Before anything else, thank you for taking your time to read about what I’m doing. The idea is to share my experiences and create a conversation with anyone interested. If I can ask you for anything, it would be for your help sharing what you find interesting (each post has sharing buttons). Also, feel free to write a comment if you have any question, idea, recommendation or just to let me know that you are there, reading!.
Once again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this journey with you,
After assembling and match drilling everything the steps called for dimpling the ribs and skins. I decided to use the main squezer to dimple the ribs in the same way we did back in December when we attendend the Synergy Air class. It was actually pretty straight foward and the results were as expected.
Once I started to dimple the skins, I was getting less than ideal results. After reading the DRDT-2 manual a couple more times, and running some searches on VAF, I came to the conclusion that I had the wrong setup. My holes were under dimpled, adding a little bit of pre-load fixed the issue. After re-dimpling the holes the results were pretty good and consistent.
Machine countersinking the spars and doublers was pretty easy. Just a matter of seting the stops to the right depth, and slowly making my way through every hole. I’ll probably need to add an extra battery for my drill or get anoter one.
After looking at VAF Classifieds for weeks I found two of the tools that I considered a must have: DRDT-2 and Main Squeeze model 22. The first one required a quick trip to Middland, TX, and was quite an adventure to take it to Dallas. The second one was a cool find that a gentleman was selling in South Texas. For everything else I needed to start I gave the awesome people at cleaveland aircraft tools a call, and they customized a kit for me. At the end I basically got everything they offer in their get me started kit, plus some aditions and substitutions I deemed appropiate after taking the fundamentals class at synergyair.
Because I took the time to prepare the ribs, spars, doublers and also build the shims and angles I needed I was ready to start assembling the horizontal stabilizer. The first steps of instructions went pretty fast. I match drilled the structure, and now I’m at the point in which I need to disasamble, debur and get ready to match drill the skins.
The past two weeks I’ve been working on the last few details before I start building. I spent a couple of days making one more table that I should be finishing soon. I also built a small one to install my drill press and grinder.
Regarding tools the idea is to get a basic kit from Cleaveland Aircraft Tool and keep adding more as needed. I’ve been looking around to buy some of the more expensive tools used, and already have a list of what I may add in the near future.
Having the parts home and not being ready to work on them has been a little bit hard :). That’s why at least some preparation has been going on. I started to prepare the front and rear spars, duoblers and ribs. I also fabricated the HS-908L&R. Not a lot, but enough to keep me exited.
Finally after all the prep work I was able to order the empennage sub-kit. It was actually pretty easy and it only took 5 days to arrive from Oregon to Texas. It came packaged in two medium size boxes.
After inspecting the boxes for damage I decided to open them and take a look at what was inside. It is really amazing how all the parts can fit on such a small pair of boxes.
Once everything was out, my wife and I spent around two hours and inventoried the parts. After everything was counted and in order only one small nut was missing. Van’s ask the builder to check the inventory within 30 days of receiving it to make sure that everything is right. If parts are missing they will get them to you.
Everything was put back together, and will be stored in the next couple of days. I’m still waiting on some tools, and working on some small details in the shop before I can start the building process.
Last weekend my wife and I visited Van’s Aircraft and got a factory tour. I did not take pictures as I was enjoying the visit too much :). The tour basically reinforced my decision of building an RV. Everything we saw was perfectly arranged in shelves with immaculate clean floors and equipment, something really nice to see when you are about too put a lot of money into it.
We got to check and sit on the RV-9A, and also on the 7A as she wanted to compare the differences between tilt-up and slider canopies. I read a lot of comments about how the RV-14 is a lot roomier that the 9/7s, but at least for us that is not important as we are fairly normal regarding our size.
Weather did not cooperate with the idea of a demo flight which had to be abandoned, but I still got to buy the preview plans and I have been going through them. I have to admit that they are pretty well done. They may be a little bit confusing at the beginning, but after a couple of times I was able to get the idea of how to read them.
The next day we arrived at the Airport right before 8am, and the class started promptly as scheduled. I have to admit that I had quite high expectations because I wanted to learn as much as possible. I haven’t bought my tools yet, but the information I got from the class allowed me to understand what each tool do, and how to use them making me feel more comfortable about the money I’m going to spend.
We went through the practice kit that Van’s offer. We drilled, deburred, dimpled, countersinked, riveted, removed rivets, made mistakes, fixed them, etc. We learned so much that at the end of the day the decision was made, let’s do it!.
I have to say thanks to our instructor Allen Nelson, and to Vaden Francisco, Synergy’s owner who came to bring us lunch, and check how we all were doing.
In conclusion, this was a really nice experience that I would recommend to anybody who may be interested in building an RV. It gives you the opportunity to see many things and get the confidence necessary to start a project this big.
Our house garage has ceelings high enough to allow me to build some kind of mezzanine on it. After I saw my neighbour’s setup I decided to “borrow :)” the idea and do the same.
It took a quick trip to the orange depot for six 2″x4″x8′, two 1/2″ plywood sheets, 3″ 1/2 contructions screws,four hooks and 6 feet of chain to get everything I needed. I’m pretty happy with the results.
After almost 4 years since I moved and ended without a space to work on the things that I like, my wife and I bought our first home. It has been a pretty scary adventure to put everything we had into it, but we are very happy!.
Once things became more relaxed and I had more time available I started working on how I wanted to organize the garage and my shop. The decision was made to use the left side to build my workbench and place things around it.
A while ago I came across these work tables designed by EAA chapter 1000, and I really liked them. I decided to build something similar but tailored to the space I had available. With some adjustments in height and width I got it to be similar to the workbench my dad has at his place.
I’ve always liked having the tools that I use a lot visible as it allows me to easily find them or check if one is missing. With this idea in mind I also built a “wall of tools” on top of the workbench and I’ve been slowly filling it.
There are some other improvements that I will be making on my garage to be able to organize parts and use as many space as possible. I’ll keep updating the blog with the things that I’m adding once I get them done. If there is anything you may want to know about how I built something please write a comment bellow and I’ll do my best to answer.
In my not too long -or exiting- life as a pilot I’ve flown just a handful of aircraft types. Like many of you all my training has been done on the awesome Cessna 172. I’ve flown the M, N, R, S and SP series with round dials and G1000. For a short period of time I got to fly a Mooney M20E and really enjoyed every minute of it. Also got some time on C-206 and gliders (Ask-21 and SGS 2-33s).
Around 10 years ago I had a conversation with someone who introduced me to the experimental world while talking about how much he wanted to build a Lancair. That conversation remained in my memory, and every once in a while I would do some research about experimental aviation, homebuilts, kits, etc.
Fast forward around 7 years I came to the USA to get my master’s degree at Embry-Riddle, and got to actually get involved in the amazing world of general aviation here. I started attending airshows like Sun n Fun and visiting the infamous Spruce Creek flying Community on most Fridays during the summer to watch residents perform formation flying and such, while just hanging around with awesome people.
At that time I started to play with the idea of building my own airplane. Looking at different options I came across beautiful designs like Rutan’s Vary EZ or the Cozy (you can find a cool story about a “twin cozy” built at my home country here) but even though fiberglass is a proven method to build airplanes I always felt that aluminum was a better option for me.
That decision led me to start looking at other kits, and from a google search I landed at the online mecca of RV airplanes, vansairforce.com. Once I realized the magnitude of the community, the amount of airplanes already built, and all the support around them (not the same, but reminded me of my VW restorations and what thesamba.com meant to me at the time) I knew that If I was going to build an airplane, a Vans Aircraft RV was going to be one of the possible options.
Looking at the different airplanes that Vans offer my first option became the RV-10, a beautiful four seater. There are a lot of nice RV-10s flying already, and I found some amazing blogs and videos of many of them. The more I learned about, the more I liked it, but I also realized that the amount of money needed is a lot more than what I can actually put into it in a reasonable amount of time.
At first that realization kind of frustrated me, but thinking about other options I started to look more in depth into the RV-9A. Even though a two seater, the airplane offers a lot of the things that are part of “my mission” at a lower cost. It is a pretty fast airplane with good performance, and all that can be achieved with a reasonable sized engine. Fuel consumption and operation costs are lower, which in return should help ownership in the long run.
This was basically the journey I went through to finally decide on building an RV-9A. There were many other things that had to happen for me just to be able to seriously consider this project, and I know that many more will need to align to be able to finish it ( if I ever start!).
The idea behind this blog is to keep track of how the build is going. I have played with different ideas to keep track of progress in previous projects, and sadly most of what I shared is not available anymore (my bad). If you are interested in looking at some old things I’ve done, this is a good one!.
I’m at a pretty early stage on this journey, basically just dreaming and researching how it could be acomplished, but with the goal of deciding soon if I could do it or not. Keep checking in, I will share how things are going!.