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Old 08-11-2022, 06:21 AM
cpfeifer cpfeifer is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Pierre, sd
Posts: 39
Default 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
Empanage 75%
Wing kit on order
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Old 08-11-2022, 06:25 AM
swjohnsey swjohnsey is online now
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Kingsville, TX
Posts: 515

Do some research on the various wing mods and upgrading to wing tanks.
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Old 08-11-2022, 07:01 AM
cpfeifer cpfeifer is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Pierre, sd
Posts: 39

Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
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
Empanage 75%
Wing kit on order
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Old 08-11-2022, 07:31 AM
meloosifah meloosifah is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Indiana
Posts: 339

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?
RV7a (converting to TW and then ready to install the engine and panel)

1946 Cessna 140 (currently flying)
1946 Piper J3 Cub (stripped for restoration)

Exempt on multiple counts - donated double because this site is worth it!
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Old 08-11-2022, 07:41 AM
HFS HFS is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lemoore, CA
Posts: 551
Default 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
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Old 08-11-2022, 08:56 AM
MLock MLock is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Salem, OR
Posts: 308

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.
Mitchell Lock
Chief Financial Officer
Van's Aircraft
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Old 08-11-2022, 09:17 AM
RussellT RussellT is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Albany Western Australia
Posts: 112

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.

RV 3B. Very slow build. Now onto final assembly...
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Old 08-11-2022, 09:23 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,566

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.

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Old 08-11-2022, 10:10 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,566

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.

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Old 08-11-2022, 11:05 AM
fl-mike's Avatar
fl-mike fl-mike is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,838

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.
Mike W
Venice, FL

N164WM RV-6A Slider/O-360/FP Sold 4/2022
N184WM (RV-8) Flying. Titan IOX-370/ CS/G3X
N184P reserved (RV-8QB) Empennage kit and QB wings in the shop

Last edited by fl-mike : 08-11-2022 at 11:07 AM.
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