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Old 02-24-2017, 10:56 AM
E. D. Eliot E. D. Eliot is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: San Pedro
Posts: 874
Default Not perfect

If at all possible, first, find someone who is willing to help and advise you during your build. A mentor.

Human beings are not perfect - that's impossible. No airplane ever made is perfect. Your and my first Van's aircraft won't be perfect no matter how hard you try to make it so. My second RV build will be a lot better than my first, etc, etc.

So, read the instructions and try to understand what they say. Call Van's tech. support if necessary - I have called them with some pretty ordinary questions and whomever answered the phone there was quite helpful and not condescending - I am grateful.

Some guys spend years building an airplane. I love building but want to fly asap. So, my second RV will be build 'more perfectly' but this one is built somewhere between 'perfect' and 'that is good enough'. Out and out mistakes are placed into the scrap aluminum shelf, new parts are ordered and I 'build on'.

You can do it. Sometimes I just have to walk away from my build and do something else that evening. I try to do this before I make a mistake. Almost always, the plans/instructions are more clear the next day/evening. Best of skill to you
Building finally
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Old 02-24-2017, 11:44 AM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,044

Education involves lots of failures. That's how we learn -- by our mistakes.

I know that my build involved numerous do-overs.

Best tool in the shop is a Sharpie pen. Use it to mark up everything as you go to keep your parts organized as to where they are oriented and fitted.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 500 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and New Flying Blog
2017 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor
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Old 02-24-2017, 12:35 PM
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airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 4,116

And take LOTS of pictures - you'll be surprised how often you'll go back on your computer to look at something to answer the question "Did I do that right?"
Greg Niehues - VAF 2018 dues paid
Garden City, TX
N16GN flying!
Built an off-plan 9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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Old 02-24-2017, 12:43 PM
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F1Boss F1Boss is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Taylor Texas
Posts: 658
Default Yes, but...

"Best tool in the shop is a Sharpie pen."

Likely, this is true - but: second best is a can of denatured alcohol to erase what you just marked up!

I buy the see thru rulers in 18" x 2" and 12" x 1" - generally about 6 ea at a time. these help to visualize the part as you draw it up. When they get scratched up, toss 'em out.

Keep building - there is no other way to get to the end.

Carry on!
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Old 02-24-2017, 08:16 PM
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Caveman Caveman is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 628

After I made a few errors I got smart (ok, less ignorant) and before I started working on a new part, I'd do a VAF search on the part number and or name. Once in a while typing in WD-xxx or whatever would come up with a gold mine of oops' and "how not to" advice. Even when you follow the plans exactly, you will find a rare plans error that can lead to heartbreak. I've been flying the 7 for over 8 years and still remember the emotional roller coaster ride that building brings. All, the lows just make the highs that much better when you finally reach into the box and there are no more pieces left to attach. Keep at it, we've all been there!

p.s. I have much better luck using Google to search VAF, than using the VAF search engine.
Joe Schneider
RV-7, IO-360, BA Hartzell, N847CR
Flying since 2008
VAF Dues Paid through 2018
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:34 AM
sblack sblack is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Montreal
Posts: 1,246

Make sure your dimples go the right way. Make sure the drill bit that is in your drill is actually the one that you need for the hole you are about to drill. I'm sure I will think of some more.

Again, none of these have happened to me. My build is perfect.

why are my pants burning???
Scott Black
RV 4, with an engine...and other stuff
VAF dues 2016
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:35 AM
Roy25101 Roy25101 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 43

Great advice and encouragement.. Thank you all. I have to admit that I went off to work and did not realize this thread had taken off. The last time I looked there was only one page... Thanks again....
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:05 PM
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KatieB KatieB is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Lawrence, KS
Posts: 1,047

This is a great thread!

All I can say is, I've spent 10X more time thinking about how to do stuff during this project than actual metal-manipulation, and sometimes even that creates scrap! But the fun part is cutting up scrapped parts to fabricate something new later on. If you focus on the day-to-day learning of new skills, you'll enjoy the process. Even if it costs a little bit extra $ for new parts.

One thing I've learned to do is to sit down and write out the steps for how to complete a task before I actually do it. With the RV-3 the instructions leave much to the imagination, so I plan out my own step-by-step sequences to make sure everything is done in the right order. An exercise like this would help even with the pre-punched kits for getting the big picture of how all the big pieces fit together. I've stretched this project out for going on 7 years, too, so there have been long periods of inactivity in which we were changing jobs or whatever, and my notes have been really helpful for picking up where I left off.
Katie Bosman Krotje
Sold my RV-3B project...
But RV8 3301 is in the works.
Jabiru J200 almost done with restoration!
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