Build Log RV-10 #1

Blog for a Vans RV-10 Airplane Build

First Flight - This thing actually flies!

Did this day really happen?  It has been a couple weeks now and it still has not totally sunk in.  When you look back at years of construction and all the major milestones, it is amazing of what comes from all this work each and everyone of us put into these projects.  The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming.  And I finally get to realize that all the work, time and frustrations over the last years, are all now worth every bit.

This came to realization this last Saturday,  9/28/2013 when my RV-10 left the ground for the first time after 4 1/2 years of building.

For years I have been reading stories of others first flights and the feelings that brought, thinking will I ever experience that.  All I can say is I have, and so much more.  As everyone before me have said, these are great aircraft. Note to those still building - get back to work and get that airplane done.

Maybe someday in the far out future, this new RV Grin may fade, but very little.  I think I will have it every time I fly it.

Here are a few pics.  I am working on getting  the video footage (I will post when done) put together but may be a bit, have an aircraft that needs to be flown.

And the Grin

Click on the images below and you will find a whole mess of other pics.  No video as of yet, but coming.

Airworthiness Inspection

The day has finally come.  It is inspection day. 

I had a couple of FAA Inspectors come down from Fargo to do my final airworthiness inspection.  A bit overwhelming and stressful day.

But after a thorough check and getting all paperwork sorted through,  I was issued my airworthiness certificate. 

WOW, what a feeling to have this accomplished.  Been such a long 4 plus years on this build and to finally be able to call it an actual airplane has to be the best feeling so far.  I am sure the first flight will be way more but this is awesome so far. 

Weather permitting and some final inspections, my first flight is planned for this weekend.   

Now I am nervous. 


Airworthiness 001.JPG

Weight and Balance

Most of the final construction is completed with only a few minor things.  But these are going to wait until the end of phase 1 to be done anyway.  Will do another W&B then. 

I was a bit concerned about how the weight was going come out, figured I would be pretty heavy.  The final empty weight with 10 quarts oil was 1687 lbs.  Not to bad. 


First Engine Start

This weekend turned out to have another great milestone achieved.  I was finally at a state to try to get the engine fired up for the first time. 

I had John Klein, the A&P from Tri State that is located at our home field stop out and monitor in case we had any issues.   

At the first try we did have a small issue with a fuel line that leaked in the cabin tunnel area.  John was able to reach in and get it tightened up. 

Made a couple of attempts at a start with no luck and realized that you need to have the ignition switches turned on first.  Felt kind of dumb on that one.  Turned the ignition switches on and it fires right up.  Couple of small adjustments to idle and mixture and ran really good.   

Had a couple of small issues with exhaust leaks but were easily fixed.  Also had a issue with the prop not cycling but did finally get it to cycle.  Had to use higher RPM to help get it primed. 

Below is a video of the start.  A  bit boring but shows what happened.


Transition Training

Since my build is getting closer and closer to an actual airplane I decided to travel to Vernonia, OR to get some transition training from Mike Seager.  Mike is a recommended flight instructor of Vans Aircraft and has been doing this type of work for over 35 years.  

I flew into Portland, rented a car and drove to Vernonia.  What a beautiful place.  The scenery in Oregon is incredible.    Vernonia is a small town and has no hotels so I decided to rent a room at the Old Mill House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  That was also a great choice as it is a very nice place to stay with very warming hosts.

Mike fly the Vans factory RV-10 back to Vernonia for us to use over the three days of training.  Was nice to see the factory plane up close to see how they did different areas of construction.  The reason for all the weird close up pictures. 

Anyway, the three days of training went great even though the weather was not the best.  Got in almost ten hours of flying.  Learning every different type of flight configurations of this plane.  All I can say is WOW, this is a great flying machine.  Really makes me excited to get my aircraft done and flying. 

If you are contemplating transition training, stop and go get it.  The RV-10 is a handful to fly if you have never experience high performance aircraft.  I have over 3000 hours and it was the best time and money spent.  I have absolutely no fears or reservations now on taking mine up for the first time.  Hope this comes in the next couple weeks.  Yeh!! 

Click on the images to go to full gallery.


Final Assembly and Construction

Now that some of the painting has been finished, getting things put together for the final time can finally begin.  Going to be a great feeling to see things get put in their place once and for all. 

Since the wings are now done I am working on getting a couple of the last items installed and hooked up.  Started with getting the Gretz pitot tube installed, the OAT drilled and installed in each wing, and getting aileron trim hooked installed. 

Also will be working getting the lights in the wingtips.  They then will be installed on the wings once the wings are bolted to the fuselage. 

This log post will be updated as more things get done. along with additional pictures.

You can click on the images below to see the full gallery. 

Fuselage Paint

Started this last evening on prepping the fuselage for paint.  Started with getting some of extra items that will be in the way off, the exhaust for example.  Then worked on closing up some of the opening so that the paint does not drift into the cabin and get all over. 

I decided to paint with the horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer on the fuselage so that is creating a couple of small issues, but think it should be ok. 

The biggest challenge so far is to find a good transition around the windows.  What I have decided to do is paint right to the edge I already have around the windows, then when completed with the paint I will take some fine line tape and tape in that edge about 1/8" and another tape right at the edge of the paint, then fill this small 1/8" gap in with some proseal.  This will make the edge transition a bit better, make the windows more waterproof, and also give the windows a nice black outline that I think will turn out to look pretty cool.  Guess we will see. 

Below are some pictures of the process so far, more will come. 

EDIT:  Well, the fuselage is painted.  Since this is my first paint job and know nothing about painting, I have to say I am pretty satisfied with how it turned out.  I am sure that some professional would pick it apart, but that is ok, I can say I did everything on this plane myself.  Added more photos below.

Click on the images to see the full gallery.


Painting the Wings

This last weekend I decided to tackle one of the wings.  Was not sure how it would go so I decided not to try and get both wings done at the same time. 

When applying the Sherwin Williams Aerospace Acry Glo you have certain time frames between coats and colors.  That is what concerned me the most.  

One you get apply the corrosion protection epoxy/primer you have 72 hours to get the base coat of paint sprayed.  Then once the base coat is applied, you have 24 hours to do the striping, which consists of three different colors for my scheme, and then apply the clear coat.  This cuts it pretty close so I used an accelerator to speed up the tape time on the 3 metallic color that are applied.

Got one of the wings done and think it is turning out pretty good.  Not absolutely perfect but for an amateur, cannot complain. 

Check out the pics below and you can see the progress in the full gallery.   ( More pics will be coming as I get more done.)


Starting to Paint

For the past few weeks I have been prepping for primer and paint.  Started with the fiberglass parts and they were quite the challenge to get all the pinholes filled.  But finally got them. 

This process is going very slowly as I am a very amateur painter.  Learning as I go.  Little practice on small parts then off to the plane parts. 

I chose to use the Sherwin Williams Aerospace Acry Glo and Jet Glo paints.  They have been great to work with so far.  My biggest fear was painting the metallic as I did not want the mottling effect.  Did the wheel pants and they came out great. 

Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I can get the rest of plane painted, then on to final construction.

Click on the images below to take you to the painting gallery.

Move to Hangar

It was finally time to get the plane out of my garage at home and move it to its new home. 

Construction of the hangar is not quite complete (lights need to be installed) but needed to get it moved. 

Had some great help from friends and got the plane out of the garage, loaded and moved to the hangar. 

As you can see in the pics, it was a bit of a challenge getting through the wet, muddy yard to the drive way where it would be loaded on the trailer. 

Also when backing up to the hangar door, the vehicle pulling the trailer got stuck since the taxi way extension has not been completed by the airport.

It is now in its new home and what a great feeling.   

Now can start the final construction.  Yeh!

Click on the images below to see the full gallery. 

Hangar Construction

This last fall I decided it was time to start thinking of a hangar to house my RV-10 for the last portion of the build and storage when done.   Wanted a little extra room so went with 60' x 60'.  I will be fully finished with floor heat, bathroom, office, etc.

Early this year the sticks were put in the ground and the last week the Burchill Construction got moving getting it enclosed.  Is is amazing how fast these metal buildings go up. 

They got the door installed yesterday and plan to have it completely enclosed today.  Then it will be fully insulated and sheeted by end of tomorrow, then the heat gets turned on on Monday so they can get the ground thawed so concrete can be poured. 

You can click on the images below to see more pics.

Panel Wiring

Working on finishing up the panel wiring.  Will do a full write up soon. 

Click on the images to view the full gallery. 

Wheel Pants

A full write up on this section is coming.

Click on the images to view the full gallery. 


Interior Lights

A full write up on interior lighting will come hopefully soon. 

Click on image for more pics

Engine Cowl

This was not nearly the challenge that I first thought.  Took some time but was not bad.

Will write up more later.  Check out the pics in the meantime.

Engine Baffle Install

Engine baffle time.  Will get a write up later on this subject for you can enjoy some pics for now.

Click on the images to see the full gallery. 

Propeller and Spinner Install

Started working on getting the prop and spinner mounted to the engine.  Pretty straight forward per the instructions.  Getting the cutout on the spinner for the prop was the hardest until I found out that Hartzel acutally has a template.  Oh well, got it anyway.

Got everything mounted and matchdrilled, put in the nutplates and started to work on gap fillers that go behind the prop.  These took some time to get just perfect but did manage.

Sure looks cool with the prop on.  Starting to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

Click on the images to see the full gallery. 

Engine Installation

Great milestone today.  Got the engine mounted to the aircraft and a couple things attached.

More write up to come.

Click on the images to see the full gallery.

Cabin Cover

Fnished getting the cabin top put on and blended to fuselage.

Will finish up a full write up shortly

Click on the image to view the full gallery.

Window and Windshield

The windows have been cut, fitted and glued.

More write up later.

Click on images to view full gallery.