How much room is needed to build an RV? Can I build the plane in a basement? Is it insured under my homeowners?

Compiled Answers

I'm building an RV-4 in the basement as we speak. I have an approx 15x15'
concrete slab in an otherwise dirt-floored cellar. Builders that I've spoken to
have advised me to think everything through in regards to laying out and
assembling my kit, and that's good advice here too.

IMO, you'll need about 15' for the jig, and room for tools, storage and a bench.

In my case, I'm sure that I can build the empennage and wings in the cellar. I
actually took two sheets of plywood, strapped them together to make a 4x12'
"wing", and made sure that I could move it in and out of my cellar bulkhead.
Right until the end, you'll be building "parts". You might want to try something
similar to see if you can get everything in and out of your basement.

Good luck,

As far as compressor noise goes, my husband was able to put his
compressor in the garage and then run the hose through a hole to
the basement. Certainly a lot less noisy. The noise I do hear
is music to my ears, knowing what the end result will be.

Cathy Lamport
Wife of RV6A Builder
Nepean, Ontario, Canada

Is building the kit in my basement realistic?

Go for it *after* you make *sure* you can get everything out that you
build down there. I would recommend you cut a piece of plywood the
size of the wings, for instance, and get it in and out.

I have a walk-out basement. Makes it much easier. You could also
consider adding an exterior access of some sort, depending upon how
brave you are.

As for the noise -- there is some, but it's not that bad. You squeeze
a lot more rivets than you buck, and most of the rivets you buck, you'll
appreciate your wife's help on, anyways.

You may still want to check with your insurance agent regarding the building
in a basement voiding your house insurance. I don't think it would but
they may be concerned about paint and flamables.

I am insured with State Farm and they told me that under no
circumstances will the kit be covered under the home owners insurance.
They wouldn't touch the project with a ten foot pole and suggested
that I contact a specialized aviation insurance company (Avemco) for
a policy.


Several people have commented that the noise of building an RV is
infrequent and not that bad. I find myself wondering what I'm doing
differently -- it seems like I'm always reaching for the hearing
protectors. It is true that riveting takes a relatively small
percentage of the time, and you can certainly get a quieter compresser
than my DeVilbiss, but there's also noise from:

- Bandsaw
- Grinder/scotch-brite wheel
- Die Grinder with scotch-brite, cut-off wheel, or rotary file
- Dremel tool w/ cut-off wheel or engraving bit
- Drill press/fly cutter
- Compressor
- Jethro Tull

I'm not saying the noise is a problem for me, although it probably
would be if I hadn't taken the time to insulate my garage before
I started. But don't fool yourself, if you have a noise-sensitivity
issue (neighbors, etc.) you may have to deal with it.

Randall Henderson

I am building an RV-4 in our basement. We have a walkout door on one side
and I know it will come out. I started the tail feathers in October and
completed them on Sept. 30th . I am know working in the wings. I am
building both wings at the same time. I think that this is the only way to
go. Right know both wings are in the jigs, both leading edges are done and
the tanks are ready for pro-seal which I plan to do next week. I hope to have
both wings done by the first of the year. This is my first airplane project
and what fun it is. I see that a lot of people are concerned about the nasty
smell that primmers can leave. I am not sure if it is up to code but I
installed a standard box fan in one of the small basement windows then built
a small room approx. 8X10 our of 2X4s and completely inclosed it with plastic
including the ceiling. I then put a standard door and a furance filter in
one of the walls to alow fresh air to get in. It works great. My wife who
smells everything dosen't smell it. One reason I think I have gotten as much
done on my plane as I have in such a short time is because it is in my
basement. If I have only a half hour I will go down and work for that half
hour. It is allways comfortably warm and cool in the summer. I also am able
to have a small TV, frig. VCR, ect. If you can build it in the basement by
all means do it.

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