Brian & Brandi's Van's RV10 Build

Dog Island Beach Trip


by Brian Monday, August 27, 2018

Since last week Lucy has been asking to go to the beach several times. I'm not sure where she got it in her mind that she wanted to visit a beach - perhaps an activity at school, or a friend has been talking about it, or who knows. It took me a couple days, but then I realized, hey why not? Its an hour and a half away in the adventure machine, so lets do it! 

Lucy sat up front with me and Sunday morning around 9am we departed Kennesaw, GA for Dog Island, FL (FA43). It was a pleasant flight at 10.5k feet with a mild 8kt tailwind. I didnt bring any electronics or toys to keep Lucy occupied, so we did entertainment the old fashioned way and practiced counting to 100 and played other games, like hide and seek (seriously). She drew on some of my IFR sheets with a pen and she even asked if I wanted her to sing some songs for me. The 'are we there yets' started about 45 minutes into the 90 minute flight. "See that huge cloud out there?" I said. "When we get to that cloud, thats when we'll land at the beach." That finally satisfied her and gave her something more tangible than a number of minutes or nautical miles. There was a huge towering thunderstorm cell about 10 miles downwind of our destination that I was watching like a hawk. It wasnt going to be an issue so we pressed on. 

We circled the island, buzzed the 2700' grass strip, then came in for a nice smooth landing. The field condition was good. A little bumpy like grass tends to be, but in good shape. We turned off to parking and jumped out and started getting ready to walk about 100 yards to the beach. I had specifically chosen a field that car rental, and all that, wasnt going to be necessary. We paid a $10 requested maintenance donation into a locked box after running from mosquitoes the size of bumble bees that were swarming us near the high brush near our plane. Fortunately the breezy beach was 100% bug free and the weather and water were absolutely perfect. The beautiful white sandy beach was pristine. We met some Sikorsky S92 pilots when we first got there, but otherwise we enjoyed the entire beach to ourselves the whole day. It was the heli pilots first time at the beach too. They had rented a boat and were walking down the beach with one of their sons. 

I pointed out a crab and Lucy poked at it with her finger a couple times not believing it was real. It sprung out of the sand and scurried about 3 feet over and glared at her. She squealed with delight. We swam in the ocean and I was really hoping she wouldnt be a wuss about the light seaweed, or the waves, or any number of things she could be a baby about. She was a trooper and brought a huge smile to my face when she kept asking to go out deeper and deeper into the ocean, all the meanwhile waves occasionally smacking into us and salty ocean water wetting our faces. I had to do what I call the 'marine rifle' procedure to her a couple times when we were playing in the water. I held her up out of the water while I held my breath and waited for the wave to pass. The waves wernt strong but I was trying to ride them on my back with her riding on me like a surfboard, without much success I might add. She was a champ the whole time and we had a blast. She chased birds down the beach, ate snacks, and we enjoyed a nice deli sandwich we picked up at the store before we left. Lucy drank her special kiwi strawberry carbonated (sugar free) beverage, which may have been one of the highlights of her trip. She doesnt usually get anything besides water or milk, so this was a special treat for her, which also kept her hydrated. Pound for pound she probably drank the equivalent of me drinking about a 2 liter. I kept pestering her to be careful not to get sand in the drink, but I'm convinced she drank about a quarter teaspoon of beach sand. 

After a few hours of fun in the sun, we packed up and ran through the field to our airplane to minimize mosquito exposure. There was no one around to see it, but I bet it was a hilarious spectacle with me running towards the airplane shouting at Lucy to keep up and we have to keep moving. I slung our backpack and mostly sand free towel in the baggage compartment like bears were chasing us. I tend to overreact to mosquitoes because I hate them so badly. We quickly jumped in and I closed the door. It was so hot. "Daddy, I cant breath," Lucy fussed. We cranked up the airplane and quickly took off in about a 1300 foot per second climb up to 11,500 feet where the air was a nice 48 degrees. The cool air felt incredible. Lucy was asleep before we even made it past 6,000 feet. Wore out from our beach trip, she was in a deep sleep that I wished I could join her on. I put on an audio book and enjoyed a nice flight back home. We lived happily ever after.  

AirVenture 2018


by Brian Saturday, July 28, 2018

Ohio Trip with Lucy


by Brian Tuesday, July 10, 2018

I have good friends who live in Ohio and Lucy and I went to visit them this past weekend. Lucy had a blast and even got to ride up front for the whole trip there and back. She even got to fly a bit, which she loved!

Creighton Island


by Brian Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ever since building the RV10 it has been on my bucket list to do awesome camping trips with the plane. When Lucy came around, that desire was amplified, as I have great memories of camping as a kid. I went looking for fields suitable for camping and stumbled across a website that had exactly what I was searching for. TheRAF.org is an amazing organization, which I ended up joining! More on that later. I found Creighton Island as a possible destination and arranged to fly in there for a camping trip with the fam. What a beautiful destination with gorgeous live oaks laced with Spanish moss in true Savannah like style. We flew in to the ~2000ft grass strip, which was freshly patched for holes that the local cows like to dig up! Our good friends Lenny and Anda also flew their -10 in along with their dog, Radar. We met up with the owner of the island along with Eric, State Ambassador for the RAF, and they showed us around and got us settled into camp. Part of the welcoming crew was Willie, the elder donkey of the island.

We explored the island a bit while taking in the beautiful sights, including a great view from a tall fire tower. We also took a nice walk on a dock that took us out to the water. We gathered muscles that we would steam over the camp fire later that night. Our friend Bill and his son flew in and Lucy enjoyed playing with him. Lucy went on a boat ride, played with the owner's grandchildren a bit, and managed to play so hard she slept during the hay-ride style tour of the island. There were donkey's on the island, but somehow I ended up pulling the kids around in a cart at times. No one even offered me a carrot! :(  lol

 

Lucy is a voracious eater, and as such her favorite part of the entire trip may have been the discovery of wild blackberries, which she enjoyed very much. 

We camped out two nights in a bunkhouse that was located at the campsite, complete with great amenities like hot showers, and a pavilion with sinks! Not exactly roughing it. The weather was perfect with a nice light breeze and about 58 degree nights and upper 70's during the day. Between all the good company, food, weather, and landscape, it was tough to leave. Brandi said her final goodbye to Willie with a selfie, then Lenny said his goodbyes, and off we flew... to get breakfast in St. Simon Island, just a quick 10 minute flight away! What a wonderful way to travel around to islands. We said our goodbyes once again to everyone and enjoyed a peaceful trip home Sunday afternoon. 

 

This was one of the most enjoyable trips we have taken and I'm thankful to the owner of the island for allowing visitors to come and stay and play on the island, and to the RAF for maintaining the field. 

Sun 'n Fun 2018


by Brian Thursday, April 19, 2018

We flew down to Lakeland, Florida for the first time ever to attend Sun 'n Fun. Its kind of crazy that we've never been before, since we have done Oshkosh like 7 times in a row. Seems like something always came up in April that would cause us to delay SnF for yet another year. We got to the airport around 10am to launch and discovered a dead battery, which delayed us for a couple of hours while we got a bite to eat and visited a nearby park. I had drained the battery a little during maintenance I had previously done, plus I think we have the tiniest bit of parasitic drain on the battery. I need to track it down. After some charging, we hopped in the plane and off we went.

Once we launched, we had nice 20kt tailwinds and a pleasant 2 hour flight down there. We climbed up high and Lucy came up front with me and had some stick time. She did great! I asked her to "go that way" as I pointed to the right, and then to the left. I had to remind her to be GENTLE for pitch control though as mom was in the back going "OK thats enough!" lol.

Since we wernt familiar with SnF, we didnt realize they dont typically allow arrivals until an hour after the airshows, so we diverted to Bartow field nearby. It was a nice pit stop and Lucy chowed on some popcorn as we hung out in the FBO. Finally we made it into Lakeland and it was a non-event. I was instructed to land long on the 'orange dot' and I did well to hit the mark, which is always fun. We parked, setup our tent, found something to eat, walked around a little bit, and enjoyed the night time airshow. Lucy sat in my lap as we watched the fireworks and lights on the airplanes. We called it a night pretty early after that since we were all tired. It was a little chilly! We bundled up, but I think the wind was more than we expected. I kept waking up and putting the blanket back on Lucy, but I think she slept great all night and wasnt bothered by the cold one bit.

The next day we explored the area a bit more and let Lucy play on the bouncy castle area. They had a really neat two story slide shaped like a NASA shuttle. We ate some junk food, checked out some war birds and vintage singing, lounged around our airplane, and just enjoyed a really sunny and relaxing day. There was a really great home builders hospitality tent in the area we were camping and they had food, drinks, and good company. We found out our good friends Dan and Janell had flown in with their Bonanza, so we met up with them later in the day and decided to join them for a campsite cookout they were doing at their plane. They got a bunch of groceries and we enjoyed a wonderful meal with them. Lucy crashed in Brandi's arms once the sun set down. We sat around chatting for a while longer and I really enjoyed all of it. My watch tracked a lot of steps we took that day, but it didnt give me any credit for the several miles that I carried a 40lb toddler! I should add a new workout mode to my watch perhaps. We were beat by the end of the long day and slept super well that night. 

 

We woke up, ate some breakfast, and began to pack up the tent. We left the area for home and enjoyed a nice flight back with about 9 kt tail winds home. I love it when we can get tailwinds both ways!! It was a good trip. Smaller scale than Oshkosh, but still a lot of the same type of fun and experience. Lucy was wore out on the flight home from all the excitement lol. 

SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch


by Brian Tuesday, February 06, 2018

We flew the RV-10 down for a day trip to watch the Falcon Heavy launch. Incredible!!

Airplane pickup


by Brian Monday, November 20, 2017

My buddy Dan had some work done to the turbo on his Bonanza and needed a lift to KHVC, Hopkinsville Kentucky to pickup his plane. It was a nice flight out there despite the brisk 30kt headwinds, which were quickly forgiven due to the return flight's 35kt tail winds :) 

Dan took off and I observed from my plane mid-field to make sure no smoke or oil issues, he did a fly by and then I joined up with him in a close formation as I observed for any problems. No issues, so we continued on home. It was fun getting in a little formation work as I havent done it in a while. 

 

 

Joy riding and lunch


by Brian Saturday, November 11, 2017

Recently my friend Justin, who is working on his PPL, wanted to go flying and so we did. We scooped up another friend, Ryan, and baby Lucy and off we went. We flew through the North GA mountains over some very scenic fall leaves and ended up at KGMU, Greenville Downtown. They have an excellent restaurant and aviation themed playground there. Lucy loved the playground. We did a touch and go at 9A0, Lumpkin County, which is always a favorite airport of mine to land at. 

 

Picking up our survivor


by Brian Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hurricane Nate survivor, Bubbles, was parked in Vic's beautiful hangar in Malards Landing. Brandi, Lucy and I all drove down to pick her up. What a treat when we arrived, we saw Vic and a friend of his doing formation flights with the Stearmans. Also, just parked out in the grass near his house was a visiting Corsair. Shesh! 

Vic has a business, Base Leg Aviation, by the way. Check it out if you ever need anything aviation related, especially RVs. 

Sailing Belize to Pensacola


by Brian Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Falcon Squadron friend, Bill Gilmer, bought a 39' Catamaran in Belize and asked the squad if anyone wanted to help sail it back. I jumped on the opportunity quick as it sounded like a blast! I had never been on a sail boat before, but I figured i could learn and help out in other areas too. I flew Bubbles down to Pensacola International at about 3am in order to catch my 6am commercial flight to Belize. It was nice arriving so late/early? and it was nice not having to deal with heavy [air] traffic. I tied down Bubbles, snoozed an hour in the pilot lounge, and then off I went.

As fate would have it, hurricane Nate spun up just South East of us and we waited it out an extra couple of days in San Pedro island in misery (scuba diving, walking around the city, enjoying drinks and dinner, etc). Brandi had to organize a rescue mission for Bubbles since Nate's landfall was going to hit Pensacola and the FBO wouldnt commit to hangaring us. Our amazing squadron mates sprung into action and rescued our plane. Thank you so much Scott, Mark, and Vic! 

Solar Eclipse


by Brian Monday, August 21, 2017

We were extremely excited to see the total solar eclipse so we flew to Cleveland, TN airport KRZR. We got there early in the morning because we thought the airport would be swamped, but it turned out to be a decent size crowd but not over crowded. Lucy made best friends with a little girl that just so happened to have the exact same shirt as her. Two aviation friends of ours ended up coming to RZR to watch the eclipse, plus we by chance ran into Don Smith, who was the one who painted our plane. Joseph Chambers and his family came out in their 182, and Bill Tomasson and his son flew their -10 out. 

The eclipse was breathtakingly beautiful, awe inspiring, and more. It was a great family adventure and left us with great memories. We plan on flying out to TX or somewhere for the next total eclipse in 7 years or so. 

Airventure 2017


by Brian Tuesday, August 01, 2017

We enjoyed our 7th in a row EAA Airventure in Oshkosh. Its striking how each time has been unique. This year's twist was that my Grandparents drove their RV Camper from Tucson up there and met us for the week. Staying in the RV instead of a tent was nice, although tenting near the plane is still a wonderful experience that we wont dread going back to in the future when having the RV around isnt an option. As Lucy gets older each year its more enjoyable to share the experience of it all with her. She really enjoyed spending time with the other kids there, Kidventure, and just the excitement in general. If a picture speaks 1,000 words then here is a brief photo/video compilation, which speaks volumes. 

Joy riding


by Brian Wednesday, May 31, 2017

We recently flew a few laps around the lake for some joy riding. My sister wanted to fly around and show her boyfriend the plane, so we did! Lucy tagged along with and upon take off was squealing into the mic with joy "Yay, we're flying way up high in the sky!!!". We had a great time. Lucy wanted to fly the leg home after the fuel stop, but she isnt instrument rated, so I had to tell her no this time. 

West 2017


by Brian Thursday, April 27, 2017

We recently completed an awesome adventure out west, which included about 25 flight hours, over 4,000nm, and an immeasurable amount of fun and memories. We started the trip out with a fuel stop in West Georgia on a beautiful day.

We stopped in Austin, TX for a couple days to visit my good friend Lee. We did big things while in Texas, as it should be. Lucy went shopping for an ATV, played in the park and chased the birds, made friends with the neighbor girl, and had fun eating oranges and Hawaiian rolls thanks to Jeff. Lucy loves to eat and Jeff knows the way to her heart. 

Next it was on to Tucson, AZ to visit some family. Lucy was glad to see Grandpa and try to resume her nap that she had started on the last leg of the flight. 

Brandi and I had a brilliant plan to take a mini vacation and leave Lucy with Grandma while we had fun in beautiful California. The flight was very scenic and we saw some really interesting things. One thing that stood out was this very distinct line between CA and AZ right on the border near Blythe. 

We did a lot of amazing stuff in CA like attend two hockey games (Ducks vs Flames and Kings vs Flames), walk down Redondo Beach and Pier, visit Catalina Island, and more, but perhaps the best part of all was the surprise tour of SpaceX that I had plotted for Brandi. It was very difficult to get a tour as they are not available to the public. We were blown away by SpaceX. It was/is amazing and inspiring and overwhelming and wow. I am very thankful to our new friends Dmitry and Amy, who we shared a really great time with. Thanks guys, you rock!

It wasnt all fun and games though as we had to troubleshoot a malfunctioning electric pitch trim issue once we arrived in CA. We removed the pilot seat, empennage fairing, inspected wires and tested various conditions, and finally narrowed the issue down to the Autopilot head, which also had trim relays. Dynon support was amazing as they worked with us and over nighted a replacement module to our hotel! Thanks Dynon! Brandi and I both agreed it was actually pretty fun working on the plane together like that again since it has been years. Felt like old times in the garage during the build. 

We headed back to Tucson and enjoyed spending time with family and especially enjoyed watching Lucy and her cousin Levi playing together. We went to the desert museum, picnic in the white mountains, parks, dinner with family, and more. It was really nice spending a chunk of time with everyone even though it went by too fast. 

We flew up to Show Low, which has a very beautiful scenic flight over some canyons and visited Granny. Lucy LOVED playing with the cat, but I'm pretty sure the feeling was not mutual. We enjoyed time at the park, cooking, playing dice games, flying a kite, and generally just peaceful mountain atmosphere with great weather. 

When it was time to head home we decided to make the long trip in one day. With good weather and decent ~25kt average tail winds we set off home. 

We got home late that night safe and sound with another great trip thanks to our adventure machine! It was good to be home. I sure am glad we decided to build this airplane and perhaps most importantly, have the ability to use it for such joyful journeys that enrich our life. A bit sappy, I know, but its really great and I always want to remain thankful about it and not take it for granted.

St Patricks Day 2017


by Brian Friday, March 17, 2017

We flew down to KFFC again this year for St Patricks day and had a blast, as always. The flight was a little bumpy on the way there, and Lucy said she had to poopoo about 5 minutes into the flight, but fortunately we made it without incident. The potluck food that everyone brings each year is amazing, and this time was no exception. It was great catching up with all the falcon folks. Once we had our fill it was getting dark and Lucy was tired so we hopped in the adventure machine and home we went. 

 

 

Lunch outing


by Brian Thursday, March 16, 2017

I recently made a new friend, Jason, who is building an RV7. We met up at the airport and enjoyed a quick flight over to the restaurant at LZU. It was a little choppy up at 4k feet, but otherwise a very enjoyable trip and nice to get out in the plane since it had been a while. Thanks for lunch Jason and keep making good progress on your build! 

 

Columbus, OH


by Brian Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lucy and I hopped in the plane this past weekend to have a nice little visit with our good friends Ben and Mari and their 1.5 year old, Max. Brandi got a nice break and took a stay at home vacation. We caught a Blue Jackets vs Rangers hockey game there, which was awesome for several reasons. It was Lucy's first NHL game. It was a close and hard fought match up with the home team winning. Matt Calvert took a slap shot to the face, got 30+ stitches, came back to finish playing the game, and scored the game winning goal, which was a short-handed one to boot!! WOW. Perhaps just as exciting, at least for a pilot, was that we happened to luck out beautifully on timing of the weather. A low front was coming through so we got 30+ knot tail winds on the way to Columbus, AND the way home too!! Was so awesome doing over 200kts round trip. 

 

Lucy and Max played so well together and had a great time. We all went to an indoor arcade type of place that had a huge climbing/slides/ball pit area for the kids and let them run around and wear themselves out. 

Fall Leaf Tour 2016


by Brian Monday, November 07, 2016

Every year the Falcon RV Squadron does a scenic flight to enjoy the turning of the leaves, some good fellowship, and great fun. This year was another great one as we headed up to 24J in N. Carolina for lunch. The trouble was, all the wild fires in the area caused a ton of smoke and poor visibility, so we diverted to Ashville, which turned out to be pretty fortuitous, because we ended up at the Sierra Nevada brewery, which I had no idea was there. That place is amazing and cozy, but quite unfortunately we couldnt enjoy any of the beer since we were on a day trip flight! We had a great time never the less, and even started the flight off right with a proper cleaning. Lucy was tasked with all the low spots on the plane :)

 

 

 

Philly Flyers


by Brian Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My buddy Steve is a huge Flyers fan. He's been my hockey line mate for years and we love catching NHL games together, so imagine how excited I was when his Dad and Wife stealthily planned a surprise Birthday trip up to Philadelphia to catch a Flyers game. One really remarkable thing about the start of this trip planning was I noticed a private grass field near where we wanted to be, so I reached out to the owner. He was a fellow RV pilot and super nice guy. He gave us permission to land on his field, and even more, he loaned us a car for the weekend! Amazing people you find in aviation!! Thank you Keith! 

 

We got Philly Cheese Steaks at famous Pat's restaurant, caught the Flyers game with amazing complimentary VIP area that Steve's dad arranged, and finished off the night with a little bit of action at a Harrahs Casino. What a full day! The next day we enjoyed Reading market, which was amazing. The food there is to die for! Mark another hockey arena off the list. This is one we'll have to go back to again someday soon though since it was so much fun. 

Charleston fishing trip


by Brian Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My buddy from Sweden, Andreas, was visiting with us and we decided to hop in the -10 and go on a fishing trip to Charleston. I really love Charleston and if you've ever been, you likely agree its a charming city. I had never fished there before and wasnt sure what to expect. We did an AirBnB for the first time and it was a great experience. We ended up directly across the street from a great little dive bar place with really good food and beer selection. We did a half day inshore fishing excursion for red fish, and man what a blast!! Those suckers are super fun to catch and we snagged about 6 each! After a couple days of enjoying the fishing and the town, we hopped in the plane and cruised on back for a quick journey home. Chalk another great trip up in the books.