About This Project

THE AIRCRAFT

I am building a Van’s Aircraft RV-7. It is a two seat, single-engine tail dragger. I am planning on installing a 180hp Lycoming engine with fuel-injection and a fixed pitch prop. The -7 is an update of the RV-6 which is by far the most popular experimental kit plane ever designed. In all, over 6000 RVs of all types (-3, -4, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, and -12) have been built. It is a well proven design and there are many, many resources available to help you learn the skills to build one.

THE MOTIVATION

I was motivated to build for many reasons. I have been a private pilot for about 8 years as of 2008 with over 400 hrs. PIC. Even though I enjoy the view up there (especially in the Pacific Northwest), I am looking for a bit more fun than the Cessnas and Pipers deliver.

Even the most affordable, used certified aircraft are very expensive for the performance you get. I’ve largely belonged to flying clubs to manage the costs of flying. I’ve enjoyed both clubs I’ve been a member of, but along with the pedestrian performance of typical club aircraft, scheduling is always challenging. Finding a way to own a decent performance aircraft under 100k became my goal.

It is also fun to see the various reactions one gets when you confirm that, “Yes. I said airplane;” “No, not remote control. It will carry me and a passenger;” “Yes, ma’am, I have had my head checked,” And that was just my Mom. I will say once you talk about the history and quality of the kit and that your are using the same construction standards and techniques as production line aircraft they pretty much drop the “your nuts” vibe and start asking a lot of questions. It’s very fun to talk about.

THE COST

The biggest savings in building an experimental is the free labor (your own and various friends you bribe along the way) and virtually no pass through costs that come from the certification process and product liability concerns. If I stay disciplined and keep the airplane systems simple, I should be able to keep the hard costs in the 70-80k range. Engine and avionics choices will be key. I could easily save 10k or more if I decide to get a used mid-time engine rather than brand new. Whatever I decide, I will be paying as I go to avoid financing this hobby at all costs. The engine and avionics purchases happen rather quickly in succession so I might consider financing to make those purchases and not delay the project. We’ll see.

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2 Responses to “About This Project”

  1. Tim Newsome Says:

    Dear sir,
    On your 6-24-12 build entry you show your work on your EFII fuel pump which I also have. You mention that your cover came from Vans. I couldn’t find it in their catalog and when I called the lady there was clueless. Did you fabricate that cover or did you get it from Vans? If from Vans do you happen to know the part number?
    Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Tim Newsome
    Alta Loma CA

    • Matt Says:

      Hi Tim

      It is a part made by Vans. Type fuel pump into Vans parts list search on their website and you should see fuel pump cover listed as 3 parts:

      Fuel Pump Top Cover F-7115C
      Fuel Pump Left Side Cover F-7115B-L
      Fuel Pump Right Side Cover F-7115B-R

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