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Old 12-24-2020, 07:46 PM
erikpmort's Avatar
erikpmort erikpmort is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: logan, utah
Posts: 412

14s canít be built crooked. The build quality is amazing. Factor that in
Erik Mortenson
Rans S-20 low and slow

14 build working on wings
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Old 12-24-2020, 10:16 PM
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emsvitil emsvitil is offline
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: SoCal
Posts: 477

Originally Posted by erikpmort View Post
14s canít be built crooked. The build quality is amazing. Factor that in
Somebody is going to accept that as a challenge.................

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Old 12-24-2020, 11:43 PM
Captain Avgas Captain Avgas is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,931

I just have to laugh at some of the figures that people say you can build RVs for...often ridiculously low numbers that don’t reflect reality.

How do they arrive at these bargain basement numbers. Well, they just leave out a lot of the real outlays.

Often they have no realistic budget for an interior. And no budget for the painting (look, if it ain’t painted it ain’t finished). They have no budget whatsoever for countless and endless almost daily hardware purchases eg epoxy resins, fibreglass cloth, sandpaper, safety glasses, masks, solvents, brushes, etc etc. They have no budget for building tools which will be many thousands of dollars. They have no budget for the specialised tools required to do the wiring. And finally they have no budget for the maintenance tools ultimately required to maintain the aircraft (you are going to time your magnetos and check your compression aren’t you?). And don’t give me the cr@p about it doesn’t count as part of the cost of building if it isn’t fitted to the plane. The cost of tools and sundry items is as much a cost of building as the avionics. If you buy the plane already built you don’t need the tools.

Then there’s the cost of builder’s insurance as you build. It’s not compulsory but if you have over a $100k sitting in your garage and it’s not covered by your home insurance you run a huge risk by not having it. Then there’s taxes, kit transport costs, then the cost of transporting the aircraft to an airport, then the cost of hangarage while you complete the final assembly. Then there’s all the purchases of third party items that you ultimately realise along the way that you just cannot do without....the anti splat nose job, the gust lock, the fabric fuselage cover, etc’s truly endless. Then there’s the upgrade items to Vans kits....upgrade the alternator, upgrade the oil cooler, upgrade the engine mounts, upgrade the air vents.

In the end the only people who really know what it costs to build an RV are those that have meticulously and truthfully totalled up every single dollar that they have spend on the aircraft. The rest are just guessing or living in wishful thinking land.

When I was building my RV7 I had a very good friend who was building a virtually identically equipped RV7 at the same time. I kept meticulous documentation on every single dollar I spent and he said he didn’t want to know what it was costing him (because it made him nervous and also so he didn't have to lie to his wife ha ha ha). When I was $140k into my project I asked him how much he thought he had spent on his (virtually identical progress) and he said he thought about $90k. That’s how far out builders can be when they really don’t want to know the hard truth.
Youíre only as good as your last landing
Bob Barrow

Last edited by Captain Avgas : 12-25-2020 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 12-25-2020, 04:26 AM
DTARM1 DTARM1 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Planet Earth (and it's lonely here)
Posts: 51

Captain AvGas - So true - plus we all forget how much time is worth; lost time with kids/family; divorce, deaths and other intangibles
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Old 12-25-2020, 08:07 AM
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mfleming mfleming is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Joseph, Oregon
Posts: 661

Originally Posted by Captain Avgas View Post
..........SNIP.........Thatís how far out builders can be when they really donít want to know the hard truth.
Thatís so very true and I think itís a common delusion for aircraft ownership in general.

This is my fourth year of building. I have saved most receipts but not all. Last December I totaled all the receipts and itemized them. I had spent over 30% more than I estimated. Tools and misc parts was a huge portion of the underestimating.

Back in my Alaska days when I owned and operated a C-180 I kept every receipt for anything related to operating that ac. My buddies always quoted operating figures far below my numbers....

IMHO there is nothing wrong with not knowing the true cost but at least be aware you donít know.
Michael Fleming
Joseph, OR
sagriver at icloud dot com

RV-7 Slider #74572
Started 11/2016
Empennage completed 11/2016 (sans fiberglass)
Ailerons and flaps completed 3/2017.
Wings completed 12/2017
Started on QB fuselage 01/2018
Sliding canopy mostly completed 10/2020
Wiring in progress
Donated for 2021 and so should you
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Old 12-25-2020, 02:21 PM
David Z David Z is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario
Posts: 567
Default Garage

I spent 10 grand (actually more) renovating my garage into an airplane shop. The financial math on the garage reno was done with option B where many of the little things like the extra switch cover didn't get added in.

Does that count as part of the airplane cost? I use the garage turned workshop for much more than the airplane. I fix the cars, and the every day little nic-nacks that need repaired in the house. I'll say yes, because the garage reno mostly came out of the airplane fund.

At the end of the day, it's a hobby. I have a nice workshop where I enjoy going to work on the plane that I enjoy building. The garage reno probably delayed the build by a year. However it would have taken even longer with a cold, dark miserable workshop that I would never want to use. At the end of the day, it's about enjoying the hobby and cash flow. I can only spend so much money per month, that's the budget my wife and I agreed to. I'm spending that money in ways that makes the hobby the most enjoyable.

As for the final cost? I don't know, there's a rough guess, but the true number doesn't matter to me. I'm also going to spend a bunch of money on gas, oil, maintenance, insurance, hangar, etc. It's all part of the hobby.
Empennage Passed Pre-close Inspection
Wings mostly done
Fuselage started
Dash 8 day job is financing the RV8
Donation till September 2021
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Old 12-25-2020, 02:51 PM
ShortSnorter ShortSnorter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: NOLA
Posts: 290

Originally Posted by mfleming View Post
This is my fourth year of building. I have saved most receipts but not all. Last December I totaled all the receipts and itemized them. I had spent over 30% more than I estimated.
I would say I thatís pretty spot on, at least in my case. While I didnít save every receipt, I did open a specific bank account just for the build. Every other penny spent came from that account. Just the other day I tallied all of the debits since opening the account and my expenditures were roughly 35% more than my ďconservativeĒ pre build estimate.
RV-14 In-Progress
Build Site
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Old 12-25-2020, 04:24 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,699

I’ve kept every single receipt and included all tools and extra things like epoxy, etc. Vans cost estimator plus about 10% was about right for me.

What I have noticed over the past 15 years on this site is that mission creep has become increasingly rampant. Plus, lots of “keeping up with the Jones’” as more and more aftermarket additions have become available. It’s often lots of little things that turn a $70k RV into a $100k RV. Except for panels it’s not usually one thing that blows up the price. That said, I finished in 2012, so my perspective is only accurate for that era.

My guess tho is that Vans estimator is still reasonably accurate for the disciplined builder, since every other number I’ve ever seen Vans post has always been in the ballpark performance or cost wise.
Steve M.
Ellensburg WA
RV-9 Flying, 0-320, Catto

Donation reminder: Jan. 2022
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Old 12-25-2020, 05:18 PM
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jeffw@sc47 jeffw@sc47 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Simpsonville, SC (SC47)
Posts: 373
Default Van's cost estimator?

from alpinelakespilot2000 post 12/25/20 >
Originally Posted by alpinelakespilot2000 View Post
. . . Vans cost estimator plus about 10% was about right for me.
I was caught up with the "$70K turning into a $100K RV" thinking that the post was referring to a -14 before I noticed that Steve's signature listed his airplane a -9 with a 0-320 and fixed pitch prop.

Searched for Van's cost estimator - looks like it has been removed from Van's web site. I was interested in seeing what and how it aligned with my reality. I don't think that any sort of cost estimating tool would be able to accommodate the infinite options available or chosen by a builder.
Jeff Warren
Simpsonville, SC (@SC47 > 10nm NW Triple Tree)
1946 Bellanca Cruisair 14-13-2 (74 YRS OLD 8/1/20)
RV14A (N14ZT), Ser#140195, Start 10/11/14
Contribution made 12/2/20 (USArmy 2/67-2/70)
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Old 12-25-2020, 06:04 PM
tjo tjo is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: La Center,wa
Posts: 226

As far as buying, whatever everyone else said. As far as building, the prices folks here are quoting as necessary make my head spin. I know you can spend tons, but you don't have to. I heard the same stuff when I built my house, my car, and now my plane. Don't get me wrong, you can spend a ton, but if you are practical and logical you can have a very nice completed plane for reasonable money.

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