Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Bahamas 2015

by Brandi Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We made it to the Bahamas for a second time in April, as a flight of 3 RV-10s. For the first half of the trip, we stayed at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club in The Exumas. We'd been there before but we had to go back because it's amazing! However, the runway there was temporarily closed for repairs so we landed in Black Point and took a 10 minute boat ride back to the other island. We chose a new location for the second half, Fernandez Bay Village on Cat Island. Both places were wonderful and so was the flying!

Here's a video of our trip =)

Front right interior panel installed

by Brian Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brandi installed the right-front panel recently and it looks great. 


Added charge plug on baggage wall

by Brian Sunday, April 12, 2015

I should have done this a long time ago but I finally added a charge plug forward of the baggage wall. I stuck it on the far right side so that removing the baggage wall wont interfere with it or be necessary to remove the plug each time. I also bought this sweet jump start/flashlight/phone charger device from EarthX to go along with it. The jump pack only weighs 1.4lbs. I still need to tie up the wiring a bit but here is a photo of it installed: 

Created Tilt Mount

by Brian Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Co-Pilot side EFIS is visible from the pilot side and indeed usable, however the steep angle makes it somewhat undesirable/cumbersome to use. I created a bracket that allows the Co-Pilot side screen to be mounted at an angle towards the pilot. I did a nice long flight to Tampa Bay and back with this new setup and I love it! Before, I used to have all 3 components (PFD, Engine, Map) on the EFIS directly in front of me. I now have map full screen on the Co-Pilot side EFIS and have 80% sized PFD and 20% engine page directly in front of me. Much better! I painted it black so its kind of hard to see and it is only a subtle angle - maybe 10 degrees or so but it makes a big difference. 



Washington DC Hockey Trip

by Brian Saturday, February 21, 2015

My buddy had 4 tickets to Caps vs Flyers so off we went in the adventure machine up to Manassas. We got there a day early and did a few touristy things in DC then had Korean BBQ with my friends Ben and Mari that live in the area. We crashed at their house for the night and caught the game the next day. The flight out there was a nice 2.5 hour smooth flight with 20kt tailwinds. The trip back was 30kt headwinds. Scratch another arena off the list towards the goal of watching an NHL game at every arena. 

Visit to see Justin, Jess, and Ayla

by Brian Friday, February 06, 2015

We havent flown a whole lot lately, unfortunately. We did, however, recently have a really nice flight and visit with our friends over near Montgomery, AL. I helped Justin get the wing root fairings and flaps trimmed, Brandi visited with Jess, and Lucy played with Ayla! We all had a great time. It was really fun flying into 00AL, which is a private grass field at 2300 feet that Mr. Epps owns. I think its the oldest official airport in Alabama. I'm glad to say Lucy is still a great flyer. She is very calm the whole time and fell asleep on the way home. 

C130 simulator

by Brian Saturday, January 03, 2015

A friend's parents work over at Dobbins Air Force Reserve and they have two C130 simulators that every once in a while family and friends can go check out. I didnt know what to expect before I got there but I was amazed at how awesome it was! The simulator was way bigger than I thought it would be and we had full motion, which I understand they dont often do because of liability reasons. I flew first and had a tough time getting used to the height difference of landings but I managed to do a sweet combat landing on a dirt field that was 35ft wide. By sweet I mean we didnt trigger a crash but it was definitely exciting :) My buddy was up next and did very well - he had flown it before. I tried to sabotage him by turning off the oil coolers on engine #3 and #4 but the 27 year vet of the C130 in there with us saw the alert that they engines were overheating and calmly reached up and flipped on the oil coolers. My evil plan was foiled! It was a great time and a lot cooler than I thought a simulator could be. Thanks again Ryan and family for the opportunity!

Flew West again

by Brian Thursday, December 04, 2014

Brandi, Lucy, and I piled into the -10 for yet another trip out West. What should have been an 8 or so hour flight turned into a much more full day of flying since we had to dodge some weather in TX, not to mention the 60kt headwind on the second half of the trip!

I have found that pictures of clouds and scenery never do any justice to the actual experience - never the less we flew past some spectacular views so I will put the picture on here anyways with the caveat that it was breathtaking and that must be taken on faith or experience. 

Lucy got some good flight practice in on the way up. She normally is stuck in the back with Brandi but I sometimes get Brandi to pass her up front so I can play with her for a few minutes. 

We visited my Granny in Show Low, AZ. Brandi and I flew to Phoenix one night to catch an NHL game (Coyotes vs Avs). Mark one more NHL arena off the list and many left to go. We also went to the Petrified Forest National Park while we were there. It was awesome! It was a little windy while we were there so all the photos of Brandi looked about like this: 

We then flew down to Guaymas Mexico to spend Thanksgiving with the rest of my family. Lu played in the sand at the beach for the first time and enjoyed it very much. I got lessons on how to kite surf and pulled myself through the water with no board for my first session. It was a blast!

The whole family piled onto my Grandpa's boat and we fished and had a great time. I caught a ~12lb yellow tail and others caught yellow tail too. We ate some of it on the boat and brought some home with us for later. Yum!

The trip back home was scenic through central and North Eastern Mexico. Its pretty uninhabited but there were some neat little towns we flew over where there were rivers and farm land. 

Another wonderful adventure in the family adventure machine with many more hopefully to come. 


Mexico boarder crossing

by Brian Wednesday, December 03, 2014

We made it back from our trip to Guaymas Mexico without much incident. The only exciting thing that happened during the flight, which happened to us last time we went to Mexico as well, was that we had a hard time reaching ATC/FSS while trying to re-enter the US. We climbed up from 9,500 to 11,500 feet and finally reached FSS to relay for us and get us a squawk when we were about 2 miles from the boarder near KPRS. It really surprises me they dont have a radio tower closer to the boarder. The closest one was 40 miles from the boarder so trying to hail someone at a reasonable distance out was no joy. 

Our experience at the Guaymas airport was much better this time since we knew what to expect. Plus the agents there spoke a little English this time which helped a lot. I made 3 copies of all paper work - aircraft registration, airworthiness, pilots license, etc and stuck them in a folder. The Customs process in Guaymas seems a little unorganized as you bounce from area to area and paying fees and doing paper work. Overall, it was a good experience. 

We paid approximately the following costs: 

$130 for a multi entry permit (good for the airplane for 1 year) 

$30 for 4 days of parking

$7 for landing fee

$24 per person (not pilot/crew) entry visas

$5 per person exit visa (non pilot/crew)

$4.82/gal fuel

+tip for the nice guys who helped with baggage.

Wheel maintenance

by Brian Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The main tires on a -10 tend to wear unevenly and the tire life can be increased by flipping the tire on the wheel after about 150 hours or so. I learned the hard way last time not to wait too long to flip them so this past weekend I flipped them. While I had the wheels off it was a great time to repack the wheel bearings. I've done it a few times now so I was pleased at how quick this all came together!

The wheel pant brackets tend to get kind of loose and you have to really tighten the bolts up a lot to get it nice and firm. The problem is the home made aluminum spacers that the plans have you create will mushroom out over time from this. Mine havent mushroomed out yet but I need to replace them with something like this spacer that sells. 

Upgrading the panel

by Brian Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dynon came out with some optional control modules that should make operating the Skyview system a little simplier and quicker so we opted to install them into our panel. Functionally this should be a very nice addition to our panel but from a cosmetic standpoint I was a little hesitant to add more stuff to our panel since our design goal has always been to minimize clutter. Function before fashion though! I havent had a chance to try them out yet but I'm eager to see how they handle. 

Hockey trip

by Brian Sunday, November 02, 2014

Scratch another hockey arena off the list. While building the plane one of the dreams of using the -10 was to see an NHL game in every city. Went down to Tampa, FL with a few buddies and caught Flyers VS Lightning. Great game and had an awesome trip. I really liked Amelie Arena. They had this tesla coil and set that thing off every time they scored. During the game we sat next to a very nice old lady who exchanged some trash talking when each of our teams would score a goal.

On the flight home it was about 1am and we got cleared to go over the top of ATL at 4500. Cool! Never seen it at night before. The pic doesnt do it much justice but here it is anyways. 

While we were visiting Jesse Saint at X35 we got to see this Maverick flying car. It was pretty rad! 

Seat removal

by Brian Sunday, November 02, 2014

Every time I have to take the seats out I mutter swear words - it seems like such a hassle for no good reason. To make things a little easier in the future I put nutplates on the little T-handle that has to come off in order to allow the seat to slide all the way back off the rails. Since we have really nice interior panels that Brandi did they take away maybe a quarter of an inch clearance, which makes it tight to get a wrench on the nuts. This should make it a bit easier getting the seat out. 

Nose gear Service Bulletin

by Brian Sunday, November 02, 2014

Vans released a service bulletin for the -10. Good news - no cracks! On our trip down to Tampa, FL to watch some hockey we stopped in and visited Jesse Saint and the guys out there. They have done tons of these SBs now so I dropped in and got a hand with it. They were done in about an hour! Nice! Thanks guys. 

Fall leaf tour

by Brian Tuesday, October 28, 2014

We completed our 3rd fall leaf tour with the Falcon RV Squadron this past weekend and it was a blast as always. We had an impressive 16 ship gaggle up to Hendersonville, NC. There was a really great little museum on the field. After that we headed back over the top of ATL and landed at Falcon Field for some BBQ. Brandi, Lucy, and I returned home late after a wonderful Sunday of flying. 


Maybe its a dreamliner not a -10

by Brian Friday, October 24, 2014

I was on baby sitting duty at the airport while I was tinkering and Brandi was running some errands. My good pal Keith was there so we decided to go fuel up the bird. I loaded Lucy in and told Keith she would probably be asleep before takeoff but that girl fell asleep literally 30 seconds after we cranked the plane! She slept the whole way there (10 minute flight). We stopped, got out and got fuel, cranked back up and tookoff. She remained asleep. We landed, got out, I washed the airplane a bit and she was still sound asleep. 

Charity golf trip

by Brian Friday, October 24, 2014

My buddy Steve invited me to a charity golf tournament that is near Richmond, VA. I went last year and so this was the second year I attended. Its all in good fun and for a good cause, which is key because I am terrible at golf. I did sink a really nice putt and have a few drives to remember. (Our team got 5th place woohoo!)

Just by coincidence right after we showed up this awesome little trio arrived. I think a B-18, a B-24 (liberator), and a P-51 Mustang. They were giving rides for the weekend and stuff. There was a huge crowd when we arrived and I was wondering why they were there but a couple minutes later when the heavy equipment showed up it was obvious :)

Guys trip down to Key Largo

by Brian Friday, October 24, 2014

A couple buddies and I cruised down to Largo for some diving and fishing back in August. We piled in all our gear with no trouble in the -10 and blasted down there in like 3.5 hours. Rented a sweet little house, played out on the ocean all day for a few days. Good times! 

right place right time

by Brian Friday, October 24, 2014

I was tinkering with the -10 a couple months ago and our hangar neighbor asked if I wanted to go for a ride in the T-34 and be saftey pilot while he played with avionics stuff. That was a quick 10-4 good buddy!

Upgraded to LiFePO4 battery

by Brian Sunday, October 19, 2014

We had an Odyssey 925 battery just like a lot (most?) other -10 owners. It had been in service for two years so it was time to preemptively replace it. After much deliberation I decided to go with an EarthX ETX36 battery. They are relatively unproven in aircraft but not a complete wild card. Before investigating the topic very much I was eyeballing Shortai batteries and some other brands, which are indeed cheaper than EarthX, however they didnt have the integrated battery management system that I believe is important. Not to say I couldnt buy/make a BMS to stick on to those other brands, but I like what EarthX is doing and wanted to go that route. 

On paper its easy to see that my old battery weighs 26lbs and the new one is under 4lbs but it wasnt until I actually lifted the old one out and laid it onto my work bench with a hefty thud that I realized what a big difference the new one is going to make in the plane. I stuck the new battery in the same location as the original, which is behind the baggage wall per plans. I pop riveted a piece of angle onto the floor of the battery box to hold the new battery in place and was able to use the existing bar across the top of the battery after I cut the bolts down to size and re-threaded them. I'll have to snap a picture next time I've got that area opened up. We've been flying with the new battery for a few months now and over all I am extremely satisfied with the performance and weight savings of this battery. It cost more but its supposed to last twice as long so in the end I feel like I just got 20lbs out of the aft end for free! Win!