Build your own airplane kit

Van's Aircraft
January 9, 2021 – 04:31 pm
Build your own airplane kit by crafts4kids |

RV kits provide all the parts to build a complete airframe. The builder must provide the engine, instruments, propeller, avionics and upholstery. All RV kits have been reviewed by the FAA and have been found eligible for licensing in the Experimental Amateur Built category. This means that the fabrication work we do on the kit parts is less than 50% of the total required to complete the aircraft, and that at least 51% of the work remains for the kit builder.

All RVs, whether built from a Standard or a QuickBuild Kit, are built from the same parts. The difference is the degree to which these parts have been pre-assembled when the builder receives them. If the builder has a little more to spend, and wants to fly even sooner, then the QuickBuild Kit is an excellent value.

The Standard Kit is perfect for the builder who enjoys the process and is working on a limited budget. Please visit the Standard page for more information on the Standard kits.

QuickBuild Kits

So, the RV is exactly what you’ve been looking for since you were drawing on your third grade workbook cover. But now you have a family of your own, and a job with responsibility. There are soccer games, household duties and vacations….time is precious. Spending 1800-2000 hours in the shop is going to be difficult.

How would you like to hire a team of experienced experts, with over a thousand completed RV airframes on their resume, for twenty-five weeks, eight hours a day? Click on the photo to view a larger version.

They will build the first half of your kit, jigging and riveting about 75% of your metal airframe. They will do all the messy jobs, like sealing the fuel tanks and priming to protect against corrosion. They never leave a mess, make no noise, don’t need insurance and never want to use your bathroom. When they leave, you will have only 800-1200 hours of work to finish the airplane.And they work for about eight dollars an hour!We don’t know anybody like that either, but we can tell you how to get the result: Order a QuickBuild Kit.

Van’s QuickBuild Kits will cut building time for the RV-7/7A, RV-8/8A, or RV-9A by 35-40%. The complete QuickBuild Kit consists of a Standard Empennage and Finish kit, but the big difference is that the Wings and Fuselage arrive largely complete! You can pry open the crate, set the QB fuselage on the floor, toss in a cushion off the couch, climb in and be making airplane noises the very first day.

Even though QuickBuild Kits look like complete airframes when they come out of the box, the FAA has recognized them as meeting the "51% rule." Almost 1600 QuickBuilds have been delivered, and hundreds have been completed and flown in several different countries, including Canada, Australia and the UK.

Let’s look at a QB kit in more detail. All RVs are built from the same parts, and all those parts are manufactured at Van’s factory in Aurora. QuickBuild Kits are assembled at a company called Famous Secret (FS) in the Philippines, from parts supplied by Van’s. The skilled craftsmen at Famous Secret have been assembling Van’s QB Kits for more than twenty years and it shows in the quality of the aircraft delivered to Oregon.

Click on the photo to view a larger version. Each kit is inspected before it leaves the overseas facility. Several kits at a time are placed in specially designed shipping cradles, loaded into container, and put on a ship to Oregon. When a container of QB kits arrives, each is carefully unloaded and inspected again. The wings are immediately crated and the fuselage placed on pallets and stored in a large rack. When it is time to fill an order, the fuselage is taken down, filled with the parts and materials to complete the kit and placed in a large crate. When the truck arrives, both crates are gently loaded and within a few days a small crew of excited RV builders is prying the crates apart…carefully!Opening the smaller crate reveals a set of wings, completely riveted except for one outboard main skin. The fuel tanks are complete and pressure tested, the leading edge is attached and three of the four main skins are flush riveted. The builder must drill and rivet the one remaining skin, install the control pushrods and blind rivet the composite wingtips to the outboard end. The ailerons and flaps are assembled and attach to the wing with a few bolts and a hingepin. We estimate that a builder working two hours an evening and a long Saturday can complete a wing to flight status in a week.In the large crate is the fuselage, and it is even more impressive than the wings. The basic structure is complete, resulting in something that looks like a rigid, streamlined aluminum canoe. All the mounting points for the wings, tail and landing gear are finished, the tailcone skins are installed, the firewall is complete. The exact details differ with the aircraft model, but in general, the builder finishes the inside of the cabin and baggage compartment(s) and installs the skins just forward and aft of the canopy.On the side-by-side airplanes, the QuickBuild Kit can be finished as either a tri-gear or a tailwheel airplane, with either the tip-up or the sliding canopy. On the RV-8/8A, the landing gear decision must be made before the kit is ordered.

After the wings are finished, and the fuselage is nearing completion, it is time to order the Finish Kit – which is exactly the same for either the Standard or QuickBuild kits.

FAQs on QuickBuild Kits

How big are the crates?
The QB kits come in BIG crates (see Crate Sizes and Weights below) so be prepared with lots of help when the truck arrives.

Do I need more work space for a QB?
You will eventually need the same space as you would with a Standard Kit, but you need more space sooner. Better get the garage completely cleaned out before the kit arrives.

Can I have the QB shipped directly to me and save on shipping charges?
No. International shipping and bonding regulations require that the assembled QB kits be delivered to Van’s before delivery to the customer. It may seem silly if the kit is eventually destined for Australia, for example, but trying to step outside these regulation results in great complication and a huge increase in costs. Returning all the kits to Van’s...

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