...this was first posted by Dan Checkoway. Duplicated here.
I used to own an M20F and an M20J. Loved them until I knew better. Ask Mooney drivers what their annuals cost and if they're totally happy with the quality of service they receive from their A&Ps. I suspect the average
will be less than perfect.
My first annual on my RV-7 cost about $105. This year will be a real whopper at about $400 (adding and replacing a few things). My last few annuals on the Mooneys cost anywhere between $2500 and $4500. A $10,000 annual on a Mooney is not unheard of. Corrosion of the steel cage, corrosion of pushrods and rod ends, landing gear issues (i.e. nosegear oversteered by FBO ground personnel, etc.), and of COURSE weeping fuel tanks which seems to plague rougly 1 in 2 Mooneys at any given time. Resealing the tanks is not cheap.
So cut to building...
Building your RV-10 (or whatever) will, simply put, change your life
. After all of the blood, sweat, and tears, you exit the tunnel with an airplane you built with your own two hands -- and airplane that you are now completely authorized to maintain in its entirety. The FAA hands you that Repairman Certificate for your airplane, and you are now utterly free of the monkeys that turn wrenches and charge you a fortune for less-than-perfect work. Quality is in your control. You can take your sweet time doing maintenance. You can do it on your schedule. You set the bar.
Not to mention that you have the ability to use the absolute most modern equipment -- powerplant options, propellers, and of course that fantastic panel full of glass or what have you, which won't be an option in your Mooney.
Cutting-edge technology, freedom from shoddy quality, all at about the same price. The real cost? A few years of your life. But during those years you will learn more about airplanes than you ever imagined possible. Your life truly will be changed.
Do you want to just fly around in something you don't know and have to pay to have maintained potentially imperfectly? Or do you want to fly around in something that is undoubtedly safe, ridiculously modern, customized to your every whim, and your pride and joy that you built with your own two hands?
I did enjoy flying the M20J since I knew no better at the time. I will never own a certificated airplane again
RV-7 N714D (812 hours)