Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

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.

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!