Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Labeling Panel

by Brian Thursday, March 22, 2012

Brandi and I are getting ready to label the panel. She is going to use stencils to paint on the labels. She asked me which font we should use and I told her "Duh, airplanes always use Arial font" :)

Front Interior Panels - Putting it all together

by Brandi Wednesday, March 21, 2012

After I got all of the pieces made, I started putting them together one at a time.

First, I glued the bulkhead cover ups to the main piece.

Next, I glued the pocket to the back of the main piece.

Then I attached the air vent covers.

I now have 2 nearly completed front interior panels that amazingly look almost identical. =D  I'll eventually cut out the hole that is covering the pocket area and either use some fabric there or make a little area that comes out slightly. I'm not sure what that's going to end up looking like yet.

Front Interior Panels - Air Vents

by Brandi Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I fabricated these not-so-fancy eyeball vent holders from scrap aluminum. They attach to the fuse skin with 3 rivets and the SCAT tubing in the back keeps them from being flimsy.

Then I built up the surface a little with clay and made a fiberglass part that I can attach to my front interior panels.

Front Interior Panels - Main Piece

by Brandi Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For the main pieces of the front interior panels, I made a large flat piece of fiberglass outside of the plane and then trimmed it to size.

Once I had one of them completed, I made another large flat piece, used my trimmed one as a template on the reverse side and cut it out. 

Then I removed as much of the main piece as I could while still having room to glue it to the bulkhead cover up.

Filtered Air Box (FAB)

by Brian Monday, March 19, 2012

I have been putting off the FAB for a while now. Its one of those parts of the project that has been intimidating to start on for me. I think my of my hesitation was revolving around the fact that there arent good instructions for it like all the other plans for the -10. I made the alternate air door and then set it down for a while. I finally got started back at it, thanks to some help from my buddy Keith. We mounted the FAB to the throttle body and got everything test fitted with the bottom cowl coming off and on a few times. Had to cut the FAB back about a couple of inches so it would clear the bottom cowl. After that, I riveted the aluminum plate to the top and filled in any gaps with black RTV silicone so it would be more air tight. Next I temporarily secured the foam block to the back of the air scoop on the bottom cowl and bored a hole in it. I was about to lay in the fiber glass into the newly created hole but I didnt have a baloon, which the instructions cleverly suggest as using in order to hold the fiberglass strips in the hole. So its mostly done now and should be finished soon since I bought some happy birthday balloons at the grocery store last night :)

Filtered Air Box -- or -- on board toilet? Hard to tell..

Door hinge cover

by Brian Monday, March 19, 2012

Brandi wanted to cover up the hinges on the doors so it looked nicer. She stuffed a bunch of clay in the cavity, smoothed it out, taped it, and then laid some fiberglass on it. We'll still be able to reach under and take out the screws that hold the hinge on if we ever needed to. Now that its dry she'll blend the cover into the door.

ELT Installation

by Brian Monday, March 19, 2012

While Brandi was installing the windscreen fairing, I was busy installing the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) that we just got in. We bit the bullet and bought the new 406Mhz version, which is more expensive than the standard 121.5Mhz version, but its better. Not to mention, the 121.5 version is getting phased out. We went with the ACK E-04 model. First, I started by taking some aluminum sheet metal and forming some flanges on all 4 sides. I made sure to make the bends where they would nest inbetween two j-stiffeners of the tailcone. Next I attached some nutplates for the ELT mount bracket to screw into and then I drilled some holes through the j-stiffeners and secured it all with pop-rivets. Turned out great and I'm very happy with it. 

Windscreen fairing under way

by Brian Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday was a nice sunny beautiful day, much like a lot of days recently, so we opened up the garage door while we worked. Brandi got the windscreen fairing started and it is coming along nicely. She followed the plans, which require several strips of fiberglass to be cut to length and, like most other builders, she dyed the fiberglass black, so that when you look through the window on the inside it is black and not like a bunch of fiberglass. Its turning out really great so far. She informed me that I get to sand when its dry. Yay!



Website photos update

by Brian Monday, March 12, 2012

Brandi recently spent a lot of time moving all of our photos from Google's Picasa over to SmugMug. The SmugMug photos are more clear because they do not have compression applied to them and also we are able to retain the original size image (huge) so that people can see more detail if needed. Enjoy!

Test fit panel items

by Brian Monday, March 12, 2012

We test fit some of the avionics and switches in the panel recently and it was very exciting to have a sneak peak of how things will look. Our second Skyview should arrive soon and Brandi should be finished painting the panel soon so that we can mount everything in there and power it up for real!

Cowling pin covers

by Brian Monday, March 12, 2012

Brandi and I have been doing some work on the cowling again lately after a little break from it. We got a good idea for pin covers from another -10 builder and decided to go that route. You can see in the photo below on the left side where there is a strip of metal and a couple of clecos. The idea is you bend a piece of aluminum to wrap around the air inlet like this and there are two screws that will hold it in place on one end an the other end is bent to hook around the inside of the air inlet. This cover hides the hinge pin and also keeps it from coming out. After we put the aluminum cover in place we are building up the cowl around it so that it will sit flush. Its got a little bit of work to go but its nearly finished and should look real nice. 

Radio stack wiring

by Brian Thursday, March 08, 2012

The radio stack wiring took much longer than I anticipated. I finally got everything wired up though and I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I pulled an 11 hour day on Sunday because I wasnt leaving that shop until that panel was off of the bench and into the plane! I was a little surprised at how few wires I ended up having on the garmin 430 bracket considering the MASSIVE amount of possible pins that can be used. 

I'm really excited to put the switches and other components in the panel. I have to wait for Brandi to finish our fiberglass panel overlay first though. Its almost ready and only needs to be trimmed up a little bit and then primed and painted.

For non aviation people - an ELT is an emergency location transmitter. It helps you get found if you ever went down and needed to be found. Originally I wanted to put the ELT remote buttons off the panel like maybe on the overhead or somewhere but we ended up deciding to put it on the panel centered above one of the skyviews. Since this was a last minute addition it didnt get a ton of thought put into it like most other aspects of the panel. So after I cut the hole and put the panel in, I noticed the hole I just cut was exactly in front of the rib of the sub panel. Ugh. We're going to have to trim that rib a tiny bit now because the ELT remote switch is about 2" long. Oh well, not a huge problem. Went ahead and ordered a 406MHz ELT today. The 406MHz are the 'new' technology, which transmit a GPS location instead of just broadcasting a signal that would have to be triangulated. Hopefully we'll never need it either way :)


Adventurous Saturdays

by Brian Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The last three Saturdays in a row have been really amazing for me because I have gotten to fly with friends so much. Having so much fun hasnt lent to making huge progress on the build this month but we're still on track with our steady 90 hours per month average. 

The first Saturday of the three recent ones was spent flying right seat in my friend Bill's twin Cessna 421. I had flown right seat in it twice before and its a lot of fun. This trip was special though. We flew to Prattville, AL because they had some work to do and I was there just to tag along. Another good friend of ours, Dan, flew left seat on the way down and then Bill flew left seat on the way back. Both taught me various things as I held heading an altitude on this IFR flight. It was the first flight I've even done where we filed IFR and it was pretty cool! Not as eventful as I thought it would have been but then again, we were on an easy route and canceled our IFR just outside of Prattville. On about a quarter mile left on our final approach I pointed out to Dan that there was a Cessna landing on the opposite runway. Unannounced. Going the wrong direction with respect to the wind! Both planes did a go around and it was a non event but just goes to show you have to be vigilant! We ate BBQ for lunch after the work was complete and then we headed for home. On the way back it was AWESOME because we were flying at 5,000 feet and the cloud level was about 4,800 so we had a very scenic view and occasionally we would blast right through a cloud that was a couple hundred feet taller than our altitude. It was really fun to bust through the clouds. I really got a sense of the speed we were flying at when that happened. What a great experience. 

The next Saturday I lucked out and got to fly out to Monticello air park (GA06) with my good friend Keith in his RV-7. I had something really special in store for me as our tech councilor friend, Gary, was going to give me his old batteries from his plane so we could use them for testing. This was good because it allows us to defer our battery purchase a bit longer. More importantly though, Gary has an RV-10. Having an excuse to go visit meant we could get a ride in his plane! Sweet! I have been pretty nervous about taxing our -10 when the time comes because the last time on our fall leaf trip when I taxied a -10 I was weaving all over and didnt feel in very good control. This trip eased my worries on that a bit. The castering nose wheel of the 10 is different than the Cessna 172 I trained on. I find that I really have to start my turns 2-3 seconds in advance. So Keith and I flew up to Cherokee, filled up on gas, then headed down. The runway was a nice grass strip and I had only landed on one once before so that was fun. Keith did the landing because I'm not tailwheel rated (yet). We took off in Gary's -10 and had a nice flight and I learned a lot and had a blast. Got to practice taxing, which was very beneficial to me. Keith and I said goodbye to Gary and headed back for home. About 15 miles out from home field we decided to do a fly over my house. That was pretty neat because we were over dobbins air space so we could see the field really well. After I spotted my house, Keith suggested we tour Atlanta. Uh, yes! No brainer! We very carefully flew within the allowable airspace and flew past downtown, circled all the way around Hartsfield, and then back North to home. The view was spectacular and the experience was memorable. I'd really like to take Brandi on that flight in our -10 some day. 

The 3rd Satuday involved a BBQ competition in Perry, GA. Keith offered to take me with him so of course I wasnt going to turn that down. We flew down to Falcon Field in Peachtree City where the Falcon RV Squadron is and met up with others. We flew a 4 RV ship formation down to Perry, which was fun. The weather was a little windy but up at altitude it was nice. Keith is one heck of a pilot and makes the formation stuff look easy. I got to practice a bit and I still struggle to stay in place. I guess practice makes perfect! Once we arrived at Perry we met up with and chatted with other pilots who had flown in. I saw our friend Pierre there and also finally got to meet fellow -10 builder Brian who is working on his build near Stone Mt. Someone told us that people who flew in got free bbq so all our eyes lit up and we headed over to have a look. Let me explain for a second. This wasnt some guy on a Webber grill. This was a SERIOUS competition. There was thousands of dollars in prize money, trophies, and a huge crowd. Well we walked right up and these ladies who were running things were so incredibly nice to us that it was just amazing. They ushered us into a hangar where they had like 20 different plates of all different kinds of BBQ from the competitors. These were extra plates that were not needed for the judges so we got to sample them all and I was in HOG HEAVEN haha. After we enjoyed some delicious bbq we all wandered around for a while and finally when everyone was ready to go we met on the flight line and headed for home. Before we left, we did a few formation fly-bys for the crowd. We did a diamond, echelon, and then single low approaches. It was a lot of fun and there were lots of people waving and it looked like they enjoyed the demonstration. Keith and I landed back at Falcon field and ended up hanging out for a few hours, which was great! I love being around all those guys and we talked aviation and had a great time. Got some good advice, told and listened to stories, and had a great time just hanging out. Everyone marveled at how much Brandi was doing on the project and that she was home working on interior while I was out playing :) 

With all the fun adventures like these ahead of us and all these good people to share it with, there is no doubt in my mind that getting involved in this build project was one of the coolest things we could ever do.  

Baffling progress

by Brian Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Child labor pushes the baffling section closer to completion. My sister Hannah was visiting for the weekend and she got tasked to help measure the trim lines on the baffling tops. She helped me gently lay the top cowl on while paper clips were in place so that we could tell how much of a gap there was all the way around and trim accordingly. Only thing left for baffling now is to attach the fabric on top.

Random build video

by Brian Friday, February 17, 2012

Engine Tour 2

by Brian Thursday, February 16, 2012

Showing off some of the tasks completed since the engine was hung. Have not had this inspected yet so some things might need to be changed. One thing that I have already addressed was to redo the exaust cabling system. The wire it hangs from is suppose to be pretty straight and I wasnt happy with how crooked it was. Also worth noting is our front baffling piece on the left side was cut a little short. This is different than plans because I kept the cowl inlet fiberglass a bit long. 

Front Interior Panels - Bulkhead Cover Up

by Brandi Tuesday, February 14, 2012

After you attach the cabin cover to the fuselage, you're left with an unsightly bulkhead that sticks up and curves in a bit. The challenge is figuring out a way to cover this thing up and make it mesh with the rest of the interior.

I was reading on VAF about guys using expanding urethane foam for fiberglass molding so I thought I'd give foam another try. I ordered the 4lb density stuff and made a small test batch and poured it into a box covered with plastic. The foam is fun to play with but I'm not sure what's so great about it. It's the same annoying foam carving that I experienced with the pink foam and the pockets. So, in the trash it went and out came my plasticene clay. Finally something I can work with!

I taped up the area with painters tape first so the packaging tape is easier to remove and there's no residue. Then I taped over it with packaging tape before using clay to form a mold.

After getting the shape that I wanted, I covered the clay in saran wrap to keep the removal mess down. Then, I did the same exact thing to the other side. Getting the left side molded to match the right side shape was a little tricky but I got it pretty darn close.

Next, I cut out two pieces of glass that were about the right shape and used a little cab-o-sil in my epoxy mix to thicken it up a bit and keep it from running on me. I repeated the process on the left side.

After the piece cured, it pulled of easily and I was able to salvage 95% of my clay. The piece still needs a bit more trimming but it sits nicely in the spot with all of the tape and clay removed. 

In the end, this piece will be attached to the main panel along with the pocket... at least that's how it works in my head. ;)

Front Interior Panels - The Pocket

by Brandi Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Every RV-10 needs some pockets up front so I included them in my front panel design. They're a separate piece of fiberglass that I fabricated to attach to the back of my semi-finished front panel. I'll then cut out a slot from the panel that's the entire width of the pocket and about 1/2 the height of the pocket for access to the pocket area. I'll post more on the attachment when it's complete. It's easier to explain with pictures.

To make the pocket, I used some foam board and some pink foam insulation from Home Depot. I cut the foam board to fit in the front panel area and measured the pocket area out on the foam board.

I then attached pink insulation to the back of the foam board that was a little larger than my pocket area and the depth that I wanted my pocket to be. Because I plan on placing the pocket behind the interior panel, I left about 1/4 inch between the pink foam and the fuse skin.

Next I carved the pocket hole out of the foam board and the pink insulation. I learned from this process that I hate carving and cutting foam. I have too much static electricity and it's just annoying. Next time, it's all clay!

Once the hole was the size that I wanted it, I placed a scrap piece of foam board behind the hole to give me something to lay-up the fiberglass on and then taped it up real good with packaging tape. 

Unfortunately, I didn't photo document the rest of it so you'll have to use your imagination. I placed clay in the sharp corners to curve them out and then layed up fiberglass inside the pocket and around the top exterior about 1 1/2 inches wide. Once dried, I pulled it out and layed up another one for the other side of the plane. Now I have two pockets with a 1 1/2 inch lip waiting to be attached to the panel.

RV-10 Cost Planner

by Brian Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I took some time to consolidate a couple different spreadsheets I had, which helped me to track costs and anticipate when I needed to order certain items. This helped me also figure out when I needed to establish a loan because we tried to make it as far along as we could before we had to borrow. I hope this spreadsheet can be helpful for future builders. Enjoy and feel free to modify and use as necessary. You can plug in your own values and everything dynamically updates. 

Download here

Panel Cover - Take 2

by Brandi Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Brian and I decided a while back that we wanted a really clean and sleek looking panel. Screws and what not in an otherwise nice panel drive me crazy. So, I decided that I would make a thin fiberglass panel cover that would be removable and hide all of the screws and rivet heads. My first attempt at it turned out OK. It would have worked but my fiberglass skills were very beginner and it needed a lot of work to finish it off. I talked Brian into letting me remake it because I knew that I could do a much better job than I did a few months ago. This second attempt was well worth the effort. It's super thin & light and it isn't going to require a ton of finishing work. +1 for blossoming fiberglass skills!