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Old 11-10-2019, 06:07 PM
Jake14 Jake14 is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Seattle
Posts: 242

Talking to an old carpenter about build quality once. He said: "There's a lot of excellent builders out there, but the mark of the true expert is how good he is at hiding his mistakes"
RV-14A #140158 flying
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:26 PM
JHartline JHartline is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Carrollton, GA 5GA2
Posts: 227
Default A few thoughts...

My goal was to end up with a safe, dependable airplane. Second was to enjoy the process. Really didn’t consider what a potential buyer would think. When I look at my plane I see the mistakes I made. Several builders have crawled all over and under it and said they were impressed with my work. Maybe they were being kind but you are your own worst critic.

1. Go look at a production airplane...really look. You’re sure to find numerous “imperfections” that do not affect safety in any appreciable way. I think a decent paint job conceals many things you as a builder would consider defects but are actually only evidence that a human being put it together.

2. Follow the construction manual and relevant guidance like AC 43-13-1b and safety should not be a concern. For the big stuff (wing attach bolts, motor mount, prop hub bolts, fuel system, etc) I believe a helper and later an independent set of eyes on your work should ease any concerns that you did it right. Plenty of people have remade a trim tab, flap/aileron/rudder, or resealed a fuel tank (me) that didn’t come out right. Sound building practice means you fix the things that do not conform to the specifications IMHO. That does NOT imply perfection however.

3. Nothing wrong with trying for a perfect appearance. day you will get to the end of the build manual and realize it’s time to get serious about getting your airplane to an airworthy condition. Since my first love was flying and not building I had to accept some of my cosmetic failings as proof that I was a first time builder and get the darn thing in the air.

These planes are great fun to build but incredible to fly. Don’t let perfection get on the way of completion. Finish it and get in the air!!
James Hartline
Carrollton, GA 5GA2
RV-14 - First flight 4/7/2019. Phase I complete as of 9/11/2019!!
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:54 PM
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bhassel bhassel is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 954

The actual goal , as several have alluded to, of completing the first build is to get it done so you can start your second RV. Rinse and repeat....

Bob Hassel

Subscription Paid for 2019

Home is where the hanger is...
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:29 AM
KayS KayS is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: huntsville/alabama
Posts: 164

nobody will ever build a perfect airplane... or a house or a chair. because humans are just not perfect (except politicians of course).

Make it safe and relax over time and at the end you will love your aircraft.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:23 AM
mturnerb mturnerb is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Ponte Vedra, FL
Posts: 1,116

I was very worried that some of my little mistakes would stick out like sore thumbs when I ended up painting my airplane. Also worried that my fiberglass skills and the insane effort I expended on those (^)*& fiberglass parts was falling short. Now that it's painted most of those issues are distant memories. I look at certified airplanes from time to time and compare workmanship and I'm pretty satisfied with my work most of the time. A friend of mine had his Bonanza in annual recently and had some smoking rivets that I inspected from the inside - those shop heads were unimpressive to say the least, and the airplane only developed a minor problem after 45+ years and 7000 hours of flying - it was an airline trainer for most of its life.

An RV builder asked me early in the process "are you building a go plane or a show plane?" I was definitely more on the "go plane" side of things - make it solid and dependable and focus less on the cosmetics. But cosmetics turned out just fine in the process. Having an EAA tech counselor who is a true expert at all things RV looking over my shoulder on a regular basis was a HUGE help in building my confidence and developing an understanding of what the difference between must have and nice to have are in building an airplane.
Turner Billingsley

Last edited by mturnerb : 11-11-2019 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:27 AM
506DC 506DC is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 20

Build it the best you can then pay for a really good paint job. Problem solved.

RV-4 Fastback completed in 1997
CFII MEI Taildragger instructor
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:04 PM
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goatflieg goatflieg is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Clarkston, MI
Posts: 508

Originally Posted by 506DC View Post
Build it the best you can then pay for a really good paint job. Problem solved.
Had to laugh when I read this. Since I'm doing my own paint, and a first time painter, some of my biggest flaws will be the most obvious! Can't care too much... I just want it to fly well and often.
Martin J Filiatrault
Clarkston, MI
RV-8 #83507 - currently working on finishing & firewall forward.
N657AR reserved
Builder websites:
YouTube Channel:
Dues paid for 2019... extra payment included for psychological therapeutic services rendered.


Have you ever gotten the feeling you were smarter than you could ever prove?
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:32 PM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGG
Posts: 2,572
Default goals can change over time

If your build goes on for many years, there's a chance your goals can change. I know mine did. I started the build because I wanted a unique aircraft. As I began to build, I realized that the build process itself was very rewarding - I didn't know what I didn't know, and I learned many things that I would never have predicted I would learn.

Like others have said, I hope to eventually apply what I have learned by building another aircraft - I certainly understand why people are repeat offenders!
Mickey Coggins
"Hello, world!"
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:00 PM
lr172 lr172 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Schaumburg, IL
Posts: 4,256

Originally Posted by goatflieg View Post
Had to laugh when I read this. Since I'm doing my own paint, and a first time painter, some of my biggest flaws will be the most obvious! Can't care too much... I just want it to fly well and often.
Having painted several cars and a couple planes, you will soon find out that you can repair paint flaws, just like the sheet metal and fiberglass flaws. Just a matter of time and frustration. As I am sure you have heard, the hard part of painting is the ability to visualize paint on your prepped materials so that you can properly prep. Painting is ALL in the prep.

RV-6A / IO-320, Flying as of 8/2015
RV-10 in progress
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