One down one to go

The RV-7 is officially gone.  A gentleman from southern California bought it and carted it off just yesterday.  What a relief.  So this officially ends my RV-7 log.

Now all I have to do is invest the money in making the RV-4 presentable and put it up for sale.  Then the exercise will be how to keep involved in aviation while staying within the family budget.  It’s a challenge but I’ve always been up for a good challenge.

The RV-7 may soon have a new home

Life has been a litte intense lately so I thought I’d write on a lighter topic.

I have an offer on the RV-7 kit.  The gentleman should be here in a few days with a cashier’s check in hand to pick up the kit.  I am sad to leave the world of Van’s aircraft because I’ve met a lot of really great people along the way.  But in a way I’m excited to enter a new phase of my aviation avocation.  There are new people to meet in this world too.

I’ve enjoyed planning the new aircraft and there are new challenges this time around.  On the other two airplanes the challenge was to incorporate the most state-of-the-art components I could find.  The challeng this time around is to keep costs to a minimum.  This is actually a fun challenge; more an exercise in in what I can do without.  It’s actually been very good for me.  It’s a skill that can help in all other facets of my life.

Of course there is one more step to take before I can get going on the new airplane.  I have to sell the RV-4.  That will be the next big challenge.  I’ll document the preparations and sale in future posts.

Coming to grips with reality

Reality really stinks sometimes but it’s all we have. I’ve come to the realization that I am not going to have the money to finish the RV-7 so I have made a painful decision. I will be selling the RV-7 kit. I will use the proceeds to finish off my RV-4 by having it painted and then I will sell the RV-4 as well. This hasn’t been an easy decision but it is the right decision.

Why? Well, my son for one reason. He is going to be needing some specialized therapy very soon and that costs money. Money that I can’t keep pouring into airplane projects. However, this doesn’t mean my aviation avocation is at an end, I do intend to reinvest some of that money into a lower cost aircraft so that I can continue to fly while not draining my family’s funds by operating an expensive aircraft.

So if anyone knows of someone who wants to get a jump on building an RV-7, send them my way.

For the curious, here is what I am planning on for the next airplane:

Rans S-6S Coyote II

RV-7 Update Christmas 2007

I finally found time to work on the RV-7. Between family, church, and work I have had very little free time. To date I’ve prepped both spars, assembled the skeleton of the left wing and begun to test fit the top inboard and outboard wing skins. This kit is incredible. When I compare the amount of work to get my RV-4 wings to this stage and what I’ve done so far it’s…incredible.

I still have to drill out and redrive some rivets on the right rear wing spar. Once that is done I will begin fitting the wing skins on the right wing. If I were to work on this project every day, these wings would be complete by summer. They go together just that fast. We’ll have to see how much time I actually have to devote to it.

To progress beyond the wing stage I will have to sell my RV-4. Before I do that I will need finish out all the minor squawks that I never have completed. I will devote some time during the annual condition inspection to do this. I’m hoping to paint it just before I sell it. But that will be dictated by finances.


Putting main top skins on.  Held on by clecos.


Bottom of wing view showing ribs.


Obligatory “ribs disappear into infinity” photo.  Everyone does them so here’s mine.

A faithful God

I’m not always faithful to God.  But He is always faithful to me.  The past month has been very trying on a personal level; trials at church, trials at home, trials in the workplace.  There were times where I was thinking some not very nice things.  However, God has shown us His faith and love and a lot of little ways.  A family showing up at my home, singing, and leaving gifts at precisely the time my wife needed to be cheered up.  A good friend giving me workplace advice at precisely the right time.  My wife left her purse in a shopping cart on Christmas Eve in a parking lot frequented by lower income people (one of which, we are) and a good samaritan finds her purse, calls our bank and informs them she found the purse.  She waits until my wife arrives and returns the purse and then disappears asking for no reward whatsoever.

Life hasn’t returned to normal just yet.  But my faith has grown through the last month so much.  Our God is so faithful, and now He’s teaching me to have more faith than ever.  How did I come to be so blessed?

RV-7 Empenage is finished

Well, after several months of on again off again construction I have finally completed the empenage of the RV-7. The empenage is more popularly known as the tail. This is made up of the vertical stabilizer, the rudder, the horizontal stabilizer, and the elevators. There is still some minor fiberglass work to be done but it can and should probably wait until the empenage is mounted to the fuselage. I will be ordering the wings when I travel to Oshkosh next month.


Starting on the Vertical Stabilizer

Yesterday I began work on the vertical stabilizer. Every time I start a new assembly on the RV-7 I am amazed at this matched hole technology. Every hole is precisely where it needs to be and everything just fits. This is so much easier than my RV-4 was. I was able to flute the ribs, cleco the skeleton, cleco on the skin, and final drill all holes to size in just a few hours. This is something that would have taken me at least two days on the RV-4. Below is the end result of the first work session on the vertical stabilizer.

vertical stabilizer

First milestone reached

The first milestone in constructing my RV-7 was reached this week. I completed the horizontal stabilizer. It’s all riveted together. I still have the fiberglass tips to do. I’ll save those for after the elevator and rudder are complete.


Almost done with the horizontal stabilizer

I got to do a good deal of work today on the horizontal stabilizer. I got everything riveted together except for the rear spar. I’ll shoot a coat of primer on that tomorrow and give it a day or two to cure. After that’s riveted on the horizontal stabilizer is done!

The assembly is going together really easy but I still manage to mess up a rivet or two here and there. Here is a photo of a line of rivets. I had to drill out one of them but the rivet had been over-driven so when I drilled through the rivet, it left a portion of the rivet still in the hole. My only option was to drill out the hole to #30 and use an “oops” rivet. An oops rivet has a shop head that is the same size as the other AN425AD3 rivets used on this assembly. But the shank of the rivet is the same size as an AN425AD4 which is one size larger. The upshot is you get to enlarge the hole but once you drive the rivet, it looks the same as all the others.


Looks pretty much like all the other rivets, but if you guessed this one…


You’re right!

Finally more RV-7 work

I started doing a little more on the RV-7 empenage today. First I had to clean up the garage a bit, even though it doesn’t look like it in the pictures. I used a soldering iron to remove some of the protective plastic from the areas on the horizontal stabilizer skin that I will be working on. Then I removed all the plastic from the inside of the skin. Later I started dimpling the holes that I could reach with the pneumatic squeezer. I’ll go back and finish up the rest of the holes using my C-frame and hammer. It’s good to be back in the shop!


Scotty is helping out


Edge holes are all dimpled. I need to go back and catch the interior holes.