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Old 09-25-2014, 04:35 PM
YellowJacket RV9 YellowJacket RV9 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Clearwater, FL / KZPH
Posts: 1,211

I think the estimates are pretty optimistic, and assume somebody who knows what they are doing already. If it's your first time, you will probably spend almost as time researching, thinking, and fixing mistakes as you will building. I don't think that's an exaggeration, either. I spend a lot of time on other build sites, this site, and just staring at plans, before I put anything together.

I'm pretty sure I could build a 2nd RV in around the estimated time. First one, no way.

Chris Johnson
RV-9A - Done(ish) 4/5/16! Flying 4/7/16
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:48 PM
3014RV 3014RV is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 18
Default RV-14 Projected Build Time

I'm 1.5 years into the build (started 4/13) of an RV-14. Have just over 800 hours, with wings at 90% done, vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizer and rudder complete, and will start on the aft fuselage next week. I think there's guys who've completed what I have with only 1/2 to 2/3 of that number but those guys are previous builders. I would think 800-900 for wings and empennage would be pretty typical for first time builders.

Nobody's started the fuselage kit yet, although the first ones are slated for delivery in the next week or so. Supposedly it doesn't require much if any fab of parts, everything's pre-cut, pre-punched, etc. Still I can't imagine it would be much less than 150-200 hours, just looking at the extent of the structure in the photos of the factory build.

Finish kit is a complete unknown, but the canopy and framework is supposed to be pre-cut/punched so none of the ritual agony for that element. Avionics are supposed to be packaged like in the -12, but in talking with Dynon/AFS and Garmin guys at Oshkosh this year, nobody had any particulars to share, so don't know how extensive/complete those will be, whether there will be option, etc. Again, it's a guess, but I would think 150-200 hours for Finishes and Avionics (if kitted) would be low end. Then there's firewall forward and engine, interiors, paint.

Therefore, I think 1400 hours is a more likely average build time, assuming you don't decide to do something crazy like try to put 540 into it. Perhaps the QB route will get you there in 1000-1200 hours, but again, I don't see how that's going to be available until late next year, at best.

Last edited by 3014RV : 09-25-2014 at 04:50 PM. Reason: clarification of status
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:57 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 5,915

I'll just echo what everyone else is saying:
Build because you want to build, not just to get an airplane. If you enjoy the work then it doesn't matter how long it takes! If you don't enjoy the work it will become painful.

Getting the spouse/SO on board is important, too.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:02 PM
Aesir Aesir is offline
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Laguna Beach, CA
Posts: 8

Thanks for all the quick and thoughtful responses. To be clear, I would not describe the times quoted in my original post as "expectations." Let's put it this way... I know enough to know that I don't know what I don't know.

I certainly spotted the note on Van's website estimating 1100 hours for an RV-14. But I also understand there is an endless amount of variables that could affect that. I get the impression from the builder logs available online that most people with a full time job stretch out to around 5 years, and that's with no shortage of dedication. There haven't been any RV-14 completions, so there aren't as many examples of how the new streamlined kit affects the time to completion.

My thinking was that I could order the empennage kit, put that together, and then evaluate if it is feasible to continue. By the time I get done, perhaps a quickbuild wing kit would be available or close to it. But before I did any of that, I would need to do some more research and figure out my shop situation.

At the end of the day, the buying advice might be best. It just seems so fun to build in one sense, but potentially too daunting in another. I'm also a little concerned about how to ensure solid build-quality when buying, and properly maintaining something like that without the thorough education of building it.

Doug, it would be really cool to check out your project since you're so close.

SoCal Flyer--I was looking at the same class. I might have to sign up if this little intro deal goes well.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:10 PM
rightrudder rightrudder is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Laguna Hills, CA
Posts: 1,750

Yes, come by and check it out. I'm working on it most weeknights from about 6:30 to 9:30. PM me and I'll send you my address. No hurry…whenever.

With an already built plane, I'm sure you can talk a VAFer into doing a pre-purchase inspection. Someone who's built one will know where all the "Achilles' heel" spots are.
RV-9A "slider"
Flew to Osh in 2017, 2018 & 2019!
Tail number N427DK
Donation made for 2019
You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky -- Amelia Earhart

Last edited by rightrudder : 09-25-2014 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:17 PM
rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hubbard Oregon
Posts: 8,348
Default Time estimates....

The posted time estimates have always been given in the context of building a basic legal to fly airplane. No options or modifications, no 5 step corrosion protection / primer process, etc. Any time spent outside of building a basic airplane would be considered extra.
True, few RV's are built "basic" but because of the wide variability, it would be impossible to estimate a real world build.
The RV-12 estimate of 800-900 hrs has ended up being quite close to the average.
My personal estimate of the RV-14 is 1200-1400 hrs. That would apply "if" no modifications are made, and all kits are purchased....
The entire design is based on integrated systems design... engine, avionics and electrical will be a quick and easy install as long as one of the kit supplied systems is used.
Any opinions expressed in this message are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.

Scott McDaniels
Hubbard, Oregon
RV-6A (aka "Junkyard Special ")
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:40 PM
GeraldC GeraldC is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Buda, TX
Posts: 56

Originally Posted by rvbuilder2002 View Post
My personal estimate of the RV-14 is 1200-1400 hrs.
Do you have a breakdown of your total hour estimate broken down by kit or by chapter? It would be very helpful to be able to break down the build by percentages and estimate progress using that as I'm building.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:44 PM
bruceh's Avatar
bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,230

The time commitment is a real issue. I thought about that long and hard before I started my project. My kids were moving into the post High School and College phase of life, so I was much less busy with family related things on most weekends and evenings. I really enjoyed the build process and it is very rewarding when you get to the finish line and can say "I built that". Even with a QB, you can have that satisfaction, since you will get plenty of build time on other less repetitive tasks.

I purposely didn't keep track of my build hours. I did put in most evenings and lots of long weekends. I basically gave up watching TV and haven't missed it since (USC football and Formula 1 are exceptions). There were also stretches of no building due to travel and other family commitments. Paying as I went also kept slowing me down especially near the last years when it really gets expensive with buying avionics, prop, engine, etc. I set a goal of 5 years for my slow build and I was able to get the airplane flying in about 4.5 years. The first year of building I was pretty gung-ho and got the empennage and wings done in the first 8 months. The fuselage took well over a year, but lots of that time was deciding on what to do about an engine and avionics. The RV-14 kit provides all of this, so that will definitely help a lot. When the QB fuselage becomes available this will make an RV-14 a really easy airplane to build.

PM me if you want to meet at Ramona and go flying. I plan on being at Aircraft Spruce's customer appreciation event in Corona on 10/4 (weather permitting) to pick up some items and get a free lunch.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 700 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and New Flying Blog
2019 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:06 PM's Avatar is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Suwanee, GA
Posts: 413
Default First time 10 builder

I was planning on a 5-7 year build on a 10. Figured the tail would take 12-18 months. Then I would decide on quick build or not. After completing the tail kit in 6 months decided to go slow build for the budget. I initially built because I wanted the plane and knew that I could build it. During the build I found I really enjoyed the building as well, and would "find" time to build. Finished the build and self-painting in 3 years. Rv-10 was 2200 hrs first time builder and about 300-400 were mods from the plans. Then 500 hours to paint it. Had never painted before. Already wanting to build again. Had a 7 and 9 yr old when I started the build (now 10 and 12).

Smaller kit with minimal mods and not painting yourself can get done in 2-3 years if you are motivated and enjoying the build. I'm sure I could do a second 10 in 2-2.5 years
Bill Thomasson
RV-10 - Flying - Phase II. 99.8% done... it's never really done!
Suwanee, GA.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:51 PM
RickAllen RickAllen is offline
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Newark, DE
Posts: 28

Question: What build time documentation is required?
I was under the impression that you had to document your time for the 51% rule.
Rick Allen
N927A (reserved)
VAF dues paid 12/18

Last edited by RickAllen : 09-25-2014 at 06:53 PM.
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