Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

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! 

Labeling Panel

by Brian Thursday, March 22, 2012

Brandi and I are getting ready to label the panel. She is going to use stencils to paint on the labels. She asked me which font we should use and I told her "Duh, airplanes always use Arial font" :)

Front Interior Panels - Putting it all together

by Brandi Wednesday, March 21, 2012

After I got all of the pieces made, I started putting them together one at a time.

First, I glued the bulkhead cover ups to the main piece.

Next, I glued the pocket to the back of the main piece.

Then I attached the air vent covers.

I now have 2 nearly completed front interior panels that amazingly look almost identical. =D  I'll eventually cut out the hole that is covering the pocket area and either use some fabric there or make a little area that comes out slightly. I'm not sure what that's going to end up looking like yet.

Front Interior Panels - Air Vents

by Brandi Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I fabricated these not-so-fancy eyeball vent holders from scrap aluminum. They attach to the fuse skin with 3 rivets and the SCAT tubing in the back keeps them from being flimsy.

Then I built up the surface a little with clay and made a fiberglass part that I can attach to my front interior panels.

Front Interior Panels - Main Piece

by Brandi Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For the main pieces of the front interior panels, I made a large flat piece of fiberglass outside of the plane and then trimmed it to size.

Once I had one of them completed, I made another large flat piece, used my trimmed one as a template on the reverse side and cut it out. 

Then I removed as much of the main piece as I could while still having room to glue it to the bulkhead cover up.

Filtered Air Box (FAB)

by Brian Monday, March 19, 2012

I have been putting off the FAB for a while now. Its one of those parts of the project that has been intimidating to start on for me. I think my of my hesitation was revolving around the fact that there arent good instructions for it like all the other plans for the -10. I made the alternate air door and then set it down for a while. I finally got started back at it, thanks to some help from my buddy Keith. We mounted the FAB to the throttle body and got everything test fitted with the bottom cowl coming off and on a few times. Had to cut the FAB back about a couple of inches so it would clear the bottom cowl. After that, I riveted the aluminum plate to the top and filled in any gaps with black RTV silicone so it would be more air tight. Next I temporarily secured the foam block to the back of the air scoop on the bottom cowl and bored a hole in it. I was about to lay in the fiber glass into the newly created hole but I didnt have a baloon, which the instructions cleverly suggest as using in order to hold the fiberglass strips in the hole. So its mostly done now and should be finished soon since I bought some happy birthday balloons at the grocery store last night :)

Filtered Air Box -- or -- on board toilet? Hard to tell..

Door hinge cover

by Brian Monday, March 19, 2012

Brandi wanted to cover up the hinges on the doors so it looked nicer. She stuffed a bunch of clay in the cavity, smoothed it out, taped it, and then laid some fiberglass on it. We'll still be able to reach under and take out the screws that hold the hinge on if we ever needed to. Now that its dry she'll blend the cover into the door.

ELT Installation

by Brian Monday, March 19, 2012

While Brandi was installing the windscreen fairing, I was busy installing the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) that we just got in. We bit the bullet and bought the new 406Mhz version, which is more expensive than the standard 121.5Mhz version, but its better. Not to mention, the 121.5 version is getting phased out. We went with the ACK E-04 model. First, I started by taking some aluminum sheet metal and forming some flanges on all 4 sides. I made sure to make the bends where they would nest inbetween two j-stiffeners of the tailcone. Next I attached some nutplates for the ELT mount bracket to screw into and then I drilled some holes through the j-stiffeners and secured it all with pop-rivets. Turned out great and I'm very happy with it. 

Windscreen fairing under way

by Brian Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday was a nice sunny beautiful day, much like a lot of days recently, so we opened up the garage door while we worked. Brandi got the windscreen fairing started and it is coming along nicely. She followed the plans, which require several strips of fiberglass to be cut to length and, like most other builders, she dyed the fiberglass black, so that when you look through the window on the inside it is black and not like a bunch of fiberglass. Its turning out really great so far. She informed me that I get to sand when its dry. Yay!



Website photos update

by Brian Monday, March 12, 2012

Brandi recently spent a lot of time moving all of our photos from Google's Picasa over to SmugMug. The SmugMug photos are more clear because they do not have compression applied to them and also we are able to retain the original size image (huge) so that people can see more detail if needed. Enjoy!

Test fit panel items

by Brian Monday, March 12, 2012

We test fit some of the avionics and switches in the panel recently and it was very exciting to have a sneak peak of how things will look. Our second Skyview should arrive soon and Brandi should be finished painting the panel soon so that we can mount everything in there and power it up for real!

Cowling pin covers

by Brian Monday, March 12, 2012

Brandi and I have been doing some work on the cowling again lately after a little break from it. We got a good idea for pin covers from another -10 builder and decided to go that route. You can see in the photo below on the left side where there is a strip of metal and a couple of clecos. The idea is you bend a piece of aluminum to wrap around the air inlet like this and there are two screws that will hold it in place on one end an the other end is bent to hook around the inside of the air inlet. This cover hides the hinge pin and also keeps it from coming out. After we put the aluminum cover in place we are building up the cowl around it so that it will sit flush. Its got a little bit of work to go but its nearly finished and should look real nice.