and autopilot, check. Then I see that one giant IFR navigator and I think ok you're in the soup and that one radio goes TU, now what? That panel probably has a remote com radio so you can still communicate. I'm sure those screens have their own GPS source so you can still navigate. Don't know if the internal GPS is legal to navigate IFR on but its there so you'd use it in a pinch regardless I guess. But I'm assuming this still leaves you with no real option to shoot an approach anywhere. So then what? Just fly around till the gas runs out? If you can't lose a major panel component and still get down aren't you spending fortune and still shooting yourself in the foot in terms of safety?

    And I find myself slipping deeper and deeper down that endless rabbit hole and next thing I know I've added another $40k to what was already a stretched projected budget and another year goes by and I still haven't pulled the trigger on a kit or started a build.
     
  27. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    I think you're right. My bad.
     
  28. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    What would you do in a certified airplane? You have a way to fly an approach, but it's not certified for IFR. You started out legal, but you had an equipment failure. What do you do then? Just fly around until you run out of fuel and crash, or use what you have to get on the ground safely?

    If you want to see how much it costs to remove risk from flying, look at an airliner or military transport, I guess. You can spend a whole lot of money to get those next few decimal places covered.
     
  29. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    For what it's worth, here is my philosophy on redundancy in my panel (not including things like an alternate trim switch in case the automatic trim controller dies and things like that):

    G3X with two screens and one or two ADAHRS units (I'm still torn on that because only with dual ADAHRS will the G3X alert to a serious mismatch in data)
    G5 backup flight instrument (which can feed ADAHRS data to the G3X displays if you turn off the G3X ADAHRS, so you would have to cross-check the G3X vs. G5 and make a decision as to which is accurate, and that is why a dual G3X ADAHRS is a good idea)
    GTN 650 for IFR GPS, VOR, and ILS as well as a comm radio
    Remote secondary comm radio
    Backup battery wired to power necessary equipment in the panel.

    If either G3X screen dies, I have the other and the G5. So I have to lose three screens before I lose a display of my flight instruments. If any ADAHRS dies, I have another. I have to lose at least two of those before I lose my flight instruments. With a second ADAHRS for the G3X, I would have to lose a lot of equipment before I lose the ability to cross-check and see that I have inaccurate flight instruments. (Basically I would have to lose the G5 screen and one of the G3X ADAHRS to be reduced to a single source of flight data in front of my eyes.)

    If I lose the GTN 650, I can communicate using the second comm radio and navigate using the GPS in the G3X, which is a WAAS unit. It's not IFR certified but it's pretty easy to declare an emergency for failed navigation equipment and fly an approach using just the G3X. It probably can't do an LPV but I could find an LNAV easily enough to fly the step-down fixes.

    If I lose all GPS data, the G3X and G5 will continue to display air and attitude data (unlike stories of Aspen products failing the attitude display if they don't have a good GPS signal). And I can navigate using the VOR/ILS in the GTN 650.

    If I lose the alternator and the main battery runs out of juice, the backup battery will power at least a G3X display and ADAHRS for a while. That will get me flight instruments and GPS navigation. The G5 has its own backup battery, as well. I don't plan to wire a separate GPS antenna for the G5 because the level of redundancy described above is already about 50 times better than I have in my certified plane with steam gauges and a GNS 430W.

    The total investment in my panel will be a lot. But everything is there for a reason and I believe I will have eliminated all single point failures in my avionics and flight instruments. (Single point failures are still possible in many other places, including the pilot, engine, and wiring. But those are not eliminated by spending money on the panel; they are eliminated by proficiency, luck, and care, respectively.)
     
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  30. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    So the panel I posted above with the GTN750 - that only has one NAV/COM? I would definitely want two radios.

    I enjoyed reading your post btw - thanks for sharing.
     
  31. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    A remote com or transponder is pretty common.
     
  32. Ray Eaker

    Ray Eaker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have all that (dual AD-AHRS, dual backup batteries (per screen), etc.) but don't yet have the 650 or G5, which would put me pretty close to that 30k mark mentioned above. I'm not yet IFR rated so that adds to my cost to get there too, which I plan to do when all these ADS-B upgrades and other side jobs get behind me.
     
  33. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    So uhh @WannFly you gonna go with Cleaveland or Isham? ;) It seems like a lot of folks go with Isham, but it seems like Cleaveland's quality is quite a bit better? My hangar neighbor has been building an RV14 for years (he is almost done) and he was showing me all his tools (many of which were Cleaveland) - nice stuff.
     
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  34. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Almost done. Hahaha. Lmao. 90% done, 50% to go.
     
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  35. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    Yea I suppose you could say that. Sure is a ton of work.
     
  36. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    A -14 is substantially less work than any of the other RV's except the -12. You can buy the entire kit, less paint and interior from Van's. It is pre-punched, mostly no deburring or drilling necessary, and if you buy the "packages", they even provide wiring harnesses.
     
  37. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Any certified planes I've used for IFR all had steam gauges with two navcoms and two OBS heads. I don't understand putting all those dollars into redundant screens and redundant ADHR's and redundant electron sources and then having a single box that contains all your viable approach options. I don't understand that. And I see a lot of what appear to be carefully thought out panels built this way, so I'm guessing they know something that I'm not seeing. Is it viable to shoot an approach using only the EFIS and its internal GPS?

    And yeah I know we're talking about IFR in aircraft that only have one engine so any productive discussion of critical equipment redundancy kind of ends right there, but still...
     
  38. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    Yep. Even then...it's a lot of work to your average person.
     
  39. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    I bought an Isham kit because it came with the DRDT-2 and a pneumatic squeezer. I am very glad I did that. Those two tools are fantastic. I have supplemented with Cleaveland and a few other sources as I go along. There are some tools that none of the suppliers of airplane-specific kits include that you need to build the plane. There are some others that you will really want. And there are some "normal shop tools" that they assume you have but I'm here to tell you that you don't, so you get to buy those as well.

    My theory is that I can fly an approach or safely navigate into VMC using a non-IFR WAAS GPS and/or radar vectors if I have an emergency that involves my IFR navigator dying. So the $10,000 cost of a second GTN 650 would be better spent on redundancy on things that I can't limp through. Or on paint and interior upholstery. You know, wherever that extra $10,000 burning a hole in my pocket has to be spent. :)
     
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  40. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    Yea that seems to be the big plus with Isham - the DRDT-2 and pneumatic squeezer. Couldn't you get the Cleaveland kit and add those two things easily enough?

    I've wanted a decent band saw and drill press for years, but I got so lost in determining what to get that I basically just gave up on it for now lol. The range of opinions you get on those two things is overwhelming. Lot's of folks recommend looking for old Deltas, etc, but I don't have much interest in overhauling an old machine. I'd rather get something that is ready to go. The problem is all the new stuff (that is reasonably priced) is all made in China.

    I've read a couple of your threads/posts over on VAF haha. I saw Wann post over there about tools as well ;p