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Old 11-08-2019, 09:11 PM
Earl Findlay Earl Findlay is offline
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
Posts: 85
Default What is the end goal of a build?

I am working away, making rather fast progress on my RV-14 kit. Days go by as I build, and I feel on top of the world. Other days, I feel completely incapable.

I am learning so much about myself through this build. One of the things that has really hit home and become apparent is that I am a perfectionist. Except I have never built an airplane before, and I am doing a far from perfect job with my build. I am not capable of doing a perfect build. Is there even such a thing I find myself wondering? I am building an airplane that’s going to be safe and certainly won’t fall out of the sky, but I don’t think that I will ever have a showpiece on my hands.

Some days, I am pretty down on myself, wondering if I am really cut out to be doing my own build. But I want it. I want it more than anything. This build for me is more about learning some life lessons, having some fun (it is hard sometimes), and in the end, having something that I can be proud of to fly around.

As I find myself missing the PERFECT mark, I wonder what’s out there? When it comes time to sell what will eventually be my airplane, do people expect perfection? Is an airplane that’s “safe” what people want? Or am I building something that nobody will want, despite it being safe, yet not perfect? Truly, what’s the end goal of a build .. an airplane that is perfect, or just an airplane that is safe?

I doubt I am alone in how I feel. I suspect many builders have been right here before. I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on anything that I’ve brought up.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:17 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 2,726
Default Perfection...

There is NO such thing as a perfect airplane or a perfect build...

Build to the best of your ability and be proud of the result...
Aerospace Engineer '88


Dues+ Paid 2020,...Thanks DR+
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:36 PM
Earl Findlay Earl Findlay is offline
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
Posts: 85

Originally Posted by rocketman1988 View Post
There is NO such thing as a perfect airplane or a perfect build...

Build to the best of your ability and be proud of the result...
Thank you.
I realize also, I am fearful that as I eventually fly my airplane to events (Oshkosh! Local EAA Chapter, etc.) I don?t want to be embarrassed if any of my imperfections show. But as I read what you wrote, I realize that there is no reason to be embarrassed. Every airplane is going to have imperfections. And if I am able to fly there safely at all, really, I?ve accomplished the goal that I set out to do.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:44 PM
Robin8er Robin8er is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Socal
Posts: 524

Every homebuilt has little flaws. I laughed at an RV the other day because I looked at his fiberglass wingtips and said "well he made the same mistake I did". Its all part of the fun. I dont see myself selling my airplane though. The only way I would is if it was just to fund another one.
RV-8 N695RA flying
Working on an RV-4

Born to fly, forced to work
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:47 PM
Bicyclops Bicyclops is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: LA, California
Posts: 381

I wrote on the plastic covering of one of the skins on my "Perfection is not possible, but by striving for perfection one can achieve excellence." Many years later I had to use a heat gun and sharpened pieces of canopy trimmings to scrape it off. That old white plastic was a pain! My airplane is by no means perfect and I like it a lot!

Ed Holyoke
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:18 PM
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Steve N. Steve N. is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Chapmansboro (TN77), TN
Posts: 109

Fourteen years later, i'm still flying my imperfect RV7. What the build process taught me was patience and tenacity. When I decided to build my airplane I had many people tell me that building an airplane in my garage was not possible and would surely lead to my demise. I can be stubborn, that was all the insentive I needed. Yes, there where many ups and downs, but I learned a lot and am still learning how to maintain this wonderful aircraft.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:27 PM
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flytoday flytoday is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 448
Default RV buyer, not a builder

Interesting thoughts about your building process. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and dilemma.

I purchased my -6A in 2011. I wanted a safe airplane that was well built. I?ve been averaging 100 hours of flying a year. Like that purchase, if I buy another RV I?ll be shopping for a plane that isn?t a showplane. Likely a showplane builder will look for a premium price, and my goal is flying as much as possible, not having a perfect appearance.

Do we only look for beauty in our spouse? Home? Car? Or do we also consider functions, skills, performance?

I?ve flown my plane into Osh in 2018 and 2019. There are bugs on the leading edges and the paint has chips. There are beautiful planes parked nearby and maybe they fly 100+ hours a year, or maybe they fly to Osh and live in a climate controlled hanger with someone regularly polishing them. It?s all good!

We?re all enjoying what we want from the airplane(s). I don?t take any satisfaction in completing mechanical work on my plane. My satisfaction is from safely completing flights, good decisions, solving the challenges, new flying adventures, new airports, new people....


RV7A - purchased flying 05/2020
RV6A - sold
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:50 PM
crabandy crabandy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ottawa, Ks
Posts: 2,309

I started my build with perfection in mind, somewhere just after the tail kit morphed into the wing kit I had to compromise. I aimed for 110% and ended up better than average and I?m OK with that. Look at my airplane and you?ll know which wing I built first. It truly is the journey that makes it more than just an airplane.
RV 7 500 hours and counting
20 donation done
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:14 PM
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Bill Boyd Bill Boyd is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Landing field "12VA"
Posts: 1,710
Default A pertinent Bill Shook quote:

"You can build an airplane or you can build a shrine to your airplane building ability. One of those flies, the other burns you out."

/ mic drop /
Bill Boyd

Hop-Along Aerodrome (12VA)
RV-6A - N30YD - Built '98 / sold '20
RV-10 - N130YD - 50 hours +
65 years running stock DNA
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Old 11-09-2019, 01:58 AM
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PaulvS PaulvS is offline
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 775
Wink Attaining perfection

It is said that in some cultures, the master craftsmen and artists believe that only the gods can achieve perfection. So the craftsmen make deliberate mistakes in their work, in order to respect the gods.

Now, don't go putting a deliberate nick in that propeller!

Seriously, I don't think anyone should expect a first build to be perfect. Heck, just finishing and getting it flying is enough of an achievement. It's only on the second, or even third build that you're expected to achieve perfection.
Paul vS (yes I'm also a Van)
Building RV-6A #22320 O-320 FP. Wings and tail complete, working on fuselage
Flying my Aeroprakt A-22 STOL and the aero club's RV-9A while I build
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