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Old 02-10-2020, 12:45 PM
BTP880 BTP880 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Englewood, OH
Posts: 25
Default What RV For Me? (New Member)

Hey all,

Been lurking for a while and finally joined to start posting. Recently graduated college with my mechanical engineering degree and have started work. Im working on my private pilots license still so building may seem like a jump to some so let me explain.....I have always had a passion for DIY and building.I have pretty extensive experience restoring cars and building a wide array of things by hand (current project is the renovation of my first home). New and unknown things are a challenge I enjoy diving into and learning. As such I want to build my first plane to have the experience and learn. I am well connected in my local aviation community via my work (in aviation) and have several people who have built many planes to access for help and guidance. I wanted to come here to ask a few questions as I begin to gather and plan to start this project in the coming year or so. Below are my thoughts and points to consider for picking the right RV:

1) My general mission for the plane will be fast cross country, I live in Ohio and have friends in DC, Michigan, New Mexico, and Florida and want to make the time gap between us as small as possible, so speed is a strong desire. Most flights will be solo but I want the ability to take a passenger in relative comfort and still fit a bag for each of us for the weekend.

2) I plan to get my IFR rating after completing my private and I want the plane to be a good IFR platform and am looking for suggestions for avionics.

3)I plan to take 5-6 years to finish the plane

4) Obviously I will probably be pretty low hour when the RV is finished ~200-500 im guessing based on my plans to fly rentals available to me. So the RV I build needs to be friendly to someone without 1000s of hours.

5) I plan to buy the kits in succession, that is I plan to buy one kit and as I build it I will save for the next. So the air frame will be paid for when complete but I need to figure out financing to afford engine, avionics and prop. I am an engineer so I have some means but im not in a position to rock up to lycoming with 37k in cash for an engine.

So I am looking for advice on what RV is right, and then what Avionics, engine, and prop to pair with that RV to best fit my mission as well as advice on how you paid for your project.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:06 PM
Dreamin9 Dreamin9 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Near Buffalo, NY
Posts: 71

Fast IFR X/C is your stated goal. Throw in efficient and you?re talking an RV-9. IFR is somewhat demanding in an RV but less so in a 9, excepting the 10, the most stabile.
You did not mention aerobatics so no need to consider 6,7,8. Need to carry multiple passengers and luggage you?ll need the 10, a great traveling machine.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:20 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 16,095
Default Welcome to VAF

Evan, welcome aboard the good ship VAF
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."
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:27 PM
bkervaski's Avatar
bkervaski bkervaski is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 1,866

9, 10, 14

Mostly going to depend on your budget and if you're a big dude, in which case a 14 or 10 is in your future. Not wanting to shell out $37K for a new engine puts you squarely in the 7/9.

In either case, unless you plan to buy a used engine, budget $150-$175, your IFR avionics will cost between $25-35K depending on the brand.

How to pay? Save up! Build it in stages. Nothing better than owning a capable modern airplane and not owe anybody or having to share. Do your own maintenance (which you'll be specially qualified to do after building it) and basically you're paying for gas.

Also, engines and panels and paint can be on up to 6 month waiting lists at times so factor that in. Last thing you'll want is to be ready for that engine and find it's 6 months away.

Start the build in your basement, you'll be surprised how much you can get done .. an hour here and there in the evenings really add up ..
RV-14A #140376
N196 (Flying)
2019 Bronze Lindy

Last edited by bkervaski : 02-10-2020 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:09 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,855

You sound like you?ve got a realistic grasp on the chalkenges, so just a few comments.
1. Look carefully at the 9?s weight and balance. Vans has numbers on their web site, but many planes come in heavier. Look at yourself and your proposed passenger(s), with regard to weight and size. Big difference between horse jockeys and NBA centers. Try to find someone local who will let you sit in their plane, try it on for size, check the baggage volume available as well as weight limits.
2. The -14 definitely has more cockpit space, more baggage room, and the capacity to carry more weight. It can also do ?gentleman?s aerobatics?. Being a newer kit, it goes together considerably faster. Downside is only money-.
3. Dream and plan, but do not purchase avionics until it?s time to install them, near the end. They change fast, and it?s nice to not have an obsolete panel on day one. OTOH, if you are inclined to buy used avionics, as you find them, it is a good way to save dollars.
4. 200 hours should be enough experience for any RV. Currently 200 hours is also enough (with perhaps 5-10 hours dual training in a similar RV) to get insurance, although that has and can change. Be ready for the first year?s premium to be expensive.
5. I?m married, and have been surprised at how often other couples have wanted to join us in the fun. I have a -10, it?s right for me. More $$.
6. Not to stereotype you as an engineer (I?m a physicist) but you can save a lot of money if you forego a fancy paint job and cushy interior!
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:18 PM
Capt Capt is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 711

Some good general advice here
Like ALL A/C they are a trade off, usually the biggest hurdle to get over is $$$$, make no mistake that little $ sign can ruin a dream!
All the Vans designs are relatively fast, you get nothing for nothing, fuel is the major variable between models after build costs.
I fly solo 90% of the time so another POB has a low consideration for me, I have my 8 for ME, not someone else, we each are different

No one can give a definitive answer here, only you know what to build/fly at the end of the day, advice is only small pieces of the puzzle, good luck
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:22 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,062

It's too soon to be thinking about avionics suggestions since that hardware changes so rapidly. As you get closer to flying, then it's time and by then you may have a better idea of the specific factors that influence that choice.

For example, I wanted an autopilot and ADS-B for my day VFR airplane. And I wanted a system that I felt I could install and operate. I downloaded the various manuals and pored through them before making a choice. One company's offerings were rejected for being awkward to configure, another for being hard to use, and another for not having ADS-B (at the time, they do now). I'm holding off buying some of the parts to the avionics that I chose until I get closer to flying, but I found good deals on other parts and bought them.

The reason I held off on some parts is that I expect they might change, perhaps significantly, and because some warranties might expire before I can fly the airplane. I bought the parts I have because I don't expect them to change and because the price was good enough so I wasn't worried about the warranty.

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Old 02-10-2020, 04:34 PM
bruceh's Avatar
bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,509

I was in a similar situation as a low time pilot and wanting a fast cross country cruiser. I'm very happy with my RV-9A. Now I'm contemplating an IFR upgrade after 750+ hours of VFR fun. The airplane is very easy to fly and is quite comfortable for two with full fuel and baggage. I don't think I can even get it out of CG in just about any reasonable loading scenario. My average cost per hour for fuel has been under $27/hour over 5 years of flying. The efficiency of that IO-320 is amazing - 6 gph going 150 knots!

If I were choosing to build right now, I would probably consider the -14. Go sit in them and see how they fit. The -14 is much easier to get in/out of and baggage is more accessible. Having a complete panel/electrical/avionics and firewall forward package will make the build much easier.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 900 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and Flying Over the Hills Blog
2021 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor, Pre Buys, Build assistance - canopy/tanks/fiberglass/electrical/repairs
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:43 PM
N941WR's Avatar
N941WR N941WR is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 12,887

Good luck and welcome aboard.

I was on a very limited budget when I started my -9. Bought an zero since major O-290, kept the options to the very basic and didn't paint it until I had been flying for four years.

The cool think is that you can build it very simple and add options after you are flying and get more experienced. Do things like make sure your engine can accept a constant speed prop but put a fixed pitched prop on it to start with. Same with a carburetor, you can change to fuel injection later, if you want. Mags for electronic ignition, etc.

I added an auto pilot, changed the panel a few times, and am somewhat considering replacing my fixed pitch cruise prop. Heck, I even changed out my O-290 for an O-360.

Good luck figuring out which one you want to build. The good news is that you can't go wrong with any of them.
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 : 02-10-2020 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:50 PM
scsmith scsmith is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ashland, OR
Posts: 2,968

Based on your mission, it sounds like an RV-9 is just right for you. If you want to put a premium on cruise speed, you will want to put an IO-360 in it. It is a little beyond Van's recommendation for engine for the -9, but many have done it with excellent results. It is going to be very fast, especially at higher altitudes, because of the higher aspect ratio wing.

One thing you will have to think about is tricycle vs tailwheel. You are just in training now. Take advantage of any opportunity to get an intro into tailwheel flying. You may love it, you may decide it is not for you.

With the advent of the newly designed alternative nosewheel installation, many of the old concerns for fragileness of the nose wheel are no longer valid - I would definitely recommend that if you decide to go tricycle gear.

Regarding engine prices - there is a wide range of options that can change the price. Nothing wrong with a mid-time engine if you know the history of it.
I probably got lucky, but I found a newly overhauled 200hp angle-valve IO-360 for $17,000. With 600 hrs on it now, it is clear that I got a good engine at a great price. If you get hooked into the local aviation community and particularly the local RV community, good options may pop up.
Steve Smith
Aeronautical Engineer
RV-8 N825RV
IO-360 A1A
WW 200RV
"The Magic Carpet" Flying since Sept. 2009
Hobbs 700
1/4 share in 1959 C-182B (tow plane)
LS6-15/18W sailplane SOLD
bought my old LS6-A back!!
VAF donation Dec 2020
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