I am building a 200+ MPH Experimental Category Kit built aircraft manufactured by Vans Aircraft Company of Aurora Oregon.  What does this mean and how did I decide on this aircraft.  Let me explain the kit and building choices that led me to the Vans Aircraft Company and their quality Manufactured Kit Aircraft,

The RV-7



PerformanceThis one has it in Spades

This airplane is a honest to God 200+ mph cruise aircraft. I chose the Taildragger Version (I learned to fly mostly in taildraggers) and am going to power it with a 200 hp Lycoming and a constant speed prop. There is really nothing that can come close to this performance in the certificated aircraft world (factory built to completion) that has a cost under $300.000.  Tort litigation and the constant suing of aircraft manufacturers has almost killed the General Aviation manufacturers so buying anything that has performance has to have those hidden liability costs built in to the price.  So if you want performance and 300 튠 500K is out of your price range, or if you just want to build it your self, then you are looking at a homebuilt aircraft licensed in the experimental category.  Why is 200 MPH so important?  Well I live in The Los Angeles Area.  200 MPH puts me in Tahoe in 1.9 hours, in San Felipe in 1.5 hours, in San Francisco in 1.7 hours, Mammoth Lakes in 1.5 hours, Catalina in 15 minutes.  Suddenly the available locations to vacation on the weekends grew from a couple of hundred miles with lots of driving to the Six Western States and farther.  Having your own airplane means that you don't have to watch the TSA shake down those Gray Haired Grandmothers for nail clippers only for show. What freedom, and you don't go to jail for carrying a pocket knife. 


What does Experimental mean?

Experimental is a description of the licensing category.  It is not a description of the quality or safety of the individual design or the quality of the component manufacture or the construction quality and technique of the builder. Simply put it is the legal description of the category by which the federal government issues the aircraft 鲷orthiness certificate殢sp; There is still a vigorous inspection and construction documentation process, part of which is the reason I am building this website.  The experimental category does let you Innovate with new designs.  Many of the new ideas in aviation are products of design and development by builders of experimental aircraft.  Look no farther that Burt Rutan of Scaled composites.  through this company, the VariViggen, VariEze, NASA AD-1, Quickie, Defiant, Long-EZ, Grizzly, scaled NGT trainer, Solitaire, Catbird, and the world-flight Voyager aircraft were developed.   Around the world nonstop with no refueling showcases the best of the experimental category designs.  Keep your ear tuned to the news, the next big aviation leap is the X-Prize.  This 10 million dollar prize will go the  first privately financed, built and launched spaceship that can carry the weight of three people to 100 kilometers of altitude and safely return to the surface and repeat the process with the same vehicle within three weeks.  All designed in the experimental world. 


Burt Rutan's Company Scaled Composites Wins the 10 Million Dollar X-Prize. Mike Melvile Pilots "Spaceship One" into Space becoming the worlds first civilian astronaut.


How safe is a RV-7?

The RV Series of aircraft are all constructed of aircraft aluminum.  For my building circumstances, aluminum offers the best of all worlds.  The techniques of building with aluminum have been proven for over 50 years, so it is an incredibly time tested construction process.  Aluminum is also construction friendly.  You won৥t a rash. Sensitized to the chemicals, produce odorous clouds that waft over to the neighbors etc.  Aluminum also allows construction at any temperature.  Epoxies on the other hand have temperature limits to insure proper curing times and such links.  It is practically impossible with proper interval inspections to build-in unknown defects with a aluminum aircraft and a proper design.  When building with aluminum any construction defects are clearly visible.  This is unlike composites where the strength of the materials, due to mixing, temperature and curing may make strength variables not visible to the eye.  The RV-7 has a solo weight stall speed of  51 MPH.  Most of the exotic composite aircraft have a stall speed in the mid 60's.  The survivability of a engine out landing is about 70% better at 51 MPH than 65 MPH.  This airplane is a LOT safer than most!

The RV series of aircraft are the most popular and successful kit aircraft in the world.  There are over 6,200 completed and flying aircraft.  This does not even come close to counting the thousands that are still in the construction phase.  These babies are time tested, built and flown by average people with average skills.  This alone is a testament to the design and safety of aircraft produced by Vanbsp;


Why is it called a RV?

 The designer͊ name is, Richard VanGrunsven  so the designs are named RV殢sp;


How is the Kit made?

The RV aircraft kits are produced in a state of the art manufacturing facility in Aurora Oregon.  All of the components that require extensive manufacturing processes such as Welding, heat treating, forming of the leading edges,  Precise bending and stamping of the ribs and other parts are done at the factory. All steel components are powder coated and the kit includes all of the rivets and screws and bolts.  In addition all of the fastener (rivet) holes in my kit (the RV-7) are located and matched punched by computer controlled punch and cutting equipment.  This means for example that the holes in the wing skins match with computer accuracy the holes in the understructure making it possible to build true and straight components without extensive jigs and construction aids. All this adds up to a tip top design with wonderful performance figures and a solid structure that will protect the occupants if you did have to do a off field landing.


How long does it take to complete? 

Most of the builders are flying in 1800 to 2000 hours.  There are many variables such as instruments radios, and several engine choices all of which affect the final time to build.  I am figuring about 4 years to completion.