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Old 07-02-2019, 06:20 PM
RV7Guy's Avatar
RV7Guy RV7Guy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 2,864
Default A little more info

I've read all the responses and will chime in with some thoughts that, hopefully, will help you. I've built two RV-7's. The second one will fly in the next couple of months. Both were purchased as "projects in progress." Why?? Very common scenario. Most can cough up enough to get the airframe kits. Where the hitch comes in is buying the engine and avionics. With these you have to come up with a big chunk of change at one time. Usually $30-50K twice!! And, you can't really get loans for these. RV 10's projects don't come up often but I'll bet this is why when they do.

Tim Olson had a similar response to what I was going to say. I highly recommend not going into debt to do a plane project. You become slave to the lender and all the stress that entails.

The dream can become reality with some sacrifices, lots of them. 1) dump the car payment(s). Sell the cars and get cheap car. 2) Get rid of any other debt other than the mortgage. It is amazing how much money you have when you aren't paying it out to somebody else. 3) As Dave Ramsey would say, "don't see the inside of a restaurant unless you are working there." 4) Cut all other unnecessary expenses. 5) Sell all other stuff you aren't using. It won't be much but it all adds up.

As Tim mentioned. Save at least 1/3-1/2 of the money. Get your kits in sequence. During the build, you won't be spending much money. Save intently during the build. Keep a stash of money available and watch for avionics to come up for sale that will work in your panel. With disciplined saving, you can save enough for the engine over a couple to 3 years. Then do the same with the panel. Or reverse that and get your avionics first. The engine can be one of the last things.

Make your dream happen. Make the sacrifices. Your plane will be much faster if it isn't dragging the banner of debt behind it when you are done.
Darwin N. Barrie
Chandler AZ
RV-7 N717EE-Flying (Sold)
RV-7 N707EE-Building
EMS Bell 407,
Eurocopter 350 A-Star Driver
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:32 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 1,978
Default Be realistic

Lots of good info but let’s be realistic...

Even a fixer upper io540 for the rv-10 is going to be $25k+, a runout core is worth $12k...doing the math yields a necessary savings of at least $700 a month for three full years to achieve that relatively low number. That is pretty substantial. Although you typically won’t be spending on large items during the build, you will still be spending...and you have heard of “death by a thousand cuts”, right? Ask around and see how much everyone has spent on shipping alone!

Yes, there are many different ways to make your dream happen, just don’t be unrealistic when estimating the various costs lest you find yourself cash strapped , and time constrained. This can and does lead to frustration and the potential to liquidate that dream. Just ask the guys who have acquired a “project in progress” plane. How do you think those deals come about?
Aerospace Engineer '88

Structure - 90% Done
Cabin Top - Aaarrghhh...
EFII System 32 - Done
297 HP Barrett Hung
ShowPlanes Cowl with Skybolts Fitted - Beautiful

Dues+ Paid 2019,...Thanks DR+
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:32 PM
Scott Hersha Scott Hersha is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,241

I decided long ago that paying interest on anything that depreciates in value, sometime quickly, like a car, boat, motorcycle, isn’t very smart if there’s a way to avoid it. Getting rid of debt that does you no good financially, can free up money for other things that can make your life better if you now have some cash to make it happen. I’ve never regretted buying a used car. The amount of money that has saved me has helped me to pay for airplane kit parts. I drive my used pickup truck to the airport to fly my NEW AIRPLANE!! There are people that can afford to have it all, but most of us can’t and have to make choices. Do your due diligence on the overall cost of building/owning/flying an RV10. It ranks up there pretty high on the scale of first world problems. Good luck with your choice. I think you’re on the right track, especially with a future wife(?) that is on your side.
RV6/2001 built/sold 2005
RV8 Fastback/2008 built/sold 2015
RV4/bought 2016/sold/2017
RV8/2018 built/Sold(sadly)
RV4/bought 2019 Flying
Cincinnati, OH/KHAO
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:49 PM
Cannon Cannon is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Moorpark, CA
Posts: 107

Originally Posted by rocketman1988 View Post
“...Here's the thing, your salaries will go up and once the plane is finished...”

Oh, I got a great laugh out of that one...

How then, do you explain a 52% paycut, loss of a pension, and ten YEARS of job stagnation?...and I was one of the lucky ones...

Probably best not to make sweeping generalizations...
I think we work at the same place. I was one of the unlucky ones (twice!).

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Old 07-03-2019, 03:20 AM
woxofswa woxofswa is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Mesa Arizona
Posts: 596

>>the RV-10 goes fast between long paved airports, and in my opinion there is so much more to aviation than that.<<

I used to fly dirt strips for a living. I’ve got hundreds of hours in both 182’s and my RV10 and fly routinely to a lot of short unpaved strips in the Southwest and Baja, and there is no place that I would take a 182, that I wouldn’t rather have the 10. In addition to much higher speed, it carries more weight off of any strip earlier and over the obstacle higher. I do have larger tires and wheel pants set higher than normal.

Some random thoughts on the OP.

The -10 is an incredible airplane.

I was at OSH, parked in HBC, with a dude with his checkbook on the wing asking how I spelled my name to buy my -10 for 100k more than I had invested in it (not counting labor). I turned him down, but thought about it.

Aviation is inherently expensive.

Non wealthy aviators are the essential heart, soul, and lifeblood of experimental aviation. They are mutually dependent upon each other.

Non wealthy aviators that get in over their head and can’t afford to properly build, maintain, and operate their craft are the bane of experimental aviation and can put the whole industry at risk.

Lots can make it happen just fine on a upper five figure income, some shouldn’t even consider it.

It’s all about priorities and common sense.
Myron Nelson
Mesa, AZ
RV-10 N24EV
KITPLANES Contributing Editor

Last edited by woxofswa : 07-03-2019 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 07-03-2019, 06:22 AM
aturner's Avatar
aturner aturner is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Clarion, Pennsylvania
Posts: 534

Originally Posted by akschu View Post

I recommend you just go buy a nice but older Cessna 182. Here is why:

3. If you get bigger tires for it you can totally go camping in off airport strips with it. Off airport camping is AMAZING, and while the RV-10 is an amazing airplane, it's not amazing or even decent at that. Can't do this with an RV-10
I wrestled with the 182 vs. RV-10 choice when I began my project, as flying into the backcountry was an important part of the mission. The -10 has turned out to be a great choice for my family.

But for a more impressive example, review this thread:
-Andy Turner
RV-10 N784JC

Last edited by aturner : 07-04-2019 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:04 AM
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akschu akschu is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Houston, Alaska
Posts: 261

woxofswa, aturner,

We must fly in different circles. I’m talking about sportsman stol kit and gar aero 29x10 on the mains and 8.50x6 on the nose and flying off airport on gravel bars, beaches, and anything somewhat flat, not grass or dirt dirt strips.

That said, the RV-10 looks more capable than than I though it was, I suppose it comes down to prop clearance and how much you trust the nose gear.

Anyway, not trying to take away from what it is, only pointing out that if flying the family around on a budget is the mission, there are much cheaper options.

If it were me I would get in the air now, and build a 7 later in life. And it wouldn’t be a 182, it would be a 180. Floats and skis are pretty fun.

Context: I live in AK. I much prefer a conventional gear airplane.

Last edited by akschu : 07-03-2019 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:27 PM
TimO TimO is online now
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 529

Looks like you have even more good responses. I'm going to throw one more thing in on mine.

When you decide you're all in, and you're gonna build it, and you've saved up a good hunk so that you can finish the airframe and you've budgeted to be able to finish the project, hopefully without any loans, you're ready to start.

At that point there's one major thing you can do to help reduce the risk if you lose employment or have some other financial problem.... Finished the airplane.

You're at risk of perhaps losing some money if you are forced to sell an unfinished kit, but, should you complete the kit with good workmanship, you now have an asset that you didn't have before, that may actually be worth more than you paid for it. It will break your heart if you ever have to sell it, but, it is an asset that can be used in emergencies. Its liquidity is only limited by how quickly you need it sold.

I've always felt pretty good about owning working airplanes. They don't depreciate rapidly, and you can get out from under them if you have to. But you've got a little risk of losing some cash if you don't finish the plane.
Tim Olson - CFI
RV-10 N104CD - Flying 2/2006 - 1400+ hours
RV-14 N14YT - Flying 6/2016 - 350+ hours
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:57 PM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,002

I don't know what the stats are on Vans aircraft, but the word was that only 20% ever finished their Lancair kits. I scoffed at that number until I had been building for 15 years. Then I understood. I got my kit "90% complete" when life intervened and I quit my job and moved to a different state to build a house. After a 7 year hiatus I realized that my "almost finished" project in the basement was worth NOTHING unless I finished it. So I sucked it up and spent several more years finishing it up. Thirty years after the kit came out, I still think less than 50% of Lancair 235 kits have actually flown. The kits were cheap ($15,975), but didn't include engine, exhaust system, engine accessories, prop, tools, instruments, wiring, upholstery, or paint. A professional paint job on my plane would have cost more than the kit! (Yes, I painted it myself in my garage.)

If you decide to buy a kit, it's a long-term commitment, both financially and motivationally. It sounds like your wife is onboard (mine was/is), but some get jealous of "the other woman". I have heard of divorces. My advice: Keep your eyes wide open and understand what you're jumping into before writing checks.

I am very proud of building my own airplane, but it's like wetting your pants in a dark suit. It gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices. If part of the reason you want to build your own airplane is to impress your friends and neighbors, forget it. They don't care and will just think you're weird.
(2020 dues paid)

Last edited by snopercod : 07-03-2019 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:30 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 1,978
Default Impressive

"... hopefully without any loans, you're ready to start..."

It is impressive when an EAB gets finished and flies.

I am more impressed, though, with anyone who can build a $150k+ airplane and do it without any loans. That is truly impressive!

Think about it; If you were to save $1000 dollars a month, it would take you 12.5 YEARS to save $150,000 (the price of an average RV-10)...

Don't get me wrong, it would be great to own it free and clear at the end. I just wonder how many folks can tag $1000 month consistently for 12.5 years. I know all of my cars are paid for (and have 200k+ miles on them), and I have very little outstanding debt...coming up with an extra grand a month would still be...challenging. Then you have that thing called life that happens. Perfect example: I was visiting family out of town this past weekend. Got home Monday night to find the house at 90 degrees. Called the HVAC guys who came out Tuesday morning...yep, AC it shot. They just got done installing the new unit...for $4600. Kind of puts a dent in the extra grand a month!
Aerospace Engineer '88

Structure - 90% Done
Cabin Top - Aaarrghhh...
EFII System 32 - Done
297 HP Barrett Hung
ShowPlanes Cowl with Skybolts Fitted - Beautiful

Dues+ Paid 2019,...Thanks DR+
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