I ordered the plans for the RV-7 from Vans aircraft last week (11/10/2010). As a little test to check how fast the logistics services from Vans are working, I decided to have them shipped with FedEx.
Surprisingly, two days later, the package containing a binder with preview plans, my RV builders DVD, catalog and the info pack were delivered. That means that they must have shipped the same day as I ordered them.
Wow, that impressed me !
The preview plans that you receive come in A4 format for the textual description of the work method and in A3 for a small version of the plans. It all still seems a little bit abstract as I believe you should have the bolts, rivets and pieces really in front of you to get a good understanding of the construction manual.
The small format of the plans is very convenient as I can take them along on business trips and read them in planes, hotels, automobiles.
Vans delivers the final version of the plans along with the kit that you order. This ensures that you always receive the latest updates of the plans with the kit that you order. The section I'm showing here is a part of the empennage kit (horizontal stabilo).
The main test for me was to try to read and understand the plans and decide whether it would be feasible to start building. I visited Michael in August. He is building a sonex and I had a look at his plans back then. It all looked very complicated to me.The Vans plans look very similar. Now I found out that with little time investment and learning how to see the system behind, they actually are very readable.
A little tip here: When using color coding on the plans with text markers to distinguish between part numbers, rivet types and notes, all suddenly becomes much simpler.