Friday, March 16, 2012


The Blog
This blog, as the subtitle states, is to create a real time builders logbook to document and share the experience and efforts of building a home-built airplane. My expectations for the site is to periodically post what I'm doing and, if I feel inspired, how I'm doing it.

The Pilot
As the usual story goes, I have always wanted to fly...yadda yadda, fast forward to recent history. I started flight training in January 2009 and, with my great instructor Caroline, I quickly passed my checkride in May 2009 all while working full time and taking several engineering courses. The entire spring break was spent in the air. I took my wife up in the Cessna 152 the same day I passed and we haven't stopped flying since. I moved up to the 172 shortly after and then earned my IFR rating in 2011. As of the writing of this blog I have around 240hrs and climbing. For a little more info about us see our linked blog The Life and Adventures of Justin and Jess.

Experimental Aircraft
Many people hear home-built airplane and think Home Depot or picture an Ultralight buzzing around. Well home-built, or experimental, aircraft have evolved over the last several decades. Many outperform their certificated counterparts and for a fraction of the cost when compared to a new airplane. Also, as I see it, the most important aspect of building your own airplane is that your do not have the restrictions of a certificated aircraft. You can alter, change, update, repair, maintain, inspect as much as you desire without the regulation and costs of getting everything "qualified". It's actually illegal for a pilot to work on his certificated airplane unless he is a certified mechanic. With an experimental aircraft you can work on, maintain, and inspect your own aircraft as you see fit, you would know what's built it.

The Airplane
The airplane that I am building is an RV-10. It's a high performance cross country machine. You can fit four full size adults with luggage and still have room and weight to spare for fuel. It's a beautiful airplane and handles, so I hear, very well.  You cruise comfortably around 165 knots (190mph) with a top speed of 183 knots (211mph). To really understand how fast that is I usually state "Well, I'll be able to fly from here (Huntsville, AL) to Chicago in under three hours, oh, and without TSA, waiting in line, or lost luggage". My wife is most excited about the flights to the beach, a 7 hour drive, in 1 hour and 45 minutes. All that speed and you can still takeoff and land in under 1000ft on a grass strip if so required. I'll be installing an IO-540 Lycoming 260hp engine with an engine monitoring system (EMS). I plan on installing a full electronic flight instrumentation system (EFIS or glass cockpit) and will have synthetic vision, moving map, terrain, traffic, and weather. Truly state of the art electronics that will improve all aspects of flight.

Thanks to Tim Olson for his great web site and inspiration.

Thanks also to Scott Schmidt for his inspiring photos.

Performance numbers as posted on the Vans Aircraft website.
Light Weight 2200 lbs 210 hp * 235 hp 260 hp
Top Speed 200 mph 204 mph 211 mph
Cruise [75% @ 8000 ft] 190 mph 194 mph 201 mph
Cruise [55% @ 8000 ft] 170 mph 174 mph 180 mph
Stall Speed 57 mph 57 mph 57 mph
Ground Performance
Takeoff Distance 475 ft 415 ft 360 ft
Landing Distance 500 ft 500 ft 525 ft
Rate of Climb 1,400 fpm 1,669 fpm 1,950 fpm
Ceiling (est) 17,077 ft 20,538 ft 24,000 ft

Gross Weight 2700 lbs 210 hp * 235 hp 260 hp
Empty Weight 1,520 lbs 1,585 lbs 1,600 lbs
Top Speed 197 mph 201 mph 208 mph
Cruise [75% @ 8000 ft] 186 mph 190 mph 197 mph
Cruise [55% @ 8000 ft] 166 mph 170 mph 176 mph
Stall Speed 63 mph 63 mph 63 mph
Ground Performance
Takeoff Distance 686 ft 583 ft 500 ft
Landing Distance 650 ft 650 ft 650 ft
Rate of Climb 1150 fpm 1,221 fpm 1,450 fpm
Ceiling (est) 13,678 ft 16,839 ft 20,000 ft
Range in statute miles "sm"
Range [75% @ 8000 ft] 951 sm 883 sm 825 sm
Range [55% @ 8000 ft] 1,153 sm 1070 sm 1000 sm

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