Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Why I sold my airplane

Why I sold my airplane.

If you are in the “I am building” or “going to build” an RV-10 camp then please feel free to skip this entire post and enjoy the many years of posts, pictures, and hopefully helpful insights and building hints on this blog. But, before you go I will answer a few up-front questions:

            If I could go back in time, would I do it again?  

Yes, building my own airplane has become, is, and always will be part of my identity. It is something that defines me and I have an immense amount of pride in what I did. I have absolutely no regrets in this entire process. The day I left the ground in something I built in my backyard workshop is a memory I will never forget. Including the following 40hrs of flight where, technically, I was a the test pilot. I have stories of building and flying this thing that most people will never be able to experience. The friends I have met because of doing this are priceless. The knowledge, skills, and confidence of the entire process is equally priceless.

“Hey, if I can build an airplane I can …”

What will I miss?

There are few things that come front and center with this question. First, the kick-in-pants-rip-roaring take-offs out of the airport. The smooth responsive controls during turns and the slight pull into the seat that you can only get in flight. Second, the compliments from strangers or, better yet, compliments from the tower. Third, just the pride of owning an airplane, especially a beautiful airplane that I built.

What will I not miss?

The annual condition inspection. Something about having to tear apart what you have built every year, well it’s not fun. Actually, just the thought of having to deal with something breaking or any damage to the aircraft was a source of anxiety. The 50kt headwinds we seem to get every time we fly home from Christmas. The massive mountain turbulence that treats you like you’re in a shaker when James Bond orders a martini. Or the very unnerving mountain wave phenomenon. We had a terrifying encounter with this on a night flight home from Sante Fe.

Now on to the rest of the post.

Grab a beer, this is going to be a post that needs it.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Good. Take a few swigs, sips, or swallows, however it is you drink a beer, and let’s get started.

How did I get to this decision?

This was not an easy decision.

 I will probably be scoffed at, questioned, or disowned for this decision, but I want to illustrate how hard this actually was. My entire history and life choices have been around aviation. I was that little boy staring at the sky any time an airplane flew over (still guilty of this). I had an airplane blanket throughout my childhood (and it may have come with me when I moved out). My university degree decision was fully based on getting into the aviation industry. I swept hangar floors and washed and fueled helicopters as my first aviation job. Airplanes, airplanes, airplanes. Childhood dream. I got my pilot’s license as soon as I could afford to do so and quickly moved on to my instrument rating. My wife and I flew a lot, renting a 172 to get back home for the holidays or out for a long weekend. Moving up into building my own airplane was almost a natural progression. After building, those flights home and elsewhere were happening in style and speed. And it was me, us, we were a family with an airplane that we built. So, needless to say this decision was not taken lightly. In fact, selling the airplane has been a topic of discussion for about the past year now. This topic had kept us company on many late nights and long walks.

But then I realized I am still a pilot and I still built my own airplane and that doesn’t change.

So, what happened?

We weren’t happy

We got this bug, this itch, to leave our current life, home, and area of the country. We weren’t happy with where we were living and the lifestyle we had. So, we decided to renovate our life. We sold our house, the workshop I built went with it of course, and about half our stuff. We paid down all of our debt rather quickly after no longer funding an airplane build. Then we started searching for a new beginning. I even looked for a new career out of aviation just for a new flavor of the day to day grind. We decided to aim West. I had amazing adventures as a young adult there visiting my Dad, and then shortly after as a visiting couple with my girlfriend, now wife. So, we moved West searching for this new beginning. Now, don’t get me wrong we love it out here. But there is still one problem, TIME, or the lack there of. More on that in a bit.

I often wonder if I burnt myself out. I consumed aviation and then climbed its Everest (building my own airplane). Working in the industry and then building this beautiful machine caused a great deal of realizations about myself and my industry. Then, I began to question many more decisions in my life. I found I never had the time to do any of the things I really wanted to do. The standard 2 weeks off leaves a lot to be desired. The irony of the situation is that I built a machine to travel and see places but owning it keeps me tied to a desk and prevents the exact thing it was built for. I am an engineer and a builder, I am going to design a way out of this situation! And it needs to be a permanent solution not a duct tape fix (ie: take a few months off, or a gap year), I mean, come on, I’m a builder, a craftsman. I don’t do temporary fix.

As I grow older I am learning that I think I would like to live my life in a series of big picture adventures. Chapters. Passions. I have so many things I want to try, do, build, see that I cannot continue with my past adventures as well, it’s simply a time problem. What good is owning something if you don’t even have the time to use it.

This is a real life, hard knocks, lesson in opportunity cost

When I say “opportunity cost” I want to use both sides of this, time and money. Most of us has had Econ 101, but for a recap here is an example of a time opportunity cost: constant maintenance and use on an airplane comes at the cost of not spending time with your family. Or a monetary opportunity cost example: owning an airplane comes at the cost of your equity being tied in an asset when it could be used to do something else.

I have one child to be a father to, one wife to love, and one life to live. My daughter gets older by the day and one of these days she will no longer need or desire my time like she does now. I would like to maximize this time now as much as possible. Also, we all have an expiration date and I have too many things left to do. If I can use a monetary asset I have to create more time for all three of the categories listed above then I believe that this is the best opportunity cost exchange I could have created.

So, what now?

I build things. I am a builder

This is the best summed-up, single word, definition for me. One of things that I have on my long list of things I’d like to do is build a house in the mountains. We moved West, there are mountains, we need a house, houses are expensive here, I build things…it’s time for this adventure to start. But, we didn’t just go out and buy an airplane so why would we just go out and buy a house. We didn’t pay someone to build our airplane so why would I pay a crew to have all the fun of building my house. No, this is MY dream. I am the architect, drafter, engineer, and carpenter. Because we go “extreme” and deep dive into our projects. We will be living on site “tiny house” style and building this one day at a time. I am truly loving designing the house and knowing that I loved the experience of building my old workshop, I am confident that I will love building the house as well. And then? Were going to stop watching it all literally fly by and travel slower, less planned and more in the moment.

On to the next adventure!

I know the thought that entered your mind; “Oh, you’re selling the plane to pay for the house”. Actually, NO. We are going to pay for the house the same way we paid for building the plane. A bit at a time, as we go, and with blood, sweat, and tears. This is yet another valuable lesson I learned from this massive experience. What is possible when you shift all your energy towards one dream will surprise you.  Oh no, don’t be mistaken, the funds from the airplane are for the adventure after this adventure. And I need it to buy the most expensive thing one can…your time, your freedom, your life.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A tour of the RV-10

This is a fully finished and IFR equipped 2015 RV-10. Painted in a bright white and trimmed in metallic black and green. The interior features a cream colored leather interior with a sporty black stitching and dark grey carpet and trim. A carbon fiber instrument panel and center console house the full Garmin avionics suite that features dual G3X touch screens and a GTN 650. The power of the IO-540 260hp Lycoming engine and Hartzell prop gives the airplane some serious performance.

Watch the video below for a tour.

-IO-540-D4A5 Lycoming 260hp Fuel Injected 6 cylinder engine.
-Hours (Total Time: Aircraft, Engine, and Prop) 170
-Dual Lightspeed electronic ignition with integrated backup power system
-GAMI Injectors
-Vetterman Exhaust
-EFII Fuel Boost Pump Module
-Servo controlled Oil Cooler Damper
-Servo controlled Cowl Flaps
-Full engine management system readout to G3X including: 
     -Fuel flow gauge
     -CHT and EGT on all 6 cylinders
     - Oil temp and pressure

-Powered by a primary 60 amp alternator or a 30 amp backup alternator
-Engine Ignition and Primary Avionics Integrated Battery Back-Up Systems
-Full ADSB in and out with weather and traffic
-Autopilot with robust feature set, including safety features such as underspeed and overspeed protection, a dedicated return-to-level (LVL) mode button, Garmin ESP™ (Electronic Stability and Protection), Flight Director (FD), coupled approaches and missed approaches
-VPX Electronic Circuit Breaker System integrated into G3X screens
-PS Engineering PMA5000EX Audio Selector Panel allows for full audio control. Front and back seats can listen to their own audio sources plugged into the airplane and fed through the headsets.
-Ultra EFIS for a secondary backup flight instrument
-ELT ACK 406 Mhz
-Cabin Carbon Monoxide detector with audio alerts
-Light weight and high powered LiFPo EarthX Battery

-GTN 650 GPS/NAV/COMM/MFD   Fly WAAS LPV approaches down to 200ft minimums and push the TOGA button on the instrument panel to cue the autopilot to automatically capture the correct pitch attitude required to fly a missed approach and then follow the loaded missed approach procedure.

Full Garmin G3X Suite, featuring:
-GDU  460 PFD with synthetic vision
-GDU 460 MFD
-GTX 23 ES Mode S Transponder 
-GDL 39R Full ADSB in and out
-Dual GSU 25 ADAHRS (primary and backup)
-GMC 305 and GSA 28 Servos for full autopilot  
-GAP 26 Pitot Tube
-Angle of Attack Indicator on top of panel
-GTR 20 Remote mounted Comm
-GEA 24 EMS (Engine Management System)

Interior and Exterior:
-Fully finished interior with trim and cup holders
-Overhead landing and taxi light controls
-Landing lights have "Wig-Wag" function above set airspeed and automatically return to normal operation during final approach
-Dimmable LED overhead recessed interior lighting with reading spot lights
-Super Bright LED Landing, Taxi and strobe lights with the sleek Aveo ZipTip system
-Door activated interior lighting and wing walk lighting with auto time-out shut off
-Dual USB ports for device charging
-Plane Around 180 Door Latch system
-Low Profile exterior door handle
-MATCO Wheels and Brakes
-SafeAir Pitot Static system

If there is anything else about the aircraft you would like to know feel free to look around the blog using the nav on right or enter your search term into the search bar below.

Some of my Favorite In-Flight RV-10 Pics

I wanted to share the view out my RV-10 window.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Well this is the end of the build log. I have finished my Phase 1 flight testing and have already been on several trips with the family. I'm happy the building is over but I have such great pride that I did all of that myself. It almost doesn't seem real. I can't even comprehend how much time and effort it took. But I finished what I started and now I need to learn how to enjoy this new machine and my free time that I now have until the next big project. BuildingRV10 will only be used to keep track of airplane maintenance or updates. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Flight Testing: Flying High

This was the best part of flight testing. High altitude long distance flying. Particularly in the summer heat. I also wanted to use the autopilot for this multiple leg flight. I was basically flying the entire perimeter of my Phase 1 flight test area, which was a pretty big area.

163kts, 10.8gph, at 10,500ft, OAT 48F

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Flight Testing: Gremlins

Ready for a science lesson. As ferrous metals repeatedly move through Earth's magnetic fields they can become magnetic. World War II war ships would need to be degaussed (de-magnetized) to prevent setting off Nazi sea mines. They would get magnetized from moving through the earths magnetic fields. Well, as I've been flying around apparently my steel seat belt cables became magnetized. They're magnetic fields during turbulence or steep turns (therefore they were moving a lot) would result in my magnetometer being confused and I would get the error messages shown below. This took some head scratching at first to figure out what the problem was. But after taking out the seat belt cables and watching a compass go sporadic when placed next to the cables I was convinced they were the culprit to this gremlin. I replaced the steel cables with stainless steel cables and the problem was fixed. Although later tests showed that a tow bar (made of steel) placed really high in the baggage compartment can cause the same issue, so beware.

Here you can see the steel seat belt cables and their proximity to the magnetometer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Flight Testing: Flying to Work

For the next several weeks I was a flying fool. I flew before work, after work or for a few days I even flew to work!

I had an installation to support at our company's hangar so I decided to fly to work today.

Easy parking when you're the only one that commutes via airplane.