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Old 06-30-2019, 03:37 PM
dworley dworley is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Greenbrier, AR
Posts: 2
Lightbulb Dream Killer or Dream Plane

My entire life I grew up around aviation and my father was a homebuilder of a Long-EZ. Through the years of growing up flying in his Long-EZ and seeing other local pilots building RV-4's and RV-6's I told myself one day I want to build my own plane as well. At the time, I wasn't sure what I wanted to build, but I had really fell in love with some of the RV's at our local airport. Most of that had to do with the builders being very friendly, they had outstanding workmanship, and even took me up in them several times. After that, I caught myself looking at all of the RV's in the homebuilt flight line at Oshkosh every year we went. Even when I was 12-13 I was attending the sheet metal workshops learning how to rivet and do many other things.

Fast forward several years and I now have my private pilots license and am working on my instrument rating. My dream of building my own plane is even closer than I can imagine and I decided that the RV-7 is what I want. I came up with a rough estimate of the costs and what I would like in the plane and nearly had it set in stone. My girlfriend, who is a huge supporter of me building an airplane, decided to drop a bomb on me. She mentioned the idea of building an RV-10 instead. She said that we have several friends (couples), family, and in the future a kid that could all benefit from having a 4 seat airplane. We spend a lot of time with our friends and family and often don't go out and do things alone. There have been circumstances in the past that I have loaded up 4 of us in a 172 for a $100 hamburger run. I hated that the WB limited me to only having enough fuel on board to get us there and then would have to refuel there to make it back. It wasn't even a long flight either. On top of that I remembered growing up and my dad always having to leave me behind for vacations because only my parents could fit in the plane. I just think the experience growing up in aviation would have been even better if we would have all been able to go together as a family.

All that being said, made me think maybe and RV-10 would be worth it. I only intend on building one plane and plan on keeping it forever. Things can obviously change through the years, but that is my thought on it currently. Plus knowing I am only going to build one allows me to put everything into that "one plane" I want to make it perfect for us. Being a both a planner and a thinker, I started looking at the financial aspect and the differences in the RV-7 and RV-10 and it kind of scared me. Partly because I hadn't planned for it like I did the 7 already. I know there is obviously going to be a large price difference, but I began to wonder if our household income would allow us to not only build it, but then maintain it to the point we actually can enjoy it. Together we have a household income of roughly $135,000 with a mortgage and two car payments. I know obviously there are people with much deeper pocket books that have no trouble with this issue, but are there any builders with lower household incomes build, fly, and maintain an RV-10 to the point they can truly enjoy it?

I know that if I want to do it then I need to just set my mind to it and make it happen. Of course there would be budget cut places, and I would have to save money to put towards the plane rather than "playing" as much. I am just looking for some advice and tips from some previous builders that will put reality into perspective and let me know if it is or isn't doable.
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Old 06-30-2019, 04:08 PM
bobnoffs bobnoffs is offline
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: n. wi
Posts: 862

boy, this a touchy subject and only you can make that call. myself, i think i would be way too selfish putting that kind of a burden on the family income .there are a lot of things that mean a lot to others you love who are gonna do without their joys in life so you can have 10.
Bob Noffs
n. wi.
dakota hawk/jab 3300 built and flying. sold 6/18.getting serious about the 12. in the hangar now as of 10/15/19
RV-12 kit as of 9/13
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Old 06-30-2019, 05:01 PM
Hartstoc's Avatar
Hartstoc Hartstoc is offline
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Sebastopol,CA
Posts: 368

Have you considered building the 7 as your personal aircraft and looking for partners later to group-build or buy and club-own a 10? I know the 10 is truly awesome in its own right, but the nimbleness and economy of the 7 would be very hard for me to live without, and truth for many RV?rs is that the great majority of of our flight hours are solo. Boring highly articulated holes through all three dimensions is a sheer delight in the 7! The 10 is unexcelled for hauling big loads over great distances, and certainly more rewarding to fly than most others that can fill that role, but how often will you actually do that?

That said, I know you have a tough choice to make- worth pondering for as long as needed before making the commitment. Good luck and happy building!
Otis Holt-
RV-7A (bought)
Built Monnett Moni
Frmr Test Pilot/Author CAFE APR's:
RV-8A, S-7C, Europa, Glastar.
-2021 VAF donation!!-
"RV-Fun is inversely proportional to RV-Weight!"
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Old 06-30-2019, 05:18 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,728

If you live in Arkansas and bring in $135K per year you SHOULD have a lot of financial flexibility, but obviously everyone’s situation, priorities, and money management skills are different. All that to say, many of us have built various RV models with proportionately less than you without it diminishing the quality of life for our loved ones. Also keep in mind that how much people spend on their RV builds vary dramatically from one builder to the next. For the lower end, Vans cost estimator proved quite realistic for me, but I know builders who spent twice as much.
Good luck.
Steve M.
Ellensburg WA
RV-9 Flying, 0-320, Catto

Donation reminder: Jan. 2022

Last edited by alpinelakespilot2000 : 06-30-2019 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 06-30-2019, 05:30 PM
Auburntsts's Avatar
Auburntsts Auburntsts is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,025

Just make sure you go into this eyes wide open. Besides the cost of the kit, tools, shop supplies, engine, avionics, interior, modifications, and paint, make sure you account for the costs of ownership. You know, hangar rent, insurance, gas, maintenance, databases, etc.

Also be aware that some costs are lump sums. My insurance, for example, is due in full at renewal with no payment plan option like with car insurance.

As for as building, just realize it?s diiffcult to have your cake and eat it to. By that I mean it?s hard to focus exclusively on building as ?life? happens. My project took 9 years from the day I ordered the tailbone kit to first flight. I thought it take half that when I started, but work, family, and other things simply made the available time for building limited. My experience is by no means the rule, but it?s not uncommon either.
Todd "I drink and know things" Stovall
RV-10 N728TT - Flying!
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Old 06-30-2019, 05:46 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 2,718
Default Yeah

I planned on 5 year build time and $150k budget for my -10.

I am at 6.5 years and 2200 hours build time and am not flying yet.

I will have $185k, without paint, when I do my first flight.

My only regret is I didn?t start building ten years prior to when I did...
Aerospace Engineer '88


Dues+ Paid 2020,...Thanks DR+
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:22 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,054

Your girlfriend is a wise person. You can share the cost and the other impacts with her and she'll have some good ideas.

One idea might be to buy a certified four-seater for now. Don't know how appealing that might be, probably not a lot, but remember that building is a trade-off: every hour spent building is an hour not spent flying. Even at 110 mph you can do a lot of traveling in the time it would take to build any of the RVs.

As for the annual costs, what I do is keep a spreadsheet of all my annual and quarterly expenses, and figure out a monthly payment that covers everything and is the same every month. When I pay my bills, I put money into that account or take some out, depending on what's coming due that month. The impact is the same month to month that way.

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Old 06-30-2019, 06:27 PM
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jeffw@sc47 jeffw@sc47 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Simpsonville, SC (SC47)
Posts: 408
Default Kit building spreads it out and comes with bennies

I chose to build a 14A in July 2014 at 67. Figured I could do it in about 5 years.
I am in the final phases and believe I will have it ready for first flight around the first of the year 2020.

I had been kicking the tires on Bellanca Vikings for a few years before I took on the build. I enjoy the building and have found that spreading out the purchase of the kits and all of the extra stuff has worked to fit the amount of available funds. Plus, there's the friends and relationships that come with the exercise. Walk around the vendors at KOSH or KLAL and compare prices of airplane stuff for certified versus experimental, that's a wake up.

Once you get past the empennage kit and into the fuselage or wings you better consider yourself committed to going all the way. I don't believe you can sell a partially built kit for more than 70%+/- of what you have in it (it's not an airplane until it flies). You have to work on it EVERY DAY. The 14 kits get progressively more expensive as you go and there is always a tool or supply item to buy at the big box or from the many web vendors.

I'm glad I took this journey.
Jeff Warren
Simpsonville, SC (@SC47 > 10nm NW Triple Tree)
RV14A (N14ZT), Ser#140195
Start 10/11/14; AWC Rcvd 7/21/21
Contribution made 12/2/20 (USArmy 2/67-2/70)
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:46 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 2,718
Default Umm

?...You have to work on it EVERY DAY...?

You have to TRY.

Life happens, work happens, and so the best you can do is try.

Those that choose the project over family, may find the costs are not worth the rewards...
Aerospace Engineer '88


Dues+ Paid 2020,...Thanks DR+
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:55 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is online now
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,670

It is possible to build a -10 for ~$150k.

That's a lot of money to set aside on a $135k income unless you've already saved a substantial amount already, are prepared to cut all of your other expenses to the bone, or can accept a long build schedule. Think about it. For a 5 year build, you'd need to set aside $30k/year for 5 years to build a "budget" RV-10.

I would take a hard look at Comanches if I was in your situation.
Kyle Boatright
Marietta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019(?) RV-10
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