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.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DAR inspection, Taxi Tests, First Flight

Before first flight I had a lot of ground running time. First engine start, first taxi, high speed taxi down the runway and slam on the brakes. I actually did that one a few times to condition the brake pads. And there is magnetometer calibrations which require the engine running. Lots of run time before you even get to take off. I tried to keep the engine cool and did a lot of this during the evening hours to try and not die of summer heat.

Somewhere in the midst of all this taxi testing I had my DAR inspection. Went really well. He had a few pointers and suggestions but nothing show stopping. We signed all the paperwork and I got my airworthiness certificate! All in just a few hours.

First flight. 
I am hangared at a Class C airspace. And no they didn't care that this was a maiden flight for an experimental aircraft. I requested to stay above the airport, denied, " well can I stay next to the airport?", denied,.....ok, I guess I'll head to the next closest airport. "cleared as requested have a good flight".    Ugh.   So I line up for take off and throttle forward, man this plane moves, accelerating down the runway and off the ground in just a few seconds.....I am now flying in an airplane I built! OK, focus Justin, whats your airspeed, 140KTS!!! jeez ....OK pitch up a little....climb? 2000FPM!!! damn this thing is fast....3500ft altitude already...OK....keep the throttle open we need to break the engine in....150-160-175KTS!!!! wow....(there is so much going on this time I can't even describe the complexity) I then discover my trim isn't working...crap....OK fly the airplane. With lots of stick force I flew the airplane wide open throttle for almost an hour. I tried different power settings and simulated landings and then finally decided it was time to head home. 

174kts! that's fast. (for you non airplane types that's 200mph! in something I my home)

I got clearance to land on 36R and followed the landing procedure I had written down and it resulted in a great landing. I call tower "Successful first flight for experimental 521 Tango Whiskey!" Tower answers back "Except you landed on the wrong back to hangars via Juliet" .....dang it, I was so focused on my landing speeds and procedures I turned into 36L instead of 36R. But you know what...that's fine....I had a great first flight, a great landing, and I'm still alive. All is good.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Finished and Ready to Fly

Finshed and ready to fly!  After 3 years 2 months 2 weeks and 2 days (March 23 2012 - June 8 2015) and over 2000hrs of work.

The plane is finally complete.

Interior lights on and the wing walk light in the door shining down. It all looks really nice lit up.

System Testing and First Fuel

LOTS and LOTS of system testing and tweaks after all the parts came together. I also wired the wings and wing tips as well as the tail light. Chasing small gremlins and finding a few things that should have been wired differently but nothing major and nothing was destroyed : ).

First fuel! ....I was really nervous about leaking fuel tanks but not a single drop leaked out. I then worked on calibrating the fuel tanks. For those that have floats, take note, the float can get stuck to the bottom of the tank after sitting for a while and it won't move when you put in fuel. But it will shake loose after taxing around with fuel in the tank. But you then have to re-calibrate that tank. So go fly around until you run that tank dry, can be a startling event, but it's a good test to be sure you are using all of your fuel. Then re-calibrate while refueling. 

Custom vinyl decals around the fuel caps.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tail, Prop, Wings, and N Number

Working at the hangar is not fun. Delay this move as much as possible.....I miss the shop.

Jess and I took a day off work and got to work on the plane together. We made good progress but the only picture I got was after we installed the stabilizers.

I was nervous about pulling the prop plug on the engine. But it turned out to be really ease. I just used a punch and hammered the center of the plug enough to bend it. Then used a strong magnet and it pulled out. Easy.

There was A LOT of work that happened from the above pics to the ones below. I had a day where I scrapped together as many guys I could find to help install the wings and any other help they were willing to provide. Brian U. flew over from Atlanta to give my a hand and I had a few other helpers. It was a really productive and exhausting day. Wings, flaps, rudder, some sound proofing, and several other things were finished up on this day.

Kris came by and we got the N numbers on the tail. They are vinyl "stickers". Really easy to put these on and its hard to tell its not paint.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Move to Hangar

The BIG DAY is here. Moving to the hangar! The fuselage will join the other parts at their new home.

Waiting for the tow truck.

Loaded and nervous. I was so tense during the drive to the airport my neck muscles hurt. A good driver though he had to swerve a few times to narrowly miss low hanging tree branches. Whew. and sound.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Arm Rest

Working on the armrest wiring. I have all of my headset connections, a USB charge port, and music inputs in my arm rest. This results in a lot of wires in a small place. But it is a very convenient spot to locate these. All of the wires run to a disconnect so I can remove my console when needed.

Check out Stein videos for how to wire up the headset jacks. Really easy. Also if you are installing a carbon fiber (electrically conductive) console then you need the insulating washer you see in the background. 

The back of the headset jacks installed in the console.

Wired and ready to go.  (Cat not included)

Firewall Forward Pics

While the paint was drying I figured I'd get some good pics of the firewall forward stuff. I think at this point everything was installed.


I got the parts back from the painter. Very pretty. Metallic! sparkly! We hauled them back in a rented Penske truck to the hangar; another nerve racking drive.

Vertical Stabilizer and Rudder. The lines match up perfectly on the airplane.

One pretty wing!

I'm helping the painter as much as I can after work and on the weekends. We put up plastic around the shop and made it into a make-shift paint booth. Step one was high build primer, filling holes, more primer, more filling holes and a lot of sanding.

Then paint starts going on! It was really exciting seeing it painted.

We spent one VERY late evening taping off the plane. I owe a huge thanks to my buddy Kris for putting in some long hours on this effort. We pulled the white plane out into the yard and then, using the paint image Jess and I created, actually just projected it onto the airplane. Using a standard projector, at night of course, gave us really good guidance while taping it off. It was still A LOT of work to do this and very tedious. The tape goes on but the curve isn't perfect so you pull it off and try again....good, but at this point its not quite right so you pull it off and try again....not bad except right here.....ugh...try again.

Once we had the lines taped off  he sprayed the black.

Then the green and then the grey stripe. It was surreal having a finished plane sitting in my shop. It didn't look like some project anymore, but a real airplane.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Landing Lights and Rudder Cable Fairing

Being the first guy to install the Aveo Ziptips is neat but comes with growing pains. I didn't have any installation instructions and no one to ask questions. But it wasn't hard once you start laying things out....hell, after building an airplane you can figure anything out. But in case someone is following along and they still don't have install instructions here are some pictures.

The lights install on ribs that get glassed into place inside the wingtips.

Here is a side shot of the brackets.

I made my rudder cable fairing fancy with a rounded front edge.....why not.

"Come on Daddy lets go fly!"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ignition Wiring and Fuel Flow Sensor

Back to firewall forward stuff. I have all the wires hanging around for the ignition system I need to tidy up. First you have to figure out timing and install the sensors, etc etc.....its all in the instructions.

I wanted to cover how I ran the sensor wires through the rear baffle. I drilled a large enough hole to pass the sensor through (it comes pre-wired).

Then used a high temp large OD small ID grommet. I then went back later and sealed the hole thing with high temp RTV.

This is how you come up with the power and ground wires for the ignition system. I admit I was a little baffled at first as to how a coax cable was going to successfully and safely be split. But just grab a pick and "de-braid" the shielding....done.

DON'T USE RTV to seal anything in the fuel lines. Use thread sealant and don't apply to the first three threads.

This is how I installed the fuel flow transducer (Red Cube). If you read the installation instructions this is the location they suggest. I had TS Flgihtline split the fuel line and add end fittings. The cube is actually really well supported with the stiff braided fuel lines. But vibration can be destructive, so I RTV'd the thing to the engine. Now it's not going anywhere for a while.

We started trying on the headset and letting Ayla play with it around the house. If you ask her if she wants to go flying she says "Yes! and wear headset!" : )