Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Cracker Fly-In Best Monoplane

by Brian Friday, July 17, 2015

Every year EAA chapter 611 throws nice sized fly-in at the Gainsville (KGVL) airport. We've been a couple times and it was always fun so Keith and I went this year for pancakes and planes. When we arrived I was given a tag to hang on our prop to give some info about it and I was asked if I wanted the plane to be judged. I said "sure, why not" on a whim. Well today in the mail we received an award for best Monoplane, yay! :) What a great surprise. Its a really cool looking award too because its got half of a piston on it. We proudly put it on our mantle, which is a nice fit with the other aviation stuff we have up there.

C130 simulator

by Brian Saturday, January 03, 2015

A friend's parents work over at Dobbins Air Force Reserve and they have two C130 simulators that every once in a while family and friends can go check out. I didnt know what to expect before I got there but I was amazed at how awesome it was! The simulator was way bigger than I thought it would be and we had full motion, which I understand they dont often do because of liability reasons. I flew first and had a tough time getting used to the height difference of landings but I managed to do a sweet combat landing on a dirt field that was 35ft wide. By sweet I mean we didnt trigger a crash but it was definitely exciting :) My buddy was up next and did very well - he had flown it before. I tried to sabotage him by turning off the oil coolers on engine #3 and #4 but the 27 year vet of the C130 in there with us saw the alert that they engines were overheating and calmly reached up and flipped on the oil coolers. My evil plan was foiled! It was a great time and a lot cooler than I thought a simulator could be. Thanks again Ryan and family for the opportunity!

right place right time

by Brian Friday, October 24, 2014

I was tinkering with the -10 a couple months ago and our hangar neighbor asked if I wanted to go for a ride in the T-34 and be saftey pilot while he played with avionics stuff. That was a quick 10-4 good buddy!

Lucy logging flight time

by Brian Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lucy has been on two short flights now and both have gone really well. On her first flight she was almost a month old and her second flight was last night so almost 2 months old. This is encouraging since we hope to take a trip out west in a month. I ascend and descend very slowly (200 fpm) and she just chills out in the back seat with mom. I see a lot of fun trips in her future!

Its BBQ season

by Brian Thursday, May 22, 2014

Its always great when spring arrives and we start grilling at the hangar. We grilled last month with our usual airport crew and yesterday we had another one of our builder's group get togethers. 

Lucy Ariel Unrein aka "Lucy in the Sky" arrived

by Brian Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Our daughter Lucy was born 5/4/2014 and we are so happy and proud. Lucy got a very warm welcome to VAF. Thanks everyone! Best community of people ever. We look forward to having you all meet Lucy. She is wonderful. 

Electronic ignition installed and working great

by Brian Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The electronic ignition has been installed for a few weeks now and I have been meaning to get some pictures on the site here with some stats but I just havent had the chance yet. The engine sounds smoother and performs great. I'll post more details as soon as I have a chance to get a nice flight in at a good altitude and see what kind of economy and speeds we are getting. Below is a sneak peak of the new spark plug wires I put together and installed. 

Rudder Trim

by Brian Tuesday, April 08, 2014

We recently added rudder trim, which we bought from Aerosport products. Great company and amazing products! I wish we would have gotten this a LONG time ago. For cross country trips it makes flying much more comfortable because we no longer have to hold pressure on one of the rudder pedals or worse, let the airplane lean in some cases. Was easy to install as advertised. We already had a trim tab on the rudder that we could bend manually, but it just never seemed to be perfect in flight because of varying altitudes and speeds I guess. 

I installed it on the under side of the panel right betwixt the pilots legs seen in the photo below as silver. I will probably paint it black and leave the dial as silver eventually. 

Paint versus not painted

by Brian Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Snapped a nice picture of the contrast of painted versus not painted. 

College Presentation

by Brian Sunday, March 16, 2014

Brandi and I were asked to give a presentation back in October at the college I graduated from, Southern Polytechnic State University, and I realized I never got around to posting about it here. We had so much fun doing this! Here is a flyer from the event. We had about 40 students show up.



Here are the topics we presented on: 

Warning – This Aircraft Is Amateur-Built

Highlights of building a kit airplane:

Picking a design – google searching

Tooling up – building a shop, workbenches, buying tools

Learning skills – learning to rivet, fiberglass, electrical, mechanical (aerospace engineering aka learn everything about everything)

Accomplishing a dream – building an aircraft

Pulling back on the stick and trusting it was all done right – adventures we have had

What was learned and what we wish we knew – aerodynamics, load analysis, electrical, piston engine, and much more

Electronic Ignition

by Brian Monday, March 10, 2014

I've wanted to get electronic ignition ever since before we even had the engine. I've been waiting for the P-Mag 6 cyl version to come out for almost 4 years and I finally gave up on it. I'm a little bitter about it. The up side is that we finally did purchase an electronic ignition system (the EFII system) and am about to install it in the next month or so. I'm very excited as it boasts approx 10% power and 10% fuel efficiency improvement. Looking forward to having the extra economy especially for the nice long trips we like to take! I'll post some pictures of the install once I get going on it. In the meantime, it looks something like this but for 6 cylinders. 

Mom finally took the plunge!

by Brian Thursday, January 09, 2014

After swearing she would never set foot in the plane, my mom finally went for a flight with me recently! Not only did she tolerate it but she seemed to love it! That's 2 for 2 now that I've flown people who are terrified of flying that did just fine and said it wasnt bad. Feels good. There are still plenty of people who dont like flying who wont fly with me and I keep telling them its really not anything like an airliner and its really got nothing to do with being afraid of heights because the same sensation doesnt exist. Its like riding in a nice cozy car that just so happens to have a view. If someone were reading a book or not paying much attention they would barely know it was a plane instead of a car I think. 

Surprise N number change

by Brian Friday, October 25, 2013

Brandi and I arrived at the hangar a couple months ago to do some work on the plane. When we arrived I saw that one of the guys had been goofing around and made a fake change to our N number to read N43BU. The significance of 42BU is that the airplane is for two B.U.'s - Brian Unrein and Brandi Unrein. Sometimes the hangar mates are as bad as our parents about bugging us when are we going to have kids. I got a good chuckle out of this. The joke was on me though because Brandi said, "I did that, you're going to be a father!"  Wow! What a great way to hear that my sweet little Brandi is pregnant! She is 13 weeks now and had a good checkup at the Dr. so we are now telling everyone and we are so excited! We wont actually change the N number of the airplane, but this was a very cute and funny way for Brandi to tell me something.

Engine starting - FINALLY figured out!

by Brian Friday, September 13, 2013

I have followed the Lycoming manual to a T for cold engine starts and it has never been satisfactory. Maybe someone will see all this and provide some grand insight and show that I was doing wrong to begin with, but anyways the standard Lycoming way by the book goes something like this: 

  • crack throttle 1/4", mixture full, boost pump 3-6 seconds, mixture cut-off, crank, raise mixture slowly as begins to catch.

Thats what is suppose to happen but what happens at the crank stage is crank crank crank crank crank.. and then I finally stop because its not working. I crank again and then it finally starts, or sometimes a quick boost (1 second), and then it cranks right up. Arggg! I've tried making minor tweaks to this process, but always with the same general approach because its by the book. 


I finally figured out something that works much better with our system, which is two slickstart mags (no impulse coupling) and a slickstart shower of sparks booster. Heres how the new process goes: 

  • throttle 50%, mixture 50%, boost 5 seconds, then crank. It cranks right up and I then immediately reduce throttle to idle. 


Just wanted to share in case anyone else has similar frustration. Comments are welcome. 

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!

A reflection on the airplane after the 1st year of flying

by Brian Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brandi posted our plane's bday on VAF and someone pointed out that a retrospective view was in order on what we had done right, what would we change, etc. That sounds like a great idea so here goes. 

Did right:

  • Decided to build the plane despite it being seemingly impossible and too expensive of a task. 
  • Waited to paint until after it had flown for a while. Too many things could have scratched the paint by now - not that they won't in the future but we're over the hump of lots of shuffling of things going on. 
  • Installed overhead console with air vents. More air in the hot summer and also, in cruise, they are much quieter than front vents if you don't need full blast air. 
  • Went with a new engine. There are plenty of things to worry about and I'm glad we aren't worried about potential engine issues from having who knows what rebuilt parts in one. I don't think there is anything wrong with getting an overhauled one, but I think it requires more diligence and knowledge of engines in general than we had at the time. 
  • Went with a simple operating design (from electrical/button pushing standpoint) and clean panel. Easy to use and works great! 
  • Did seat mod so seats can slide off rails without removing flap rod covers.
  • 3rd door latch + door pins from
  • Used McMaster seal around door frame instead of stock seal.
  • Used Lord Adhesive for windows instead of Weld-On. 
  • Installed door lock on pilot side and drilled hole for pin through door handle push button on passenger side.
  • Installed landing lights in both wings.
  • Went with the Dynon SkyView system. We really love flying behind it.

Would do different: 

  • Probably would do a VPX system. At the time we were really scraping dollars, but, in the grand scheme of things, it would have been much cleaner behind the panel and we could have gotten some really neat data on our EFIS regarding the electrical system. 
  • Cut a little bigger clearance around the wheel pants from the get go so they don't crack if you land hard! 
  • Buy multi-conductor wiring to make wiring cleaner. 
  • Leave longer service loops on panel wiring. 
  • Install parking brake - maybe? It would be handy every once in a while.
  • Went with Garmin 650 instead of 430.
  • Wish we had the 50w (or more) HID lights from Duckworks instead of the 35w.
  • Get the prop balanced sooner. That made such a big difference.
Will upgrade: 
  • Electronic ignition
  • Flow matched injectors
  • Battery charge port in baggage wall or tailcone belly
  • Add USB charger ports

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

Sharing our files

by Brian Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Below are links to a few documents that we created, or modified. We're sharing them to the community in case it helps anyone. I think it would be a great starting point if you didnt have any of this yet or at least needed some ideas. 

Here is a .zip file of all of the files below:

Wiring spreadsheet. Lists buses, wire gauges, wire numbers, amp chart, switch names.

Wiring Diagram. Based off Bob Nuckols Z-13. Modified to include avionics switch.

RV-10 Airplane Checklist. Formatted to print into a nice little checklist booklet.

RV-10 Pilots Operating Handbook. Started with one that Mike Andresen ( created and we modified it a bit for our needs.

RV-10 Weight and Balance. A great spreadsheet for RV-10 weight and balance. Someone else created this. 

Checklist .ace file. For a Garmin 696, customized for our airplane but a good starting point. Make sure to get the Garmin Aviation Checklist Editor software to go with this. 

RV-10 Cost Planner. Help estimate the total cost of the various kits and accessories and helps plan when to order the items.

Flight testing document. Phase 1 fly off period should be structured. Following a test plan such as this help. I think this was created by Mike Andresen originally.

Your in flight movie sponsored by McGyver

by Brian Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I have to laugh about this one - on our trip to AZ we did some long legs with plenty of time on our hands. I wanted to watch a show that I had put on our iPad. Well, I wanted everyone to be able to see it and also so I could keep my head up the whole time and make sure everything was going smoothly on the flight. What ensued was me taking apart the sunshade for its two suctioncups, then taking the strap off of Brandi's camera bag, and finally rigging up the iPad to stay put on the dash. I think we might need to purchase a proper mount one of these days lol.

This sure did the trick though, despite the fact that I did all this and realized we couldnt find the audio cable to patch it in to the audio panel so I ended up plugging it directly into my headphones and watching the show myself.

Mom hates airplanes

by Brian Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My mom hates airplanes but you cant tell from this pic we snapped of her seeing and then sitting in our plane for the first time. I think we'll get her up in the air one of these days despite the fact that she said she never would :)