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  #1  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:00 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 19
Default Intro and "F8" Raider Build Proposal

Hey guys,

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
- Fun

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,

Steve

Last edited by s11033 : 07-10-2019 at 12:06 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:15 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
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Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,891
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Also have a look at the Showplanes RV-8 modifications. Also their cowling. I've seen the canopy frame and that is first class. You get the fastback look in basically a stock RV-8.

An analog panel is definitely possible but it might be worth considering a last-generation used digital system. You'd get an engine monitor that gives a bunch more information than the steam gauges, and if you choose well (for example, a Skyview Classic), you can use it to run your transponder and ADS-B. Plus the autopilot is merely a matter of plunking in some servos. With some care, you'd have the wiring in place for future upgrades.

As for the budget, frankly, I think with tools and this and that, it'll run closer to $100k at the upper end with a constant speed prop. But I might be a little high there. I don't think that $60k is at all possible.

Dave
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:50 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Boston, MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Paule View Post
Also have a look at the Showplanes RV-8 modifications. Also their cowling. I've seen the canopy frame and that is first class. You get the fastback look in basically a stock RV-8.

An analog panel is definitely possible but it might be worth considering a last-generation used digital system. You'd get an engine monitor that gives a bunch more information than the steam gauges, and if you choose well (for example, a Skyview Classic), you can use it to run your transponder and ADS-B. Plus the autopilot is merely a matter of plunking in some servos. With some care, you'd have the wiring in place for future upgrades.

As for the budget, frankly, I think with tools and this and that, it'll run closer to $100k at the upper end with a constant speed prop. But I might be a little high there. I don't think that $60k is at all possible.

Dave

I'll definitely look into those options. Aesthetically I do really like the more aggressively angled windshield, the sliding canopy, and the slightly longer nose (and wider fuselage?) of the Rocket. The landing gear also looks really sharp. I haven't sat in either and don't know of any here in the New England area so I don't have first hand experience, but I've read the Rocket feels a lot roomier.

That's really good advice on the panel. I'd definitely love to get digital off the bat if it's not much more expensive. I really haven't given much thought to the panel, but I'm sure there are some good threads on this forum where I can learn a bit more about what is available.

Yeah that $60k number was just for the sake of setting my initial range. If I could get close to $80k that would be great. I think much would depend on getting a good deal on the engine and RV8 kits, as well as working out a competitive budget with whoever helps me with the fuselage.

Thank you!

Steve
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  #4  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:03 PM
terrye terrye is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Default Intro and "F8" Raider Build Proposal

"...mid time O-360..."
25 years ago before Vans (and modern kitplanes) were as popular as they are today, good mid time engines were plentiful, especially O-320s and O-360s which are popular in 4 place certified planes.

Before the RV-10 came out, a friend told me he could build a Rocket for the same or less than an RV-8 because good mid time IO-540s were plentiful.

Not saying you can't find what you're looking for, but "good" and "mid-time" and "affordable" don't seem to go together these days.

I bought a new IO-320 for my project because I wanted confidence in what I was buying. For your project, seriously consider the benefits of injection over carbs.
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:11 PM
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rv6ejguy rv6ejguy is offline
 
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Steve, I think the Raider would be a good project to start on.

On the Raptor, I wouldn't count on that coming through any time soon or be anywhere near the quoted cost. Be aware there are multiple serious concerns with the design and powerplant/ PSRU. The prototype is around 1000 pounds overweight as well, meaning the projected performance specs won't be attainable.

The Raider will get you experience building and in the air safely.
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RV10 95% built- Sold 2016
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:27 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrye View Post
"...mid time O-360..."
25 years ago before Vans (and modern kitplanes) were as popular as they are today, good mid time engines were plentiful, especially O-320s and O-360s which are popular in 4 place certified planes.

Before the RV-10 came out, a friend told me he could build a Rocket for the same or less than an RV-8 because good mid time IO-540s were plentiful.

Not saying you can't find what you're looking for, but "good" and "mid-time" and "affordable" don't seem to go together these days.

I bought a new IO-320 for my project because I wanted confidence in what I was buying. For your project, seriously consider the benefits of injection over carbs.
Thanks for the input. Is there anywhere that's know for offering a good value rebuilt IO-360? This would definitely push me closer to $100k, but might save some trouble in the future. Worst case I can push back getting married and having kids...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rv6ejguy View Post
Steve, I think the Raider would be a good project to start on.

On the Raptor, I wouldn't count on that coming through any time soon or be anywhere near the quoted cost. Be aware there are multiple serious concerns with the design and powerplant/ PSRU. The prototype is around 1000 pounds overweight as well, meaning the projected performance specs won't be attainable.

The Raider will get you experience building and in the air safely.
Yeah, fortunately there would theoretically be 985 of them built before mine comes up for production and my deposit is fully refundable in escrow, so worst case I take my money and build or buy something else!
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  #7  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:32 PM
TS Flightlines TS Flightlines is offline
 
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Steve----I had the pleasure of taking a trip in a F4 that Ray Ward built. Nice plane. I'd say for experienced builders only right now.
Suggest you go to Osh and check it out, and talk to Ray, Vince, Blake and everyone involved.
Tom
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:37 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
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Location: Boston, MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TS Flightlines View Post
Steve----I had the pleasure of taking a trip in a F4 that Ray Ward built. Nice plane. I'd say for experienced builders only right now.
Suggest you go to Osh and check it out, and talk to Ray, Vince, Blake and everyone involved.
Tom
Unfortunately I can't make it to Osh this year because I have Annual Training for the Guard during those dates.

Can you please give some further info on why only experienced builders? Could I mitigate the issues by hiring someone for assistance with the fuselage? I'd love to hear some more about it. I had a chance to speak to Vince, but not to Ray or Blake.

If it's not feasible for my first build, then maybe I'll have to look into those Showplanes mods.

Steve
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  #9  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:58 PM
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Raymo Raymo is offline
 
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Location: Richmond Hill, GA (KLHW)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s11033 View Post

Can you please give some further info on why only experienced builders? Could I mitigate the issues by hiring someone for assistance with the fuselage? I'd love to hear some more about it. I had a chance to speak to Vince, but not to Ray or Blake.

If it's not feasible for my first build, then maybe I'll have to look into those Showplanes mods.

Steve
The Raider and Rocket kits are not pre-punched, as are the other newer Vans designs. Ray built his very quickly but he is retired, is an old A&P with tons of experience (also built a RV-7 and rebuilt his Luscomb). I don't know what he has in his F-4 Raider but he did mention over 15k just in the prop and another 2k in the spinner.

You can find first run engines and rebuild it yourself with some knowledgeable assistance. Spend the extra money on Lycon upgrades to the engine for increased HP out of a 180 HP plant.

Do what I did: Go for a ride in an -8 and you'll be sold.
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  #10  
Old 07-10-2019, 02:32 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
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The F-4 is definitely buildable by a newbie. It'll take more time than a prepunched or quickbuild kit, for sure, but you can do it. See https://www.f1aircraft.com/. The project is basically roughly about as complex as an RV-4, and there are some parts available.

Dave
RV-3B, another of those non-prepunched slow-build kit, now on the fuselage.
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