Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

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!

Seat lever upgrade

by Brian Saturday, August 16, 2014

Today I added the seat lever upgrade that sells. Should have done this a long time ago! It works great and was a very easy install. 

Demo flight

by Brian Monday, August 04, 2014

We made some new friends, who came over from Louisiana recently. We flew around in our -10, talked aviation, and then enjoyed a nice dinner at Elevations together on the field at McCollum. Looking forward to watching the progress on a new RV-10 that will soon be underway. 

Around the country

by Brian Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The day finally arrived when we eagerly set out for our adventure around the country! With kid sister Hannah and our sweet baby Lucy in tow, it was sure to be a great time. We prepped our travel machine ready to accommodate 3 adults, 1 baby, and a crap load of gear. Here we go!


How about a rest stop in Missouri for picking flowers and touring caverns? Yes please.

Beautiful Midwest prairies en route to Nebraska.

Interesting discoveries along the way. Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska. 


Fuel up in beautiful Wyoming and enjoy some lunch in a charming small town in Hot Springs County.

No trip North West would be complete without an obligatory stop in Yellowstone. The mountains are breathtaking as we navigated through.

Emergency procedures on the Yellowstone regional airport tarmac.

Hot springs are neat!

Lucy is having a blast so far.

We stopped in St. Maries Idaho to wait out a storm, which subsequently hit that city and knocked out power while we were trying to enjoy dinner. It passed soon enough and on to Spokane Washington we went!

Spokane had a couple really nice parks to enjoy. One of which had a monster slide that Brandi wouldn’t let me take Lucy down :)

Off to the mother ship, Vans Aircraft in Aurora Oregon. It’s our plane's first homecoming.

Hannah has been co-pilot in training and is doing a great job. 


Next stop is down through California to Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately there was this nice little storm system directly over the area but we made up for it with a great little RV lunch fly-in with our new buddy Mike.

Pro tip: don’t park near helicopters near the fuel pumps. This is the small one of two helicopters that were there!

Yay, my two awesome sisters or should I say two awesome Aunts. 

Portrait time.

Lucy and her little cousin Levi get along just great. 

Granny loves her great grand babies!


Lucy is peaking over the giant beach towel that enveloped her after her second swim ever.

On the way home the lights of Huntsville light up the clouds in a spectacular way.

Back home 10 days and around 5,000 miles later. Whew! What an awesome trip. It’s good to be home. 4 more days until Oshkosh.... here we go again :)

Lucy logging flight time

by Brian Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lucy has been on two short flights now and both have gone really well. On her first flight she was almost a month old and her second flight was last night so almost 2 months old. This is encouraging since we hope to take a trip out west in a month. I ascend and descend very slowly (200 fpm) and she just chills out in the back seat with mom. I see a lot of fun trips in her future!

Upgraded Nav Lights

by Brian Sunday, June 22, 2014

By the time we were choosing nav lighting during our build we were stretched pretty thin financially and so we decided to go for a very inexpensive solution. I bought LED bulbs from that are typically used in cars for the tail lights. The up side of this is that they are cheap and many types fit a standard size fixture. When we bought the bulbs originally it was something like a 36-LED bulb and they came in red and green and a couple other colors. This was sufficient. Its been two years now and LED bulb technology has come a little further so why have a 36-bulb when you can have a 45-SMD LED setup!? More power! Each bulb was like $25 but comparatively for normal aviation stuff this is still dirt cheap. I am quite pleased with the new bulbs as they are brighter and are look cooler than the old ones. The daytime photo doesnt do it a ton of justice, but I'm sure they are more obvious at night. 

Before (36-LED bulb) | After (45-SMD LED bulb)

met up with a fellow RV-10 builder

by Brian Friday, June 13, 2014

Its always great getting emails from other RV-10 builders and so we were delighted when Jeff Rich of Indiana coordinated to meet up with us since he was going to be in the area. We enjoyed lunch together, talked about airplane stuff, and then went for a ride over lake Allatoona. It was Jeff's first -10 ride and he had a big RV grin on his face. Jeff is a tall guy, around 6'4, and I think he was quite comfortable with the roominess that Vans designed for this kit. Thanks for visiting with us Jeff! It was great to meet you. 

Its BBQ season

by Brian Thursday, May 22, 2014

Its always great when spring arrives and we start grilling at the hangar. We grilled last month with our usual airport crew and yesterday we had another one of our builder's group get togethers. 

RV-10 with corvette engine

by Brian Sunday, May 18, 2014

A long time friend of mine had a post-wedding party up near Washington DC where he lives and so a buddy and I flew up there for the weekend. We had a great time but I realized I didnt get any photos unfortunately.

We had to divert to Peachtree City (KFFC) on the way home to wait out some weather that was looming over home base. There is no better place to get stuck than at Falcon Field with my fellow RV squadron mates. My buddy and I helped John Goodman finish putting back together his plane from some work he was doing on it. I did get a great shot of the only -10 I know of that has a corvette engine. This thing sounds amazing when he cranks it up!

Lucy Ariel Unrein aka "Lucy in the Sky" arrived

by Brian Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Our daughter Lucy was born 5/4/2014 and we are so happy and proud. Lucy got a very warm welcome to VAF. Thanks everyone! Best community of people ever. We look forward to having you all meet Lucy. She is wonderful.