Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

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.


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.

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! 

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..

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. 

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. 


by Brandi Tuesday, February 07, 2012

This weekend we decided to tackle the rear windows and the windscreen. Brian already had them fitted and ready to go so it was pretty painless. The Lord Adhesive we bought came in 50ml packages with a mixing nozzle and an adapter for a regular caulk gun. We used approximately 100ml for each rear window and a little less than 150ml on the windscreen. After experiencing Weld On with the one door window, I'm so thankful we didn't go that route with the rear windows and the windscreen. It was messy enough as it was without the added complications from the stringy & fast curing Weld On. The Lord Adhesive stays workable for just the right amount of time to make some nice fillets on the inside and clean up any mess that oozed out on the exterior.

We didn't have the E-glass needed to finish up the windscreen but I did manage to get fairing filler applied between the plexiglass and the metal fuselage. I've read about guys using black ink toner to color the epoxy filler mix but I had already purchased some West System 423 Graphite Powder for some carbon fiber stuff I've been working on so that's what I used mixed with West System 407 Low-Density Filler. The 407 filler is already a dark brown/burgundy color and the added graphite powder made the epoxy/filler mixture a nice shade of black.

Cowling video update

by Brian Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shot another quick video of the cowling. Nothing too exciting really but I figured for people who were researching on how to get this task done it would be helpful to have some video of the whole process. I was pretty intimidated to start but once I got going its all feeling pretty easy (mentally) - just a lot of sanding. Per usual, you can view the video in 720p for better quality if desired. 

Cowling Saga

by Brian Thursday, December 29, 2011

I was reluctant to get started on the cowling. For one I didnt want to sand any more fiberglass. Had enough of that mess. Secondly, I was worried it would be a long tedious road, like the doors were. Here are a few videos detailing my journey on the cowling. An aspect the videos dont detail that was important is we attached the bottom cowl to the plane and then laid the top on and temporarily clecoed the front center ring on the left and right sides of the center ring to hold the top and bottom together in a way that made the gaps fit ok. Then we were able to trim the back and sides of the top cowl. 





We ridin' spinners

by Brian Thursday, December 29, 2011

Decided to mount the spinner while the prop was on the engine. It seemed easier to rotate the blades and work with in general with it on the engine. The plans have you mount the prop after the spinner is done though. I was afraid of damaging the prop and didnt know how I was suppose to rotate the blades.. turns out you can just clamp a couple boards to the prop to give you some leverage.


Wheel Fairings Part 2

by Brian Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All the trimming has been completed for the wheel and gear leg fairings. Overall it was kind of frustrating because I wanted it to be just perfect but its hard to do that in this section (in my opinion). They still have to be finished as far as smoothing the fiberglass but they are at least fitted now. One thing I was surprised about was the nose gear leg fairing needed to be trimmed more on the forward part of it that comes close to the wheel fairing. I was surprised because you cut this part out from a template and I thought it would be spot on but I ended up having to take an additional 1/4" or so off. 

Doesnt look much different than when we got them but believe me all the work is in getting those holes and the nutplates in the exact perfect spot. I spent probably around 50 hours getting the wheel and leg fairings to this point. 

Wheel fairings started video

by Brian Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wheel Fairing

by Brian Monday, November 21, 2011

After reading through Deems website I got the tip of doing the wheel fairings before the engine was mounted to make it easier because you have to jack up the plane to get the wheels off the ground. Since we're getting the engine any time now, I decided to try to do these before the engine arrived because when it gets here I'll be super excited about attaching it. Tim Olson said he thought the fairings were worse than the doors so imagine my dread! So far with about 15 hours in on the fairings, I would say they arent so terrible but they are definitely frustrating. Here are a few paragraphs about my experience with the fairings so far.

Things start off with you trying to perfectly align the two halves of the wheel pants. Its a lot of sanding and re-checking. In the end I didnt find this so bad. I found that if I counted the exact number of strokes I sanded each time I could get a pretty good feel for how many times I would need to sand an area to take it down a certain amount. I got the halves fitting pretty well together with maybe just the tiniest gap on the inboard side, which wont be very visible. By tiny I mean maybe you could get a sheet of paper in about a 2 inch section. Not a big deal to me at least. Then you drill some holes where the two halves meet. I stressed about this a little because the dimensions in the plans say to start at the center line on top and by the time you get to the bottom there should be about a 2.5 inch distance to the bottom of the fairing. Well my measurements had it where that was off. I measured it a few more times and noodled and read ahead (again). Turns out you trim the bottom of the fairings later so that its not so close to the wheels anyways, so I think its fine. Pretty confusing to me though. This is just my opinion, but the quality of the plans really deteriorates after the fuse kit. They assume you can fill in the blanks by now since if you are to that point you are getting pretty handy around the shop, which is fair enough, but I find that some things that they dont spell out just causes extra time for you to flip through the book, check websites for pictures of people that have done it before, etc.

Next we had to jack up the plane. We dont have nice big floor jacks and my buddies who do have them that I might have been able to borrow them from were all out of town or otherwise unavailable. I had a nice 3 day weekend to work and cheapskate me didnt want to have to buy anything if I didnt have to. Ended up getting the plane up on two saw horses near the wing spar. This was pretty amusing how we pulled this off. I crawled under the plane near the baggage floor and put my back up against the bottom of the plane. Like doing a deadlift, I raised the plane about two inches off its main wheels while the nose gear was still on the floor. While I did this, my lovely assistant, Brandi, slid the saw horses under the plane. We slowly set it down on them to make sure there wasnt any bowing or anything else that wasnt safe or that we didnt like about it. I think that since we didnt have the cabin top on, the panel, or any interior, it was light enough for us to feel comfortable setting it up on saw horses like this. It worked out just fine! Yay, now I could continue working.

The next part of the fairings was to test fit the front and rear wheel fairing halves to the wheel so that you can cut out the hole where the gear leg goes from the wheel to the fuselage. This part was pretty irritating because you have to perfectly balance the thing and measure the height and get it perfect and then slide it around to get it to fit just right. It was like trying to slide a new block into a wobbly jenga tower and keep it all within 1/32". Maybe if I would have had some other kind of brace or shim or blocking.. I dont know. I couldnt think of a way to stabalize it on the three axis that you have to work on. I just kept messing with it and taking off tiny bits at a time and got it to where it was acceptable.

I finished cutting the gear leg hole on each of the wheel fairings and snapped a chalk center line on the floor. Now I need to align the toe of the fairings and start on the gear leg fairings. I got a jump start on the gear leg fairings already by cutting out the template from the manual and trimming them per the paper templates. Since we can defer finishing the fiberglass for priming/painting until a later date, I think that getting the fairings fully mounted and adjusted before the engine arrives is quite doable.

Brake cylinders

by Brian Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Page 46-07 says to use Lubon #404 or equivalent and to someone who is new to all this how in the world was I suppose to know what equivilant was? I couldnt find anywhere that sold lubon so I ended up getting advice to use Permatex high temp tube thread sealant.  Can be bought from places like Auto Zone for about $5. Also permatex form-a-gasket is available from air craft spruce. Hopefully this will help someone newbie like me in the future to figure out what to use.

"Setup the Left and Right Cylinder Assemblies. Apply a thread sealant, such as Lubon #404 or equivalent, to the pipe threads of the AN822-4D Tube/Pipe Elbow before threading them into the top of the Cylinder Assemblies"

Shes got legs!

by Brian Monday, November 07, 2011

This weekend we attached the landing gears to the plane. What an exciting day to complete what feels like a major milestone. I have been thinking for months now about attaching the landing gears and have put it off for as long as possible in order to keep the plane accessible as possible. It was finally time to mount these things and I thought it would be a big deal trying to squeze the legs into the mounts. It turned out to take like 30 minutes or less for the main gears! Piece of cake! Our good buddy Keith came over to help get this all done. The excitement between us all was very high.

We used a method that fellow RV-10 builder Phil Perry described on the VAF forums as linked here. It worked out really well for us.

Overhead console

by Brian Monday, October 31, 2011

The overhead console is nearly complete. Its been a lot of work to get it blended real nice looking to the cabin top but it will totally be worth it. Brandi has been doing almost all of this part of the project. She has a knack for working with this type of stuff. We laid some fiber glass strips over the seams of the overhead console, then filled it in with epoxy and filler, sand, repeat. Finally, three coats of epoxy is squeegeed on in order to seal up everything and fill in pin holes. Should be ready for priming and painting very soon now!

Window attached to left door

by Brian Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We did a lot of sanding and fine trimming to the plexiglass window for the left side door. Once we were happy with the fit we went ahead and mounted the window to the door with weldon. This was a sloppy mess and we're not too thrilled with the result. We masked everything off and moved quickly and it turned out ok but we didnt get a nice fillet on the inside of the window edge. We'll have to go back and fix this cosmetic detail at some point or cover it up with our interior.

After speaking with our good friend Geoff, we decided to try using the Lord adhesive for the windows instead. Geoff and several other people have had good results with it and there is a buzz in the community as to whether or not the weldon is partially responsible for cracks in the paint due to uneven shrinking/expanding of the different materials. Supposidly the Lord adhesive should give a little more flexibility than the weldon and worst case scenario it sure will be easier to work with! It cost a little bit more to go with the Lord adhesive but if it means no cracks in the paint then its worth it. The weldon was about $60 for 5 windows worth and we bought 12 each of 50ml tubes of the Lord adhesive for just under $200. There was a price break at 12 tubes and we figured it would take us about 10 tubes to finish the remaining 4 windows. Kind of a lot of $ in my opinion but this does give us a couple extra tubes for other various things and again, if it prevents cracks in the future it will be worth it. Since we have one window that is already done with weldon, we'll have an interesting test case to provide to the community in the future.

Advice - wait until after the door is perfectly fitted including the latch mechanism before you install the window. Having the window on the door just makes it heavier and harder to work around and its not necessary to install the window so soon like the plans have you do.

Thanks Uncle Ben for holding down the fort! :)

Door video

by Brian Monday, September 26, 2011

I made a quick video of the operation of the door latch system.

One thing to point out that the video doesnt show is to give some more detail about the lock. This is the lock that came with our ACS ignition switch. This works out great because the same key will fit our baggage door, pilot side door, and ignition. I made a metal bracket to give it more stability. There are some photos which show the final product. Also, the door lock was placed on the aft side of the door handle, which means the door handle covers the lock on the outside of the door. This just kind of ended up this way and fortunately worked out just fine. There is a little play before the lock catches the gear so in order to lock the door, the handle must be turned about 30 degrees to expose the lock. It actually looks pretty neat on the outside because the lock is almost completely hidden when the door is shut. Probably very slightly more aerodynamic like this too.

Nose wheel and gear

by Brian Thursday, August 18, 2011

Got a jump start on section 46 even though the doors are not finished yet. I built up the nose wheel and gear and now I just need to get a hold of a spring scale to calibrate the fork to turn at 26lbs of force. I accidentally pinched the tube in the tire when assembling it and so I had to order a new tube. That really sucked because I was so careful to not do that but I guess when I pulled the stem through the wheel it must have pulled the tube in between wheel halves just enough to be pierced when I bolted them together. The new tube arrived and it was installed so all is well now.

We are using an after market nose axel and a few other wheel related items per Tim Olson and others warning on the stock ones. Reference: Better Tires and Tubes

In summary, delete these:

  • U NW501.25 Nose wheel w/ bearings
  • U 5:00X5-6IT Tube for nose wheel
  • U 15X6.0-6IT Inner Tube Main
  • U-1009 Axle

Buy these:

All said and done its about a $110 upgrade that should be well worth it.

Doors underway

by Brian Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I've been dreading the doors as most -10 builders indicate they are the most difficult and problematic. After a few weeks of putting them off and doing any little other thing that I could I started running out of things to do so I had to start on them. I went slow, followed the directions and began the unpleasant task of trimming all the edges. That wasnt so bad. Next, the plans have you line up the inner and outer door shells and cleco them together via the pre made pilot holes. The pilot holes didnt line up! Panic ensued! Got lots of good feedback from and kept pressing on. Then I had an epiphany! What makes a difficult task really easy? Well, delegate of course! So little Brandi is now the proud owner of section 45, doors, all that is evil. I used to think I was a really fortunate guy to have a wife who was helping build. Now I think that I just might be the smartest builder to date. :)