Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

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. 

Electronic ignition installed and working great

by Brian Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The electronic ignition has been installed for a few weeks now and I have been meaning to get some pictures on the site here with some stats but I just havent had the chance yet. The engine sounds smoother and performs great. I'll post more details as soon as I have a chance to get a nice flight in at a good altitude and see what kind of economy and speeds we are getting. Below is a sneak peak of the new spark plug wires I put together and installed. 

Electronic Ignition installation started

by Brian Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I'm excited to start working on the electronic ignition system we bought. Not cheap but should pay for itself over time in fuel savings plus the performance boost is nice too!

I made a tray to install some of the electronic components on and I stuck it on a hinge so it could swing down from between the panel and sub panel. There isnt much real estate left in our panel area so this was a nice way to gain some room plus have it right there easy to work on in future if needed.

Trim those seat rails!

by Brian Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I meant to post this photo a long time ago. Just a little tip: trim about 3/4" of plastic off the forward edges of the front seat rails. This will allow you to slide the seat out without taking off the panels that cover the flap tubes. 

Rudder Trim

by Brian Tuesday, April 08, 2014

We recently added rudder trim, which we bought from Aerosport products. Great company and amazing products! I wish we would have gotten this a LONG time ago. For cross country trips it makes flying much more comfortable because we no longer have to hold pressure on one of the rudder pedals or worse, let the airplane lean in some cases. Was easy to install as advertised. We already had a trim tab on the rudder that we could bend manually, but it just never seemed to be perfect in flight because of varying altitudes and speeds I guess. 

I installed it on the under side of the panel right betwixt the pilots legs seen in the photo below as silver. I will probably paint it black and leave the dial as silver eventually. 

Paint versus not painted

by Brian Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Snapped a nice picture of the contrast of painted versus not painted. 

College Presentation

by Brian Sunday, March 16, 2014

Brandi and I were asked to give a presentation back in October at the college I graduated from, Southern Polytechnic State University, and I realized I never got around to posting about it here. We had so much fun doing this! Here is a flyer from the event. We had about 40 students show up.



Here are the topics we presented on: 

Warning – This Aircraft Is Amateur-Built

Highlights of building a kit airplane:

Picking a design – google searching

Tooling up – building a shop, workbenches, buying tools

Learning skills – learning to rivet, fiberglass, electrical, mechanical (aerospace engineering aka learn everything about everything)

Accomplishing a dream – building an aircraft

Pulling back on the stick and trusting it was all done right – adventures we have had

What was learned and what we wish we knew – aerodynamics, load analysis, electrical, piston engine, and much more

Clouds. How remarkable.

by Brian Monday, March 10, 2014

Our trip down to Orlando was 75 degrees and sunny, a welcome break from the icy winter we've had. On the way back we saw the most beautiful clouds. We've been flying around for like 2 years straight without ever coming down except for avgas and so we've seen plenty of clouds in our day. Its remarkable then that we were completely entranced by the beauty and awesomeness of it all on our way back from Orlando. Its remarkable because its still so enjoyable and inspiring that we try to capture the moment and keep it forever despite the fact that we know taking photos of clouds, the Bahamas, and really much of anything, ever does the moment justice. I thought it would be more appropriate to try to capture the moment of us trying to save the awesome feeling of soaring among the clouds. Its my favorite part of flying and brings joy to me every time. 

Here is Brandi trying to snap a photo of a stretch of clouds we flew near that was a 5,500 foot puffy-wavy blanket below us and an overcast layer above at 10k with bright blue sandwich filling :)

EAA 690 & Orlando departure

by Brian Monday, March 10, 2014

I had a work conference at Disney World in Orlando (poor me) a week ago and so Brandi and I jumped in the adventure machine and scooted on down there. Before we went, we stopped at EAA 690 pancake + RV event at LZU. We enjoyed some very nice presentations by fellow RV owners and builders. There were lots of great people to hang out with and lots of awesome RVs to look at. 

One unexpected treat was that a professional aviation photographer (Aerographs) happened to be there and snapped a few shots of our bird. How cool! Loved the way they turned out.


We left LZU and joined several RV buddies for lunch over at Winder (WDR). The food was yummy and the company was great. We even got to see the only RV-1 currently flying!

Look at these crazy sky divers dropping down in front of the gas pump! We had a great view and a cautious-nervous time watching them to make sure they didnt fall on a moving prop! They seemed to know what they were doing. Looked fun but I'll stick to keeping my takeoff count equal to my landing count thank you very much :)

Electronic Ignition

by Brian Monday, March 10, 2014

I've wanted to get electronic ignition ever since before we even had the engine. I've been waiting for the P-Mag 6 cyl version to come out for almost 4 years and I finally gave up on it. I'm a little bitter about it. The up side is that we finally did purchase an electronic ignition system (the EFII system) and am about to install it in the next month or so. I'm very excited as it boasts approx 10% power and 10% fuel efficiency improvement. Looking forward to having the extra economy especially for the nice long trips we like to take! I'll post some pictures of the install once I get going on it. In the meantime, it looks something like this but for 6 cylinders. 

Mom finally took the plunge!

by Brian Thursday, January 09, 2014

After swearing she would never set foot in the plane, my mom finally went for a flight with me recently! Not only did she tolerate it but she seemed to love it! That's 2 for 2 now that I've flown people who are terrified of flying that did just fine and said it wasnt bad. Feels good. There are still plenty of people who dont like flying who wont fly with me and I keep telling them its really not anything like an airliner and its really got nothing to do with being afraid of heights because the same sensation doesnt exist. Its like riding in a nice cozy car that just so happens to have a view. If someone were reading a book or not paying much attention they would barely know it was a plane instead of a car I think. 

Christmas in Arizona

by Brandi Thursday, January 02, 2014

We did it again... another wonderful trip across the country and back in this amazing machine we built together. Only this time, she looked pretty too. ;)

Around noon EST on Monday, December 23rd, the skies finally cleared up here (KRYY) enough to find a few holes in the clouds so we quickly grabbed a bite to eat and loaded up the plane. We didn't leave with full fuel because we found some on ForeFlight that was much cheaper in route (even though it turned out not to be - oh well). That left us making two fuel stops instead of one but, with me being 22 weeks pregnant, I wasn't complaining about stopping and walking around a bit more. Turns out that the headwinds were so bad that we would have had to stop twice anyways. We did a 2.5 hour leg to Pine Bluff, AR (KPBF), where we made our first fuel stop, then another 3.5 hour leg to Plainview, TX (KPVW), where we made our second fuel stop. From there we flew 3.3 hours to our destination, Ryan Field (KRYN), in Tucson, AZ.

It was about 9pm MST when we arrived at Ryan Field. Our grandparents picked us up from the airport and we spent the next day and a half in Tucson enjoying the time with family and the nice warm weather. On Christmas day, we packed up and headed to Show Low, AZ (KSOW) to spend a few nights with Granny and Brian's sister's family.

Before we departed Show Low on Friday, we loaded Granny up in the plane and headed for the Grand Canyon! She loved it. :)

On the way, we stopped in Sedona, AZ (KSEZ) to check it out. It's definitely on the top of the "Coolest airports we've been to" list. There was another RV-10 on the field but I didn't recognize it and we didn't see it's owner.

From Sedona, we headed to the Zuni Point GA Corridor at The Grand Canyon. Having never been there at all, I was super excited. What an AWESOME way to see the Grand Canyon!!

By this time, we were getting hungry so we flew over to Marble Canyon, AZ (L41) and had lunch. Another super neat place to fly into!! There really isn't an airport here; Just a Chevron, where you're supposed to register when you land, across the street from the landing strip and a small restaurant in the back of it.

After lunch we flew back to Show Low to drop off Granny, refuel and start our 4.6 hour trip to Austin, TX (KEDC). We spent the weekend with our friends in Austin and headed back home around 11am CST Sunday morning. We had a pretty nice tailwind and made it home in 3.8 hours.

The entire photo gallery of our trip can be found here.