Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Wheel Maintenance and St Marys

by Brian Tuesday, February 23, 2016

This past weekend I changed out the nose wheel tire and tube. These were the original tire and tube and had about 550 hours on them. I re-greased the bearings and put everything back together with no trouble. I even had nice 60 degree weather to enjoy in February! My friend Dan asked if I wanted to fly with him down to St Mary, GA, near Jacksonville, FL, so I said sure, why not. I got some instrument practice in and had a nice enjoyable flight. It was a good aviation weekend.

Nashville Predators

by Brian Saturday, February 06, 2016

Scratch another hockey arena off the list. My good buddy and line mate, Steve, along with his wife and their friend Dom, had a nice quick 1 hour flight up to Nashville to catch the Predators vs my current favorite team, the Sharks. We had a nice enjoyable flight to John Tune airport and took an Uber car ride to downtown for some delicious BBQ. The game was good, although my Sharks lost unfortunately :( The night flight home was peaceful and the adventure machine was put to bed in her hangar once we arrived back home. We all said our good nights and parted ways until the next adventure strikes. 

AZ/Mexico Thanksgiving 2015

by Brian Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Lucy, my sister Hannah, and I all went out west to visit family for Thanksgiving. Brandi opted to have a staycation and skip this trip since she was a little bit over all the traveling we have done lately.

We had a great flight out to Austin, TX to visit my friend Lee. We hung out, ate good BBQ, and caught up on what's been going on. We stayed the night and got an early start the next day. We headed to Show Low, AZ, where my Granny lives. We enjoyed a nice visit with her, some good meals, and as usual some challenging scrabble matches. Lucy especially loved playing with the two cats and dog. 


We then departed to Guaymas, Mexico, which was the third time we have flown there now. It was a nice smooth ride down there and the 2 hour flight sure does beat the 6 hour drive! When we arrived it was a nice warm 80 degrees and Lucy even played in the ocean a bit. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset, hung out with family and were having a great time. Poor Hannah was sick to her stomach but she hung in there like a trooper. The next day the whole family went out on my Grandpa's boat and we enjoyed the entire day out on the ocean. The fishing wasnt good that day but we had a great time anyways. Lucy played with her cousin Levi, who is about a year older than her. We went out fishing again the next day but again, not much luck, which is unusual but it happens from time to time. We had planned on staying another day but weather dictated that if we didnt leave immediately then a storm front would block us from getting home for several more days. We loaded up quick and headed for South Texas. We cleared customs in Brownsville with a little trouble because they couldnt find my EAPIS, despite the fact that I had definitely filled it out earlier that day and even had a confirmation email. After that the plan was to get fuel and get ahead of the weather that was in central Texas. 

Upon landing at Port Aransas for fuel, we had developed a flat tire on the left main! What a nightmare. The tire was in great shape and no sign of puncture. I didnt know what was going on until later inspection showed the stem had sheered off the tube!! What the hell! How does that even happen? Since it was Friday night when that happened and no maintenance on the field, plus everyone around the area seemed to be gone for Thanksgiving, we had a really hard time finding a tube. I finally got one from a really nice old mechanic out at Corpus Cristi Intl. The weather was IFR anyways so we were stuck. We ended up getting a rescue flight from my good friend Bill Thomason (Thank you times a million, Bill!!!). He brought a jack and was going to fly us all home. Bill arrived and rescued us and reported VFR on top the whole way back to GA. We made it out through a small break in the clouds and finally got home after an exhausting journey around the country. Everyone loved seeing Lucy so it was worth it. Hannah was a big help with Lucy and I couldnt have done it without her. Thanks Hannah!

Hockey Eh?

by Brian Monday, November 16, 2015

This year, at Oshkosh, while enjoying the company of our friends, the Branch family, we made an innocent comment like "we should come visit you in Canada sometime." We decided to make an actual plan out of it and discussed how late October might be the best time, due to weather and the hockey season starting up. One of Brandi and my bucket list items when building the plane was to watch an NHL game in every city that had a team. This would be a great opportunity to cross a couple off the list. 

We had made plans to visit the Kranz family last year, but because of weather, that fell through. So, we figured we would bundle that into a big sweeping trip up towards Canada. We were intending to depart on a Tuesday morning but weather was going to get bad at home, so, we decided on the spur of the moment to leave Sunday afternoon and go early. We landed at Red Wing, WI later that evening after a pleasant flight. We stowed the bird in Ed's nice big hangar and headed for his home. It was really great being able to spend several days with Ed, Colleen, and little EJ. While we were there we did all kinds of fun stuff like went to the Science Museum, Mall of America, got to drive his friends Tesla, enjoyed playing fetch with the dog, feeding the chickens, and also went for a ride in Ed's -10 (incredible panel by the way). We caught a Wild hockey game at Xcel Energy Center, which was great fun and another one off the list. Lucy LOVED playing with EJ, the dog, and the cat. 


We had planned on going up to Winnipeg to catch a Jets game up there, but bad weather kept us from going, so we stayed an extra night with the Kranz family. Thanks again guys! 

We had a long flight out to Montana and it was pretty bumpy the whole time. We landed at Cut Bank, Montana to some INTENSE winds. They were something like high 20's gusting to 52 kts. I've always done fine in wind and it was mostly down one of the runways so we went for it. Taxiing was pretty interesting and pretty difficult. We fueled up and got the heck out of there! Too much wind! Off we went for Lethbridge, Canada, where we cleared customs by getting a confirmation code over the phone without seeing a single person! Super easy! Off we went to CEN4, High River, Alberta Canada, yay! We were a little behind schedule arriving and had plans to catch a Calgary Flames game that night. Once we landed, the Branchs handed us hockey tickets, some Tim Hortons Coffee and doughnuts, and watched Lucy for the night, as Brandi and I drove up to Calgary to watch the game! Its great having such wonderful and kind friends! The hockey game was really fun as it was a rivalry match between Flames and Canadiens. It was the night before Halloween and lots of people were dressed in costumes, which was pretty fun to see. 

We had Edmonton Oilers tickets for the next night and decided to drive rather than fly. It was a nice scenic 3 hour trip up there and again, the Branchs played with Lucy and even took her trick-or-treating! It was nice being able to get away and enjoy some 'us' time, since that is a rare treat. Lucy loved playing with Emma and Gavin. They are such great kids. 

We were supposed to leave Canada to head home on Sunday night but due to weather we had to sit it out until Wednesday! Better safe than sorry! We were eager to get home, but had a great time anyways and made the best of it. The Branchs have a beautiful house and a really awesome wave pool that we played in one evening. We enjoyed great food, learned more about Troy's exciting Carbon Cub build, played outside in unseasonably warm weather, and overall enjoyed Canada.

We finally caught a break in the weather and headed back towards home. There was a storm front that was moving across the country, so we had to make our way back behind it slowly, but surely. We ended up back at Cut Bank to clear customs (no wind this time!). Then we shot for Billings, Montana to stay the night. We got a nice hotel room and found a random BBQ place nearby, where I had the best brisket of my life!! We were tired of traveling and ready to be home, but we wouldn't be able to get all the way back the next day. We had to stop in Manhattan, Kansas to wait out the weather. We ended up with a big rental SUV (Nissan Armada), got a hotel room, and rested. On Friday, after having been gone for 12 days, we finally made it home through a fortuitous gap in weather, that would later prove to cover everything up for again for several more days soon after we got in. We were glad to be home!

Thank you so much for your hospitality Kranzs and Branchs! Go Wild! Go Flames! Go Go RV-10! :) 

Oil cooler butterfly valve

by Brian Tuesday, October 20, 2015

We are planning a trip up to Canada soon and so we'll definitely need something to help keep the oil temps up. Plus, over the years of flying I have noticed at high altitudes or in winter its tough to keep the oil temp over 165 in cruise and ideally temps should be closer to 180. This is another one of the mods I wish I would have went ahead and did from day 1. Got the TCW servo and butterfly valve installed with not much trouble and it works great! Very happy with it. 

Insurance update 3

by Brian Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The first year we got insurance for the hull it was a staggering $4100 due to my very low flight hours. The 2nd and 3rd year of insurance was better at $2800.  Now that I am at around 700 hours, 500 of that in the -10, we're down to $2200. So far from what I've seen/heard from others, it typically doesnt get much lower than $2k/yr +/- for -10 owners with full coverage no matter how much experience the pilot has. 


Edit April 2017: glad to say I'm wrong - we have had $1500 insurance on 150k hull value for the last couple years now. Woohoo!

Visit from Marty and Ethan

by Brian Thursday, September 24, 2015

Our friend Marty and his 3 year old son Ethan came by and visited. We talked aviation, flew around the lake, enjoyed lunch, and had a great time! Marty is starting in on building a -10 and we wish him the best luck. 

Triple Tree Fly-in

by Brian Thursday, September 24, 2015

We made it out to Triple Tree fly-in this year, which was I think the 3rd time we've gone. It was a blast as always! Its so beautiful and relaxing there and this year we had a great camping spot with our good friends the Twilbecks. 

ghost in the wire

by Brian Sunday, August 30, 2015

For a long time now there has been this faint pulsing noise in the headsets when serial data has been enabled on our Garmin 696. I tried so many things to get rid of the noise and FINALLY I fixed it. After having tried double/triple checking all grounds, adding a 'noise filter', re-crimping wires, replacing music jack cable, and probably other things, the solution was to add a 1k resistor on the blue serial data line. I read an old thread on VAF where someone had suggested this to someone else and I was so relieved when it worked!

Oshkosh 2015

by Brian Saturday, July 25, 2015

We just got back from our 5th year in a row at Oshkosh and it was a blast as always. It was Lucy's 2nd year and despite only being 14 months old, she did great. We camped out in a tent next to our plane in wonderful weather most of the week. Brandi managed to get so much stuff packed into the plane and still keep us under gross and within good CG. We got to see lots of friends and make some new ones. Lucy Charmed everyone she came across as she waived to them and beamed her great smile. We had a great time at the usual places such as the RV-10 dinner social, Nationair beer social, Bikini-Bar (aka SOS Brothers), airshows, hanging out at camp Olson, visiting exhibitors, and much more. 

Cracker Fly-In Best Monoplane

by Brian Friday, July 17, 2015

Every year EAA chapter 611 throws nice sized fly-in at the Gainsville (KGVL) airport. We've been a couple times and it was always fun so Keith and I went this year for pancakes and planes. When we arrived I was given a tag to hang on our prop to give some info about it and I was asked if I wanted the plane to be judged. I said "sure, why not" on a whim. Well today in the mail we received an award for best Monoplane, yay! :) What a great surprise. Its a really cool looking award too because its got half of a piston on it. We proudly put it on our mantle, which is a nice fit with the other aviation stuff we have up there.

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.