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Old 02-26-2020, 03:35 PM
Everwild Everwild is offline
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Maumee
Posts: 3
Default Time and Cost?RV14 vs RV10

Hi Everyone. I've been lurking for some time and wanted to tap your collective insight. Mostly related to time and cost to build and how many would do it again or just buy something and enjoy it.

My mission is mostly personal travel with my wife, running kids back and forth to college, or taking trips with other couples. I want IFR capability. I've narrowed my choices down to the following:

Option 1. RV14?Great travel machine for two with speed, decent useful load and range. Lowest estimated build time and lower cost to build than option 2.

Option 2. RV10?Great travel machine, four seats, with more hauling capability. Negatives are higher build cost, additional time to build and higher ongoing operating costs (fuel, insurance, and eventually overhaul costs). Leaning this way at the moment because of the extra capability and relatively low incremental cost over the RV14.

Option 3. Find a clean Mooney, Cirrus or similar. Cons are higher purchase price to get a similarly equipped, clean aircraft comparable to an RV10, higher annual and maintenance costs, ongoing upgrade envy. etc.

So my questions are?.

An RV14 with bells and whistles like G3X suite, new engine, new prop, paint, interior, misc upgrades etc runs roughly $140-160k and takes 1500-2000 hours to build? Are these reasonable assumptions?

The cost of a RV10 with comparable options is roughly $30-40k more. $170-190k due to the additional cost of the IO-540, cost of the kit, more interior options, wiring, etc, I?m also hearing roughly 3000 hours to build a nice example.
Are these reasonable assumptions?

Are the opportunity costs of spending 3000 hours building a plane too high? Time away from family, time spent away from more lucrative activities? What?s your experience?

Finally, one of the selling points for building is doing your own maintenance. How many of you actually do your own annual and maintenance each year? While I consider myself handy, I?m sure I would want an experienced A & P at least check my work. Are you really saving that much on maintenance and annuals by building vs buying?
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Old 02-26-2020, 04:09 PM
N941WR's Avatar
N941WR N941WR is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 12,887

I can't answer the question about cost and time (3000 hours seems high).

As for maintenance, by the time you are finished, you will have the skills to perform your annual condition inspection and will want to do it.

My -9 is coming up on a thousand hours and the most expensive Condition Inspection I have had was ~$2500. What drove that up was finding a small crack in the engine mount, which required removing the engine, gearlegs, and the engine mount. I then had to replace the engine mount. Had this been a certified aircraft and the work performed by a local shop, that price would have tripled, or more.

A more typical Condition Inspection usually would run me about $150 on the high side, for oil, filters, sparkplugs, lubricants, etc.
Bill R.
RV-9 (Yes, it's a dragon tail)
O-360 w/ dual P-mags
Build the plane you want, not the plane others want you to build!
SC86 - Easley, SC

Last edited by N941WR : 02-26-2020 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 02-26-2020, 04:20 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 2,394
Default -10

I can tell you I have north of 170 in my ten and almost 2500 hours of actual build time ...and I am not flying yet...
Aerospace Engineer '88


Dues+ Paid 2020,...Thanks DR+
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Old 02-26-2020, 04:44 PM
aturner's Avatar
aturner aturner is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Clarion, Pennsylvania
Posts: 566
Default about right

I think your 3000 hours is in the ballpark for a slow build kit. Some people are fast workers in the shop, and some (me) spend a lot of time scratching our there is a lot of variation. And there is even more variation in cost. The numbers I see thrown around here on VAF are often much more than I spent, but I built a simple straightforward airplane. You certainly can spend as much as you please.
As for opportunity costs, you do need to dedicate yourself to this project in order to finish in a timely way, but I really don't view it as lost opportunities. I was able to dovetail this with family and job, and I absolutely loved the build. Those hours in the shop were very satisfying and time very well spent. In line with my enjoying the build, I really appreciate the opportunity to do owner maintenance too, and can't see myself ever going back to the certified world where I have to pay someone to have the fun for me. But, again, these are personal issues and everyone needs to do their own evaluation.

Welcome to experimental aviation!

-Andy Turner
RV-10 N784JC

Last edited by aturner : 02-26-2020 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 02-26-2020, 05:03 PM
Don E Don E is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: West Chester, PA
Posts: 124
Default Low side

As a first-time builder my experience suggests your estimates are on the low side. And I have easily 175K in my RV-14 without a lot of popular upgrades like t-bolt engines, berringer wheels and brakes, Vetterman four into two exhaust... I know there are people who complete their first build faster than I did, but... best to not rush it. As for condition inspections, yes, you?ll be well-qualified and enjoy the process. I do have an IFR G3X touch panel.
RV-14 Built
Can?t believe I built an airplane!
First flight October 22, 2018
Kit #140329
If I had a nickel for every time I didn?t know what was going on, I?d be, like, ?Why am I always getting all these nickels??
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Old 02-26-2020, 05:08 PM
TimO TimO is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 637

I had a QB fuse on the RV-10 and with that, I was at 1700 hours to fly it. 2000 after finishing the small things like wheel fairings. 3000 is probably overkill *if* you work efficiently and set your mind to it. The RV-14 took me about the same amount of time as the RV-10, except without having any QB parts. So I'd say the RV-10 may have ended up at about 2500 at most if I'd have gone slow build.
On most sections, the RV-14 isn't really all that shorter a build time. Just some additional canopy work. It's not a huge difference, really.
Tim Olson - CFI
RV-10 N104CD - Flying 2/2006 - 1400+ hours
RV-14 N14YT - Flying 6/2016 - 350+ hours
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Old 02-26-2020, 09:07 PM
Taltruda Taltruda is offline
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 631
Default 14 vs 7 in price

Why is the 14 so much more expensive to build than the 7? Kit prices are 10k different, the engine probably about 10k more also (I haven't priced the engine).. why would the 14 be so expensive?
Las Vegas
RV-8 empenage finished 10-2020

Wings Started.. 11-2020
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Old 02-26-2020, 09:58 PM
TimO TimO is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 637

I don't have any first-hand knowledge into the pricing structure at Van's, but:

The RV-7 is many years older than the RV-14. It's smaller, and the kit components are less advanced. There are probably more parts on the RV-7 than the RV-14 that you are only given raw materials for, whereas the RV-14 has more of the work done for you. That would mean that there is more factory tooling required for the -14 that they have to recover costs for, and more parts that take effort on their behalf to build. Even the wings are bigger on the RV-14 so the material itself will be slightly larger. While they look very similar from the outside, when you're seated in them, you start to see and feel some of the real differences.

That's all just a guess, and there may be additional factors as well.
Tim Olson - CFI
RV-10 N104CD - Flying 2/2006 - 1400+ hours
RV-14 N14YT - Flying 6/2016 - 350+ hours
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Old 02-26-2020, 11:48 PM
cwilkins cwilkins is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Camp Lejeune, NC
Posts: 87
Default Cost

Tim, I think you may have misunderstood taltruda?s question. He wasn?t asking why Van charges more for the -14 kit, but why is the finished product so much more expensive than building a -7.

I am also curious to know why it?s so much more, other than the obvious increase cost of engine and kit.
Craig A. Wilkins

RV-8 N898R - Bought Flying
RV-7A N36HS - Bought Flying (sold)
Cherokee Six N5259S (Sold)
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:34 AM
bruceh's Avatar
bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,423

Originally Posted by cwilkins View Post
I am also curious to know why it?s so much more, other than the obvious increase cost of engine and kit.
More panel space to put avionics?
I'm sure you could build an RV-10 or -14 with a spartan minimal steam gauge panel, but when you build your dream airplane, that all goes out the window pretty quick when the latest shiny new glass panel comes along.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 800 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and New Flying Blog
2020 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor, Build assistance - canopy/tanks/fiberglass/electrical/repairs
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