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Old 12-13-2018, 04:43 PM
Nashman Nashman is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: San Jose, ca
Posts: 4
Default RV-7 but wondering...

Iím a prospective builder getting close to ordering the RV-7 empennage kit. Iíve been working on my garage/shop, starting to purchase tools, practicing skills, and lurking on VAF. Iíve always dreamed of an RV-7 but when I visited Vans in the fall they highlighted the RV-14 as a state-of-the-art kit and better for cross-country travel . Unfortunately, the demo -14A was in the shop so I wasnít able to do a back-to-back comparison with -7A. Needless to say, I loved the the -7A, but my rational side says I should seriously consider the -14 because newer must be better. When I asked the folks at Vans they said: ďit depends on your missionĒ but, clearly they market it as a more comfortable travel machine which can still do acro -- the best of all worlds.

Iím 6í and plan to fly it for fun including learning aerobatics and travel with my wife or one of my two nearly college-age children.

Right now, Iím still leaning to the -7 QB because:
(1) its history ó a lot of people have done this before me and report good things
(2) its nimble and sportieró maybe Iíll get over this when I grown-up
(3) it looks really good ó Itís personal, but I feel the proportions of the RV-7 are ideal

The only thing that would push me back to the -14 would be if it was truly a better engineered aircraft, but aside from the kit-quality, I see no evidence of this. Am I missing something? To those that are building or flying a RV-7 or -7A would you have gone with the -14 if you know what you do now?

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Old 12-13-2018, 04:44 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 14,647
Default Welcome to VAF

Mike--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 12-13-2018, 05:15 PM
BSwayze's Avatar
BSwayze BSwayze is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 944

Mike, my 7A is nearly complete, so it hasn't flown yet (stay tuned! I'm on final approach). I've been working on it a long time but I'm nearly finished. I'm totally pleased with it. I'm 6'1" and I fit inside very well. I have friends taller than me who fly 7's. So I wouldn't worry about that at all. Our primary mission will be cross-country travel, so I wouldn't worry about that either. I, too, have a college-age son who lives a long way from here, and a granddaughter as well, and we will be able to visit them more often. Mine is a Standard Build Kit (I hate the use of "slow build"). The engineering is extraordinary and I am very pleased with the looks, the design, and just everything else. I can't say enough. I've seen the 14 but I haven't been up in it. I'm sure there are improvements in ease of construction, and it is a bit larger and roomier. But it all comes at a price. Seriously. Look at the price of engines alone, and you'll see my point. So I would say, either way you win! But I'm sure you will be happy with a 7 as well. Good luck!

Feel free to check out my website and log here:

Bruce's RV-7A Website
Bruce Swayze
RV-7A Standard Build
Working on Wiring and Panel!
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:29 PM
stevenbgross stevenbgross is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: rockville
Posts: 20
Default A 7 vs a 14


I just finished my 9A slider, which shares an identical fuselage with the 7.

I'm 6'1", 240#, heavy in the shoulders, and I fit fine. When I fly with my daughters - plenty of room. When I fly with my brother (same size as me), we get to know one and other better, but once settled in the seats, we fit okay.

I've been helping a friend with a 14, and I've sat in in many times. It is markedly bigger than my '9, but were I to do it over again, I'd stick with the '9. The '14 is bigger, and a little faster (than the '9 not the '7), the '9 fits me fine, and when I am alone (most of the time), there is tons of space.
Disabled vet but eager dues payer
Building 9A - complete - phase I done - painted - flying
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:13 PM
rv7charlie rv7charlie is online now
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pocahontas MS
Posts: 3,691

The -14 will almost certainly cost quite a bit more ($12k more just for the kit).

The -14 will undoubtedly build a lot easier than the -7 purely because of the *much* higher quality build documents. If the -14 had been available when I started my -7, I would never have spent 33% more for 'a bit more than a -7' (the inverse of 'almost a -14'). Now, having waded through virtually all the build processes on my slow-build -7, I probably wasted $12k worth of time (at minimum wage) just jerking with the spider-on-acid parts list, and the scavenger hunts through the instructions & separate plans sheets. There's a world of difference in the docs you get with the planes. Get the thumb drive copies of plans for both planes, & spend some time comparing.

If you're doing a QB, that will remove a lot of the parts-search frustration of the -7 kit. Offset that with needing to figure out what *hasn't* been done when going though the slow build instructions.

Much easier build, slightly more room, (likely) more stable x-country platform, for a *lot* more money.

"Ya pays yo money, and ya takes yo choice."

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Old 12-13-2018, 06:14 PM
alcladrv alcladrv is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Southeast
Posts: 493

My -7A is a very capable cross-country airplane, which I built from a QB kit and an O-360 engine, which I completed in 2005. I find it ironic that the baggage area weight limit is the same 100 lbs. for each plane although the 14 baggage area volume is bigger.

I very much like my slider canopy, which is not available on the 14.

You haven't mentioned cost. I average 8.5 gph, which gives a very economical, to me, variable cost per hour. I fly cross-country flights over 90% of the time, mostly alone, on flight legs of up to 4 hours. With the right seat available, I can carry over 200 lbs. of stuff with full fuel tanks.

I built the -7A instead of the -9A because I didn't want to rule out doing aerobatics. Since building the plane, I've found that what little aerobatics I've done, I don't really enjoy them. But, I do like the fact that the airframe is engineered and stressed for them.

You can't go wrong with either one although your wallet might have something to say about the decision.
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:33 PM
Martin Sutter Martin Sutter is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 264

I have flown my 7A for 1500hrs, from East Coast to West Coast, from the Bahamas to Alaska and it has been a superb traveling machine. Besides being fun to fly it is also very efficient and fast (IO-360 M1B with dual electronic ignitions and a Hartzell blended airfoil prop). I am medium size and my wife is petite so space is adequate. Baggage capacity is fine for most trips except when we do our annual camping foray to Johnson Creek. In that instance it takes careful packing.

The 7 has been very reliable with few service bulletins. Comparing it to the RV14 there are some significant differences. The 14 will be a more expensive aircraft to build due to the higher kit price and the more expensive engine. However it is also a more advanced and complete kit. Customizing it your way is more difficult because the kit is designed for certain accessories and avionics options. Space in the cabin and the baggage area is significantly more generous. If you and your passenger are over six feet tall or weigh over 180 lbs you will be much more comfortable on trips. As far as flying qualities are concerned, both models are agile and fun to fly. The 7 has somewhat lighter control forces and overall feel but there is not much difference. Performance with the recommended engine for each model similar.

In the end it boils down to your needs and choices. If cost is not a factor and you like the avionics and panel layout options the 14 offers I would choose it for the additional room and comfort. If you decide you fit fine in the 7 then consider it for cheaper completion cost and wider range of engine and panel choices.

Martin Sutter
Building and flying RVís for 4000hrs since 1988
EAA Technical Councilor
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:56 PM
jask jask is offline
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 120

One item to consider is resale value. Newer version always brings more money so if you ever do consider selling, you should get the 14. Right now, you can buy a 6 for a lot less than it costs to build and you can buy a good 7 for what it costs to build. You would be able to sell a 14 for more than it cost to build. It's just my opinion but I think I am correct. Check the ads on barnstormers and trade a plane before you pop for a kit.
RV-7 builder Ramona, CA.
Free prop balancing for Vans owners
(I am not in the business of prop balancing, just as a courtesy to meet other owners.)
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:05 PM
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N941WR N941WR is online now
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 12,123

In the end, you can build an RV-10 for just a little more than what you are going to spend on the -14. Both are great panes and fly well.

The RV-14, 7, and 9 all fly about the same speed (I have an O-360 in my -9 and it will cruise right at 175 knots.); however, most pilots dial back the power and save the fuel. I have a friend who built an RV-7A and replaced it with a -14A and he insists the -14A is faster than his -7A was. They are that close.

The other thing is that they all fly very similarly. If your number one objective is cross country flight, then you will install a two axis autopilot, which is almost standard equipment these days, in whatever model you build.

The -14 really does have a lot more room than the -7. If you are looking for room and cross country flight, take another look at the -10.
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
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:36 PM
pilotkms pilotkms is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 265

The Almost a 14 seat mod from Antisplat ($180) (Iím 6í3Ē 200 lbs) and my Classic Aero seats make my 7A a great, comfortable cross country machine. More engine choices & parts, sliding canopy and a lot less $$$ make more sense to me. This will be just one of your many decisions that u will be making as your adventure progresses. Have fun and enjoy it. Great machines.
RV 7A RV #9700 May 2017
N325KS the Flying ďKĒ
Built in SoCal KCCB, now in GA @ KPXE
320+ Hours & 6x cross the USA
2018 OSH - yes
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