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-   -   Time to Build (https://vansairforce.net/community/showthread.php?t=179506)

asw20c 02-13-2020 08:16 AM

Time to Build
 
I figure it's time to re-calibrate my expectations again. I'm building an RV14A slow-build, and currently have over 1100 hours expended, and I'm only just now getting close to finishing the wings. Granted I had to build the flaps twice and lost about 3 months doing so, but the Van's website says the modern matched-hole RV14 kit might take someone 1000-1300 hours to complete. Based on my experience so far, that is wildly optimistic. I consider myself a very careful builder, but not obsessive. In other words, I want everything to be airworthy, but gave up on perfect a long time ago. Mine will be a very capable aircraft (i.e. autopilot and fully IFR), but I'm not adding any capability that most other builders aren't. So far the only thing I've done that is "off plans" is installing the heated pitot with AOA, and yes, that ended up taking a lot more time than I would have guessed. I'm also priming everything that is interior to the aircraft, so I know that is adding to the build-time, but I figure it will be well worth the investment when I'm too old to fly anymore and it comes time to sell.
Looking ahead to what is left (fuselage, engine, avionics), and basing it on my progress to date, I'm guessing I will have at least 2000 hours or more before it leaves the ground. I'm even planning on leaving it unpainted until after it has been flying and all the bugs worked out so paint isn't factored into the build time. So, what's a realistic build time for the 14A? Just curious what other builders expended now that we have several 14s flying.

bkervaski 02-13-2020 08:32 AM

For the QB it took us 14 months from first rivet to first flight. We worked about 20 hours on average per week, so about 1200 hours. However, I said "we" because I had help 90% of the time (Thanks, Phoenix :D) which made a big difference.

Paint took 3 months (worth it) but I had at that point already flown off most of phase 1.

Quote:

I had to build the flaps twice and lost about 3 months doing so
No judgement here, just curiosity, why does it take 3 months to build two sets of flaps?

Quote:

it will be well worth the investment when I'm too old to fly anymore and it comes time to sell
We primed where required by the instructions, and a few select areas, but not everything. Observing folks who buy or sell RVs, primer doesn't seem to be a factor.

asw20c 02-13-2020 09:36 AM

Fair question. Due to the demanding nature of my job I only build on weekends, and even then I split my time between flying my Cessna 180 and building the RV. I typically get about 4-8 hours of productive time per weekend so it takes a while to get things done. I've been at it for about 3 years now.

control 02-13-2020 10:02 AM

I spent almost exactly 2000 hours working on my slow build RV-14 before it flew unpainted. (For me it took 5 years, 3 months between first rivet and first flight.)

Already dreaming about building again ;)

I am a first time builder, if I was to build another 14, I'm sure I could get it done in 1500 hours :o

bkervaski 02-13-2020 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asw20c (Post 1407623)
Fair question. Due to the demanding nature of my job I only build on weekends, and even then I split my time between flying my Cessna 180 and building the RV. I typically get about 4-8 hours of productive time per weekend so it takes a while to get things done. I've been at it for about 3 years now.

Do you already have the fuselage kit? If not, consider purchasing the QB fuselage ...

Only being able to work on it on average 6 hours per week (on a slow build) is going to turn it into a 6+ year project just doing the math .. 2000/(6*52)=6.4 .. nothing wrong with that, but it sounds like you're ready to fly!

bkervaski 02-13-2020 10:34 AM

Quote:

Van's website says the modern matched-hole RV14 kit might take someone 1000-1300 hours to complete.
I tried to find this on vansaircraft.com and couldn't .. if I had to guess, these numbers are based on a QB wings and fuselage ..

Edit: Found it - https://www.vansaircraft.com/time-to-build

Yea, I think this estimate is at least 500 hours low for a slow build, especially first timers.

Although we didn't rush, we kept a fair canter through the QB kits and two people to boot for that 1200 hours and 14 months. No way we could have pulled off the wings and fuselage in under 2000 hours.

Edit: Although, *just* the kit itself, with no avionics or firewall forward, maybe, just maybe, under 2000 ...

bkervaski 02-13-2020 10:45 AM

Quote:

I split my time between flying my Cessna 180 and building the RV.
Also, I did very little flying in that time. Whenever I wanted to go fly (or do anything else for that matter), I guilted myself to go build instead.

Tom023 02-13-2020 11:01 AM

When I first started building I watched other's times and discovered I was a slow builder 2500 hours total. I built all slow build kits and primed everything and the wings+empennage took me 1177 hours (versus what seemed to be an average of 800 hours), so if you are 1100 hours into the wings + empennage you may be about on my pace. I looked into a quick build fuselage, a little too late, because the lead time was such that I would have 75% of the slow build done just waiting on it. If you are averaging 6 hours/week, you probably have 4.5 years to go.

rvator10 02-13-2020 11:39 AM

I spent 25 hrs per week (Slow Build all the way) and it took exactly 1 year. I'm estimating around 1300 hours total build time, but this was my 5th RV build, i worked on it every day with no gaps, and only had limited help where i couldn't reach. My rule was 1 hour per day, well that always resulted in several.... building is the best bad habit i ever had :)

Bavafa 02-13-2020 11:41 AM

There are many factors that affect build time, both hours and not duration. Experience, steady build time, deviation from plans, degree of quality that one aims for as well finances to have the parts available when you are ready for it are some of the contributing factor.
If one can spend a couple of hours each day/evening, I believe he/she would get a faster result than a full day every week or two weeks. Also a big contributing factor is if you can build at home vs. having to travel to a shop or hanger to work on it.

Mine took 11 months and two days from the day I ordered the kit to the day that I took it to the paint shop. I did not have a helper other than those rivets that could not be done single person. The wiring harness and cutting the panel was outsourced as well as the seats and all fiberglass work was to the paint ready stage before taking it to the paint shop. But I worked on it 6 days a week, early in the morning before I go to work and late in the evening after work.

kbalch 02-13-2020 12:08 PM

After spending 29 months on an early, slow-build, RV-8 kit many years ago, I planned my slow-build RV-14A kit as an 18-month project. I missed by a little, but should fly it late next week after ~21 months.

I haven't yet added up my build log, but I don't think that a guess of 1,500 hours would be off by much and probably a little high.

Experience definitely plays a part, as does effectively unlimited shop time. I've also built other big projects over the years (kit cars, motorcycle restorations, Model 12 Pitts wings, etc.), so that helped, too.

Ultimately, it's going to take each individual as long as it takes. Do it right, not fast; you'll be done before you know it!

Arablenz 02-13-2020 10:53 PM

I was about 1860 hrs of building for first build RV 14 but in saying that, I reckon I did the same number of hours researching to make sure I was not going to make a mistake.
All I can say is enjoy the time of completing each section and then you will have a lovely aeroplane at the end of it.

plehrke 02-14-2020 05:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asw20c (Post 1407593)
I'm building an RV14A slow-build, and currently have over 1100 hours expended, and I'm only just now getting close to finishing the wings. Van's website says the modern matched-hole RV14 kit might take someone 1000-1300 hours to complete.
.
.
.
Looking ahead to what is left (fuselage, engine, avionics), and basing it on my progress to date, I'm guessing I will have at least 2000 hours or more before it leaves the ground.

I hated people giving me how much time it took them to build. I stopped keeping hours after a few years of my build; just logged activity, not time. All I say now was it took 9 years of calendar time. I considered what hours others took to complete their airplane to be irrelevant as it only put pressure on me to go faster than I wanted to. Estimates vary wildly based on how people count time, as you put it "off-plans" adds, and how much time per week they can spend working. There is in-efficiencies if you are only spending 10 hours a week building vs 20 hours a week. That is OK if you can only spend 10 hours per week.
Don't beat yourself up for wanting to do a good job. Experimental Amateur built is about learning and people learn at different rates completely separate from build skill level, which becomes another big difference in time required.

If having fun building, build on.
If wanting to fly and can afford getting something to fly while building, buy something. I bought a Cessna 140 to fly while building.
If wanting to fly and not enjoying the building, sell the kit and buy a flying RV. Always seems to be a good selection of them out there for sale.

Remember this is not a contest, no wagering please, on actual time to complete.

mturnerb 02-15-2020 06:06 AM

I agree with those who've pointed out the variables and encouraged enjoying the journey. I probably put in 2000 hours (slow build fuse, QB wings) but that's not counting time spent away from the shop doing research on VAF and studying plans. I traveled some during my build, but found that staying focused when not traveling and doing something every possible work day made a difference. 2 yrs, 7 mos end to end. I am pretty obsessive and rebuilt a few parts, replaced dinged/damaged parts, and did priming and interior painting as I went along, adding to the time spent.

One thing I found is that deviations from "standard" - like Beringer wheels/brakes, various other add-ons - took more time relatively speaking because of the time investment required to make things work. Another example: I chose Airflow FM-150 fuel injection over Van's standard system - it came installed on the airplane but required changes to throttle/mixture cable routing, modifications to snorkel, and other accommodations that sucked up quite a bit of time.

It really helps when you can get experienced builders' help - I had help a several points along the way which really accelerated progress at those points.

N941WR 02-15-2020 07:53 AM

First, I hope you are enjoying the trip!

Everyone works at a different place, especially when leaning new skills.

I know one guy who built a -9 slow build in around 1200 hours, half the time it took me to build the same plane.

Just keep at it and remember, rivets don't pound themselves!

Discus2b 02-15-2020 04:04 PM

Find ?Alex RV-14a? log site for comparison....he is moving along at a quick pace up to 1100 hrs with wings, emp, and well into the fuselage. It will give you a trend comparison on finish window.

R


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