Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

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!

summer hangar bbq is what its all about

by Brian Monday, June 03, 2013

A couple weeks ago, our main hangar rat, Bill, suggested the weather was going to be nice and we should do a bbq. Always a great idea! I love hanging out at the hangar with good people and good food. I always say the community aspect of pilots is one of the best parts. 

Kyle and Alex hangar flying.

Pretending to fly to Disney World. =D

Insurance update 2

by Brian Monday, June 03, 2013

Insurance renewal cost after about 11 months of flying and a little over 200 hours came out to be about $2700/yr. Just wanted to give a data point for anyone who is doing planning and wanted to know the rough insurance cost estimates. Initially, insurance was very expensive for us ($4100/yr) because I had only 135 hours total time and of that only 10 hours RV-10 time. Time in type makes a big difference. 

RV-10 stuff to buy

by Brian Monday, June 03, 2013

In helping a friend pool together an order of items to buy for his -10, I figured that it might be helpful to have a centralized area where people could reference a few common RV-10 'to buy' items. Of course this is not an exhaustive list. There are plenty of other sources and products out there. This is a sample of a few items to think about and where to find them. Leave a comment if you have another good source for one of these items, or any other item that is specific to the -10 that would be handy to have here.

Stick grip:



Have you decided to order the 3rd latch for the door or not? If yes, buy it here:

Highly recommend the angled door pins and delrin pin guides as well.


Seat belts: Crow, hooker harness, or other? If crow, buy four seatbelts here:


Headphone jacks:


Tow Bar for RV-10:


Transponder antenna:


This helps: Bolt assortment kit:

204-piece Undrilled Assortment

 P/N 04-00105 $53.75


Andair fuel selector:

part#05-29505   FS20X2F               LEFT/RIGHT/OFF (90 DEGREES BETWEEN LEFT AND RIGHT)     


FS20X3F 180 degrees style:  


Consider this if using andair and want a little easier time plumbing:


Brake fluid (higher smoke point than normal - important!) buy this: 


McMaster-Carr door seal:

Part # 1120A411 1 Each Edge-grip Rubber Seal Bulb Opposite Grabber, 1/4" Edge, 3/8" Bulb Width, 50 Ft. Length (~$75)


McMaster-Carr rubber seal for baggage door: 

  Part # 93085K67 10 Ft. Adhesive Back Foam Rubber Bulb Seal, 3/8" O'all Width, 7/32" O'all Height, 10'length (~$7)

Bahamas Trip -- Ft. Lauderdale to Staniel Cay

by Brian Monday, May 06, 2013

When we first decided to build an airplane one of our big bucket list items was go fly down to the Caribbean. During the time frame of our build, Brandi and I attended a flying to the Bahamas seminar that was held for free by the FAA. They asked who the youngest pilot was in the crowd of about 40 people and guess who won it, yours truly. So they gave me charts to the Bahamas as a prize. We hung these on our wall of the garage for inspiration during our build. I'm overjoyed to write that the dream goal finally came true this past month. Last year at Oshkosh we had the great pleasure of hanging out with Tim Olson and his awesome family and they suggested the idea of a Bahamas trip. Brandi and I were on board with the plan for sure! Tim did most of the planning and we had a group of four of us RV-10 families who were going. Tim and Andrea Olson and family (, Sean and Hollie Strasburg (, Scott and RaNae Schmidt and family, and Brandi and I. 

Since this site is mostly about airplane stuff, I'll keep this post short and focused on mostly that.

As a flight of four RV-10s, we departed Ft. Lauderdale, Florida headed for the Bahamas. It was a sunny beautiful day and excitement was in the air as each of our wheels left the ground to soon be over the ocean. We climbed to 8,500 feet over the top of clouds and headed for our destination of Staniel Cay of the Exuma Islands. The night before, we had all filed our EAPIS plans in order to cross the boarder of airspace of the USA and into the Bahamas.

The further we went, the more breathtaking the views became. No picture or words will capture the awesome sight of the panoramic beauty that the birds eye view provided us. Despite knowing that photos could do the experience no justice, we took some anyways to try to capture even a small glimpse of the shades of blues and the sense of freedom.

Before our final destination we would stop at San Andros to clear customs. All went well there and we were in and out fairly quickly.

We arrived at Staniel Cay and were shuttled via golf carts over to the Yacht club, where we would be staying for the next four nights. It was a charming place with great views, good food, and plenty to do for fun and relaxation. Brandi and I had the orange cottage, which looked out over the ocean with the most enjoyable porch views ever. We scuba dived, boated around and found spectacular beaches, swam the Thunderball grotto, biked around the island, kayaked, had long wonderful dinners with great company, and much more. It was perfect.


Disney World + Panthers Hockey

by Brandi Sunday, April 07, 2013

Last month Brian and I flew down to Kissimmee, FL for a work conference that was being held at one of the Disney World Resorts. We had to leave a day early because of weather coming in at home. It was crappy flying around Atlanta but we found a hole in the clouds and popped up just south of the city.

We spent our extra day visiting Epcot Center. It was pretty chilly for FL but we managed. That night, we went back to Epcot for "Drinks around the World" and dinner in Germany. All of the food there is amazing! Here's Brian enjoying his liter of beer!

Since we were there during the week, I took my laptop and worked from the room during the day while he was at the conference. The view was awesome!

The last night we flew down to Pompano Beach where another RV-10 builder, Lenny, lives. We meet him and his girlfriend at the airport and then headed to the Panthers vs Jets Hockey game. Brian and I are huge hockey fans (we even play ourselves) and we miss going to NHL games greatly since we lost our local NHL team a few years back. =( We decided when we built the plane that we would fly to an NHL game in every city. We have one down and 29 more to go! =D The Panthers just happened to be playing our old team (now the Winnepeg Jets) so it was great to see all of the players we used to follow so closely.

Here we are doing our favorite thing outside of airplanes... watching live NHL hockey! =D

The flight home was great but SLOW! We had a 60 kt headwind the ENTIRE way at every altitude we tried. 

Sharing our files

by Brian Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Below are links to a few documents that we created, or modified. We're sharing them to the community in case it helps anyone. I think it would be a great starting point if you didnt have any of this yet or at least needed some ideas. 

Here is a .zip file of all of the files below:

Wiring spreadsheet. Lists buses, wire gauges, wire numbers, amp chart, switch names.

Wiring Diagram. Based off Bob Nuckols Z-13. Modified to include avionics switch.

RV-10 Airplane Checklist. Formatted to print into a nice little checklist booklet.

RV-10 Pilots Operating Handbook. Started with one that Mike Andresen ( created and we modified it a bit for our needs.

RV-10 Weight and Balance. A great spreadsheet for RV-10 weight and balance. Someone else created this. 

Checklist .ace file. For a Garmin 696, customized for our airplane but a good starting point. Make sure to get the Garmin Aviation Checklist Editor software to go with this. 

RV-10 Cost Planner. Help estimate the total cost of the various kits and accessories and helps plan when to order the items.

Flight testing document. Phase 1 fly off period should be structured. Following a test plan such as this help. I think this was created by Mike Andresen originally.

Nose wheel tension

by Brian Monday, March 25, 2013

When landing, after the nose wheel comes down the nose wheel kind of shimmies a bit and I didnt like that so I decided to tighten up the nose wheel tension. Previously I set it by the book at the 26 or so lbs of break out force. I tightened it up one more notch since it can only go in increments based on the cotter pin fitting in the next castle nut notch. Well, that fixed the problem, however now its a little harder to taxi around and involves riding the brakes a bit more. So I think I'll put it back to what the plans call for and just put up with the unpleasant shimmy. Just wanted to share in case anyone comes across the same issue. 

Edit: better option: drill new hole for cotter pin and get it to right break-out value. 

Dynamic Propeller Balancing

by Brandi Friday, March 22, 2013

This past Sunday we flew down to KFFC (Peachtree City, GA) for the Falcon RV Squadron St. Patrick's Day potluck and to get our prop balanced. The potluck was amazing, as usual, and the prop balancing was neat to learn and take part in.

First we removed the top of the cowling and bolted a small sensor to the engine. He then put a piece of reflector tape on the prop to mark 0 degrees. 


We ran the sensor cables down the wing and connected them to the handheld receiver. Then, Brian got in the plane and ran it up to about 2400 RPM. Once the RPM was stable, Brian gave the thumbs up and we grabbed a reading from the receiver. It took all of 5 seconds to get a reading. 

At the first reading, our prop came in with a vibration level due to mass imbalance of 0.25 IPS (inches per second) (low end of rough) @ 111 degrees. We drilled a hole in the back plate of the spinner and installed a bolt with some washers @ 291 degrees. After putting the spinner back on, Brian got back in the plane and we recorded our second reading. The second reading was much better: 0.07 IPS (good) @ 219 degrees. We could chase this all day but we decided to stop here. Tommy, the expert prop balancer at KFFC, told us that any change under 0.10 IPS wasn't noticeable.

After the potluck, we got in the plane and headed home. At this point, we had both almost forgot about the prop balancing. At least, until we took off. Oh boy! What a difference!! I didn't think our plane was THAT rough to begin with but I felt the difference before we were 1000 feet off the ground. A few seconds later, Brian looked at me and we both just smiled. We knew the flight home was going to be the best one yet! =D

This plane is so amazing... and so are the views!

Sun Visors installed!

by Brian Thursday, March 14, 2013

Yay, finally installed sun visors. Have been holding out due to money reasons but found a really great deal on a pair of the Blue Sky visors. They are normally $200 a pair but we bought some from one of our -10 friends, Bryan Douglas, who opted to go with the Rosen visors. The Blue Sky are $200 a PAIR where as the Rosens are $200 each. I was a little concerned that they would not be big enough, especially compared to the Rosens cause the Rosens looked much bigger but after having installed them they are PLENTY big. In fact, with the seat scooted up pretty far (cause we're kinda short :/ (5'8")) they can cover a large amount of sky. Even for taller folks they would be just fine. In fact, I wouldnt want them any bigger than they are now. The install was easy. I fret over the fact that we had used a little filler to smooth out the contours of the cabin top where these visors are suppose to mount but in the end I just installed them and they're fine. I had a chance to use them right away too. I was landing 28 at LZU into the sun yesterday and popped the visor down and it worked like a charm. I'm a little too excited about these visors I think, but then again, we did fly 170 hours without them, so it sure is nice :)