What does it take to build an RV – really?Virtually no skill is required, as everything a builder needs to know to successfully complete an RV can be learned "on the job," or by carefully studying the builders manual, or by seeking advice from other RV builders, either local or on-line.
A more important requirement than skill is the right frame of mind. Building an airplane requires dedication, commitment, a willingness to learn and the ability to make (and correct) the occasional mistake without throwing a frothing fit or suffering an ulcer. Experienced builders gently counsel people whose personalities demand absolute perfection and microscopic accuracy to seek another project.
RVs have been built by people of every imaginable background and skill level, and currently are being completed and flown at the rate of about one per day. It is a "doable" thing.
How long does it take to build an RV?Based on reports from completed projects, we estimate current Standard Kits will take 1200-1400 hours over 18-24 months. A QuickBuild Kit may cut this by 35% or even more. Actual completion times range from 70 days for a QuickBuild RV-8 to well over 20 years for some early RV-3s and RV-4s. Some of the first kits Van’s sold are not finished yet, but we never give up hope.
The real question is how long will it take YOU to build an RV? This is largely under your control. If you provide yourself with a comfortable and convenient workplace and work in a dedicated and consistent fashion, you have every chance of meeting or even beating the times we quote. For more details go to the Time to Build page.
How much does it cost to build an RV?It is possible to build a simple VFR equipped RV for $45,000. You'll have to do some careful shopping, accept a used engine and forgo expensive items like a professional paint job and high-end avionics, but it's possible. Building costs vary dramatically depending on decisions made by the builder. For an estimate based on your needs and desires, please see the Aircraft Cost Estimator page.
In addition the airframe kit, what else is required to fly?The builder must supply the engine, prop, instruments, avionics, upholstery, and paint. Most of these items are available new from Van's at very competitive prices.
At Oshkosh or Sun 'n Fun, I've seen a partially completed RV in your booth. How does this compare to a QuickBuild kit?Actually, what you saw IS the QuickBuild kit. We have done nothing other than taking it out of the crate and temporarily join a few pieces for display. What you saw is what exactly what you would see if you had a QuickBuild delivered to your shop. For more details, see more on the QuickBuild page.