Iím a happily married software guy who has always wanted to build an airplane. Over the years, I have read a few kitbuilder's books, and I have picked-up the occassional kitbuilder's magazine. From this casual reading, it was pretty clear that building an airplane would take a long time, and a lot of work, so I never did seriously look into actually building a kit. I knew that I would never finish an airplane.
Anyway, one day, I was at the mall, waiting to go to the movies, and I picked-up a copy of Kitplanes magazine to occupy my time. A month later, I had a subscription, and pretty soon, I was seriously thinking about building an airplane. I looked at all of the Homebuilt websites on Landings.com during my lunch hour, and Vanís RVs were everywhere. Apparently, he has some sort of Air Force. I was still not commited, because I had always heard that the start to finish ratio was about 10 to 1, but I could dream.
In June (2003), I went on a cruise, and one of the guys at our table happened to build RVís for a living. I thought that was a pretty cool occupation, and I couldn't help but talk about planes every night. I think this kind of pushed me over the edge towards really thinking about actually building.
There are a lot of things that are really great about building your own airplane. First, there are virtually no production aircraft that will do 200 mph for less than $100,000. Certainly, there are no new ones for under $400,000. Second, most of the GA aircraft are using really old avionics technology, and there is not a lot that you can do about it for less than 15-20 big ones ($$$). And probably, the best thing about being the builder of an airplane is that you get to legally be the maintainer of the airplane.
After the cruise, I went back and read just about everything on Vanís website. Next thing, I ordered their video, which really impressed me, because it showed-up in just three days. Two days later, I was ordering the Empennage Kit. Hey, it was a weekend, and I had to wait until Monday, so I could call Vanís to make sure I was doing the order correctly. I told my wife that I was going to order the kit, but when she got back from Houston, she was not happy. I guess she didn't believe me (she knows I never finish anything).
So, now I'm building an airplane. Actually, not just an airplane, but an RV-7A. That's an RV-7 with a nose wheel--hey, my wife might want to fly it.
Vanís site says you can take a ride in an RV at their factory in Aurora, Oregon. They call it the $30,000 ďfree ride.Ē Well, I don't know nothing about no plane ride, but I'm pretty sure that $16 video tape that he sells is going to cost me a whole lot more than $30,000. Maybe I'll get that plane ride next year.