Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Fuel tanks tested and attached

by Brandi Saturday, March 26, 2011

During the past week, we successfully pressure tested and attached both fuel tanks. Pressure testing involves filling the tank up with pressure, via a hand pump, and then using soapy water to try and find bubbles that show up when there's a small hole in the tank sealant. It's kind of like trying to find that hidden leak in your car tire. Too much pressure in the tank can cause the integrity of the sealant to be compromised. In order to prevent this, you put a balloon on the end of the fuel vent line instead of closing it off completely. Theoretically, the balloon will bust before the pressure in the tank gets high enough to damage the seals. The left tank test went fine and didn't present any leaks. The right tank had a small leak around one of the pop rivets used to attach the tank baffle. We were able to apply more sealant around this rivet and close up the leak.

Initially, Brian struggled to get the tanks on the wing spars. There was one zee bracket that would just not line up on either tank. He called Van's support and they told him to drill out the bad zee and re-seat it in the baffle so that it would line up with the spar. I chuckled a little and thought - No Way! After messing around with it for a while, he discovered that the edges of the zee's were very tight up against the spar and thought maybe that was the cause for our issue. After sanding down some of the zee edges, both tanks bolted on perfectly. =D

Major Progress

by Brandi Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brian had a four day weekend, most of which he spent working on the plane, and I've spent a good bit of time in the shop myself over the last few days. We've finished the flaps, closed up both fuel tanks, mounted the Dynon Autopilot roll servo, built the aileron trim mount, and completed half of the aileron actuation assembly. All of this brings us very close to finishing the wings. Once the tanks have cured and pass leak testing, we will be able to mount them on the wing spars, complete the aileron actuation and close up the wings.

Closing up the fuel tanks

by Brandi Saturday, March 12, 2011

Last night, Brian and I started closing up the fuel tanks. Other than having to deal with messy proseal again, the left tank went together pretty easily. We spent about 5 hrs on the left one and decided to wait until today to tackle the right one. The weather is supposed to be nice here today so I'm hoping we'll be able to move outside for a bit and not have to wear the masks.

Making good progress

by Brian Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It’s been awhile since I've added an entry so I wanted to comment that we have been working diligently on the wings to get them done and out of the way of the fuselage that will probably arive in mid February. We let the fuel tank sealant (proseal) dry for a week or two so we could test it for leaks. We didn’t fully close them up by putting on the baffles and I'm glad because one of the tanks had a leak. Brandi is going to fix that while I'm out of town. While we were waiting for the tanks to dry we have been preparing the bottom wing skins for attaching. There are sooo many holes to cleco and drill and debur and re-cleco and dimple and re-cleco. I also got the Gretz mount installed for the pitot tube. Basic wiring kit from Vans was ordered today. We're moving right along!


by Brian Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Brandi and I started in with the proseal last night. Brandi is very meticulous and carefully squeezed perfect lines of sealant and stuck all the stiffeners to the fuel tank skin. Near the end when she was done I thought I would go over the edges of the stiffeners since she had only done the holes so far and there was plenty of proseal left over that I didnt want to go to waste. I snatched the cake icing bag of proseal right up and went to work. I thought out loud, "Man this stuff is hard to squeeze, we need to cut the opening a little bigger." I tuned Brandi out as she suggested I shouldn't. As I man handled the little proseal baggy, a huge glob burst out of the side of the bag where it split because I was just monkey squeezing it. I thought Brandi was going to kill me! Fortunately, for my safety, I didn't make any mess other than a golf ball sized glob of proseal on my double latex gloved hand.

Fuel tanks started

by Brian Saturday, December 11, 2010

We went ahead and started section 18 while we were waiting to finish the lights on the leading edges. First we trimmed and deburred all of the tank stiffeners. Next was putting nutplates on the tank attach zee's. Brandi doesnt like weilding the pnematic squeezer since its heavy and bulky so in order to coax her out to the shop I strapped it to the bench and gave her my already warmed up sweater. It was kind of chilly in the shop since I usually dont run the heat once it gets in the mid to upper 60's because thats comfy for me but not so much for her. I worked on installing the ribs into the fuel tank skin, which invovled clecoing and match drilling them all in there. Not much fun as some of those ribs dont want to line up very well in certain holes. Queue the rubber mallot again.

The fuel tank caps were drilled and then countersunk. It seems to be pretty difficult to get the cap on and off and I dont like the fact that it doesnt screw on but rather has a little gasket. I've read that some people get premium fuel caps. I might look into that but not sure if it will be necessary.

All of the ribs for the left tank have been dimpled and we are still deburring the fuel tank skins. We got a little cordless screwdriver that will make deburring easier. We got a really great deal on it too since Home Depot had them online with free shipping for $10! They were $25 on the shelves of the store. Deburring holes is my least favorite part of the entire project. Good thing theres only like 20,000 holes. Ugh.