Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

House on the Rock


by Brian Friday, December 13, 2019

My friend Greg has wanted to go see 'The house on the rock' for a while and asked if I would fly him up to Wisconsin to check it out. Of course I was ready for adventure, so we jumped in and went over a weekend. I didnt know anything about this place going into it, but boy was I pleasantly surprised! This place was really eclectic and fascinating and I would highly recommend anyone to go check it out. We flew into Madison and enjoyed some beers and lunch, then we went to a bar for a drink before checking into the hotel. We went out to a nice steak dinner and had too much to drink and fortunately had a nice short stagger back to our hotel room, which was close by. The next morning we set off early after a really amazing buffet breakfast as the Marriot. We got a Lyft ride out of Madison, which would turn out to be a logistical nightmare, since we ended up getting stranded with no ride back. 

We toured the HotR for like 3 or 4 hours and it was really fun and each new turn lead to unexpected surprises. We managed to get a $140 taxi ride back into Madison with a [hopefully] ex-Russian mafioso guy. He was quite the character and we talked the whole ride back. We jumped in the adventure machine and fought our way around weather and made it back home late at night. I had a really smooth night time landing, which is always satisfying. I love night time flying because of the chill radio chatter, smooth air, and starry night sky. Another adventure in the books!

 

 

B2 Stealth Bomber


by Brian Friday, December 06, 2019

We met a really cool guy at Oshkosh, nicknamed Smash, who is a pilot/trainer for the B2 Stealth Bombers out of Whiteman, MO. A couple months ago we got invited to come tour the Air Force Base and check out the bombers! Poor Brandi was sick so she was a last minute scratch. Lucy and I departed on a pleasant 3 hour trip and met up with other friends who were all descending on the area for the tour. We ate some lunch on base and then we got busy at one of the most amazing tours I've done. The bombers are way bigger in person than you would imagine. They only produced around 22 or so and as a result they are rare, expensive, and super secretive. We got to go into the cockpit though and it was SUPER RAD. We ooohed and ahhhed at it for like an hour and asked tons of questions. It was really cool to see the precision in the design of the aircraft. Next we got to go over to the simulator, which was a full sized hydraulic actuated realistic cockpit. We got to fly around pattern and take turns landing. It was a thrill! The real challenge was the fuel tanker refilling. Wow is that hard. I've done a tiny bit of formation flying and there are guys who make it look easy, but it really isnt without tons of practice. There were similarities with formation flying and refueling, however with the margins were the size of a dinner table so once out of the pocket thats it, its a fail and you start over. The guys training had to hold solid for 15 minutes!! What!jQuery152019362268960330953_1577803281648 The best of us did about 29 seconds after many attempts lol. It was a great time and a really neat learning experience. 

It had been a long day up to this point with all the travel and touring. Lucy was very well behaved and loved playing with EJ and Dash, who are her age. We all headed over to Smash's house and had a really nice dinner and a couple beers while letting the children all play together, including Smash's son and daughter, who were also the same age as the Lucy crew. Everyone had a really great evening with new and old friends. We headed back into town and slept like a rock at the hotel. The next morning we were up early and got a little exercise in then enjoyed breakfast with the gang. We hung out in the quaint downtown area a bit, went back to Smash's house for a while, and then headed home.

It was a quick trip but action packed and we are so grateful to have good friends and amazing opportunities to see and learn new things. 

Creighton Island 19


by Brian Saturday, October 12, 2019

We had another wholesome and awesome time again at Creighton Island. The RAF had a fly-in organized to help work on the field, and so with my mom in town from AZ, I scooped her up along with Lucy and the three of us went down to the island. The flight was great, but my landing wasnt so great. Lucy managed to sleep through some bouncing down the runway, which was impressive lol. I love landing at Creighton because its got tall trees on either end and is fairly short so you have to come in just right. I came in nice and slow and dropped the nose once over the trees, but I bled off too much speed without adding in some power. Perhaps a more stable approach instead of dropping it in is a better technique. Gives me something to do better for next trip!

We got in late in the afternoon on Friday and setup camp along with all the other pilots and friends. We were delighted to see Eric and his Dad, Gary, again and we made some new friends as well. We enjoyed some dinner and hanging out with everyone and then called it a night so that the work could start early the next day. On Saturday we worked on clearing some trees from the edges of the runway and filling in some holes that the cows like to dig. I got to run the tractor, which was really fun! I got pretty good at it I think, especially considering it was my first time. After the day of work a few of us guys took a dip in the cool water to rinse off. It was brisk but refreshing!

Lucy got to drive a little tractor, which she super loved and wanted to do over and over. She probably had accumulated an hour of driving time on that thing lol. We enjoyed good food and fellowship and even were treated to a shrimp boil courtesy of Frank! Frank blew our minds with a card trick and we had some bourbon and beers and had a great evening.

The next day I helped Eric install a weather station in the tower, which is going to help provide good info for pilots in the future. We drove the tractor around some more. It was time to head home after yet another great adventure! 

After school "up downs"


by Brian Thursday, August 15, 2019

I picked up Lucy from school yesterday and we drove to the airport to check the Dynon autopilot pitch servo against a service bulletin that has come out. Thankfully, our model was not impacted, so no action needed.

Lucy said she wanted to go flying and with a huge grin said "Since Mom isnt with us, we can do the up downs right?" Yes! Yes we can! The tower cleared us for take off and I looked over at Lucy and nodded at her while queuing her mic. She shouted into the mic "CLEAR FOR TAKEOFF". The lady at the tower gave us a "woohooo" and off we went. Outside McCollum airspace, we pulled the nose nearly straight up with a modest 2G or so load. Lucy squealed with delight and kicked her little legs with excitement. Then I pushed the nose over and we started to go weightless and she started to get very concerned and have second thoughts. I let off a bit and the conflict of fear and joy within her was fun to watch. I told her it was ok and she said it was scary but she loved it and she wants to do it again. So we did again, and again, and a bunch more times, and finally I had to tell her no more because we were almost at Pickens County airport to get fuel and we can do more 'Up Downs' on the way back. 

We landed, got some fuel, and chatted with a nice guy who owned a red and white Cessna 172 on the field. Next, we went into the FBO because Lucy was hungry for a snack. Inside was a cute little dog named Bella, who was a 12 year old terrier mix. Lucy scratched Bella's back and they both became best friends. The nice old man at the FBO who owned Bella let us have a snack on the IOU system, since I didnt have any cash on me. Lucy ate peanut butter crackers as we sat on rocking chairs on the front porch of the FBO. I told Lucy while we were there rocking away and looking out at the airport and mountains that this was the good stuff of life. I know she was enjoying herself, but she couldnt fully appreciate how great an afternoon of flying and porch rocking chairs really was without the perspective of the rat race for a few decades. 

We took off from Pickens and headed for home. Lucy whined that she didnt want to go back yet, but we had a ton of fun doing some more maneuvers and she got to fly us around some rain clouds that were blowing in from the West. As we were turning base to final she decided she wanted to grab the stick because she was upset we were landing and she was going to fly us more. I had to scold her severely to never touch the controls or distract the pilot when we are landing. It was a good lesson and I told her if she keeps practicing I'll let her fly more. I look forward to it immensely. 

Oshkosh 2019 & Ohio


by Brian Thursday, July 25, 2019

Brandi is working on a trip write up for this. Stay tuned! 

 

 

Arizona 2019


by Brian Saturday, June 22, 2019

A nice morning flight


by Brian Monday, June 17, 2019

I went flying with a co-worker friend, Wayne, who had not been in a small plane before. We had a blast flying low over Lake Lanier, checking out the North Georgia Mountains, and just generally cruising around having fun! We even did a touch and go at Lumpkin County, which is always a fun airport to land at due to its small size and interesting approach. 

 

Falcon Fly-In


by Brian Saturday, May 18, 2019

The annual Falcon Field (KFFC) fly-in this year was a big deal, as always, for this very active community of pilots. There was a huge young eagles schedule, a BBQ and raffles by Aircraft Spruce, and an after party with Mexican food and drinks. All around a great time with great people. One of the highlights for me this time around was I signed up to do young eagle flights. This is something I've wanted to do for a while but I've always been hesitant or the timing was bad. It was a blast! I flew 6 kids and 2 parents and they all seemed to really enjoy it. I told them the only rule was they wern't allowed to kiss the ground when we got back cause it would make me look bad :) The parents were over flowing with thanks and the kids were glowing with excitement before and thankfully after the flight too! It was very rewarding and something I'll definitely do again in the future. 

Washing planes and strafing trains


by Brian Sunday, April 28, 2019

With the Annual inspection behind us for the year, it was a great time and perfect weather to wash the airplane. I gathered up some wash supplies, snacks, drinks, and little Lucy along with some roller blades she just got as a gift. We flew over to LZU, which was a pleasant 10 minute flight away, in order to use their wash station. We enjoyed a sunny 75 degrees with a slight breeze and and nothing else going on the entire day. It was a perfect day for aviation. Lucy helped me wash for about the first 20 minutes, which is about as long as I thought a 5 year old would last. I strapped roller blades on her and she had fun skating around the area for a while.

After finishing up washing, the plan was to grab some lunch at the restaurant on the field. We taxied over, but sadly, it was closed! That's ok, we set off for Covington Municiple, KCVC, because they were known for good fuel prices and we could deal with lunch a bit later. As we approached Covington, I overflew the field to enter the downwind. I noticed Xs on the runway! Oh no, the runway was closed. I obviously didnt check the notams. This was just an easy going Sunday VFR day, so no worries, we turned 180 and headed to Winder, since they had a restaurant on the field that was pretty good.

On our way to Winder Lucy spotted a train. She said it was going fast and I said "Oh ya, watch this" and we swooped down and overflew the train and got a great view of it as I tipped my wing towards it so Lucy could see it really well. It was a thrill for us both. Then we climbed up high and did some oscillations to do some fun zero-G. Lucy loves that. 

Lucy and I continued on and landed at Winder to discover the restaurant had been closed for quite some time! How long had it been since I've been there last.. a couple years maybe? Bummer! Oh well, this was easy flying VFR Sunday, so we just strolled on home and got a sandwich from Jimmy John's on the way home. It was a great day for aviation, despite our plans not going exactly as intended. 

St. Patricks 2019


by Brian Thursday, March 21, 2019

The whole fam piled into bubbles and off we flew in some nice afternoon skies to attend the St. Patricks Day party at Falcon field with our squadron buddies. Great food and company as always! 

 

We've been dragging lucy along to these Falcon field parties for several years now :)

Key Largo


by Brian Sunday, October 21, 2018

A few buddies and I were talking about how long since it has been since we've gone scuba diving, so we decided to fly down to Key Largo and enjoy the ocean while it was still a pleasant temperature. There were 5 of us and we lucked out because Luke was already going to Orlando for a business thing and he became the mule for a lot of our scuba gear. We were able to offload a big chunk of weight so the four of us flying in the RV10 with full fuel and a little baggage was just right. We were going to fly non-stop to Homestead(X51) but were tempted by really cheap fuel prices out of Everglades Airpark (X01) just a quick hop nearby, so we went there first. The little community at Everglades was really neat looking from the air. 

We rented a mini van and a really cool AirBnB house to stay at. The first night we played cards, had strong drinks, and had a really fun guys night, which is a rare treat for this parent of a 4 year old. We enjoyed Kayaking the canals of the neighborhood, which had gorgeous homes. We did 4 scuba dives over two days with a dive shop we have used before, Silent World, and it was excellent. The first day the swells were rather large at 5-6 feet and 3 of my buddies puked overboard, which was highly likely exacerbated by the bourbon the night before. The diving was fun as always and we saw a bunch of neat stuff typical of that area including sharks, barracuda, eels, lobsters, tons of corals and etc. It had been a couple years since I last dove so it was really awesome getting out there again. 

We ate out a couple times, but mostly we all pitched in cooking gourmet meals. Justin is a hell of a cook and was the master mind on most of it. The last night we had a crab leg and shrimp feast with risoto arancini, roasted corn with some type of delicious sauce that I cant remember the name of, broccoli, and of course a few more strong drinks :) We ate very well the whole time. 

The fun was over and it was time to get back to normal life. We enjoyed a great view of ATL with clear skies and clearance to go over the top of Hartsfield Jackson at 4500'. Another great adventure in the books!

Show Low, AZ surprise party


by Brian Monday, September 17, 2018

My Granny turned 80 this year and a bunch of the family went out to Arizona to throw a surprise party for her. We stopped in Los Alamos, NM along the way and really enjoyed visiting the city notorious for its secret development of the Manhattan project. The city was quaint and the people all seemed nice.

In Show Low we rented a beautiful and large log cabin, big enough to fit the entire family, and surprised my Granny with an awesome party and several days of hanging out. It was perfect. We stopped in Austin, TX on the way home to visit with my friend Lee for a couple days. 

 

Brandi is going to write up more on this trip, but I wanted to jot down some highlights in the meantime. 

Dog Island Beach Trip


by Brian Monday, August 27, 2018

Since last week Lucy has been asking to go to the beach several times. I'm not sure where she got it in her mind that she wanted to visit a beach - perhaps an activity at school, or a friend has been talking about it, or who knows. It took me a couple days, but then I realized, hey why not? Its an hour and a half away in the adventure machine, so lets do it! 

Lucy sat up front with me and Sunday morning around 9am we departed Kennesaw, GA for Dog Island, FL (FA43). It was a pleasant flight at 10.5k feet with a mild 8kt tailwind. I didnt bring any electronics or toys to keep Lucy occupied, so we did entertainment the old fashioned way and practiced counting to 100 and played other games, like hide and seek (seriously). She drew on some of my IFR sheets with a pen and she even asked if I wanted her to sing some songs for me. The 'are we there yets' started about 45 minutes into the 90 minute flight. "See that huge cloud out there?" I said. "When we get to that cloud, thats when we'll land at the beach." That finally satisfied her and gave her something more tangible than a number of minutes or nautical miles. There was a huge towering thunderstorm cell about 10 miles downwind of our destination that I was watching like a hawk. It wasnt going to be an issue so we pressed on. 

We circled the island, buzzed the 2700' grass strip, then came in for a nice smooth landing. The field condition was good. A little bumpy like grass tends to be, but in good shape. We turned off to parking and jumped out and started getting ready to walk about 100 yards to the beach. I had specifically chosen a field that car rental, and all that, wasnt going to be necessary. We paid a $10 requested maintenance donation into a locked box after running from mosquitoes the size of bumble bees that were swarming us near the high brush near our plane. Fortunately the breezy beach was 100% bug free and the weather and water were absolutely perfect. The beautiful white sandy beach was pristine. We met some Sikorsky S92 pilots when we first got there, but otherwise we enjoyed the entire beach to ourselves the whole day. It was the heli pilots first time at the beach too. They had rented a boat and were walking down the beach with one of their sons. 

I pointed out a crab and Lucy poked at it with her finger a couple times not believing it was real. It sprung out of the sand and scurried about 3 feet over and glared at her. She squealed with delight. We swam in the ocean and I was really hoping she wouldnt be a wuss about the light seaweed, or the waves, or any number of things she could be a baby about. She was a trooper and brought a huge smile to my face when she kept asking to go out deeper and deeper into the ocean, all the meanwhile waves occasionally smacking into us and salty ocean water wetting our faces. I had to do what I call the 'marine rifle' procedure to her a couple times when we were playing in the water. I held her up out of the water while I held my breath and waited for the wave to pass. The waves wernt strong but I was trying to ride them on my back with her riding on me like a surfboard, without much success I might add. She was a champ the whole time and we had a blast. She chased birds down the beach, ate snacks, and we enjoyed a nice deli sandwich we picked up at the store before we left. Lucy drank her special kiwi strawberry carbonated (sugar free) beverage, which may have been one of the highlights of her trip. She doesnt usually get anything besides water or milk, so this was a special treat for her, which also kept her hydrated. Pound for pound she probably drank the equivalent of me drinking about a 2 liter. I kept pestering her to be careful not to get sand in the drink, but I'm convinced she drank about a quarter teaspoon of beach sand. 

After a few hours of fun in the sun, we packed up and ran through the field to our airplane to minimize mosquito exposure. There was no one around to see it, but I bet it was a hilarious spectacle with me running towards the airplane shouting at Lucy to keep up and we have to keep moving. I slung our backpack and mostly sand free towel in the baggage compartment like bears were chasing us. I tend to overreact to mosquitoes because I hate them so badly. We quickly jumped in and I closed the door. It was so hot. "Daddy, I cant breath," Lucy fussed. We cranked up the airplane and quickly took off in about a 1300 foot per second climb up to 11,500 feet where the air was a nice 48 degrees. The cool air felt incredible. Lucy was asleep before we even made it past 6,000 feet. Wore out from our beach trip, she was in a deep sleep that I wished I could join her on. I put on an audio book and enjoyed a nice flight back home. We lived happily ever after.  

RV10 Cost of Ownership


by Brian Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Over the last 4 years we have averaged $12k per year on all expenses for our RV10. This includes Fuel, Hangar, Insurance, and Maintenance. This is for an average of 82 hours flying per year. This comes out to about $147 per hour without factoring in any money set aside for engine overhaul one day in the far future. It's startling how much we spend on hangar rent, but the options are limited around here if we want to be within 15 minutes of the plane. One of these days we'll end up at an airpark and roll that hangar cost into a house. 

RV10 Cost of Ownership

Pete's RV10


by Brian Monday, July 30, 2018

I meant to post this a while back, but better late than never. My step child, N814PD, recently got a paint job. I went up to Cartersville to help disassemble it for painting by the masterful Don Smith. I put in probably 500 hours finishing the panel and airframe on this bird so its great to see her get all prettied up. 

 

Pete is also my hangar mate so now there are two beautiful RV-10's in there :) 

Kyle's RV10


by Brian Monday, July 30, 2018

Our friend Kyle lives 5 minutes down the road from us. He was one of our Tech Councilors while we were building. He has had an RV6 for over a decade. Periodically I go over and help him with his RV10 that he is building. Its been great seeing such quick progress and also the very high quality build that he is doing. Recently was the exciting event of working on the airplane in the drive way, which causes neighbors to stop and check it out. Kyle was fitting the wing root fairings and the gear leg fairings. I'm excited for him to be flying soon!

 

Here are some shots of other stages of his progress.

 

BuilderLog


by Brian Saturday, July 28, 2018

Brandi is launching a new BuilderLog app and I'm so excited! She is a software developer and is building an awesome app that will work on iPhone, Android, and website. Builders will easily be able to log their build while in the workshop and have their progress sync up with the website. Check it out: https://GetBuilderLog.com 

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/builderlog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/builderlog/

AirVenture 2018


by Brian Saturday, July 28, 2018

Ohio Trip with Lucy


by Brian Tuesday, July 10, 2018

I have good friends who live in Ohio and Lucy and I went to visit them this past weekend. Lucy had a blast and even got to ride up front for the whole trip there and back. She even got to fly a bit, which she loved!

Creighton Island


by Brian Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ever since building the RV10 it has been on my bucket list to do awesome camping trips with the plane. When Lucy came around, that desire was amplified, as I have great memories of camping as a kid. I went looking for fields suitable for camping and stumbled across a website that had exactly what I was searching for. TheRAF.org is an amazing organization, which I ended up joining! More on that later. I found Creighton Island as a possible destination and arranged to fly in there for a camping trip with the fam. What a beautiful destination with gorgeous live oaks laced with Spanish moss in true Savannah like style. We flew in to the ~2000ft grass strip, which was freshly patched for holes that the local cows like to dig up! Our good friends Lenny and Anda also flew their -10 in along with their dog, Radar. We met up with the owner of the island along with Eric, State Ambassador for the RAF, and they showed us around and got us settled into camp. Part of the welcoming crew was Willie, the elder donkey of the island.

We explored the island a bit while taking in the beautiful sights, including a great view from a tall fire tower. We also took a nice walk on a dock that took us out to the water. We gathered muscles that we would steam over the camp fire later that night. Our friend Bill and his son flew in and Lucy enjoyed playing with him. Lucy went on a boat ride, played with the owner's grandchildren a bit, and managed to play so hard she slept during the hay-ride style tour of the island. There were donkey's on the island, but somehow I ended up pulling the kids around in a cart at times. No one even offered me a carrot! :(  lol

 

Lucy is a voracious eater, and as such her favorite part of the entire trip may have been the discovery of wild blackberries, which she enjoyed very much. 

We camped out two nights in a bunkhouse that was located at the campsite, complete with great amenities like hot showers, and a pavilion with sinks! Not exactly roughing it. The weather was perfect with a nice light breeze and about 58 degree nights and upper 70's during the day. Between all the good company, food, weather, and landscape, it was tough to leave. Brandi said her final goodbye to Willie with a selfie, then Lenny said his goodbyes, and off we flew... to get breakfast in St. Simon Island, just a quick 10 minute flight away! What a wonderful way to travel around to islands. We said our goodbyes once again to everyone and enjoyed a peaceful trip home Sunday afternoon. 

 

This was one of the most enjoyable trips we have taken and I'm thankful to the owner of the island for allowing visitors to come and stay and play on the island, and to the RAF for maintaining the field.