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Old September 3rd 03, 12:59 PM
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Default bulding a kitplane maybe Van's RV9A --- a good idea ?????


I have helped build fiberglass, tube and fabric, wood and fiberglass, and
all aluminum kits and "plans built" aircraft. Regardless of the
construction method there is one thing that stands out about the process of
"home-building" and that is Commitment. Commitment, of course, means
emotional and mental dedication. However, it also means a financial and
time investment.

When it comes to designs that are "cross-country cruisers" there is a
financial advantage in building your own aircraft if you consider the
performance to expense ratio between the cost of the home-built and the cost
of a relatively new "factory" aircraft. If you are going to use the
aircraft for just hopping around a local area in search of the perfect $100
breakfast or lunch, then there are times when an investment in an older
factory produced aircraft might cost less than the investment in one of the
higher performance kits. The RV-9/9A with the least expensive engine still
out-performs a C-150/152, but may cost more to build than the purchase of an
older model 2-seater.

I have assisted with the construction of three of Van's designs. The first
was an RV-3 and that was before he was using CNC processes and most folks
were still building their own spars. At that time I could have given you a
list of "gripes." However, the RV-6A and the RV-8 kits I have been/am
involved with are amazing for the quality of the kit and the documentation.
Both of the latter aircraft were ordered as "fast-build" (a relative term)
kits and the things came out of the crates looking like airplanes already
and the cost differential between the basic kit and fast-build was minimal.
How minimal becomes more apparent as you start logging your actual building

Hours. If you are single, living alone, and don't need to hold down an
actual job, building the aircraft is strictly YOUR project. If you have
any vocational commitments or family commitments, then the project is
actually a group affair. Even if other members of your family don't get
involved in the actual construction process, their support (and an
understanding of our particular obsession) is necessary if the process is
going to be a "happy" experience.

Maybe you are naturally a very "balanced" person, however most of the folks
I know really immersed themselves in the project for the first few months
after receiving their kits. The folks who actually were able to "keep a
happy home", make steady progress without big gaps in activity, and finish
their kits in a reasonable time eventually figured out that it was a good
idea to "do a little bit each and every day" rather than try to maintain a
frantic pace at the expense of the rest of their lives.

Life can throw curves at you that can slow or stop progress on your
aircraft. In the worse case, you may have to sell what you have. In this
case, having one of the Van's design kits means that it is much easier to
sell (without a big financial loss) your project.

Even if you order a "fast build" kit there is still a ton of physical work
to do and a lot of time -and money- will be spent on obtaining all of the
"system" components. The engine and instrument panel/electronics can be
ordered so complete that they are almost "drop ins" . However, buying that
level of completeness can really put a serious pinch on your purse. If you
have the budget to do that - great - but many folks need to space out the
purchase of all of that stuff and that means planning and searching time.

It has been my personal experience that spending the money to buy everything
(including the "optional" stuff) on Van's tool list is a very good idea.

Building an aircraft can be so time consuming that you tend to trade current
PIC time for building time. Even though the RV-9/9A is designed to make the
transition from a light GA aircraft into something with a little (lots more
with a Lyc 360) performance improvement an easy process - make the time to
stay current.

Along the entire process, you will need to keep the people at the
Luftfahrt-Bundesamt happy.

I know that this didn't give you the "negatives" about the Van's designs you
asked for, but your final statement of "P.S. Maybe I only hope that somebody
prevent me from doing a homebuilt." indicated you were still uncommitted and
might benefit from some additional "gray hair" information.

If you go into a project like this with your eyes open and a strong
commitment, then flying an aircraft you have built with your own hands is an
incredibly satisfying experience.

Best of luck,


"Christoph Brehm" wrote in message
Hello all !

Since some month I studied literature and looking at websides (EAA, FAA,
Buildersides) about homebuilding a plane, a lot of information out there
an something hardly to understand if you are the first time in this
stuff. But at the end of that process I decided that building a plane
could be the right way to get a new plane with good performance low
maintenance cost and so on.

The next step was to decide which kit is the best for me, I think there
are more then 750 different kits on the market and it is not easy to
find the right one. After reading some good information about
decsion-making I started from the beginning and than I decided a
kitplane from Van's aircraft could be the right one for me.

Therefore in the last day's I spent a lot of time reading all
information about Van's aicraft I could get mostly from the internet and
from buildersides ( I also checked the NTSB for Information) because
here in europe you are not able to get magzines about kitplanes with
maybe some more objektive information.

There are a lot of very good RV buildersides with many pictures and text
about costs time and tipps. But after a while I wondered a bit because
there is nearly nothing bad to read about Van's aicraft kitplanes on
these sides. Everything is matching good, not really a problem with the
construction planes or manuals, seems always easy to build, fly always
with excelent performance and so on. All those sides are sponsored by
Van's ?? I can't belive that ?!!?

No information out there about people wo kicked the whole crap in a
corner, because nothing fit's at all, all parts are skew, not enough
information in the manual, to difficult to build for a non aircraft
mechanic ?!?!?

Don't missunderstand me ! from the information I have I like these
aircrafts from Van's and the way you have to build them, the material
and so on. But there must be something bad about them out there ?????

Is there anybody who could give me some objektive information maybe
about the RV9A or the Van's Kitplanes at all ?????

I would be very thankful about those information

kind regards and thanks a lot in advance


P.S. Maybe I only hope that somebody prevent me from doing a homebuilt