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Old 09-16-2009, 10:23 PM
diamond diamond is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 710
Default new guy with questions

I'm new to aviation and am looking for a kit plane to start building in the next year or so. I have done some preliminary research and like the RV7, among others. I'm very green at this, so please excuse the dumb questions.

1) One of the main roles of a plane for me would be to make frequent trips to my hunting land, which is 250 straight miles away. I would like to be able to land on a grass runway, which is yet to be constructed, but could be about 900 feet long. Is that long enough for an RV7 to land and take off comfortably? Even more important, would it have to be kept in pristine condition, or can the RV7 land if the grass gets a little high and there are a few mole holes that emerge between trips over there. I know a bush plane would be ideal for landing, but I want to travel faster than what most bush planes can do.

2) I did the cost estimator on the website and cost comes out to be 70k and up. Does that sound right? I had hoped to get it lower, but don't want to skimp too much on components.

3) Is the quick build kit worth the extra 10k? How much time does that save me in construction? For that matter, what is a good estimate on RV7 build time for a person that has good aptitude for building things?
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:14 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 15,705
Default Welcome to VAF!!!!

Mark, welcome aboard the good ship VAF

Good to have you.

900' should be fine for the aircraft-----unless it is up high in the mountains, or someplace where the temps are way high, or some of each.

You state you are "new to aviation"-------your own skill level will probably end up being the limiting factor on the use of a short strip.

A 7, with a IO360 and constant speed prop should do a good job for your needs.

If you havent already done so, I urge you to join a local chapter of the EAA

Good luck, hopefully someone with a 7 that is local to you will give you a ride.
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."

Last edited by Mike S : 09-17-2009 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:16 PM
flion's Avatar
flion flion is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Posts: 2,672

Let's start with a couple of questions of our own (not putting you on the spot but to help narrow down the variables). Landing distance depends on, amongst other things, altitude; so tell us more about your proposed strip. Elevation? Obstacles? Will you be building a -7 or a -7A? How are your short/soft field techniques?

As for building time, the estimate is that the quick-build saves about half the total hours. But what does that mean in the real world. Building is not something you want to rush (especially when you will be sitting high in the air in the result) but the process can be sped up by putting more hours per day/week/month in, up to a point. Also, you may be quite good with sheet metal but have problems with avionics, so your savings via a quick-build may not equate with someone else's experience.

Cost is another wildly variable number. You probably don't need a full IFR panel for flights to a grass strip that won't have a published approach but having extra capability never hurts in my opinion. You can also go lower on engine/prop; the RV will perform quite well with the minimum equipment in most situations. What, in minutes, is the difference between, say, 200mph and 180mph on a 250 mile trip (just pulling numbers out of a hat, but you get the idea).

Check out the EAA Bookstore for Kitplane Construction. The author devotes a good bit of page space to discussion of the costs and benefits of buying vs. building and how to select a kit based on a number of factors. Hopefully, this will help inform your response and further questions.
Patrick Kelley - Flagstaff, AZ
RV-6A N156PK - Flying too much to paint
RV-10 14MX(reserved) - Fuselage on gear
EAA Technical Counselor #5357
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:18 AM
dhall_polo's Avatar
dhall_polo dhall_polo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Cumming, GA
Posts: 610
Default another option

The RV can certainly fit the mission.

But to expand you're thinking... For flying to a hunting strip with a short and rough runway, I think I'd also look at high wing STOL aircraft. You might find a high wing is pretty good for surveying the hunting property, and some high wing models might be better for loading gear and such. As an example, check out the Glasair Sportsman 2+2.

Again, you can't go wrong with any RV either.
Don Hall
N517DG - RV7 - Flying!
Ticked Van's Hobbes meter at #6110, 3/7/09
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:46 AM
diamond diamond is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 710

Thanks for the info. Here's more info. When I said I'm new to aviation, I meant brand new. No flying experience, but have always wanted to do it. Now is the time, so I will be a novice when my build is done. My land is agricultural land in South Dakota, so low elevation and fairly flat. It does get hot there in the summer (upper 90s). One concern is whether the RV7 (or any of the RVs for that matter) would do well if my grass runway is somewhat primitive and potentially sporting 6 inches of growth from one visit to the next. One end of the runway has a few trees about 40 feet tall, but they would be a good 200 feet from the end of the runway.

7 vs 7A? I don't know, but that was going to be another question. Is one easier to land and take off? especially on grass strips? Personally I like the looks of the taildragger, but would go with whichever is most practical for my use.

In response to dhall, I actually looked at the STOL Sportsman, but it isn't quite as fast as the 7 and not as good of gas mileage as I want. In addition to my hunting land, I would also like to routinely go cross country on 1000 mile trips down to Texas.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:06 AM
pierre smith's Avatar
pierre smith pierre smith is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,885
Default Welcome Mark....

....900' is mighty short for a newbie pilot and also for a lot of experienced pilots. The airplane is capable but maybe not so for the pilot. If there are no obstructions on the approach it's possible. My buddy has 2000' grass with trees on both ends and I use most of that to get in and stop.

A -7 sounds like the way to go for a lot of unimproved strips that you seem to want to visit because the tri-gears have dug in and flipped on occasion if there are mole holes and so on.

Rv10 Sold
46 years ag pilot/CFI
Air Tractor 502/PT-6
Building RV-12, Wings, fuse, emp complete. FWF in progress.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:26 AM
Brantel's Avatar
Brantel Brantel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 7,509

To be blunt, there is no way I would recommend a RV7 with your experience and the conditions you have proposed, one mistake/burp of the engine and your toast.

The tall grass/rough field alone is enough... I suppose you could put some big fat tires on there and leave off the wheel pants but that is not what these planes are built for.
Brantel (Brian Chesteen),
Check out my RV-10 builder's BLOG
RV-10, #41942, N?????, Project Sold
RV-7/TU, #72823, N159SB
Lyc. O-360 carbed, HARTZELL BA CS Prop, Dual P-MAGs, Dual Garmin G3X Touch
Track N159SB (KK4LIF)
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:37 AM
Zero4Zulu Zero4Zulu is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Scio,Oregon
Posts: 272

The cargo space will be a deciding factor too. Unless someone is driving the route to haul your gear (guns), it will be tough to pack what you need in the RV7.
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:06 AM
GJHeck GJHeck is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Hamburg, Michigan
Posts: 70

Look at the Murphy Rebel. I don't recommend a RV for what you're trying to do. The rebel w/ a 0-320 I believe goes around 140 kts ground speed, great short field characteristics and you can put a seat in the back or carry 300 lbs behind the seat.

Good Luck!!
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:23 AM
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Mel Mel is online now
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 10,914

I've been flying RVs for over 20 years. I've been flying my -6 out of my 1500" strip in Texas for about 15. I would not be comfortable with 900' on a daily basis. Especially with a newly minted pilot certificate. Cross winds will be your worst enemy. You carry a little extra speed for the X-wind component but it doesn't help you stop any quicker.
I don't have a problem with a 900' strip, occasionally, but wouldn't want that at home.
I think the RV-7 is not the ideal airplane for your situation.
Mel Asberry, DAR since the last century. Over 1,000 certifications accomplished.
EAA Flight Advisor/Tech Counselor, Friend of the RV-1
Recipient of Tony Bingelis Award and Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
USAF Vet, High School E-LSA Project Mentor.
RV-6 Flying since 1993 (sold)
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