Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Jekyll Island trip

by Brian Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Now this trip is what building this plane was all about! Brandi's birthday was this past weekend and I had planned a little surprise trip down to Jekyll Island. We arrived at the hangar around 9:30am Saturday morning and all the guys were already there busy cleaning things up. We pitched in and then I did an oil change on our bird. Bill generously loaned us a case of oil and Walt saved the day by having an oil filter we could use. We took off, got fuel at a nearby airport for $4.99/gal and off we went. There was some weather between ATL and Jekyll so we climbed up to 10,500 feet, which was high enough to get over it all. We did jump up to 13.5 briefly to dodge some taller clouds. The view was spectacular. I have always loved flying among the clouds. We cruised at 170 knots (195MPH) most of the way there. As we got closer we began to see some really pretty scenery as the river and wetland area permeated the area.

We landed and got all tied down and rented a 'Red Bug' (electric car similar to a golf cart) for the day. Rich, a very nice gentlemen at the FBO was helpful and friendly and chatted with us about a few things on the island and later about our plane. He was very complimentary and enthusiastic! So off we went to our campsite with our camping gear loaded up. We got our tent all setup in a quaint little area that had picturesque trees that I call Savannah Trees (because they have that mossy stuff hanging from them, no idea what its actually called). Then we had a delicious dinner at a place called Driftwood that had some really excellent southern cooking. Next, Brandi and I had a nice long walk on the beach (oh how cliche). The weather was perfect and the water was warm as we had our shoes off and were walking just along the edge. We drove around the island some more and found a huge soccer complex that was empty except a family of deer. We then went over to the Marina and 'window shopped' at all the nice boats and pretended like we had to pick one out to be ours. I liked ones that tended to have a nice big open area on the back for fishing/launching for scuba. Brandi was eyeballing a gorgeous sailboat. Next we toured the historic district, which had some impressive old plantation style homes of some big names from the past like J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller. We then walked along the fishing pier hopeful to see someone hauling in a big catch but it was pretty uneventful. It was starting to get dark and we were tired so we decided to head back to the tent. We had packed a cooler with a couple beers so we grabbed them and enjoyed them in the tent because we had to hide from the mosquitoes lol. The camping trip was a surprise to Brandi so in our last minute packing (30 minutes by the way, nice!) we neglected to bring a flashlight. We also only had a sleeping bag as padding to sleep on. Oops! Could have been a better evening but the next morning was gorgeous weather and scenery to cheer things back up.

We had a delicious breakfast at the golf course and then decided to head home to beat the weather. We had an amazing weekend and both agreed we want to go back again.  After having put so much hard work into building our plane, it was such a reward to have a nice get away weekend like this. The biggest problem we have now is that there are so many great places to go visit!

Panels and Carpet

by Brandi Thursday, July 12, 2012

The evening storms have been pretty bad here this week so I'm taking the opportunity to work on the interior some more. 

I'm in the process of fitting the fiberglass side panels that I made. Maybe I can get them covered and in place before OSH. The plan is to cover the glass with 1/8" closed cell foam (like I used on the glare shield cover) and then wrap that in the same black Ultraleather that I'm using on the seats. I've only got one of the rear seat side panels made at this point and I've yet to come up with a good way to incorporate the rear side vents into it. So, it's probably going to be a little while before I get those finished.

I'm also working on the carpet. First I made templates out of poster board for each area that I need to fill. I then laid the templates (wrong side up) on the back of the carpet and traced them with silver sharpie. Next I cut out each piece and fit them in the plane. The only thing I have left to do is trim them to where my interior panels stop and attach them with Velcro. I had originally planed to tuck the carpet under my interior panels but it's much thicker than I remembered and, while it might work on the outboard side panels, it's not going to work for the tunnel cover panel. So, I've decided to trim it just to the edge of the panel and see how that works.

Oshkosh bound!

by Brian Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Operation Oshkosh is a go! Brandi and I attended our very first Osh ever last year. We had a BLAST! This year is going to be probably 5x better I think. Not only are we going to fly our own plane there, which is a dream goal come true, but there are so many great Vans oriented events and people that we have met or made acquaintance with that we are looking forward to seeing. We're going to be camping near our plane in STYLE this time. Last year we had a 2 person tent that was cramped to say the least. We slept on little blow up floats for a pool (and they never held air for long). This time Brandi found a super great bargain on a bigger tent and we have a real air mattress we can actually bring. Last year when we flew commercial and had to schlep our gear all around on our backs, lots of ammenities was just not an option. Now, we can carry the kitchen sink! With Brandi and I and full fuel, we can carry 475 lbs of junk in that trunk. Nice! I love the -10!

Phase I Complete!

by Brandi Monday, July 09, 2012

And I finally got to fly! =D It was awesome!

27 hours in

by Brian Monday, July 02, 2012

27 of the required 40 hours of the test phase have been flown so far. Loving every minute of it! I got in 6 hours today, which was draining but I enjoyed all of it. Much better than yesterday's 5 hours because yesterday's high was 105 degrees, ouch! I took a short clip today with my phone. Tomorrow I'll bring the GoPro camera that our buddy Keith loaned us. 

Intersection Fairings

by Brandi Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brian's been in Texas for the past week so I took the opportunity to finish up the intersection fairings. They're a LOT of work but coming along nicely.


11 hour mark

by Brian Friday, June 22, 2012

After eleven hours of pure blissful flying I'm happy to report that all is well. There are a few squawks but nothing major that cant be fixed. I flew over to Peachtree City (FFC) for the first time the other day, which was a milestone for us because thats where the Falcon squadron is and we have made some very good friends with the group since we began our journey. It was anti-climatic at first because I didnt call anyone to tell them I was coming so naturally I wouldnt expect anyone to be sitting at the hangar when I showed up at 10am on a Wednesday. Well, luck would have it that Robbin saw me at Aircraft Spruce, where I was picking up a couple things, and said to come over to the other Falcon squadron hangar. To my delight, John and Jerry were there and later Waldo showed up! They congratulated me and we checked out our plane and everyone was very complimentary of our accomplishment. It was nice to be able to show off our bird and I really look forward to some of the adventurous trips that Brandi and I will get to take part in soon.

Taxes :(

by Brian Friday, June 22, 2012

Dont forget to budget for taxes. The state/county does not waste any time to hold their hand out upon seeing someone receiving an air worthiness certificate. They want their 6% of the value of the plane. After spending our own hard earned (and already taxed money, by the way) to build something from nothing it is a disgusting notion to have to pay the government a large sum of money in this manor. Oh well, what can you do...

Insurance update

by Brian Friday, June 22, 2012

First year insurance costs are pretty high but they are sure to come down next year once I have some RV-10 time under my belt. We ended up with a $4100 annual cost this year and I expect that to drop by at least a grand or more by next renewal. At the time I got coverage I had about 135 total flight time. Insurance mandated that I get 5 hours of transition training, which I would have done anyways. We went through NationAir and our agent, Jenny, is fantastic.

First flight!

by Brian Monday, June 18, 2012

Brian and Brandi's RV-10, N42BU, took its first flight on 6/16/2012 after 20 months and over 2300 hours of construction. It flew like a dream come true and is everything we hoped it would be. Outfitted with standard engine configuration. Avionics include two 10" Dynon Skyview EFIS, Garmin 430w, Garmin 696, SL40, PS8000B audio panel. 

This has been a project that we took on together as a team. Its been an incredible journey and we are thrilled to think what lies ahead for us yet. As both our initials are "BU" this airplane is "For Two BU" or N42BU. 
Compilation video below.


by Brian Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm day dreaming about flying the plane and my mind wanders. I was chatting with Brandi as seen below, which turned into me doodling a comic. The crazy things I think up to keep my mind occupied until first flight... ;)

Brian: I was sitting here thinking - hmm on Sat if I did my first flight.. if I had the choice would I eat BBQ lunch first as a 'last meal' or would I say , "no! I dont get bbq until I make it back safely" so then my lol moment was out loud I said Barrrbbeeequeeeeee as I imagined that would be my 'battlecry' as I took off on my first takeoff. Tower would just be like? ?

Brandi: LOL

                         (Click to view normal size)

Its official!

by Brian Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our airplane is officially certified to fly the skies now! We used Vic Syracuse as our DAR (FAA representative to do the air worthiness inspection) and he was excellent. Better than excellent. You couldnt pick a better person to look over your build unless it was Van himself! Vic has built 7 or so planes, including two RV-10s. He did a very thorough inspection and pointed out some things we had to fix and some things that were recommendations. We didnt have anything majorly wrong except I had the trim hooked up backwards! That was an easy fix but OOPS! I feel shame. The elevator trim should go the opposite direction of the elevator. For example, nose up trim should deflect the trim tab down. What a nasty one to have to have found out in flight, whew. What a relief to have that part out of the way. Now we look forward to first flight. Our good friend Pierre who is an Agricultural pilot (crop duster) and also owns a 10 offered to do our first flight. Since I'm a low time pilot it is wise for me to take him up on that offer despite the fact that I miss the symbolic first flight in a sense. I will still get my own first flight and I know its going to be amazing!

Every nut and bolt checked!

by Brian Friday, June 08, 2012

A BIG thanks to Keith for staying super late to help Brandi and I do one more look over of the plane from nose to tail in preparation for our inspection. Also thanks to Glynnis, his wife, for putting up with him :) 

Weight and Balance

by Brian Friday, June 08, 2012

We performed our initial flight weight and balance thanks to the help of David and Keith over at EAA chapter 268. They were nice enough to loan us some scales. We came in at 1541 lbs empty weight, which is pretty good I think. We'll pickup probably 50 more lbs as we add the rest of Brandi's interior panels down the road and then paint. So we'll have to redo the W&B then but for now we're in great shape. If we stay around 1600 when its all said and done then we'll have an 1100 lb useful load. As advertised this is enough for 4 people, fuel, and some baggage. Sweet!

Taxiing around the airport

by Brandi Monday, June 04, 2012

Tailcone Stowaway

by Brian Monday, May 28, 2012

We had some final wire routing and tidy work to complete in the tailcone and thank goodness for little Brandi because she squirmed her way all the way to the back of the tailcone. She managed to route all the wiring and secure it. With one hand. No light. Sweltering heat. And seemingly putting an advanced Pilates class to shame. Eventually I put a light in there for her though, so I'm sure it wasnt that bad after that. I'm such an excellent helper. Oh, I also shoved her cup of delicious iced orange juice in there to her to give her some relief at some point. She had drank all the oj earlier though so it was just mostly melted ice with a slight orange tint to it. I think it was probably delicious but Brandi didnt seem to want much of it. Probably because of her complete focus and dedication to the build. 

Homestretch killed the timelog

by Brian Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Well, the time log is out the window at this point. Brandi and I have meticulously kept a time log to very precise measurements for the entire duration of our build over the last year and a half or so. At this point though, there would have to be a 3rd person just to record time because there are about 1,000 tiny little tasks that have been finished up on during the phase of the build that we are calling homestretch. With that said, we have increased our work output to probably at least triple our average, so nearly 300 hours of work per month between the two of us I would say during the final month or two until first flight. It sure is exciting. And draining. And worth every moment of it. 

First engine start

by Brian Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An impromptu engine start erupted yesterday afternoon, which has sent my motivation level skyrocketing. I have already been busting ass on the project because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but after hearing that big bad 540 cubic inch Lycoming roar to life, its all I can think about now! It was AWESOME! Special thanks to all the usual hangar rats, Keith, Dan, Bill, Jim for being my mentors and pit crew. Next step is to taxi Brandi and I around the hangar block a few time as a special treat and reward for all the hard work that we've put into it so far. 

Wings attached!

by Brian Monday, May 14, 2012

We attached the wings this past weekend and thanks to the help of several good friends everything went smoothly and quickly. We slid the temporary bolts in without any trouble and started to rig the ailerons. We got the ailerons adjusted nicely and started to trim the flaps to clear the fuselage. The wing root fairings are nearly done too. Soon we'll have to pull the wings off to debur and rivet some things and then put in the close tolerance bolts and attach the wings permanently. 

Busy B's

by Brandi Friday, May 11, 2012

We've been busy B's since moving to the hangar Sunday. We've worked from 5ish until 9pm every evening this week!

I decided to make a panel for the inside of the door to cover with Ultraleather. It took me forever to get it laid up but it came out pretty good. Now I just need to trim it so that it stops right before the door seal. 

Brian got the tail feathers attached and functional. We're hoping to get the wings down from the loft and attached this weekend.

We added brake fluid to the system and began bleeding them yesterday. Found some leaks in the process and tightened up the fittings. It turned out to be a lot bigger job than either of us expected.