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Old 11-06-2017, 05:30 PM
mizer2167 mizer2167 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Lutz, FL
Posts: 21
Default Time left to complete - engine and avionics

I happened upon an RV-7A kit that is complete to the point of needing the engine, systems and avionics at what I think is a decent price ($25K). It has the finish kit included and all the building appears done, even fiberglass short of the cowling.

Assuming nothing crazy for the avionics, how long does it take to finish the avionics, interior, and engine install?

Would a fast panel from Dynon or similar greatly reduce that time?
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:27 PM
dlloyd3's Avatar
dlloyd3 dlloyd3 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Locust, NC
Posts: 391

January 2010 my 7 was on the gear with the tip up canopy complete and most of the airframe wiring run. About 250 hours to hang engine, engine controls, accessories, exhaust, fit the engine cowling, finish the landing gear fairings, spinner, install and wire the radios. Got the radios from Stein with point-to-point wiring done, so I did not have anything overly complicated. I cut the big holes for the Dynon displays and Garmin radios with a die grinder, not a big deal. Suddenly one day everything I could do at home was done. Took the small parts to an auto body shop for painting. Then the fuselage on a tilt bed, then the wings when the fuselage was done and started taking stuff to the airport for assembly. All the assembly was another 30 or 40 hours. FAA did the paperwork and first flight was November 2.
Every day I spent in my shop, I went in with a list of what was researched the previous night(s) that was needed to be accomplished. Previous engine and electrical system and wiring experience was next to none.
RV-7 Tipup, Flying, I0-360,
Hartzell, Dual Skyview
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:02 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
VAF Moderator / Line Boy
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 11,717

It totally depends on your experience with engines, systems, and avionics. It sounds like the kit you're looking at is 90% done....which means there is 90% left to go.

We jumped into a metal airplane project (a four seat Tundra) at just about the point you'e describing. It took us a year and a half to get too first flight, and I've been doing this awhile. We had three people working, and had a couple of build sessions a week. Mostly we used RV components and designs, so there was nothing from out of left field. Much time is spent NOT working on teh plane - just thinking ahead and shopping.

In short - it takes the time it takes.

Paul F. Dye
Editor in Chief - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
A&P, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)
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Old 11-06-2017, 08:33 PM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
been here awhile
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 3,831

You only need to consider this project if your desire to build a plane is such that you are willing to take whatever time and $$$'s is needed. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment.

If there are doubts about available build time, there are many completed RVs on the market that will have you in the air in a short time. Building is a great adventure but only for those who have the passion for the journey.

Best wishes whichever path you take.
Sam Buchanan
1999 RV-6
1918 Fokker D.VII replica
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Old 11-06-2017, 08:49 PM
RandyAB RandyAB is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: St Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 340

Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post
. Much time is spent NOT working on teh plane - just thinking ahead and shopping

I'm glad you said that Paul. I thought it was just me!
Randy P.
1st time builder
RV10 - Empennage (Started March 2017)
St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
2017 dues paid
Reserved:C-GRPY (GRumPY)
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Old 11-07-2017, 12:15 PM
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Raymo Raymo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Richmond Hill, GA (KLHW)
Posts: 1,807

I purchased my kit from the original builder in, essentially, quick build state with no finishing kit, engine or avionics. It was finished in just over 2 years of weekends, holidays and vacation days.

Though I'm an A&P, I had been out of aviation for almost 15 years but the skills came back quickly and I happened to be in a hangar with a guy who'd build several planes, including an -8.

You'll spend a lot of time shopping not only for parts but also for tools.
RV-7A - Slider - N495KL - First flt 27 Jan 17
O-360-A4M w/ AFP FM-150 FI, 1 PMag, Vetterman Trombone Exh, SkyTech starter, PlanePower Alt
Catto 3 blade NLE, FlightLines Interior, James cowl, plenum & intake, Anti-Splat -14 seat mod and nose gear support
All lines by TSFlightLines

"The object of the game, gentlemen, is not to cheat death: the object is not to let him play."
Patrick Poteen, Sgt. U.S. Army

Last edited by Raymo : 11-07-2017 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 11-07-2017, 01:01 PM
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Vern Vern is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Peachtree City, Ga
Posts: 962
Default Time to finish

When the parts look like an airplane, you are half done.
Vern Darley
Awarded FAA "The Wright Brothers 'Master Pilot' Award"- for 50 years safe flying

RV-6A N680V / RV-10QB N353RV
Luscombe 8E N2423K 49 years
Hatz Biplane N2423Z soon to be birthed
Falcon RV Squadron Founder
KFFC Hanger D-30
Peachtree City, Ga
770 310-7169
EAA Technical Counselor #5142
EAA Flight Advisor #486336
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:29 AM
Jpm757 Jpm757 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sherman, CT
Posts: 235

We purchased a languishing -7 QB kit with wings/tail and rudder pedals completed. Purchased finish kit, engine/ prop & FWF kit from Vans. Added AFS quick panel and Classic Aero interior. Put the build on the fast track and was flying in 14 mos..
I know that we all have time and money constraints which need to be taken into account when committing to a project such as this, on the other hand I just inspected an RV8A that a gentleman had been building for 20 years! Beautiful workmanship and ready for paint and DAR inspection. Unfortunately the builder passed before He was able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. What a shame!
Building one of these birds is not difficult for the average mechanically inclined person, but it takes an honest commitment to see the project to fruition. I think if more builders realized this before taking on the task, then you would see far less "projects" up for sale.
The rewards of building and flying one of these machines is indescribable, and nothing else flys like an RV!
RV6 completed 1991 sold.
RV7 #72018 N767T first flight 11/21/2017 170+ hrs.
IO-360M1B MT 3 blade, Dual AFS 5600.
1941 J3 Cub skis floats.
2019 dues gladly paid.
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:23 PM
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bret bret is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Gardnerville Nv.
Posts: 2,781

From airframe built to completing the other 90% was 1.5 years, the challenges were, working fulltime with a 2 hr. commute, financing the expensive stuff, and balancing the build time to complete the project and still be married when finished.
7A Slider, EFII Angle 360, CS, SJ.
2018 gladly supported
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:47 PM
sblack sblack is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Montreal
Posts: 1,296

I bought an RV4 at about the QB stage. I figured 2 yrs to finish. That was 3 yrs ago. The engine is hung, much of the wiring is in - working on the panel now. Then I have a bit more airframe work to do, then assembly and paint.

My problem is that I live 45min from my hangar and that's where the plane is, so I only get to work on it on weekends. That drags things out. I am told that an accurate estimate for completion time is your best guess multiplied by PI (3.14). I had guessed 2 yrs so that would put me at 6 and a bit. I bet it will turn out close to that.

LIke a previous poster implied, if your criteria is "how long till I can fly" then you are buying this for the wrong reason. You need to enjoy the journey or else you won't finish it or it will be a very unhappy experience. If you don't WANT to build, go buy a flying RV. You will be much happier. They are great airplanes.
Scott Black
RV 4, with an engine...and other stuff
VAF dues 2018
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