Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

HID Lights

by Brian Monday, January 03, 2011

We decided to add HID lights to the plane so we bought a light kit from Duckworks that is pretty nice. The lights go into the leading edge of the wing, instead of the tips of the wings. That means that holes had to be cut out of the wing. Scary! Turns out that it wasn't so bad, although the actual installation of the kit was frustrating because the instructions weren't that great. Also, I cracked both of the plexiglass lenses and had to order new ones. Tip - don't clamp down plexiglass. I barely clamped it and it still cracked it. The new lenses were cut and installed and the lights are completely done. Whew, they took way longer than I thought they would but they look nice.


by Brian Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Brandi and I started in with the proseal last night. Brandi is very meticulous and carefully squeezed perfect lines of sealant and stuck all the stiffeners to the fuel tank skin. Near the end when she was done I thought I would go over the edges of the stiffeners since she had only done the holes so far and there was plenty of proseal left over that I didnt want to go to waste. I snatched the cake icing bag of proseal right up and went to work. I thought out loud, "Man this stuff is hard to squeeze, we need to cut the opening a little bigger." I tuned Brandi out as she suggested I shouldn't. As I man handled the little proseal baggy, a huge glob burst out of the side of the bag where it split because I was just monkey squeezing it. I thought Brandi was going to kill me! Fortunately, for my safety, I didn't make any mess other than a golf ball sized glob of proseal on my double latex gloved hand.

Fuel tanks started

by Brian Saturday, December 11, 2010

We went ahead and started section 18 while we were waiting to finish the lights on the leading edges. First we trimmed and deburred all of the tank stiffeners. Next was putting nutplates on the tank attach zee's. Brandi doesnt like weilding the pnematic squeezer since its heavy and bulky so in order to coax her out to the shop I strapped it to the bench and gave her my already warmed up sweater. It was kind of chilly in the shop since I usually dont run the heat once it gets in the mid to upper 60's because thats comfy for me but not so much for her. I worked on installing the ribs into the fuel tank skin, which invovled clecoing and match drilling them all in there. Not much fun as some of those ribs dont want to line up very well in certain holes. Queue the rubber mallot again.

The fuel tank caps were drilled and then countersunk. It seems to be pretty difficult to get the cap on and off and I dont like the fact that it doesnt screw on but rather has a little gasket. I've read that some people get premium fuel caps. I might look into that but not sure if it will be necessary.

All of the ribs for the left tank have been dimpled and we are still deburring the fuel tank skins. We got a little cordless screwdriver that will make deburring easier. We got a really great deal on it too since Home Depot had them online with free shipping for $10! They were $25 on the shelves of the store. Deburring holes is my least favorite part of the entire project. Good thing theres only like 20,000 holes. Ugh.

Leading edge lights

by Brian Thursday, December 09, 2010

Both left and right leading edges have been assembled but not yet attached to the main wing spar. We are waiting to attach until after we put in the Duckworks HID light kit. We're waiting on the mail to arrive with the documents that were missing from the light kit and as soon as it gets here Brandi is project leader for lights because shes bright so she'll get along well. In the meantime, it was handy to stack the leading edges under the main wing spars on our wing stand.


by Brian Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Its official, we reserved our N-number. For aviation novices, this is your plane's identifer number aka 'tail number'. There are certain character requirements and so we picked 42BU. Its significance? Well, both our initials are BU so "For two BU".

Leading Edge helper

by Brian Friday, December 03, 2010

Section 17 is the outboard leading edge of the wing. My little sister, Hannah, was visiting and like any good big brother would do I put her right to work! She was very helpful and worked the clecos like a pro. The ribs were all put in, match drilled, deburred, etc. The ribs were kind of a tight fit in some spots to get them to line up perfectly. Had to break out the rubber mallot a few times.

Progress on track

by Brian Thursday, December 02, 2010

We set a goal of 90 hours of workshop time per month for this build in an effort to complete in roughly 2 years. I'm happy to say that with our first full month out of the way, we are on track. The Fuselage order will be placed this month as planned and is expected to arrive in late Feb.

Lots of wing progress

by Brian Friday, November 26, 2010

Over the last two weeks we've made a lot of progress on section 16. This section is just tedious! Lots of repetition and I had what I would describe as a sprained wrist for 4 days during the last two weeks. Probably from working the cleco pliers and drill too much. We got help from our buddy Greg, who was awesome enough to come help deburr for a couple of hours. Thanks Greg!

Section 16: Teaching our friend Greg how to build planes

Mark's RV10 visit

by Brian Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our new pal Jim introduced us to Mark, who has a beautiful -10 up in Cherokee county. We drove up on a nice day and visited and per our usual tradition, asked a million questions :) Mark was a great source of information and a super awesome guy! He took us up for a ride and I got a little time on the stick even! Boy that sure does look good in my log book. Thanks Mark!

While we were at the air field, we met another 10 owner that was over a few hangars. His name is Mike and his plane is flying but not painted yet and he was working on fixing some interference noise from his Duckworth lights. Gave us some good insight to make sure we have our noisy stuff well grounded. Mike was nice enough to let us pester him while he was busy. We also met Todd, who was a cool guy that was friendly and knowledgable. We sure do love aviation people. Cant find a better group.

Top Skins

by Brian Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ohh, shinny! We've got the top of the wing fastened on and we're getting one billion clecos in. We had this huge Folgers coffee container full of clecos and I thought we were going to run out. There were only 15 left when we were done with the whole inboard and outboard wing skin. =O What a hand work out too! You have to put them all in, drill all the holes, move the clecos over one hole so you can then drill those holes and then take them all out. Whew! Now we get to deburr everything since we've got the counter sinking out of the way for the 30 or so holes on the inboard wing skin that need it.

In hindsight, we shouldn't have pulled all of the protective vinyl off the skin. We decided to keep it on for the other wing, as it reduces the amount of scratches while dimpling and deburring.

Section 16 - Top wing skin is clecoed in place to prepare for match drilling and dimpling

Rear Spar

by Brian Monday, November 08, 2010

The rear spar has been fastened on (the long blue piece). It's rewarding to see the wing actually starting to take shape.

Section 15 - Rear Spar

Visit from a great guy

by Brian Saturday, November 06, 2010

When I first dreamed up the idea of building a kit plane, I scoured the internet for information because I didn't know anything about it at all. I read for 3 days straight and, instead of getting the information I was seeking, it just prompted about 3x more questions! I found the good book of the RV builder white pages and looked for someone who lived in our city of Marietta, GA. If found a listing for Jim 'Nomad' Lawerence and gave him a call. I never would have guessed that I would have been able to pull a name off of this list randomly and get the most amazingly friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced person. I sure did though. Jim answered my barrage of questions and was instrumental for me taking the next few steps to get the seedling of an idea into a little sprout. I had to call Jim a month or so later and ask him some more things. Then I called him again and probably a couple more times after that. :) Jim has been one of the biggest aides to our project and Brandi and I are deeply grateful.

We finally got to meet Jim in person when he agreed to come check out our progress. What a great guy. We enjoyed his visit and he gave us good feedback and a good morale boost to the project. He noticed an RV-10 picture we had hung on the wall, of which we really like the paint scheme and the look in general - we had no idea whose plane it was or where the builder was located. Jim says, "Hey, I know that plane!" Turns out its owner lives a few towns over! What a small world.

Aileron hinge brackets

by Brandi Friday, November 05, 2010

The aileron hinge brackets are complete. They took longer than we thought they would. We had to do a lot of deburring since there are three plates in each one.

flap and aileron brackets

Moving along nicely

by Brandi Saturday, October 30, 2010

We've finished Section 13 for both the left and right wing and completed Section 14 for the left wing. The parts are coming together and it's starting to look like we're actually working on a wing. How exciting! =D

Section 14 - Left Wing

Total Wing Kit Hours: 64

RV-10 owner visit

by Brian Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This weekend we visited Pierre, who is an RV-10 owner here in Georgia. We rented a Cessna and flew out to visit. We had such a good time on the flight out there, but the real fun began when he gave us a ride in his -10! I'm grinning again right now just thinking about it. What a machine! Riding in one again just re-confirms we are building the right plane. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality, Pierre!

While we were out, we visited Ray Lawerence, who was only a quick hop away from Pierre. We checked out his shop and chatted with him and asked a million newbie questions. It was a great learning experience. Ray does all kinds of work on RVs. He also does insurance and is a distributor for several avionics manufacturers. Theres not much this guy doesnt do thats RV related. Thanks for letting us visit, Ray!

We left East Georgia and flew into PDK (Peachtree Dekalb), which was about as busy as an airport as I've ever had to fly into. I was nervous because the radio chatter was going a million miles an hour since there was so much going on. We did fine though and got parked and got our buddy Gavin to pick us up since we were attending a bday party for his 2 yr old son. Gavin and Jane live only a few miles from the airport so it was convenient. The bday party was fun and it was kind of neat watching 5 2-4 year olds run around stuffing cake in their face and just being kids. We left PDK for a very enjoyable quick night flight home. There was a gorgeous sunset and we were very close to the Atlanta city scape so the lights on all the buildings made a wonderful foreground to the sunset.

Unfortunately, something happened with the memory card in our camera and we lost all the pictures from the last week. Bummer. Guess we'll just have to do it all over again! Yay!

Wing building well under way

by Brian Monday, October 25, 2010

We're almost done with section 13 for both wing spars now. Section 13 involves lots of counter sinking and lots of nut plate attachment.

Never ending counter sinking

Wings In & Over Atlanta

by Brandi Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our wings are coming! They're scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. =D I'm so excited that I can't see straight!

Also, while working from home today, I got to witness the local AFB preparing for the Wings Over Atlanta airshow that's going on this weekend. I looked up once, while sitting at the computer, and saw 4 Blue Angels fly by in formation! =D We're planning to attend the show on Sunday. Pics to come!


by Brian Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We started out with very few tools so most of the things needed to do this project had to be purchased. Theres a lot to be said about nice quality tools. Theres also a lot to be said about saving a buck. With that said, a lot of the things that I would consider ancillary were inexpensive tools purchased from Harbor Freight. I think most of them will be fine.

Here's a list of what we bought and the rough cost. These prices were as of 2010 and of course would change over time. Take this for what its worth. It's just to give a general starting idea of what tools were needed and roughly how much someone could spend on the cheap side (with the exception of the Isham tool kit). We got the more expensive tool kit from Isham that included the pneumatic squeezer and other nice goodies.


Needed From Cost
Air Compressor Harbor Freight $137.00
Isham Tool Kit $2,550.00
Bench Grinder Harbor Freight $34.00
Scotch-Brite 6" Wheels   $48.00
Drill Press - 12 speed Harbor Freight $124.00
Circular Saw Harbor Freight $34.00
Folding Saw Horses (2) Harbor Freight $20.00
Rolling cart Harbor Freight $55.00
Air Hose Reel/filters/adapters Harbor Freight/Home Depot $125.00
Toolbox Harbor Freight $140.00
Misc Harbor Freight $100.00
Clamps (various size and types) Harbor Freight $40.00
Adjustable Set Holder for Squeezer Avery $60.00
Rivet Spacer & #30/#40 Reamers Aircraft Spruce $35.00
Digital Caliper Harbor Freight $10.00
Torque wrench (in lbs) Harbor Freight $20.00
Total $3,532.00


by Brian Monday, October 04, 2010

The wing kit should arrive in a week or so now and I'm so excited I can hardly wait. In our downtime we had plenty of time to research wing accessories and components. Decided to go with the leading edge HID landing lights from Duckworks, heated pitot, and auto pilot servos from Dynon. The nav and strobe lighting still needs to be decided on but theres plenty of time before those need to be installed. I made the wing stand this weekend. Piece of cake! My little sister Hannah helped out a bit. Thanks Hannah!

Doing ADs already

by Brian Friday, September 10, 2010

When the manufacturer of a plane or kit plane find flaws they issue an AD, which is an air worthiness directive. It means you have to fix it. Since we aquired a mostly completed tailcone that had been built awhile back, there was an outstanding AD on the tailcone. Just bought it and already had to drill out several rivets. Its a bit of an unsettling thought because we didnt have much practice drilling out rivets and secondly, who wants to drill holes in a nicely completed and primed tailcone?

We got most of the rivets drilled out. We took turns drilling and then near the end we streamlined it by me drilling and Brandi using a punch to pry the heads off and then hammer the shop end of the rivet through. It made me really happy to see us slip into teamwork on the project already and so effortlessly. The fun part is going to be watching Brandi crawl into the tailcone to drill out those hard to reach rivets. Pictures to follow :)


Edit: I crawled in there so the joke is on me :(  haha