Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Bahamas 2015


by Brandi Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We made it to the Bahamas for a second time in April, as a flight of 3 RV-10s. For the first half of the trip, we stayed at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club in The Exumas. We'd been there before but we had to go back because it's amazing! However, the runway there was temporarily closed for repairs so we landed in Black Point and took a 10 minute boat ride back to the other island. We chose a new location for the second half, Fernandez Bay Village on Cat Island. Both places were wonderful and so was the flying!

Here's a video of our trip =)

Christmas in Arizona


by Brandi Thursday, January 02, 2014

We did it again... another wonderful trip across the country and back in this amazing machine we built together. Only this time, she looked pretty too. ;)

Around noon EST on Monday, December 23rd, the skies finally cleared up here (KRYY) enough to find a few holes in the clouds so we quickly grabbed a bite to eat and loaded up the plane. We didn't leave with full fuel because we found some on ForeFlight that was much cheaper in route (even though it turned out not to be - oh well). That left us making two fuel stops instead of one but, with me being 22 weeks pregnant, I wasn't complaining about stopping and walking around a bit more. Turns out that the headwinds were so bad that we would have had to stop twice anyways. We did a 2.5 hour leg to Pine Bluff, AR (KPBF), where we made our first fuel stop, then another 3.5 hour leg to Plainview, TX (KPVW), where we made our second fuel stop. From there we flew 3.3 hours to our destination, Ryan Field (KRYN), in Tucson, AZ.

It was about 9pm MST when we arrived at Ryan Field. Our grandparents picked us up from the airport and we spent the next day and a half in Tucson enjoying the time with family and the nice warm weather. On Christmas day, we packed up and headed to Show Low, AZ (KSOW) to spend a few nights with Granny and Brian's sister's family.

Before we departed Show Low on Friday, we loaded Granny up in the plane and headed for the Grand Canyon! She loved it. :)

On the way, we stopped in Sedona, AZ (KSEZ) to check it out. It's definitely on the top of the "Coolest airports we've been to" list. There was another RV-10 on the field but I didn't recognize it and we didn't see it's owner.

From Sedona, we headed to the Zuni Point GA Corridor at The Grand Canyon. Having never been there at all, I was super excited. What an AWESOME way to see the Grand Canyon!!

By this time, we were getting hungry so we flew over to Marble Canyon, AZ (L41) and had lunch. Another super neat place to fly into!! There really isn't an airport here; Just a Chevron, where you're supposed to register when you land, across the street from the landing strip and a small restaurant in the back of it.

After lunch we flew back to Show Low to drop off Granny, refuel and start our 4.6 hour trip to Austin, TX (KEDC). We spent the weekend with our friends in Austin and headed back home around 11am CST Sunday morning. We had a pretty nice tailwind and made it home in 3.8 hours.

The entire photo gallery of our trip can be found here.

Back from paint!


by Brandi Sunday, December 15, 2013

We got our gorgeous bird back from the paint shop Friday evening. We're super pleased with the paint job and highly recommend our painter, Don Smith at KVPC. Here are some photos: 

This just got real!


by Brandi Friday, November 01, 2013

Here are some photos we received from the painter this week. I cried when I saw them (blame it on the hormones). Ha! We actually drove to KVPC and picked up the wheel pant Wednesday night to make sure the colors were good before we cleared him to paint the rest of the plane.

We both agreed that the colors were spot on and gave him the go ahead to finish the plane. Today he sent us another photo of him working on the wing. I'm pretty sure he's just as excited about this as we are and that's awesome! =D

Lord Adhesive vs. Weld-On Update


by Brandi Thursday, September 26, 2013

I don't know if you guys remember, but we attached the pilot side door window on our plane with Weld-On and the other windows with Lord Adhesive as a little experiment. Some builders feel that the Weld-On is responsible for the small cracks that form around the window over time. Personally, I was sold on ANY alternative after working with Weld-On for the first time; what a huge mess!  Note that, for all windows, we left the appropriate (and same) size gap around them and then filled in this gap with filler as instructed in the plans.

Flash back to OSH 2012... at around 55 hours, a friend pointed out a "ridge" forming around our Weld-On window. It was pretty nasty looking and would have definitely caused some paint issues if the plane would have been painted already. Since then, this "ridge" has covered more ground around the window but has not really changed in height. Here's a photo of the Weld-On "ridge" when we first discovered it.

Yesterday, our painter, Don, pointed out some cracks around the rear windows and doors in which we had used the Lord Adhesive! Granted, they are NOWHERE near the size of the strange "ridge" that formed on the Weld-On window but, they're still there. We're now at about 270 hours and I've never noticed these cracks before so I don't know how long they've been there. They're pretty small so it isn't something that you'd see on an unpainted plane unless you were, say, prepping the cabin cover for paint. It might not even be something that would have shown up through paint already; I have no experience in this area. Below are photos of the cracks found in the Lord Adhesive rear and door windows, respectively. You can click them to open the full size image and get a better view of the cracks.

 

I find it very interesting that the cracked areas don't always occur at the edge of the window. A few spots are actually at the cabin cover, on the other side of the gap.

I still think Lord Adhesive is the better option but, it's not the ultimate solution. I'm not sure there is one short of masking the cracks by putting a few layers of glass around the seams. It seems cracks are inevitable when you have two different materials expanding and contracting at different rates.  

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!

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

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. 

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!

Thanksgiving in Mexico


by Brandi Monday, November 26, 2012

Brian is from Tucson, AZ and this year we decided to go have Thanksgiving with his family. So, on Saturday, November 17th, Brian, myself and our 17 yr old sister, Hannah, jumped in the RV-10 and headed west!

Our trip out there included a restroom/stretching break in Danville, AR (32A), a fuel stop in Hinton, OK (2O8) and lunch with my mom in Watonga, OK (KJWG) before reaching Granny's house in Show Low, AZ (KSOW).

Saturdays flight was perfect. We didn't see a single cloud until we hit New Mexico and even then they were pretty high. Didn't really a have strong headwinds to deal with until New Mexico either. We chased the most gorgeous sunset for 2 hours as we flew west from Oklahoma.

We spent a few nights in Show Low, AZ before heading to Tucson, AZ on Monday, November 19th. This is one of my favorite flights because of the terrain.

Upon arriving in Tucson, AZ (KTUS), the tower squeezed us in behind a group of 2 F-16's and in front of a group of 3 F-16's. We sat on one runway waiting for the last 3 to land on another runway before we could taxi to parking.

On Tuesday, November 20th, we left our little sister in Tucson with our sister and flew to Guaymas, Mexico (MMGM) with our uncle to be with family that was in Mexico for Thanksgiving. The trip over the border and down into Mexico was rather uneventful.

The Mexican military and their dog came to visit us as soon as we landed. They tried to get the dog to get into the plane but he wouldn't so they took a photo of him standing by the step and left. We went inside and got our visa's, filled out some paperwork and payed some fees. Our grandparents were there waiting on us when we arrived so we hopped in the car with them and drove a few miles down the road to their home in San Carlos, Mexico.

The next few days were filled with awesome family, wonderful food and gorgeous days on Catch 22 beach.

We had planned to return to the states on Friday, November 23rd but we just couldn't pull ourselves away so stayed another night and headed home early Saturday morning. Leaving Mexico was harder than getting in. They checked all of our luggage by hand, then x-rayed it, then sent us through a metal detector, and charged us more fees. They also brought the dog back out to the plane and kept asking how old we were. ;) Once in the air, we asked ATC if we could fly over San Carlos on the way out of town. They granted our request and we headed up the coast. We found the family on the margarita deck of their home waving bye to us as we flew over head. =D

Back at Tucson International, we taxied to Customs. We were the only ones there and it only took about 10 minutes before we were free to go. They checked our passports and brought a Geiger counter to our plane. I was expecting so much more - especially after everything we just went through to get out of Mexico.

After we cleared customs, we taxied to Million Air FBO to pick up our sister and start our journey back home. Just a few feet from the FBO, we spotted a tail of an RV-12 in an open hangar. We tried to go over and say Hi to the builder but the FBO guy came and hauled us back saying something about fines and international airports. I guess you're not allowed to hang out at international airports. :( Anyways, we picked up our sister, flew to Ryan Field (KRYN) for gas and then headed back east to stay with our friend in Georgetown, TX (KGTU) for the night.

Sunday afternoon we loaded back up and flew the entire way home with a 30 knot tailwind and not a cloud in the sky. :D We dropped our sister off in Ellijay, GA (49A) and stopped for fuel in Canton, GA (KCNI) before landing at KRYY around 6:30pm EST.

It was an awesome adventure! Great weather and zero problems. We love our RV-10!!

Here are some stats from our trip:
Fuel burned: 249 gal
Miles flown: 3380 nm
Hours flown: 21.6 hrs

Link to the photo album.

Asheville, NC to LaFollette, TN and everything in between


by Brandi Thursday, November 08, 2012

Last Friday we took the day off and flew to Asheville, NC for a little ski trip. Cataloochee Ski Area got a little snow from Sandy and they've been making snow on top of that so we decided to take advantage of the early season. I had never been skiing before and it was Brian's second time. Turns out I'm pretty good at it and we had a great time!

On Saturday morning, we got up early and flew over the Great Smokies.

During the flight, we flew past some hot air balloons!

We landed at Deerfield Resort in LaFollette, TN for the RV Nation Fly-In.

It was the first of many RV Nation Fly-Ins and there was a pretty good turn out. The food and company were excellent! 

On the way home, we stopped for cheap gas at Knoxville Downtown Island Airport. The runway was surrounded by water on three sides. It was a pretty cool landing.

Happy 4th Anniversary!


by Brandi Thursday, November 01, 2012

To my wonderful husband,

My love for you grows every single day... through sickness, health, and airplane projects. =P

PS. I'll build another airplane with you any day! <3

Savannah & Tybee Island


by Brandi Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We flew down to Savannah, Ga last weekend to meet up with our grandparents, from Arizona, who have been touring the country in their motor home. We left Kennesaw, GA around 9:30am Saturday morning and arrived at Savannah International Airport one hour and 15 minutes later. The weather and the flight were great. I absolutely LOVE this airplane! =D

Savannah Airport wasn't as busy as I thought it would be, we were cleared to land about 8 miles out and only saw one other jet land while we were tying down the plane. We parked at SheltAir, on the opposite side of the field from the main passenger terminal, for the night. They were very friendly and the facilities were really nice. The lady inside surprised us by knowing what type of plane we flew. Most of the time we get people asking what it is. It was $13/night whether you bought fuel or not. Don't plan on buying fuel there, though. That was the most expensive fuel I've seen to date. While it's $5.40ish/gal around the rest of the state, it was $7.45/gal in Savannah!

We spent the day walking around Savannah's Historic District, down River Street and eating wonderful food with our grandparents. That evening, we stayed with them in their RV at Skidaway Island State Park. The park was very spacious and full of gorgeous Savannah landscape. It's a little bit outside of town but well worth getting to. It would be a great place to pitch a tent!

On Sunday, we headed to Tybee Island. We walked down to the beach, out onto the fishing pier and visited the marine life exhibit near the pier.

When we were tired of the beach, we headed to other side of the island to check out the lighthouse. We climbed 178 stairs to the top of the lighthouse for a spectacular view out over the Atlantic and across the island. 

Afterwards, we headed back to downtown Savannah for a late lunch at The Pirate's House (highly recommended) and some more scenic driving around the historic district before it was time to head home. Around 5pm, we headed to the airport, said our goodbyes and took to the skies. On the flight home, we stopped just outside of Savannah at Plantation Airport (KJYL) for some cheaper gas ($5.35/gal). 

I've lived in GA for over 30 years and have never made it to Savannah until now. It was a first for our grandparents too. The trip was amazing and I can't wait until our next one!

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.

Phase I Complete!


by Brandi Monday, July 09, 2012

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

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.

 

Taxiing around the airport


by Brandi Monday, June 04, 2012

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.

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!