2002/08/20 to 2007/06/09 --- 4500 hours --- 18000 rivets --- one aircraft


Hello and welcome to my site rv8r dot com!

I started this homepage before I even started building my RV4, the Vans Aircraft kitplane this site is all about.

First started as a building logbook, it transformed into a step by step tour through the various stages of building your own aircraft.

Meanwhile the aircraft flew itís first season, and it flew well. My wife's car is back in our garage at home  after 4 years of ĎRVí-occupation, and every now and then I jump into the RV and take her up for a ride and enjoy to fly this outstanding little aircraft, that took shape right behind my livingroom..


I started back in 2002 and sat the following goals:

Time to build: 4 years

Bucks to build: 30.000

Looking back, I nearly completed the AC in 4 years, but exceeded the 30000 Euro goal by far. But it could have been done for that, and this is why not: I never planned to install the two Dynons, EFIS and EMS, but now Iím glad I did. They work fine and give me a lot of information and they save a lot of panel-space, too. The Mode-S Transponder is another story. Not necessary, but a lot of airspaces would have been a no-go area without it. These 3 instruments alone did cost about 8000 bucks. And the story continues, never planned to install the intercom, to buy new wheel-fairings, new wing-tips and so on. Youíll reach the point where nothing is good enough for your project, simply because you have spent so much hours and bucks, that you donít want to compromise at all.

If you think that building your own aircraft saves a lot of money, youíre wrong! Go for a good Cessna 152 and go flying. If you think you will get a lot of money someday, selling your pride and joy, youíre wrong! A good RV4 sells for 60.000$, an outstanding one will never exceed 80.000, and a well-used one will go for 40.000. The 7 and 8 are higher, but they hardly exceed 100.000. So, start calculating: The kit, engine, propeller, instruments, wiring, paint, upholstery and all that essential stuff quickly adds to some 60.000 $, if you are able to resist the constant-speed-full-glass-IO360-andsoon-bug. If not, add another 30.000Ö..OK, you see, that in best case youíll get back the money you spend, but your work was for free. So, why the heck are people all over the world bucking rivets, burning midnight oil and working hard? Why going the hard way, instead of buying a ready to go second hand RV? Because they are enthusiasts, dreaming the age-old dream of building their own aircraft.

There is, of course, another way to reach the goal: Hire someone to build your A/C. OK, you'll spend 50.000 bucks more to get it done, but you'll have an outstanding construction, outperforming the industrial spam cans, and saved some bucks, compared to certified ships, too. Of course, those "wannabe-builders" did not get any honours from me and should be outlined in every way! There should be another decal right beside the EXPERIMENTAL one: "I substituted perseverance with money", or something like that...For example there is an RV9 "builder" here in Germany, who tells everyone that he has finished his project in 3 month. How ridiculous is this? Do the math, 90 days, 10 hours sums to 900, only possible if you are on steroides and without any family around, but nontheless, it won't fly after 900 hours... If someone tells you this kind of story, laugh at him and walk your way, he's a jerk and you should handle him like that! It has never been the sense of homebuilding to hire some guys and get it done in Lithuania or wherever.

The Germans say: You are sawing the branch on which you're sitting....Don't give the authorities the ammo too shoot. Do you think the big companys like Cessna really like the homebuild movement?? Or would they prefer to sell their own products instead?? There are enough people who'd like to regulate homebuilding to death, so think twice before you decide to give your project in other hands. Yes, it is better to hire someone instead of building without knowledge and poor craftmanship, but for those people there is the market of used Experimentals, some nearly brandnew with 100 hours on the hobbs. The actual kits are so much better than the RV4-kit this site is all about and you even can buy quickbuilt-kits, there is no reason to hire a gun. If you want to have an RV, the heck, do it by yourself!!!!! It's OK to get some initial help at the beginning, but try to do it by yourself most of the way! Those bulider-assist-hire-some-mexicans-to-get-it-done-guys also get their Purple Heart at Ebay....Sorry, had to let some steam off :o)


The difference between men and boys is just the price of their toys.  Heard that before, right?

The difference between builders and buyers: Proud craftmanship! The others: just flyers :o)

Some decisions in life are bare of any obvious logic. Believe me, thereís nothing near to fly an aircraft that only exists because you decided it has to!

Your life won't be the same after you have started a project like this. Think twice about spending that much time and money for it. (And make shure your wife will support it...) What makes building your own aircraft so expensive??? AIDS. (Aircraft Induced Divorce Syndrom) No, I'm still married....

If you've made your decision: Congratulations, welcome to the amazing world of experimental
homebuilt aircraft.


Bohlsen, Germany. January 2008