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cpfeifer 08-11-2022 06:21 AM

Rv3 advise
Hi guys, Iím looking at buying a rv3 kit from 1995. It the empennage, wing, and fuselage, kits. Theyíve been in the crate and not touched this whole time. How is the build on this older kit compared to the newer ones? Iím currently building a rv7 and this would likely sit till Iím done with that one. The price is right Iím thinking so just looking for thoughts on it. Thanks

swjohnsey 08-11-2022 06:25 AM

Do some research on the various wing mods and upgrading to wing tanks.

cpfeifer 08-11-2022 07:01 AM


Originally Posted by swjohnsey (Post 1626215)
Do some research on the various wing mods and upgrading to wing tanks.

I will look into it. Do you think itís worth $2000? Thanks

meloosifah 08-11-2022 07:31 AM

It definitely is worth it if itís not corroded. Still in the crates, I would be concerned about the coatings and corrosion. How and where was it stored?

HFS 08-11-2022 07:41 AM

Things to Consider
In addition to the afore mentioned wing considerations, you should also be comfortable with the fact that this kit is basically formed "raw materials" where you do all the (read make) jigging necessary to make all the larger pieces - it's only as "square" as you make it. A lot of work just in doing that.

In addition, all hole position, size & spacing is up to you - all skins come "bare", no holes - a lot of work there, including interpreting the plans, which, from that time point can appear more of an "advisory" than mandate.

When you get done, you'll be a "builder" instead of an assembler of the newer models.

You're getting a lot for your money, but a lot of work on your part is required to get the maximum benefit.

I've built -4, Harmon Rocket II and am currently building a -3, so I know about what's necessary to build these "old school" kits.

Best of luck - HFS

MLock 08-11-2022 08:56 AM

I say ditto to everything that HFS has said. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done including building your own spars from raw stock which is the way it was done in the '90's.

Plus, since this is a '90's vintage kit, you will need to incorporate the CN-1 and CN-2 mods into your wings as you build them. Check our website for more information regarding them.

However, having built an RV-3 in the early '90's, and flown every RV model there is (except the -4 and -15), it remains my favorite as the best flying RV of them all. In the 18 months that I owned it, I flew it 275 hours. Only sold it because I was tired of flying alone.

If you have the skills and the time, go for it. It will not disappoint in the end.

All the best.

RussellT 08-11-2022 09:17 AM

HFS and MLock have covered it very succinctly, you will need to jig every part of the airframe and the flight control surfaces. Every hole will have to be lined, spaced and drilled.
The plans and drawings are very basic but your current project experience will be beneficial.

These early kit builds are becoming a lost art and as an almost complete kit it sounds like a real treasure. I say you should go for it with pride and much satisfaction.


David Paule 08-11-2022 09:23 AM

Those folks got it right - the construction isn't for most RV builders. If you'd like to read my experiences, this is my VAF blog. I'm now working on my cowling.


David Paule 08-11-2022 10:10 AM

I might be wrong about one or two things so please don't take this as gospel.

The empennage, control surfaces on the wings and the fuselage haven't changed. However, the engine mount now has six attachments to the fuselage instead of the original four, so that might be something to swap out if necessary. It's only the wings that have those changes. And another change to the wings is that now they have wing tanks like the other RVs. Nothing wrong with the fuselage tank, if this kit has that, although it will reduce the useful space between the panel and the firewall, as well as access to the rudder and brake pedals.

Although the construction is not as easy as the later models, especially the double-digit ones, I've personally found it thoroughly interesting and often fun. I confess to several mods, and as for those, they not only weren't necessary they added huge amounts of time to my project. Keep it simple and build to the plans, and you'll have lots of fun.

I think the price is great, a long as you understand what you're getting. In SD there probably won't be much corrosion, but check, because otherwise you could be surprised.


fl-mike 08-11-2022 11:05 AM

As others have said, those kits are a whole different world from the new matched hole, CNC kits. You will be laying out every hole and blind-drilling into the ribs, really fabricating parts from raw stock, and such. Jigs are not an option, lol. I built an RV-4 empennage in that era and it is not for the tentative types who get upset if the proper rivet isn't called out on current kits. I think this is why you tend to see these kits change hands a lot. I tip my hat to anyone that finished a kit from that era start to finish.

If you like a challenge, that is a great price. The old Tony Bingellis books are relevant to this era kit. Plan on at least six to seven years if you can work on it with regularity. If Van's ever refreshed the 3 to matched hole, it would be great, but there is almost no market for a single seat, when a two seat is about the same finished cost.

I think the biggest con of the 3 is that the prices are really impacted by the single-seat. Build cheap and light because it will be really hard to even get your material costs back.

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