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Thread: Is homebuilding right for me?

  1. #11
    Neil's Avatar
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    I've worked on or counseled builders with RV 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9s. Guess I shouldn't have assumed a design standard. Still, first time builder with no building background and modified design is seldom a good mix.

  2. #12
    Eric Witherspoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auburntsts View Post
    The quickest way to flight is to build per the plans so you need to think long and hard about what your main goal is here.
    The quickest way to flight is to find a flying one already on Barnstormers and write a big check...

    You have to build because you want to build. Though I agree with Auburn - if the goal is eventually to fly DO NOT VARY FROM THE PLANS. If you're still keen on the idea of the modified tank - I agree with you, the packaging looks to make better use of space, and the cg change with fuel burn may be reduced (though it may be more forward in the range to start with - not good if you are attempting to pair that with a 13+ pound heavier engine) - but keep an eye on that guy as you go through the years of building. See if that tank cracks. See if it leaks. See if other people build it. Best yet, see if the factory takes it on as an option - sometimes they see stuff like this and make their own version (with a good bit more engineering behind it).

    Though I also agree with Steve - in a payload-limited airplane, there's not much point to more "baggage space" if there's no weight capacity to go with it. (Depending on what you really want to do, this might not be the right airplane...)

    The whole discussion of fuselage tank vs. not is not relevant to this thread. The RV-12 is what it is. They made a LOT of compromises for quick-remove wings. To that end, you may not want to pay for all those compromises - pitot through the gearbox, surface contacts for the wing lights, handles in the wing tips, fancy fittings where other aircraft simply use bolts for wing attach - and probably others involving the position of the seats/spar (and obviously the fuel tank) - there's other designs out there that haven't done so much in the direction of quick-remove wings - though no doubt Van's has a very complete, thought-out, well made kit with a lot of experience behind it.
    Murphy's 13th: Every solution breeds new problems...

    http://www.spoonworld.com

  3. #13
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    The quickest way to flight is to find a flying one already on Barnstormers and write a big check..
    It also seems to be the quickest way to pick up someone else's modified design that they don't tell you about. No offense to my fellow builders out there but if I'm going to buy an already completed airplane, it sure as heck isn't going to be an experimental built by someone I don't know. If I just want to fly, I'll go get a used Cessna, Piper or Aeronca. If I want an experimental- which I do- I will build it.
    Unfortunately in science what you believe is irrelevant.

    "I'm an old-fashioned Southern Gentleman. Which means I can be a cast-iron son-of-a-***** when I want to be."- Robert A. Heinlein.



  4. #14
    Auburntsts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinindy View Post
    It also seems to be the quickest way to pick up someone else's modified design that they don't tell you about. No offense to my fellow builders out there but if I'm going to buy an already completed airplane, it sure as heck isn't going to be an experimental built by someone I don't know. If I just want to fly, I'll go get a used Cessna, Piper or Aeronca. If I want an experimental- which I do- I will build it.
    Personal preference--some folks just aren't inclinded to build but they don't want a 40 year old airplane either. My original quote assumed that the OP wanted to build. The age old addage is if you want to build, build, if you want to fly, buy. Looking to build as a cheap way to get into ownership is fraut with fautly logic IMO. Sure, when comparing a new E-AB to a new factory built of similar capability and performance, the E-AB can be significantly cheaper, but only if you discount the opportunity costs associated with building. Folks buy used E-AB because they want something that the Piper's, Cessna's, Mooney's, etc of the world can't provide. For a used aircraft like an RV, determining the quality of the build and it's airworthiness is no different than a Cessna. A rivets a rivet regardless of who set it. Any A&P can look at an RV and provide an assessement. Now move into the glass world and I'm more inclined to agree with you, yet Lancairs and Glasairs change hands all the time. I think in the case of glass, it's more importrant to get the aircraft inspected by an expert on the model and conrtruction techniques used rather than just any old A&P.
    Todd Stovall
    Aka tsts4 on POA & Matronics, and Auburntsts on VAF, RV Airspace, AOPA, & Purple Pilots
    PP ASEL
    Building an RV-10 N728TT
    My builder's log (which is woefully out of date): www.mykitlog.com/auburntsts
    WAR DAMN EAGLE!

  5. #15

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    However, I don't have any real experience in building an aircraft, or any kind of metal work TBH. I've helped my dad build his Factory Five Cobra, but that's about it. So I'm doubting my actual ability when it comes to building a fully functional aircraft. *laughs*.
    Don't be concerned about this in the least bit - the skills required can be learned by anyone with the motivation and the patience to learn them.

    I didn't know nothin' about building no airplanes when I started mine - never put in a rivet, bent a piece of metal, etc. - but there are loads of people waiting to help you. It starts with the right local EAA chapter, has a couple of the EAA training sessions in it, and includes the huge sky armada of RV builders and their groups all over the country.

    I'd add another call not to modify the plans very far without A LOT of research and review by others with the know. Not to say that the plans are perfect, but the compromises and decisions were made for good reasons.

    I'll also add a few items to Steve's homebuilder list:

    1) Budget the build and have the money up front, or a solid way of obtaining it on the way. Then add ten percent.
    2) If you don't have a tool set, take twenty percent of the kit price as a starting guide.
    3) I'll put a modification on Steve's notion of not having timeline requirements. Set them as motivation to keep working on the project, but use them as guides, not deadlines. Somethings will take longer than you think, but then again some things will take less.
    4) If you have a "significant other" make sure they have buy-in, or at least agreement. Having to break the news that you just discovered your drill's RPMs were set too high and you just ruined a forty-five dollar bit and have to buy another should be met with a sigh rather than a tirade.
    5) Perfection is the enemy of performance. A solid part that meets spec but has a minor flaw that doesn't impact its reliability or usefullness is just that - don't needlessly reproduce parts over and over again.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  6. #16
    prasmussen's Avatar
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    Hey, experiment! It's what we do. You are going to learn a lot, build and rebuild until you own that airplane. That is why first flights are such a trip. I would recommend a Sport Aviation Workshop if they come close to where you live. And don't forget to include your family in the workshop maybe. Best of luck!

  7. #17
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    For a used aircraft like an RV, determining the quality of the build and it's airworthiness is no different than a Cessna. A rivets a rivet regardless of who set it. Any A&P can look at an RV and provide an assessement.
    I'll agree, although I've seen LOTS of experimental aircraft where there are gross deviations from the original design. If this is done in a way that isn't obvious the person doing them didn't know what they were doing (as an example, one crashed aircraft that I was given the chance to examine the wreckage of that had multiple mis-drilled holes and other signs that the builder just plain had little in the way of mechanical skill and even less in the common sense that would make you replace such parts that are damaged), an A&P who isn't intimately familiar with a particular design may not pick up on something important.
    Unfortunately in science what you believe is irrelevant.

    "I'm an old-fashioned Southern Gentleman. Which means I can be a cast-iron son-of-a-***** when I want to be."- Robert A. Heinlein.



  8. #18

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    The original question was whether someone with no aircraft experience should build an RV-12 and make mods. My answer is that you can build that particular plane with little experience because all holes are predrilled and the fastening is easy and the wiring is already done with connectors; all the thought processes are done for you. But I would not recommend doing any aircraft mods if you admittedly don't have the judgement to know what you are doing. As far as an injected 912 is concerned, the cost and weight is more than carbed engine and the carbed engine works fine so unless there is some reason currently undisclosed, the 912S is the engine of choice. Remember that the RV-12 is certificated to be built exactly as the factory specified without changes or mods. It is not like a standard experimental which requires 40 hrs of flyoff; it only requires 5 hrs flyoff because no changes allowed to original design.
    If you want to get into aircraft construction, get smart and start taking builder courses thru EAA workshops and work with experienced builders to understand the basic technology. Flying in a plane you built is not like building a car where you pull over if something stops functioning.

  9. #19
    Folks who doubt their abilities scare me a lot less than those among us who think they have it all figured out. Usually those folks wind up like this: http://rvnewsletter.blogspot.com/200...oyd-crash.html
    What a tragic story. Rushing to get to Oshkosh. Unbelievable.

  10. #20
    Auburntsts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob H View Post
    .... Remember that the RV-12 is certificated to be built exactly as the factory specified without changes or mods. It is not like a standard experimental which requires 40 hrs of flyoff; it only requires 5 hrs flyoff because no changes allowed to original design.
    If you want to get into aircraft construction, get smart and start taking builder courses thru EAA workshops and work with experienced builders to understand the basic technology. Flying in a plane you built is not like building a car where you pull over if something stops functioning.
    Bob, that's only true if you go the E-LSA certification route. However, the RV-12 can also be built and certified as E-AB with its associated 25 or 40 hour Phase I and no requirement to match exactly the S-LSA the design is based on. IOW the builder is free to mod from the get go if they opt to build E-AB.
    Todd Stovall
    Aka tsts4 on POA & Matronics, and Auburntsts on VAF, RV Airspace, AOPA, & Purple Pilots
    PP ASEL
    Building an RV-10 N728TT
    My builder's log (which is woefully out of date): www.mykitlog.com/auburntsts
    WAR DAMN EAGLE!

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