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7/8/2020 3:01:36 PM
Posted: 1/26/2014 6:34:39 PM EDT
This is my answer to the question, "What is it like to fly a plane you built yourself?"


Link Posted: 1/26/2014 7:01:27 PM EDT
Aerobatic LSA?  How long did it take, did you do some of the build @ the factory, what engine, are you certified to do your own maintenance, is that a second seat behind you, how much for the kit w/ engine?
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 7:05:33 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By backbencher:
Aerobatic LSA?  How long did it take, did you do some of the build @ the factory, what engine, are you certified to do your own maintenance, is that a second seat behind you, how much for the kit w/ engine?
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No, it's a Van's RV-6A - waaay faster than an LSA :-)   I built it all (except for the engine and paint)  over the course of about 11.5 years.    As the builder, I can do any and all maintenance/modifications/repairs/etc.

I have about $80K into the whole thing.
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 8:04:16 PM EDT
Nice.  What engine are you using?
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 8:11:51 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By backbencher:
Nice.  What engine are you using?
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It's a clone of a Lycoming IO-360-B1B, built by Aerosport Power in Canada.   I swapped the mags for P-Mags (electronic ignition) and bolted on a Hartzell Blended Airfoil constant speed prop.
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 8:14:57 PM EDT
That's sweet.  What's your HP/weight ratio?
Link Posted: 1/26/2014 8:24:18 PM EDT
At 1375lbs acro gross w/180hp on tap, it works out to 0.131 HP per lb.      Certainly not in the same class as an Edge 540, but better than a Decathalon and a far cry above a 150 Aerobat.    

It's certainly not a great aerobatic machine; it does "sportsman" aerobatics well enough but is too clean for much else; it accelerates briskly on the downlines and I need to get the wing loaded up to avoid tickling redline.    It *is* a great compromise between cross country and aerobatics; high speed cruise is about 175kts TAS at 10k burning 9.6gph, and economy cruise is about 165kts TAS at 10k burning 8.0.    I can slow down further to 155kts TAS and burn only 6.5 gph at that altitude as well, which is what I usually do.
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 2:56:57 PM EDT
Very Cool indeed!
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 4:50:27 PM EDT
Very cool.

I like RVs
Link Posted: 1/27/2014 6:39:24 PM EDT
I think it might be "neat" to say you flew something you built but more power to those that do. I just have no interest in getting in something that missed all the QC of a manufacturer. I've heard too many stories and don't want to be one of them. lol
Link Posted: 1/28/2014 9:31:27 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By ReconB4:
I think it might be "neat" to say you flew something you built but more power to those that do. I just have no interest in getting in something that missed all the QC of a manufacturer. I've heard too many stories and don't want to be one of them. lol
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The trick is not to fly something someone else home built.  He spent about $8K a year, paying no interest, to build an awesome aircraft.  If I give up food, I have a hope of building one of those someday.  Owning a normal general aviation airplane & paying certified mechanics to maintain it, I probably don't have a prayer.
Link Posted: 1/28/2014 10:46:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/28/2014 10:47:32 AM EDT by ChiefPilot]
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Originally Posted By ReconB4:
I think it might be "neat" to say you flew something you built but more power to those that do. I just have no interest in getting in something that missed all the QC of a manufacturer. I've heard too many stories and don't want to be one of them. lol
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That's how I feel when I look at a Piper or Cessna, actually.    Some of the things I've seen in the last twelve months on certified aircraft:
- Cooling baffles installed backwards (Cessna)
- Cables tied to engine mount by wrapping electrical wire around the cable and mount tube (Piper)
- Mis-rigged control surfaces compensated for by dropping a flap (this is per mfg. BTW - both Cessna and Piper)
- Lots of cracked plastic on fairings (Both Cessna and Piper)
- Loose stabilator (Piper)
- Loose vertical stabilizer(! - Piper)

My point is that certified or not, the maintenance of said aircraft is dominant over the QC of the manufacturer.    Put another way:  I trust myself, with a second pair of eyes from another RV builder, over the eyes of a local A&P who has schedule pressure to get things done while working for less than he'd make down the street at the auto garage.
Link Posted: 1/28/2014 11:42:08 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By ReconB4:
I think it might be "neat" to say you flew something you built but more power to those that do. I just have no interest in getting in something that missed all the QC of a manufacturer. I've heard too many stories and don't want to be one of them. lol
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An A&P instructor of mine once told me about a brand-new Cessna that he did an inspection on. It still had a whole row of clecos holding part of the fuselage together that didn't get riveted from the factory. I personally witnessed another mechanic find a bucking bar that someone left in the wing, presumably from the factory.

Sometimes, "rolling your own" is a better option.
Link Posted: 1/28/2014 3:13:46 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:


That's how I feel when I look at a Piper or Cessna, actually.    Some of the things I've seen in the last twelve months on certified aircraft:
- Cooling baffles installed backwards (Cessna)
- Cables tied to engine mount by wrapping electrical wire around the cable and mount tube (Piper)
- Mis-rigged control surfaces compensated for by dropping a flap (this is per mfg. BTW - both Cessna and Piper)
- Lots of cracked plastic on fairings (Both Cessna and Piper)
- Loose stabilator (Piper)
- Loose vertical stabilizer(! - Piper)

My point is that certified or not, the maintenance of said aircraft is dominant over the QC of the manufacturer.    Put another way:  I trust myself, with a second pair of eyes from another RV builder, over the eyes of a local A&P who has schedule pressure to get things done while working for less than he'd make down the street at the auto garage.
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Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:
Originally Posted By ReconB4:
I think it might be "neat" to say you flew something you built but more power to those that do. I just have no interest in getting in something that missed all the QC of a manufacturer. I've heard too many stories and don't want to be one of them. lol


That's how I feel when I look at a Piper or Cessna, actually.    Some of the things I've seen in the last twelve months on certified aircraft:
- Cooling baffles installed backwards (Cessna)
- Cables tied to engine mount by wrapping electrical wire around the cable and mount tube (Piper)
- Mis-rigged control surfaces compensated for by dropping a flap (this is per mfg. BTW - both Cessna and Piper)
- Lots of cracked plastic on fairings (Both Cessna and Piper)
- Loose stabilator (Piper)
- Loose vertical stabilizer(! - Piper)

My point is that certified or not, the maintenance of said aircraft is dominant over the QC of the manufacturer.    Put another way:  I trust myself, with a second pair of eyes from another RV builder, over the eyes of a local A&P who has schedule pressure to get things done while working for less than he'd make down the street at the auto garage.


No one cars about your ass like you do; some dude punching a clock who's wife is sleeping with his brother definitely might forget about a fastener or two.  Unfortunately in my line of work I've seen issues as well, the more hands that touch the aircraft the more possibility to introduce human error; one guy building everything will know the airplane (he can choose to accept error and crappy work, but then that is on him).  I feel the same way about cars too, it is hard to find a mechanic I trust; I usually do it all myself.  

Nice plane, I've been wanting to build an 6 or 8 for years.  Someday...  
Link Posted: 1/29/2014 5:49:53 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Andrew123:
No one cars about your ass like you do
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Originally Posted By Andrew123:
No one cars about your ass like you do


This is almost verbatim what the FAA inspector said as he handed the paperwork back to me.   It's one of those truths that almost seems self-evident.


Nice plane, I've been wanting to build an 6 or 8 for years.  Someday...  


Thanks!
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