Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Back from paint!

by Brandi Sunday, December 15, 2013

We got our gorgeous bird back from the paint shop Friday evening. We're super pleased with the paint job and highly recommend our painter, Don Smith at KVPC. Here are some photos: 

Vans Aircraft factory tour (video)

by Brian Thursday, November 07, 2013

I miss our airplane! It should be back from the paint shop soon. In the meantime, I'm relegated to digging up old videos of airplane stuff :) Here is a good one:


This just got real!

by Brandi Friday, November 01, 2013

Here are some photos we received from the painter this week. I cried when I saw them (blame it on the hormones). Ha! We actually drove to KVPC and picked up the wheel pant Wednesday night to make sure the colors were good before we cleared him to paint the rest of the plane.

We both agreed that the colors were spot on and gave him the go ahead to finish the plane. Today he sent us another photo of him working on the wing. I'm pretty sure he's just as excited about this as we are and that's awesome! =D

Falcon Field airshow

by Brian Friday, October 25, 2013

A couple of weeks ago was a big airshow at our beloved Falcon Field. We always have such a great time at airshows when they are at FFC because all our squadron mates are there and we hang out, have good food, and enjoy great company of each other. Brandi snapped this nice photo of Team Aeroshell, her favorite airshow team. We had to drive down there since our airplane was and still is in the paint shop. We sure did get spoiled to traveling in the -10! Atlanta traffic was hellacious and due to traffic our normal 20 minute flight took like 2 hours! It will be great to be back in the air and enjoying the birds eye view of all that nasty traffic. 

Surprise N number change

by Brian Friday, October 25, 2013

Brandi and I arrived at the hangar a couple months ago to do some work on the plane. When we arrived I saw that one of the guys had been goofing around and made a fake change to our N number to read N43BU. The significance of 42BU is that the airplane is for two B.U.'s - Brian Unrein and Brandi Unrein. Sometimes the hangar mates are as bad as our parents about bugging us when are we going to have kids. I got a good chuckle out of this. The joke was on me though because Brandi said, "I did that, you're going to be a father!"  Wow! What a great way to hear that my sweet little Brandi is pregnant! She is 13 weeks now and had a good checkup at the Dr. so we are now telling everyone and we are so excited! We wont actually change the N number of the airplane, but this was a very cute and funny way for Brandi to tell me something.

Paint progress

by Brian Friday, October 25, 2013

I went to visit our bird at the paint shop the other day. I took the doors off so they could more easily paint the door jams and while I was there I snapped a couple photos of the progress. Its been primed and makes a big difference already! How exciting! I cant wait to get it back soon. 


Lord Adhesive vs. Weld-On Update

by Brandi Thursday, September 26, 2013

I don't know if you guys remember, but we attached the pilot side door window on our plane with Weld-On and the other windows with Lord Adhesive as a little experiment. Some builders feel that the Weld-On is responsible for the small cracks that form around the window over time. Personally, I was sold on ANY alternative after working with Weld-On for the first time; what a huge mess!  Note that, for all windows, we left the appropriate (and same) size gap around them and then filled in this gap with filler as instructed in the plans.

Flash back to OSH 2012... at around 55 hours, a friend pointed out a "ridge" forming around our Weld-On window. It was pretty nasty looking and would have definitely caused some paint issues if the plane would have been painted already. Since then, this "ridge" has covered more ground around the window but has not really changed in height. Here's a photo of the Weld-On "ridge" when we first discovered it.

Yesterday, our painter, Don, pointed out some cracks around the rear windows and doors in which we had used the Lord Adhesive! Granted, they are NOWHERE near the size of the strange "ridge" that formed on the Weld-On window but, they're still there. We're now at about 270 hours and I've never noticed these cracks before so I don't know how long they've been there. They're pretty small so it isn't something that you'd see on an unpainted plane unless you were, say, prepping the cabin cover for paint. It might not even be something that would have shown up through paint already; I have no experience in this area. Below are photos of the cracks found in the Lord Adhesive rear and door windows, respectively. You can click them to open the full size image and get a better view of the cracks.


I find it very interesting that the cracked areas don't always occur at the edge of the window. A few spots are actually at the cabin cover, on the other side of the gap.

I still think Lord Adhesive is the better option but, it's not the ultimate solution. I'm not sure there is one short of masking the cracks by putting a few layers of glass around the seams. It seems cracks are inevitable when you have two different materials expanding and contracting at different rates.  

Nose wheel shimmy

by Brian Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lately we had been having increasing instances of nose wheel shimmy on landing and suspected the tension needed to be tightened again (since we had already tightened it once after annual). Before we tightened it, we shot a video and I was amazed to see just how much the nose wheel will turn due to prop wash!! The nose wheel stayed in this position for the entire duration of the flight and surely had to impact airspeed. 

I measured the break out force at around 17 or so lbs when I took the fairings off. Tightening it to the next notch in the castle nut put it around 35+ lbs, which is unpleasant to taxi around with due to having to drag the brakes a lot. I decided to drill a new hole through the threaded nose gear so that we could get closer to the vans recommended 26 lbs. Got it around 29 lbs or so and I'm happy with that.

Going off for paint

by Brian Monday, September 23, 2013

Well, the old bird has been flying now for about 15 months and 270 hours and it has finally come time to paint. I flew a quick 5 minute hop over to Cartersville (KVPC) and started disassembly. In full disclosure it was more of a 15 minute flight as I had to get in just a little more fun before the flying hiatus :) Brandi joined me at the shop and we both took things apart. We took off control surfaces, fairings, and cowl. We're so excited!


Pine Mountain Dinner with Falcon crew

by Brian Monday, September 23, 2013

The Falcon crew all flew down to Pine Mountain (KPIM) for an evening of fellowship and some good southern cooking. Keith flew with us and we managed to get ATC to give us 'Over the top' of Hartsfield. What a beautiful view. There were over 20 of us that flew out! Great turn out and was really wonderful to see everyone and catch up. 




Triple Tree Fly-in

by Brian Monday, September 23, 2013

Brandi and I attended our 2nd annual Triple Tree Fly-in and it was just as awesome as the first time. We flew out there with our hangar mates as a 3 ship loose formation - Bill, Keith, and Radar in the Golden Eagle, Dan and Janell were in the T-34, and Brandi and I of course in the RV-10. Its such a great environment between the beautiful grounds to great food and amazing people. We brought our tent and slept under the stars. I kept remarking about how I sometimes forget the stars are even there since we cant really see them well in the city. We saw lots of neat planes, had a great dinner, hung out with some old friends and met some new ones. That's the good life right there. 

Engine starting - FINALLY figured out!

by Brian Friday, September 13, 2013

I have followed the Lycoming manual to a T for cold engine starts and it has never been satisfactory. Maybe someone will see all this and provide some grand insight and show that I was doing wrong to begin with, but anyways the standard Lycoming way by the book goes something like this: 

  • crack throttle 1/4", mixture full, boost pump 3-6 seconds, mixture cut-off, crank, raise mixture slowly as begins to catch.

Thats what is suppose to happen but what happens at the crank stage is crank crank crank crank crank.. and then I finally stop because its not working. I crank again and then it finally starts, or sometimes a quick boost (1 second), and then it cranks right up. Arggg! I've tried making minor tweaks to this process, but always with the same general approach because its by the book. 


I finally figured out something that works much better with our system, which is two slickstart mags (no impulse coupling) and a slickstart shower of sparks booster. Heres how the new process goes: 

  • throttle 50%, mixture 50%, boost 5 seconds, then crank. It cranks right up and I then immediately reduce throttle to idle. 


Just wanted to share in case anyone else has similar frustration. Comments are welcome. 

AirVenture 2013

by Brian Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Brandi and I attended our 3rd in a row AirVenture. We left out on a Friday afternoon to make it there early. We departed and climbed up high above the clouds as the usual summer pop up storms were about to do their thing. It was smooth sailing above until near Chicago, where we had to dip down to about 1800 feet to go under some overcast clouds. We found a break in the overcast and so did a plane that had been paralleling our track a few miles off our wing. We both shot up through it to some nice sunny skies. Our on-board XM weather let us know there was a big storm line coming up soon that we would have to beware of and once we popped up through the clouds we could see the monster off in the distance towering up to probably 25,000 feet. We had a few options - land somewhere and wait it out, go way around it, or, since we noticed a valley and a break between cells, try to go over it! We made the decision to go over it and let me tell you the -10 handled wonderfully for this even fully loaded. Our neighboring plane must have had the same idea as we both started climbing to hit the top of this storm. We both started around 2,000 feet and long story short is we blasted up to 14,500 pretty quickly and just cleared the clouds. The view was amazing and it felt pretty neat to climb over that the top like that because we could do it. Our neighbor hit about 6k and was nowhere near keeping the climbing pace we had set and they must have aborted that idea because they were lagging behind and then leveled off and we lost track of them after that.

We got to Osh and were one of the first planes in the homebuilt camping area. There were hardly any planes arriving so the arrival procedures were very easy. We have found that the early part of the event is the best because that’s when its mostly pilots and hardcore aviation people, as opposed to a winding down event that puts on a great airshow that attracts lots of locals. So we were glad to have arrived Friday and were planning on departing Thursday morning. When we arrived it was SO cold. We did not pack warmly enough at all. Last year it hit 100 degrees and this time the high was like 62, what up with that, Mother Nature!? Later that week we were enjoying 70 degree days, which were perfect.

It’s neat how some things remain the same every time and some things are different. We enjoyed meeting up with all our friends and making new ones. We also really enjoy hitting up SOS Bros (aka Bikini Bar) for delicious whitefish, fried cheese curds, sweet corn, and beer. Falcon squadron was well represented again this year. Enjoyed some good fellowship with them - more next year for sure. Our buddy Kyle proved to be a great camping companion again this year as he was a couple rows away from us. 3rd year in a row where tent rescue of some sort was required whether it’s ours or other peoples. 

We were inspired by the innovations pavilion. Loved the night air show. RV-10 headquarters in Camp Scholler was full of good people and good fun. A real blast all the way around.

Thursday came around way too fast and so it was time to depart. We left out of there with no problems and great weather ahead of us. We stopped by the beautiful Poplar Grove airport to pick up our buddy and fellow squadron mate, Mike B., and headed home. Mike and I chatted aviation stuff the whole way back while Brandi enjoyed a book in the back seat. Mike is a Delta captain so it was ironic that we were flying him home! He did a great landing at Falcon field and treated us to dinner. We left for home, exhausted from the week’s activities and ready for our nice comfy bed. We unloaded the airplane and wished we would have taken a photo because we were amazed at how much stuff we were able to pack in the plane!

I'm already looking forward to next year!

Oshkosh coming up soon!

by Brian Monday, July 22, 2013

We're so excited! Oshkosh is nearly upon us once again for Brandi and my 3rd AirVenture in a row. If you're going to Osh and you happen to see us or our ugly duckly (because its not painted yet (after Osh)) come say hi! 

Surprise T-6 ride for my birthday!

by Brandi Monday, July 15, 2013

Today's my 31st birthday and my awesome husband surprised me with a ride in a T-6 on Saturday! I just LOVE the T-6 and the sound of that 600 HP P&W engine!!

Our good buddy Jim "Nomad" Lawrence was the pilot and we had a wonderful flight! Thank you so much Jim and Brian! Best Birthday Ever!

Greenville, SC

by Brian Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Brandi and I flew up to Greenville, SC this past Saturday with two missions. Visit her cousin, who goes to school there, and visit a fellow -10 builder, named Yuri. We had a great flight there - Brandi worked the radios and took-off and flew most of the flight (and did wonderful at all of it). The control tower operator at KGMU was super friendly and helpful. He directed us to the restaurant on field, which was really wonderful because of good food and nice views. Not long after we got there, a couple other RVs showed up. We recognized one of the guys, Bill Repucci, from Osh and we all had lunch together. The two guys each had their sons, who were around age 4, fly in with them. After a nice visit and a few hours later, we decided to head back home to beat afternoon pop up storms. On my landing back home I exclaimed to Brandi 'how about that huh!?' and she goes 'Oh, I didnt know we were on the ground yet!'  Nice. 

A reflection on the airplane after the 1st year of flying

by Brian Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brandi posted our plane's bday on VAF and someone pointed out that a retrospective view was in order on what we had done right, what would we change, etc. That sounds like a great idea so here goes. 

Did right:

  • Decided to build the plane despite it being seemingly impossible and too expensive of a task. 
  • Waited to paint until after it had flown for a while. Too many things could have scratched the paint by now - not that they won't in the future but we're over the hump of lots of shuffling of things going on. 
  • Installed overhead console with air vents. More air in the hot summer and also, in cruise, they are much quieter than front vents if you don't need full blast air. 
  • Went with a new engine. There are plenty of things to worry about and I'm glad we aren't worried about potential engine issues from having who knows what rebuilt parts in one. I don't think there is anything wrong with getting an overhauled one, but I think it requires more diligence and knowledge of engines in general than we had at the time. 
  • Went with a simple operating design (from electrical/button pushing standpoint) and clean panel. Easy to use and works great! 
  • Did seat mod so seats can slide off rails without removing flap rod covers.
  • 3rd door latch + door pins from
  • Used McMaster seal around door frame instead of stock seal.
  • Used Lord Adhesive for windows instead of Weld-On. 
  • Installed door lock on pilot side and drilled hole for pin through door handle push button on passenger side.
  • Installed landing lights in both wings.
  • Went with the Dynon SkyView system. We really love flying behind it.

Would do different: 

  • Probably would do a VPX system. At the time we were really scraping dollars, but, in the grand scheme of things, it would have been much cleaner behind the panel and we could have gotten some really neat data on our EFIS regarding the electrical system. 
  • Cut a little bigger clearance around the wheel pants from the get go so they don't crack if you land hard! 
  • Buy multi-conductor wiring to make wiring cleaner. 
  • Leave longer service loops on panel wiring. 
  • Install parking brake - maybe? It would be handy every once in a while.
  • Went with Garmin 650 instead of 430.
  • Wish we had the 50w (or more) HID lights from Duckworks instead of the 35w.
  • Get the prop balanced sooner. That made such a big difference.
Will upgrade: 
  • Electronic ignition
  • Flow matched injectors
  • Battery charge port in baggage wall or tailcone belly
  • Add USB charger ports

The First Year

by Brandi Sunday, June 16, 2013

Today marks the first anniversary of our first flight! In the past 365 days we've flown 239 hours, gone to 59 different airports in 14 different states and 2 other countries.

Moral support

by Brandi Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Brian's helping build another airplane and I like to tag along for moral support. It's way more fun to drag your sewing stuff to the airport and sew instead of sitting at home alone. =D

Afternoon trip to Wisconsin and back

by Brian Monday, June 03, 2013

My buddy Keith wanted to pick up some tailkit parts for the -7 he is building. We were out having lunch on this past Sunday afternoon and were trying to work out a time when we could go to Wisconsin and pick them up. We were looking at our schedules and trying to make plans when Keith was like, how about we just go right now?! So we did! What better way than to hop in the -10 and make an adventure out of it! We drove back to the hangar and departed at about 230pm local time, 3.5 hours later we arrived at 5K6 (Wilmot, Wisconsin), met Doug and his nephew Joey, gave them a ride, packed up the gear then headed home. We flew over beautiful clouds that spanned nearly the entire route. Flying near clouds is one of the most enjoyable things to me.

The reflection off the wing gets really hot! Keith made a make shift hat and I kept laughing every time I would glance over at him. We need to get this plane painted! We have some sticky sun shade things but I couldnt find them in flight. Will have to make sure they are more accessible next time :)

We left Wisconsin and enjoyed some beautiful night flying near the end of the trip. We flew back at 11,500 feet and near the second half of the flight we equipped oxygen masks for better visibility of the stars and also just to feel better since we were doing about 7 hours round trip at pretty high altitudes. We got back at 10:30pm. It was a great time and one more example of why it rocks to own such a great traveling machine!