After almost two years, I am about half way through building a Van's RV10 airplane in my garage. It is a 4 seat, 200 MPH single engine plane that I plan to use flying my family all across the country.

And if building the plane wasn't enough of an undertaking, I am also creating a timelapse video of the entire build. Even at 100x, there are still over 8 hours of video!

The timelapse and build blog are all located on my website at


Comments: 139 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

iklegemma8 karma

How are you going to get it out?

NovaBandit13 karma

I've made a huge mistake!

Actually, the wings won't be bolted on until it's at the airport. And the unfinished plane is light enough to transport on a utility trailer.

EdFinnerty7 karma

What is the advantage of building your own vs buying outright?

NovaBandit16 karma

There are a number of advantages to building vs buying.

First, I can build this specific plane for less than half the cost of a comparable factory new plane (in this case, the closest factory plane in size, speed, capability, ect. is a Cirrus SR-22).

Second, as the builder, I am licensed by the FAA to perform the maintenance on the plane. All airplanes require an annual inspection, which can cost into the thousands of dollars, depending on the plane. As the builder, the FAA authorizes me to perform these inspections, under the assumption that no one will know the plane better than the person who actually put it together!

Third, since all homebuilt aircraft are considered "Experimental", I there are many options available to me that aren't available to factory built aircraft in terms of the latest and greatest avionics.

EdFinnerty7 karma

when you factor in the cost of your time for the build, do you still come out ahead?

NovaBandit15 karma

Personally, I feel that I come out way ahead. I flat out can't afford a $600,000 airplane, nor could I afford the maintenance. So if I want a plane of that caliber, I need to build it.

But even looking at the $/hour, if I save $300,000 and take 2500 hours to build, that's $120/hour. And these are hours that may otherwise be spent watching TV. I would probably choose the DIY path over buying factory new even if it was even money. It's fun for me, and I get the exact plane that I want!

ThisIsStatus7 karma

300 000 is still a boatload...erm... planeload of money, how long will this project take (2500 hours) but in terms of how many years.

NovaBandit5 karma

My goal is to be under $200,000 (which is still a whole lotta money).

I'll be at the two year mark in February, and hope to be done in the next year.

derekbox1 karma

Experimental aircraft do not have a type certificate. An annual inspection is a type certificate conformity inspection. So experimentals can not get annuals, they get condition inspections. Not trying to nit pick, just giving you a little insight. I am an avionics tech, A&P/IA, private pilot so if you ever have any questions, feel free to hit me up.

NovaBandit1 karma

Technically, you are correct, but experimental aircraft do require condition inspections, annually. FAR 91.409 doesn't apply to me. Instead, the FAA requires the annual condition inspection be listed in the operating limitations. In practice, it's the same thing, with the exception that I, as a repairman certificate holder for this aircraft, can sign off on the inspection.

derekbox2 karma

Technically correct: The best sort of correct! 91.409 does apply to you. All of part 91 apply to all US registered aircraft (now within certain regs, there are exemptions to exclude certain groups). I say this, because I was corrected but an FAA inspector in the past for saying "annual" when referring to an amateur built plane inspection and was corrected. When I got my IA license, the instructor also emphasized the same thing. No idea why, but some people in aviation draw a differentiation (and now I am doing it. Doh).

NovaBandit1 karma

Mostly. 91.409, paragraph A and B do NOT apply to me, as exempted in paragraph C. But that is getting really nit-picky, and what's the point of that!

It's a vicious cycle. Now I'm going to have to pay it forward and correct all the innocent builders out there!

derekbox1 karma

The tricky part here is that there are two usages of the words "annual". It is both the time interval and the inspection of a certified aircraft. Often times you will see the experimental called out as a annual condition inspection.

NovaBandit3 karma

That depends on your definition of "The".

Dank-Kid7 karma

Can i pay you take make me another one?

NovaBandit9 karma

I wish. The FAA is cracking down on people who do exactly that, as it goes against the spirit of the experimental aircraft regulations.

lindoom3 karma

There are programs out there where you can get a kit plane and have the provider of the kit "assist" you in the build. One that comes to mind is the two weeks to taxi program offered by Glass Air. I've seen this done and flown the resulting plane. It was a great build and is a great plane, but then again there is a large cost difference between that and a home built kit.

There are also companies like Vans that also offer the quick build kit options.

NovaBandit2 karma

Glasairs are beautiful planes! And FAST!

There has been discussions of a "two weeks to taxi" RV10 program, but I don't think anything ever came of it!

TheCodexx2 karma

Could you teach me, or give me resources to help me, learn how to build a plane myself?

NovaBandit2 karma

Check out the Experimental Aircraft Association's website

There are many great articles and videos about all aspects of building airplanes.

Also, you can contact your local EAA chapter to find homebuilders near you. Most homebuilders would be more than happy to have people stop by to check out their project, and maybe pound a few rivets!

Also, checkout some of the Van's builder groups:

Blundom7 karma

What will be the name of the plane?

NovaBandit4 karma

Good question. I'm not sure, but my wife likes to name her cars, so she'll probably come up with something.

I'll most likely call it Niner Echo Charlie, the last three letters/numbers of the plane's N number (call sign).

Olivertwisty5 karma


NovaBandit5 karma

When talking to air traffic control, you often abbreviate the full N number to the last 3 digits. The last three digits of the N number I have reserved are 9EC.

Olivertwisty8 karma


NovaBandit7 karma

Canada, eh?

It's funny listening to US ATC stumble on all the letters in Canadian tail numbers!

DebianSqueez1 karma


NovaBandit1 karma

That would just get confusing.

AvrupaFatihi5 karma

Just got to say wow and then ask you some questions

  1. Where are/will you be storing your plane and how about runaway/landing strip?

  2. Did you talk with your family before starting and will you guys feel comfortable to fly in your own airplane? I see that the FAA will controll it but I would still feel very unsure of getting in a self-made airplane.

  3. How far do you reckon you could fly? Like can you do a coast-to-coast flight? How much would a trip like that cost with the fuel and fees for the landing etc?

  4. Do you have a pilots license?

Good luck! I hope we get to see some pics when it's done and some videos of you flying it :)

NovaBandit14 karma

  1. It's a toss up between the paved municipal airport 25 minutes from my house and the private 2200' grass strip 5 minutes from my house. We'll see how it works out.

  2. I talked to my (very understanding) wife about this before I started. I've taken her flying a bit in rental planes, and while she doesn't really care about airplanes, she loves to travel. I did take her for a ride in another RV10 before starting, and she enjoyed the flight.

  3. The -10 has a range of about 1000 miles, but in reality, you will always land short of that to maintain fuel reserves. I'm in Minnesota, and if weather isn't a factor, I can be anywhere in the lower 48 in 9-10 hours with 1-2 fuel stops. Most times, I should be able to beat the door to door time of the airlines, given that I don't have to deal with parking, TSA, checking luggage, driving to the international airport, flying directly to one of the smaller airports that are often closer to the final destination, ect. As for cost, this plane can cruise at 165kts burning 10-12 gallons per hour. if you do the math, I can fly 4 people round trip from Minneapolis to Key West in a little over 8 hours and costing less than $1000. So less than $250 per person and no baggage fees or getting groped with a side of radiation at security. And I can bring a big gulp and a machete with me if I want.

  4. I do have a pilots license.

Married_With_Child5 karma

Do you have to get any permits to build this?

NovaBandit13 karma

No permits, per se...

However, the plane does have to pass an FAA inspection before it is legally considered flight worthy.

Personally, I am taking advantage of the EAA's tech councilor program. This is where skilled builders offer technical visits throughout the course of the build to answer any questions the builder might have, and get various point in time inspections. It's very reassuring to have someone doublecheck my work and tell me I'm not screwing everything up!

*Edited for grammar!

Married_With_Child2 karma

That seems pretty important. Gotta know the work is solid if your going to get some altitude. Make sure to post the video when it's done.

NovaBandit3 karma

Don't worry. There will definitely be a first flight video when the time comes!

gallerdude5 karma

What's your favorite part of the process?

NovaBandit2 karma

So far, my favorite part has been building the main part of the fuselage. Before that, I was building tail fins, control surfaces, wings, flaps, ect... but when you start building the fuselage, you have something you can look at and think, "That's where I'm going to sit!"

Also, the fuselage isn't nearly as repetitive as some of the earlier parts. Working on a whole pile of wing ribs that are exactly the same can get monotonous, and progress slow to be seen.

The part I'm most looking forward to is designing the electrical and avionics! There are some really cool technologies coming out for experimental planes these days!

linstr134 karma

how much does it weigh?

NovaBandit5 karma

Finished RV10's weigh somewhere between 1600 lbs and 1750 lbs, depending on installed equipment. I'm shooting to be under 1700.

That will give me the ability to carry 4 adults, full fuel tanks, and some luggage. Many 4 seat planes are actually 2 person planes with luggage.

LS66 karma

when you say "adults", what numbers are you using?

Gross 2700 - 1700 empty leaves 1000lbs useful. Subtract ~350 for full fuel and you've got 650 left. You must have some light friends who also pack lightly.

NovaBandit1 karma

The FAA definition of an "adult" is 170 lbs. I'm about that, and my wife is maybe 115 fully clothed (when she's not pregnant!). Full fuel is 60 gallons, or 360 lbs, which subtracted from the 1000 useful, leaves us 640 lbs. Minus my wife and I, leaves 355 lbs for rear pax and gear.

Some builders have bumped the gross weight of the plane to 2800 lbs. I'm not sure If I'm up for that, but if I did, that would give me another 100 useful.

If I want to take 4 bigger adults and more luggage, I could leave some fuel out. Full tanks gives me about 5 hours and 1000 miles. Most people want to stop and stretch more often the 5 hours anyways.

LS61 karma

What all is involved in raising the gross on a plane? I always assumed that was somewhat set by design.

NovaBandit1 karma

As an experimental plane, the kit manufacturer has a gross weight that they recommend for the design, but since I'm the actual builder, I can set the number to whatever I want. You would have to demonstrate that you can fly at gross weight during the test flight period. Also, as the plane was designed for the recommended gross weight, it wouldn't be wise to raise it too much.

Some pilots bump it up by 100-150 lbs just to give themselves some breathing room if they are ever ramp checked, and are right near the gross weight.

LS62 karma

Are there testing procedures to verify it can handle it? Any ways to actually increase lift, etc easily? Is it as simple as finding a runway 5-10x what you need to take off, loading the thing up and seeing if you can climb out of ground effect?

NovaBandit1 karma

It's really up to the builder, but I imagine the FAA wouldn't sign off on an airworthiness certificate with a ridiculous gross weight number on it.

JimsApplePie4 karma


How many flying hours do you have?

How much would fuel roughly be to fly from LA to S.Carolina?

Have you ever lost a nut/bolt and needed to spend days in your garage finding it?

Would it be illegal to let your kids help you build it?

NovaBandit1 karma

  • I'm actually a pretty low time pilot with just over 100 hours. I really haven't been able to fly much since building, as it's sucking up all my extra time and money!

  • That would be a ~12 hour flight plus time for stops somewhere around Little Rock and Albuquerque. For gross planning, let's call it 13 hours and 11 gallons per hour = 143 gallons x $5.25/gal = ~750 one way or $1500 round trip, and if you have 4 people in the plane, that's $375/head. That's one good thing about living in the middle of the country! Never really need to do a full coast to coast flight.

  • Not days, but definitely hours! It's usually the tool that I just had in my hand, or the part I just set down that I spend the most time looking for. Sometimes I'll get frustrated enough that I shut off the timelapse, go in the house, and come back out a few minutes later. I normally find whatever it was pretty quickly after that!

  • Not at all! The entire point of the experimental aircraft regulations is for learning. As long as the aircraft is certified airworthy, and I built more than 50% of it, the FAA is happy. In fact the phrase "educational and recreational purposes" is stated in experimental aircraft's airworthiness certificates!

wanttobeacop3 karma

Are you an engineer or something? If not, how do you know how to build the plane in a shape that will make it fly?

NovaBandit5 karma

Nope. Just a computer guy who's kinda handy with tools.

This airplane is actually a kit that is ordered from Van's Aircraft. Most of the parts are pre-cut aluminum. It comes with extensive instructions with big pictures.

This is an example of what the kit parts look like, and the finished product. This is one of Van's 2 place planes:

There are other airplane builders who "plans build". Basically, they order a set of plans, and build almost everything from scratch themselves. You can take it even further... as there are people who design, build, and fly their own planes. I'm most definitely not one of those people!

Arcterion3 karma

Aah, this reminds me of watching A Plane Is Born, in which Mark Evans did pretty much the same. :D

NovaBandit1 karma

Loved that show! I watched it a few years before I ever even considered getting my pilots license, let alone building my own plane!

darthvalium3 karma

Cool! A few questions:

  • How many hours does it take you?

  • How much does it cost you?

  • What skills are required?

NovaBandit5 karma

I currently have around 950 hours in it so far. The RV10 is one of the bigger and more complicated planes to build, and people have reported taking anywhere between 1600 hours to 3000 hours. It really depends on the builder, and the options they choose during the build. One big factor in the time it takes is that Van's offers 2 parts of the kit as a "Quick Build" option; the wings and the fuselage. If you go for those options (which cost more), you can save hundreds of hours of effort.

I declined the quick build option, and am anticipating taking between 2000 to 2500 hours to finish.

Cost will vary greatly due to a number of factors, like:

  • New vs remanufactured engine

  • VFR vs IFR instrumentation (will it be certified to fly on instruments alone?)

  • The fit and finish of the interior

  • What kind of electronic goodies will it have?

Overall the range for the RV10 seems to be in the $120,000 on the very low end, to perhaps up to $250,000 for every bell and whistle you can stuff in. I'll be somewhere in the middle of those two numbers.

As for skills, If you are good at following directions and have even basic handyman skills, it's doable. There is a great community of Van's builders, and a huge wealth of information from other builders on the internet. Chances are if you have a question about how a certain step is performed, someone else has asked the question and the answer is posted somewhere online.

lindoom3 karma

What type of avionics will you use in your panel? I work at a company who make avionics for the experimental market, let me know if you have any questions.

Edit: I won't plug my company but I can answer many questions related to the avionics industry for experimental / LSA market.

NovaBandit2 karma

Awesome! Which company?

The avionics are changing so fast right now, that they will be the last thing I will be purchasing. I'm even thinking of going so far as to paint it before I buy avionics!

As it stands right now, I'm torn between a 3 screen Garmin G3X system (similar to this)

.... Or an Advanced Flight Systems 3 screen setup, with 5600's and a 5500, similar to this:

lindoom2 karma

I work for Dynon. We acquired AFS this year and I am familiar with the G3x systems as well. There are so many considerations when looking at avionics. Will you be doing any IFR flying?

NovaBandit2 karma

Dynon makes some great stuff! I have one friend with an RV10 that has dual SkyViews, and another building one who is planning on dual SkyViews.

I am planning on making this a full featured IFR plane, and when I started looking a few years ago, the SkyView was just a little behind with the IFR features. I was told to look at them again a few weeks ago, and you guys have been busy! Like I said, things are changing so fast, I'll be looking very closely at all the avionics manufacturers before I put a smoking hole in my airplane fund!

Balso3 karma

How do you handle your life around the build? By that, I imagine you work full time and have the wife to pay attention to (also, did I read you have a child on the way? Congrats!) With two young kids, I could't imagine building an airplane without ignoring them (although I dream about it every day...)

NovaBandit3 karma

Great question!

First, my wife is great, and before I started the build, I told her that if at any point she wanted more attention than I was giving her, she would tell me, and no matter what, I would stop working on the plane and spend time with her. She has only played that card a few times, but it solidified in her mind that she was more important than the plane, which she is!

Overall, if you can find an hour or two a few nights a week, an a few hours over the weekends, you can make pretty good progress.

I do have my first child due in a few weeks. I've definitely been spending more of my time getting things ready for the kid, and doing more of the household chores as my wife is, well, 9 months pregnant! I kinda lucked out that I'm pretty much finished with the fuselage kit and am waiting for shipment of the finish kit from the manufacturer in early January, so I haven't had all that much to do over the past month or so.

Balso2 karma

Thanks for replying! I am curious to see how the arrival of your little one will affect the speed of the build. I know my 2 have turned my life inside out! (In a good way, I think :) )

NovaBandit2 karma

I'm curious too!

Only time will tell!

ohcrawford13 karma

Why is it pink?

NovaBandit2 karma

Because I like pink!

Actually, that's just the color of the resin that Van's uses in the fiberglass top.

grovermoveover3 karma

could you sell this plane later? if so what is the re-sell value on a DIY plane?
Also, you should make a 5-10 min video of the total build (if possible). (i was listening to this song while watching some of your videos and thought it fit a time lapse video quite well)

NovaBandit2 karma

Sure, but only I as the builder will have the ability to perform annual maintenance. Anyone who buys it would need an A&P (licensed airplane mechanic) to do the annual inspection.

The resell values are normally between $175,000 to $225,000... and it's not unheard of to sell for more than you invest.

appleswag962 karma

How did you start flying? How as a teenage can i get my pilot license.

NovaBandit1 karma

Start hanging out at your local municipal airport! Since 9/11, airports have gotten much less welcoming, but if you walk into the terminal of a small town airport, there are normally some old pilots sitting around hangar flying. Tell them you are interested, and they will point you in the right direction. Otherwise, every small airport I've been too has a bulletin board with flyers for flight instructors.

Most flight instructors will take you on your first lesson for $50 or so. And that first lesson is loggable flight time!

Also check out

Wisex2 karma

what was your estimate total cost to build it (i.e. permits parts)

NovaBandit1 karma

I'm planning on it coming in between $180,000 and $200,000 all said and done.

squirrelian2 karma


NovaBandit2 karma

You are supposed to choose an airplane based on the "mission" you would be flying the majority of the time. My mission is going to be taking my family (my wife and I, and in a few weeks... child!) to "see the country". So, It needed to be able to hold 4 people, some luggage, be fairly fast, and because of rising fuel costs, as efficient as possible.

There are only a few 4 place kit planes that can actually hold 4 adults, and when looking at some of my other requirements, I came down to a choice between two planes: The RV10 and a Velocity. I chose the RV10 over the velocity as I personally didn't want to build a composite plane (the 10 is mostly aluminum, the velocity is full composite), and the Velocity is a pusher prop plane. This means you really shouldn't land on rougher strips, as the wheels will kick debris into the prop. Pushers also tend to take up more runway, and I'd like to be able to fly into shorter grass strips.

Plus the RV10 has what I think is the best builder support network for any 4 place kit plane, which has been invaluable during the build so far!

adamcr1515152 karma

You do know they make a RTF RV-12, right?

NovaBandit6 karma

I do, but it's a 2 seat 120 MPH plane. I'm building a 4 place 200 MPH plane. Besides, I'm building because I want to, not because I have to. And also because I have to!

gapagos2 karma

How much experience / training do you have with mechanics and when / how did you learn it?

For what kind of weather is your plane suitable? Will you be able to use it in winter in Canada / Northen European countries?

What would the flight range of the plane be, with 3 passengers and with 0 passengers?

NovaBandit2 karma

  • I had exactly zero experience with aircraft mechanics, but I am a pretty handy person. I've done other DIY projects like building a deck, remodeling a basement, and rebuilding a muscle car. The instructions are written in a way where you start with the easy (and cheaper) parts, and you build your skills as you go. There are also "intro to aircraft building" weekend seminars that are available, but I didn't try any. I did however go to an hour "intro to riveting" talk/demo at Oshkosh the year before I started building!

  • This plane will be IFR, meaning I'll be able to fly with reference to only instruments, so through clouds. I will not have deice equipment, so I am prevented from flying into conditions with known icing. So unless it's a thunderstorm, or extremely high winds, or icing conditions, I'll be able to fly.

  • The range of the plane is roughly 1000 miles, regardless of the number of people, as it has the load capacity to carry full fuel with 4 people in it.

gapagos2 karma

So you can't actually cross the Atlantic. Bummer. Do you need special permits if you wish to fly your plane to Mexico / South America?

NovaBandit1 karma

I could cross the Atlantic taking the northern route.

You don't need special permits to fly into Mexico, you just need to coordinate with customs and be on an international flight plan. Not sure about other countries.

In fact, some friends of mine fly down to Baja California in their RV10s every so often and rent a house.

gapagos1 karma

Ah cool... personally I'd love to use that plane to fly all over the world, particularly travel across Peru / Chili / Argentina / Brazil and fly over the Andes and the Amazon. Although if you crash in the Andes, it's GG.

NovaBandit3 karma

Actually, if you are in South America, Brazil has different aviation regulations, and there are a few companies down there that sell the RV10 as a completed airplane. They buy the planes from Vans, build them, and sell them as new planes. They are very nicely done.

olimo122 karma

How long to do you expect it to take you to complete the build? Are you still working a full/part time job or solely focusing on building?

NovaBandit1 karma

How long it takes me depends on how well I'm able to come up with money! If someone gives me a check for the engine and avionics, I think I could be flying by later summer, early fall.

I do have a full time job as a systems administrator, and I do some consulting on the side. I do all my building in the spare time that's left.

sennister2 karma

For now....

NovaBandit1 karma

For now, I have a job? Do you know something that I dont?!?

Or are you referring to the upcoming kid? Regardless, I'll just build with all the spare time I have when I'm NOT needing to pull my wife's car (or truck or tractor or other truck) out of the snowbank!

sennister2 karma

Referring to the mini-you on the way...

We each have our hobbies. Mine is more beer making/motorcycle riding/recovering various wheeled vehicles from my front/back yard. At least that last one keeps me on my toes. Trying to figure out how to recover a 10,000# truck with a 3200# car.

Since I know technically I can't pay you to fly me somewhere. Also I can't technically sell you my beer.... Maybe I could "pay" you for airfare with beer. Of course paid once the trip is complete... That is unless you install that "Easy" button...

NovaBandit1 karma

I think we can work something out. Maybe we'll install a cornelius keg next to the O2 bottle!

sennister2 karma

Not a good idea to try and push beer with O2 or acetylene for that matter.

Note to self... don't mix up the tanks....

NovaBandit1 karma

You mean it isn't FAA approved to breathe beer over 12,500 feet? I'm gonna have to go reread the regs. I might have to rethink this whole project!

53campbell2 karma

Amazing project. I like to restore older cars (1958 MGA, 1976 BMW 2002 and a 1968 Ford Bronco) . It's about all the patience I can muster. Your project is awesome but way way beyond my ADD brain. Make sure you post the maiden voyage! Good luck the remainder of the project!

NovaBandit1 karma


monotonous12 karma

How much does it cost to keep your plane at an airport?

Can you take it out whenever you want and land at any airport?

Are you nervous about taking it on the first flight?

NovaBandit2 karma

  • It can vary greatly depending on the airport and the facilities you choose to rent. It could be $50/month for a place outside on the concrete to tie down, or it could be a hundred or two for an unheated t-hangar, or it could be a lot more at a busy airport with heated hangars with living quarters in them!

  • You can take your plane out whenever you want, weather allowing. You can land at pretty much any airport you want. Even the big international airports, but they can have complex procedures, and very expensive landing fees. Most small airports are free to land at, and you just "show up".

  • Kind of. I may hire a test pilot for the first flight, simply because I don't have a lot of hours as a pilot. I'm also going to be taking "transition training" in another RV10, so I'm familiar with how they fly before I get in my own.

madredr12 karma

Did you buy a tool kit or piecemeal you tools? I'm looking at building an 8 and look at the list of tools and it seems quite intimidating - like "what is that tool for!" and "what does that do?!" Does starting the build familiarize you with the tools, or did you learn from other builders?

I'm pretty mechanically inclined, but sheet metal is completely new to me. Any insight on how to familiarize yourself with the functions of the tools used?

NovaBandit2 karma

I was in the same boat as you. I have a fairly good collection of tools for working on cars and homes, but there were a ton of tools that I still needed for the build. Enough that I ordered a toolkit from Cleaveland Tools. I was able to call them up, tell them the kit I was building, what I already had, and they came up with a great package for me!

Even with the kit and the tools I already had, as you go thru the build, you find additional tools that make the build go smoother. I'm half done, and I'm sure I'm not done buying tools for this build!

As for getting familiarized with the process of building an aluminum plane, Van's offers two different practice kits. One is a small aluminum toolbox, and the other is a small section of flap. The practice kits are designed to utilize a bunch of different construction methods used during the actual build.

Marauder37972 karma

Where do you buy your supplies from?

NovaBandit2 karma

The main structure of the plane and the engine is all purchased from the kit manufacturer, Vans Aircraft. Additional things are ordered as needed from various places, like Aircraft Spruce, and avionics shops.

appleswag961 karma

Is this practical?

NovaBandit1 karma

Depends on your definition of practical.

The initial investment is high, but once your past that, I'll have the ability to fly anywhere in the country at a moments notice, and be able to do it faster and cheaper than the airlines in most cases.

Creshal2 karma

How are the maintenance costs, especially after the first few years? Cars are already expensive in that regard, I can't imagine what maintaining an aircraft engine is going to cost.

NovaBandit1 karma

It's pretty much the same as a car, in that a new plane is pretty much going to need oil changes and maybe sparkplugs. As they get older, parts wear out and need to be replaces, the biggest difference that airplane parts are more expensive.

le_fish14221 karma

Nice, reminds me, I had a friend who's father finished an airplane in their basement, they had to knock down a wall to get it out, and he stores it at a local airfield

Unfortunately I was not there to see it taken out.

How much time does it take to build one yourself? I can imagine it being a really long time.

NovaBandit1 karma

There have been quite a few builders who have build the plane in their basements, and had to remove walls and excavate down to get it out.

Normally, they do this because it's cheaper to do all that than pay for a hangar for the years that it can take to build. And in the end, they now have a walkout basement!

RV10's can take anywhere from 1600 hours to 3000+ hours to build (over the course of 18 months to many years), depending on a number of factors described in other answers.

KGBspy1 karma

My uncle assembled his Lancair 400 in his garage.

NovaBandit1 karma

Lancair's are cool planes, and I briefly looked at the Lancair IV as a possibility. They are FAST. Like 100 kts faster than the RV10. But they're quite a bit more money, and they have had a fairly poor safety record. Not to say that the planes themselves aren't safe, but the faster and more complex the aircraft, the more crashes you tend to see.

VividLotus1 karma

Are you concerned with the accident statistics with regard to home-built planes, and planes that are not professionally maintained?

Also: what types of planes have you mostly flown in the past? On an anecdotal level, I feel like I've noticed a correlation between people who want to build their own planes and people who are into ultralights.

NovaBandit1 karma

I have looked at the safety statistics for experimental planes quite a bit. They do have a higher accident rate than factory built planes, but "Experimental" lumps in many more planes than just "homebuilts". In addition to that, many people are using auto engines and other non-aviation engines in aircraft, which tend to bring up the accident statistics.

The plane I'm building is very much to the Van's plans, and will be using all aviation grade hardware.

I figure that the likelihood of an accident is about the same as if I were riding a motorcycle, except on a motorcycle, you are at the mercy of all the other idiots on the road. In an airplane, 9 times out of 10, the accident is caused by the pilot.

VividLotus0 karma

The particular statistic to which I was referring was with regard to amateur-built aircraft in general, rather than to all experimental aircraft. If I recall correctly, data showed that although amateur-built aircraft were used for only about 3% of total general aviation flight hours on average, 14% of mishaps in general aviation involved one of these aircraft. I can find the citation info for that study, if you happen to be interested.

In all honesty, I would say that my specific concern with home-built aircraft doesn't so much have to do with their home-built nature in and of itself, but rather, with the lack of oversight inherent in any process that de facto (except for the FAA inspection, I guess) just involves one person. If one of my coworkers whose job directly involved aircraft structures designed and built a plane all by him/herself, and also did all the maintenance him/herself, I probably still would be hesitant to fly in it. It just always amazes me how many errors or even just potential minor problems get caught in the process of any aviation product's development, somewhere along the line. There are so many people involved and so much oversight employed when making even a relatively small change to an existing product, and I feel like the involvement of many people is a critical part of the safety process.

At the same time, though, home-built aircraft are how this entire industry got started, obviously, and I could see how they could easily be a good place for innovation to occur, since they are pretty much set apart from the financial and regulatory pressures of the commercial aerospace industry. I hope all goes well with your plane, and happy flying!

NovaBandit3 karma

This is probably the study you are referring to:

If you look at the causes of the accidents, the number one cause of E-AB crashes are from powerplant failure. Like I stated before, I will be using a NEW "certified style" aircraft engine, not an auto conversion or a mid-time rebuilt engine, which I believe is a significant cause to this statistic being so high. The next few leading causes of accidents are the normal things like "loss of control", flying into something hard, taxiing into something hard, or running out of fuel. Most of those are pilot error, and have nothing to do with the fact that it is an amateur build plane.

Everything we do in life is a risk, and what I believe to be the added risk of flying E-AB is tiny compared to the risk of flying a single engine airplane at all.

chamma790 karma

Are you high?

Seriously though I am not sure about private aircraft but when it is ready can you land at commercial airports and fly anywhere. Kinda like a park n fly?

NovaBandit2 karma

Yeah. A private pilot can land at almost any airport. Normally, I wouldn't want to land at someplace like O'Hare, as it's crazy busy and there are huge landing fees. But there are thousands of small public and private (but still open to the public) airports that anyone can land at, and the vast majority have no landing fees. Many even have "crew cars" that are free to use for pilots who fly in and need to run into town.

[deleted]1 karma


NovaBandit1 karma

Many are funded by local municipalities, just like other transportation services, like roads and highways. The FAA also provides funding to many small airports for improvements and operational costs.

Other revenue streams are fuel sales, hangar fees, land leases for private hangars, business space leases...

AprilFoolsGold-3 karma

pls don't fly it into a building..

NovaBandit5 karma

If I did, the building would win.

qdhaley-8 karma

Are you a terrorist?

NovaBandit5 karma

I don't think so.