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Joe Graham's Online RV-7 Builder's Log

My Dream Project...

Van's Prototype RV-7

Image from www.vansaircraft.com

Welcome to my website. I'm building an RV-7. It's a two-place, aluminum and steel aircraft kit sold by Van's Aircraft.

This Website serves a number of purposes, the primary being a convenient place to record my activities as an aircraft builder. The FAA likes for builders of experimental (homebuilt) aircraft keep a builder's log to document progress and participation. Additionally, this site will be a place where others can check up on my progress from time to time, and where I can occasionally look back and see how far I've progressed... or not.

Vans sold 2600 RV-7/7A kits prior to mine, so there are a lot of folks building these airplanes. That's good, because it means there are a lot of others who have learned the hard lessons before me. Hopefully, I can benefit from their "experience", while minimizing my own pain; though I'm expecting my share of "DOH!" moments.

From the image above you can see why this craft is so popular, even before looking at the performance specifications.

For now, I plan on building the straight RV7, which is the "taildragger" version. (There is also a 7A which has tricycle gear). I am leaning toward the tilt canopy (tilts forward) versus the sliding canopy option. There are a number of pros and cons for each, so that decision may change over time, we'll see.

This Website serves a number of purposes, the primary being a convenient place to record my activities as an aircraft builder. The FAA likes for builders of experimental (homebuilt) aircraft keep a builder's log to document progress and participation. Additionally, this site will be a place where others can check up on my progress from time to time, and where I can occasionally look back and see how far I've progressed... or not.

I am building this airplane with the assistance of my whole family. My daughter, however, has expressed great interest in helping with the project. She loves "getting her hands dirty" on any kind of building project. I don't think she knows what she's in for, but I have bestowed the title "Head Assistant" upon her.

My goal as of this moment is to have the craft flying by the time my head assistant leaves home, for college, in some two and a half years from now. That certainly seems like a reasonable time to finish based on what I've seen from other builders' sites. Although, it could easily take longer. I guess time will tell.

But enough of the intros. The following links provide information on the project as it has progressed to date.

Preparation Phase

12-19-05 - The First Days

01-17-06 - The Shop

02-05-06 - Sheet Metal Class

Building The Horizontal Stabilizer

02-20-06 - The Empennage Begins

02-24-06 - Horizontal Stabilizer Starts

03-14-06 - Match-Drilling the Horizontal Stabilizer

03-25-06 - Assembling the Horizontal Stabilizer

03-26-06 - More Horizontal Stabilizer

04-02-06 - Finishing The Horizontal Stabilizer


Building The Vertical Stabilizer

05-21-06 - Starting The Vertical Stabilizer

06-03-06 - Assembling The Vertical Stabilizer

06-06-06 - Finishing The Vertical Stabilizer


Building The Rudder

06-07-06 - Starting The Rudder

06-18-06 - The Rudder Skeleton


Building the Elevators

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