Intro and "F8" Raider Build Proposal
My name is Steve Winegar and I am a mechanical engineering graduate student and a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic in the Army National Guard. I'll be finishing my degree and my military commitment within the next year, and I've decided to (re)start planning my first kit build.
For a bit of background, I am on the list for Peter Muller's Raptor, but assuming all goes well with his project, it will probably be the better part of a decade before my plane gets built. I'm a low-time pilot with only about 150 hours, and think it would be wise for me to gain some experience in building, owning and flying an aircraft before I end up with a baby spaceship in 7 or 10 years.
So keeping in mind that I'm a young guy, am not married yet, don't have kids yet, and expect to have a thoroughbred cross-country airplane a few years down the road, I narrowed down my goals and requirements a bit. First, I want to get my aircraft in the air relatively soon, ideally before I marry my girlfriend and have kids. Second, it has to be relatively inexpensive to build. And third, it has to be fun.
Here's what I started with:
- Budget of $60k-$80k for base build, with room for upgrades down the road
- Build time of no more than 1000 hours of my own time
- Easy to fly for a low-time pilot, but nimble enough for light acro training
- 2 seats
I looked at Vans initially, but I ended up putting a deposit down on a Rans S-21, mostly based on the advertised build-time. This was almost two years ago, and delays in production gave me some time to think. In the meantime, I realized that I had overlooked the option of buying a partially completed RV kit. I cancelled my S21 order and the good folks at Rans actually returned my deposit in full.
I looked at Vans again, but almost bought an Azalea Saberwing kit due to its great performance specs with an inexpensive little Corvair conversion. But just before I took the plunge, I realized that I don't want to deal with composites, at least for my first build.
I again came back to Vans, highly interested in the RV8, but I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on it. I did some soul searching and finally realized that the reason I kept drifting away from Vans is that I like to be different than other people. That's a high hurdle, because I realize that "different" and "fast, inexpensive build" rarely go together.
I stumbled on the Team Rocket website and finally found "the one" when I saw Brad Hood's beautiful F1 fuselage with a four-banger, and RV8 wings + empennage. It seems to have the performance specs and handling qualities of the RV8 with the interior space and looks of the F1 Rocket / F4 Raider. I read a comment that said the RV8 parked next to a Rocket/Raider looks like Cindy Crawford sitting next to Kate Upton. I thought that summed it up well. Both are beautiful, but Kate is more my type. The F4/F8 are different enough from the standard RV that I can really fall in love, while also being all-metal and relatively inexpensive.
So, to bring this longwinded story to a close. I'd like to get a sanity check on my project idea. I want to acquire a complete or partially complete RV8 wing and empennage kit. I'll have somebody (if it would meet the 51% requirement, possibly Loyd Remus) help me build the F1 fuselage kit, adapted to fit the RV8 wing root. And then I'll install a basic VFR panel and a mid-time O-360.
In the future I'd like to be able to upgrade to a digital panel, install a 2-axis autopilot, convert the engine to EFII, and paint the plane. (I'd leave it polished initially.) But I think this proposed project would keep me fairly close to my $80k upper bound and meet the other requirements.
I'd love to hear you guys' thoughts.
Also, if anyone has a lead on a completed or partially completed RV8 wing and empennage kit, or a good deal on an O-360 or IO-360 engine, I'd love some pointers! I'm also happy to post a WTB in the classifieds if you guys think that's a good idea.
Thanks in advance,
Last edited by s11033 : 07-10-2019 at 01:06 PM.