Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Lack of website updates

by Brian Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I hate it that I havent been keeping the site very up to date with details of the build. In this phase of the build its like 1,000 action items and a lot are small items that do not produce something thats photo/website worthy. Or perhaps its because we're so close to getting this thing flying we're just focused on building and not on pictures/website stuff. 

For consolation, here is my current to do list in order to give a glimpse of what I've been up to. Brandi has her own separate list, which includes mostly interior finishing. 

Time Estimate     To Do

0  Attach oil door

0  Nutplates on cowl front

0  Install Adahr rack

0  Install radio stack brackets

0  Wire SL40, 430, Audio Panel

0  Baffling

0  Run wires from audio panel to skyviews

0  Add an315-3r jam nuts to control cables

0  Drill vent holes in subpanel near fans

0  Run RS 232 TX from L. Skyview to ELT 

0  Install Panel

0  update skyview firmware

0  windscreen fairing

0  Filtered air box - apply black rtv + hookup air door cable

0  Test and check wiring system

0  Fire barrier on FWF

0  Run wiring from EMS to wing roots for fuel sensors

0  Trim air intake snoot

0  Fix R. front baffle

0  wire tie runs down side of fuse

0  Baggage light switch

0  Elevator Pushrod

0  Configure flap sensor - run wiring

0  430 bracket FWF - wait on tnc connector

0  anti-chafe tape on control cables

0  Seat rail mod - cut 3/8" off front rail umhw

0  Plug alt static air and determine final location

0  check xpdr wiring for 430 serial in - also add ident stick button?

0  Rear rudder cable fairings

0  Sand bottom cowl

0  Rear strobe

0  sand door area 

0  Section 11 - re-rivet L-bracket - wait on spruce order nas623

0  Battery Install - order

0  install elevator trim

0  ground misc to battery


0.25  Extract broken screw in cowl pin cover - find/buy replacement screw

1  Figure out elevator trim 

2  Section 11 - Empennage attach

1  Section 12 rudder fairing (strobe) attach + wiring

1  install ELT antenna - wait for horizontal stab attach

0.5  Torque Prop & safety - need special torq tool? what are torq values?

Attach Comm antenna - buy screws

Sand Wheel Fairings - defer until after flying? - replace some? 

0.5  cross check POH instrument markings lycoming documentation

0.5  bracket for battery - get some scrap aluminum from shop

2  Seat Belts install - create bushings - wait on brandi - buy 6mm washer?

1  strobe wiring run through wing conduit

Figure out mag wiring - buy slickstart booster?

1  Take wings off loft

0.5  Add roll servo stops - be mindful of short screws:

1  Run coax to bob-archer in R. wing 

3  J-Stiffener re-rivet on wing? 

2  5Attach wings - plan for Sat

2  Check stick clearance with elevator on - adjust elev linkage slightly?

0.5  Add wing walk

1  Check all fuel/oil lines torque and seal

1  Rivet tailcone top skin

0.25  Put Aeroshell #5 into grease fitting in caster nosewheel bearing

Scales - need to find some to use/rent

Seal firewall with 3m Firebarrier - use clay from Steve on wire bundles

Alternator - Belt + safety wire

split 430 serial between xpndr/696?

update aviation and obstacal db + skyview 3.3.2

Wing attach Saturday

by Brian Wednesday, May 09, 2012

We're planning on attaching the wings on Saturday. I've finished several areas of section 44 ahead of time to make things go a little quicker. We should have a few people helping so we might be able to surge ahead and get a lot done. Theres a lot of work to be done so they wont be completely finished on Saturday but I think we'll get pretty far into it. 

At the hangar!

by Brandi Monday, May 07, 2012

We moved the big metal baby to the hangar yesterday! It was very exciting and everything went smoothly. Thanks to all of those who helped!

1576 miles across the country...

by Brandi Thursday, May 03, 2012

Not much work's been done on the plane lately. We've been in Tucson for the past week visiting our family and attending our sisters wedding. I can't wait until we're able to fly ourselves out there!

While in Tucson, we took a trip to the Pima Air and Space Museum. It's HUGE and pretty neat. You should check it out if you're ever in the area.

Panel looking good!

by Brian Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Here is a recent shot of the panel - looking pretty sweet if I say so myself. We recently added the Dynon GPS (which attach to some of the wires you can see dangling under the panel) and also screwed in the remote ELT panel. So with those things completed the panel is 100% ready to go! I have been setting values in the Dynon Skyview for our different parameters like airspeed markings, engine redlines, calibrating flap sensor, etc. Very exciting!

Section 12 - Empennage Fairings

by Brian Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I have been working on section 12 lately. Its pretty straight forward and is among the last few things that I can accomplish before we move to the airport. There is some fiberglass work involved in section 12. I've lucked out and not had to do too much fiberglass work since Brandi has done most of it on the build. Her to-do list is long though, so I went ahead and jumped right in. She said I did a good job getting the strobe attached to the rudder fairing! Hurah! Any time Brandi says good job and there is no preceding quizzing or list of imperfections from her then I know its good. The woman has a knack for spotting imperfections so I relish my atta-boy's. :)

Glare Shield Attached

by Brandi Monday, April 23, 2012

This weekend I finished up the glare shield cover project and attached it to the dash. I had bought "Utra-Thin" Velcro but I wasn't happy with it. It was just too think for the application. I searched the internets and found these Scotch Fasteners for Craft & Fabric. They advertised to be 2x thinner than Velcro brand so I ordered some. They worked perfect! Strong bond and VERY thin. 


by Brandi Monday, April 23, 2012

Saturday we received form 8050-3 in the mail. N42BU is officially a registered aircraft! 

The process was pretty straight forward. I called Van's and requested form 8050-2. They sent me some forms to fill out and had the Bill Of Sale to me in less than a week. Then I just followed the directions on the FAA site for registering an amateur-built aircraft. It took less than two weeks to get 8050-3 back. Just make sure all of your forms match as far as name order/spelling, etc. and you should be fine.

Edit: In case you're confused by the manufacturer section, Brandon is my real name. Brandi is just a nickname. =P

Spare bedroom

by Brian Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This is the CLEANEST that our spare bedroom has looked in nearly 2 years now. I'm excited to think that in 3 more weeks it can be completely free of aircraft parts!

Tail strobe

by Brian Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finally bought strobes. We were trying to hold out for a nice LED strobe solution but I couldnt find something that was reasonably priced that I was happy with so we went with non-LED strobes. Decided on the Kuntzleman strobes. Went to install the tail strobe and the thing wouldnt fit on the factory fairing. Grrr. I chewed away some room to slip some lock-nuts in and then epoxied them in place. Next I will add filler to make it look nice. 

Glare Shield Cover

by Brandi Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We received our Ultraleather order last week so I've been working on the glare shield cover for the past few days. I had made a pattern out of freezer paper before we installed the windscreen. Glad that I did because it's pretty hard to work in that area with the windscreen attached. From the pattern, I cut out 1/8" Volara Sculpting Foam to match the pattern and then placed it on the glare shield to make sure I had the perfect fit. I did the same with the underside of the glare shield up to the panel. I then used the foam to cut out a piece of Ultraleather for the top and underside and stitched them together using a french seam. (I also spent some time drooling over that Juki machine in the french seam video!) After stitching, I glued the foam to the Ultraleather using 3M contact adhesive.

Builder community

by Brian Sunday, April 15, 2012

This weekend we spent a lot of time socializing with builder friends. A very nice guy named Robert (RV-9 builder) was in Georgia for the weekend for work and had a little spare time so he came by to look at our project. He even helped me attach the rudder cable fairings on the tailcone that I needed to get done. Later that day we went to a get together that our new friend Daniel threw at his house. He invited builders and their spouses for drinks and dinner and just hanging out. Daniel has a very nice clean and organized shop where he is building an RV-7. There were lots of great people there - some we knew and some we met for the first time. It was a great time and we'll hopefully start getting together with everyone more often to help each other build and just hang out in general. Daniel and our friend Bill came by the shop today to check things out and get some perspective on the cabin top, as Bill will soon be tackling this area on his -10 build. We had a great lunch at the Carribean food place just down the road and then we all went back to our respective projects to get back to building. 

Pilots and builders are such great people!

Nearly hangar time!

by Brian Sunday, April 15, 2012

We are currently planning on moving to the hangar in 21 days from now! Exciting times!


by Brian Monday, April 09, 2012

Brandi has been busy lately creating patterns for the seats. She should be finished with the pilot side front seat by tonight so we can stick it in and garage fly. We're basing the design off a Volvo car seat design. She's doing some practice runs with cloth to make sure her patterns work well before its finally done in Ultraleather.


Section 11 empennage attach

by Brian Monday, April 09, 2012

We pulled the plane out of the garage for the first time since the engine has been hung. It sure was an exciting day and felt like another milestone had been reached as we temporarily attached the horizontal and vertical stabalizers. Bill and Dan come over to help out and I'm glad they did because it was interesting getting the plane to fit back in the garage :) Thanks guys! There are a few things left to do with section 11, but for the most part its  going along much quicker than I thought it might. 

Flap position indicator

by Brian Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Installed a potentiometer in order to indicate flap position to our EFIS. Got the idea from Michael Kraus via here

Clean Panel

by Brian Monday, April 02, 2012

When Brandi and I set out to design our panel we both agreed that we wanted a very clean and simple look. We both disliked seeing a bunch of screws and other things that made the panel look cluttered. I was reflecting today on how I'm really happy with how our panel turned out, which met our goals. Notice in the picture that there are no screws showing in the panel itself compared to how many there actually are under the fiberglass overlay :)

Light at the end of the tunnel!

by Brian Monday, April 02, 2012

Well, we have been "90% done 90% to go" for about a year. I think we are actually at 90/10 now!! If we stay on track, we should be able to move the project to the airport (KRYY) in about a month! Once at the airport we'll attach the wings and empennage and do the engine tests and all final inspections and testing. All of this should take another month or so, hopefully. We have decided to fly before its painted and also I'll get the 40 hour test phase underway while Brandi makes some final touches on the interior panels. There are a few mods that we would like to do that can wait until its flying, such as external battery charging capabilities, USB power for in flight charging of phones/devices, sun visors, removable passenger side stick (in flight), and others. The to do list is getting shorter. Every time I add something, I find something else that needs doing, but never the less, the list is dwindling! 



Time Estimate     To Do

0 Attach oil door

0 Nutplates on cowl front

0 Install Adahr rack

0 Install radio stack brackets

0 Wire SL40, 430, Audio Panel

0 Baffling

0 Run wires from audio panel to skyviews

0 Add an315-3r jam nuts to control cables

0 Drill vent holes in subpanel near fans

0 Run RS 232 TX from L. Skyview to ELT 

0 Install Panel

0 update skyview firmware

0 windscreen fairing

0 Filtered air box - apply black rtv + hookup air door cable

0 Test and check wiring system


0.5 Fire barrier on FWF

1 Run wiring from switches to wing root + plugs

1 install ELT antenna

1 wire tie runs down side of fuse

14 Fill door gaps

0.5 Seat rail mod

3 Configure flap trim sensor

3 Lights - install NAV - figure out strobe.

2 Rear rudder cable fairings

3 Cut tunnel cover fwd of fuel selector

0.25 Finish Garmin 430w bracket FWF - wait on tnc connector

1 Alternator - Belt + safety wire

1 Baggage light switch

0.5 Check all fuel/oil lines torque and seal

1 Wingtip trim - add filler and round edges

0.5 Plug alt static air and determine final location

2 Seat Belts - install

1 Battery Install

5 Inspect Empennage

1 Fix R. front baffle

0.25 Trim air intake snoot


42.5 Total

Panel powered up!

by Brian Monday, March 26, 2012

We powered up the panel for the first time late last night. This was a major milestone and probably one of my most eagerly anticipated moments. I briefed Brandi with a makeshift initial electrical system testing plan that I created on the spot. I've had to learn all the electrical stuff as I went along so maybe there is some official way to conduct this type of test. We dove right in though and gave it a shot.  To make it more interesting , here is the event as described in a dialog between Brandi and I. 

Brian: "Ok, I think we're ready. Heres what I think we should do. First, I'm going to hook the battery up and nothing should happen. Hopefully (chuckles). I'm going to hook the battery up to just the battery bus and we'll see if the overhead lights come on. Then, we'll hook the battery to the battery contactor and turn on the master power switch on the panel for 2 seconds and shut it back off. We'll make sure we dont smell smoke or hear or see anything crazy. If that works then we'll turn master switch on for 10 seconds. Then we'll try to power up the main Dynon Skyview, and finally we'll test the rest of the avionics."

Brandi: "Ok, sounds good. Ready."

Brian: [hooks battery up] "Anything?"

Brandi: "Nope."

Brian: "Ok, good, try the overhead light now."

Brandi: "Its not coming on."

Brian: [checking connections, using multimeter, scratching head] "thats weird - it should be working!"

Brandi: "Is it hooked up right?"

Brian: "Yes its hooked up right! I'll skip the bus and put the power directly to the plug that comes out of the overhead. [discovers the plug was wired up backwards] OOPS! It was wired backwards! This is not the grand start I was hoping for. Ok its fixed - try it now."

Brandi: "It works! Yeah!"

Brian: "Sweet!! Ok, want to try the master switch now?"

Brandi: "Ok, ready now? Here goes for 2 seconds. [both Brian and Brandi sniff around like drug dogs] I dont smell anything - you?"

Brian: "Nope, I think its ok. Try it for longer now. [second try for 10 seconds is uneventful]"

Brandi: "Ok lets power on the Dynon. Here goes. [Dynon screen remains black and we glance at each other kind of uneasy.] There it goes! Its coming on!

Brian: "AWESOME!!

Brandi: "ADHAR failed? Hmm"

Brian: "I wonder why its not seeing it - its plugged in. It should work. [checks connections] Ya it should work I dont get it. [checks cables with multimeter]"

Brandi: "I'm in the setup screen - there is a detect devices option - I'll try that... Its finding everything!

Brian: "Good thinking!"

Brandi: "Thanks. You're the one who is the most awesome though. You're so smart and handsome and talented. I live in perpetual awe at your abilities."

Brian: "Yes, I know."


It was late and we were getting tired so that last part is just a rough estimation of how I recall it. We continued to test a few other things and called it a night. What a joy it was to see the panel powered up. 

Labeling the plane

by Brandi Friday, March 23, 2012

This week I borrowed my friends Silhouette machine (Thanks Jennifer!) to cut out some vinyl labels for the panel and for the exterior. Since we aren't painting before we fly, I'm using black outdoor vinyl for the N number, 'No Step' and fuel cap labels. This lead to me to research the proper labeling techniques and N number sizing. I ran across these great 'plain English' articles on the EAA site about labeling an experimental aircraft.

It's a good thing I'm handy with Adobe Illustrator because those N number regulations are off the charts!