November 2018 Update

It’s been about a year from my last post. It’s been quite the hectic year between raising our son, selling our home, and building our new home.

Declan is now almost 16 months old. He’s now walking around (okay running most of the time) getting into lots of trouble. He really is a pretty happy guy most of the time and is developing well. His length continues to be in the >97th percentile. He says lots of words, and even has started putting 2 words together. He’s also started daycare part time so my wife has been able to increase her work hours from 2 days per week up to 4 days.

We de-cluttered and listed our home, put the airplane project in storage :(, and sold our home on the first weekend it was on the market in Mid-May. There were a bunch of delays actually closing with a couple of home sale contingencies,  which worked out in our favor seeing we had no place to live otherwise. Eventually though, we closed on September 17th and now have that chapter of our lives behind us.

As I write this, we are still in between houses. The new house is done and we are just waiting on the “Cleared to Close” indication from the mortgage underwriters. It’s been very frustrating to have a house ready to move into and we can’t close for a number of reasons. The first was there is a law that says you have to be given the Closing Disclosure at least 3 days prior to closing, the other is that due to all the delays, our file with the mortgage company had expired and it seems they had to re-review everything again, taking some additional time.

We should be closing this week (week of Nov 4th) either on Tuesday or Wednesday. After re-reading some of my blog, and hanging out at the airport yesterday and talking about RV building, I remember just how much I miss actively building. I’ll be very much looking forward to getting settled in our new home and get building underway again.

New House.. Almost done.
Declan’s 2018 Costume

Halloween 2017 Update

Our son, Declan, was born on July 13th.. He’s now 3.5 months old and doing well. Jeanine and I are adjusting well to parenthood.


Since then it’s been pretty difficult to find time to work on the plane. So there’s really no update on my plane progress. This was part of the reasoning for going the Quickbuild route. I’m way further along than I would be otherwise.

I’ve recently have felt like I could have spent some time here or there on the plane, but have been a bit distracted by house projects and getting it ready….

Ready for what you say???

Jeanine and I have always talked about moving to a new house. Specifically, we don’t like our lot. It’s more of a side-to-side lot, with no back yard and near a busy main street with little privacy. If it were just us, we’d probably just stay where we are. We like our neighborhood and neighbors, but with the addition of Declan, we’ve started thinking about it more again. We really weren’t thinking of looking seriously until spring at the earliest, but we found some new construction in our town about 5 minutes away from where we currently are. The timing of such works out that it wouldn’t be done until spring anyways. That’ll give us time to finish a couple of outstanding projects and literally “clean house” prior to putting  it on the market in the early spring.  Some of those projects are done or in process. We’ve been working with an architect to come up with a design, which is now finalized. We’re waiting on the builder to provide the final pricing based on the plans and get final financing commitment prior to breaking ground sometime in late November or early December. The new house will have a 3 car garage; 34’x24′ in size, of which 2 bays will be my new airplane factory. That’ll provide much more space than the single bay I’m working in now, and should allow me to keep the plane at home until much later in the process.

So very exciting (any busy) times ahead, so plane building will take a back seat for the next few months so that we can work on getting this house ready, planning finishings etc… for the new house, as well as care for an infant. 🙂 In the end it’ll be a welcomed delay to be in our forever home. After that, the airplane build can commence.

Here are a couple of profiles from the plans…

Aileron Actuation and Tank Leak Testing

First step in this section is to fabricate two torque tubes which are used to push and pull on a bellcrank mounted on the spar. This bellcrank converts the horizontal motion into fore and aft motion to move the aileron up and down.

Torque tubes and end caps
Drilling holes for the end caps
End caps riveted on
Both tubes completed and aileron torque tube ends shown too.

I then fabricated the bellcrank to aileron pushrods as well as the start of another set of aileron torque tubes which sit at the root of the wing and partly attach to bearings on the end of the gas tank. Seeing I hadn’t yet leak tested my tanks, I needed to take a break and do that, prior to reattaching them to the wings.

Leak testing the tanks is relatively straightforward. The idea is to seal off all openings, pressurize the tanks just enough (too much pressure can cause damage) and spray soapy water all over the seams and joints to see if there are any leaks. A bicycle pump valve is provided in the kit to go into the fuel drain port. This allows you to use a bicycle pump to inject air into the tank, pressurizing it. The fuel pickup and, in my case, fuel return line needed to be capped off. In order to provide a safety valve, a balloon is placed on the tank vent port and will inflate as you add air into the tank. The balloon acts as a safety valve and will pop prior to allowing too much pressure to be added to the tank.


Adding air to the tank
Spraying all the rivets and surfaces with soapy water

Of course, never doing this before, I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to see if there was indeed a leak. On the first tank I attached the balloon to the vent port with duct tape and a zip-tie. It clearly didn’t work very well and the slow leak exhibited itself by really bubbling up.


Balloon connection had a small leak. 

On the second attempt, I placed some fuel lube inside the neck of the balloon, used some string to ensure a better connection, along with a ziptie. That seemed to do the trick. No leaks and the balloon stayed inflated overnight.

I then was able to reattach the tanks to the wings and am relieved that the tanks didn’t have any detectable leaks in them.

With that behind me, I was able to get back to getting the aileron control system fully hooked up.

Wing root torque tube attached. Getting ready to attach the main pushrod.
Getting ready to attach the pushrod to the bellcrank

In order to properly set the length of the tube there is a jig that is inserted in the bellcrank that sets the neutral position. One must them make sure that the hole on the arm back at the wing root is exactly 2 9/32″ from the edge of the tank to the center of the hole

Setting the tube length based on the neutral position with the W-730 Jig
Exactly 2 and 9/32″ to the hole center.
All hooked up, looking down the wing

I then started getting the actual aileron and flaps placed onto the wing to set their neutral position. It is then that I discovered that I had riveted the end of the gap fairing on the wrong way. In setting up the flap position it says that the nose of the flap should sit against the spar doubler. Well instead, mine was sitting against the gap fairing, which didn’t seem correct… I went back in the plans, and sure enough, I did it wrong. Nothing that drilling out a few rivets and flipping it around can’t solve..

That 1021B-L part is not oriented the correct way. DOH!
After drilling out 4 rivets and flipping it around. Much better, and makes more sense.

The flap is used to set the neutral position of the aileron by clamping the trailing edges together with some aluminum angle. Then with the W-730 Jig back in place to set the pushrod neutral position, the bellcrank to aileron pushrod length is adjusted so that it is perfectly fits when both items are in their neutral position.

Flap and Aileron clamped together
View of left wing with both flap and aileron installed
Bellcrank to aileron pushrod attached to aileron
W-730 Jig back in place with bolt coming through the pushrod in the upper right of the jig meaning everything is perfectly aligned.
A view looking down at the finalized bellcrank assembly. 

Fuse and Finish kit arrive

Been a bit busy finishing some hardwood flooring in the spare bedroom as well as getting the nursery ready for our little guys arrival in early July. Plane building has suffered a little bit recently.

I’ve finished the bottom wings skins as far as I’d like for now. I’ve deburred them, but will leave the dimpling for later. I’m sure I’ll be happy to have some metal work to come back to in between all the fiberglass work coming up. I’ve started on the aileron actuation section of the plans:

I’ve fabricated the Bellcrank pushrod as well as the bellcrank to aileron pushrod and primed them. Pictures of those will be forthcoming.

In the interim, I took delivery of my Quick Build fuselage and finishing kits. These pieces account for the remaining structural pieces of the kits. All that remains after these kits are the engine (and Firewall forward kit) and the avionics. Don’t let that fool you though, there is a ton of work to do on the kits that will keep me busy for quite a long time.

Fiberglass cabin top behind the fuse
Finishing kit crate
Fuselage stand I built out of saw horses and 2×4’s with casters

Lots of stuff! Cowlings, door shells, and wheel pants. 
Front seats and cushions.

Continued Wing Progress

Sorry for the lack of updates recently.

Since the last update, I’ve been able to get the Pitot Tube bracket all ready to install.Like a few other RV-10 builders, I’ve decided to put my Pitot further outboard as compared to plans. I’ve placed it in the 2nd to last wing bay. This will keep it out of the way of the tie-down ring/rope and any possibility of getting it caught up.

Mounting the Pitot  involved adding a piece of aluminum angle to the outboard rib such that the bracket would sit flush with the rib flange and allow the bottom wing skin to sit flush to the rib. I also used the bracket to draw the outline of the cut needed on the bottom skin. A unibit was used to cut the initial holes and then files were used to shape and debur the cut.

Making sure the bracket sits flush to the rib flange

Aluminum Angle support riveted to the rib
Using the bracket to drill the bottom skin.

All Filed clean
Testing the Pitot Mount fit through the bottom skin cut
Pitot Mast in rough place with the bottom wing skin on.

All the holes are now match drilled.

I then moved on to continue the bottom skin section of the plans.

I will finish this section up until the point of actually riveting the bottom skins in place. I plan to do that at a much later date. While things like auto-pilot servos and wiring can be done after the fact, it’ll be much better to allow access for these tasks later on.

The first part after dealing with the pitot tube, was to match drill and rivet on the gap fairings for the aileron and flaps. Below they are shown cleco’ed in place. I’ve already riveted them, but apparently didn’t take any pictures of them finished.

I’ve also got the J-channel stiffeners all in place and match drilled to the bottom skins. The bottom skins are also match drilled to the ribs and spars. All that is left for this section is to debur everything and dimple all the holes.

Wing Update

Next up was to knock off fuel tank related items so I could get to a spot where I could proseal the fuel senders and the fuel return ports onto the tank.

First I had to bend the sender rod as shown in the plans. 

Then I needed to test out the sender to make sure it can go stop-to-stop without hitting anything inside the tank. Mostly the fuel vent line is what typically gets in the way. I measured the resistance at the stops on the bench to know what values I should see. I then used a string down through the drain opening to help me pull the float up and down in the tank. I had to bend the float towards the front of the tank to get it to not hit the vent line. After a couple of iterations, I declared success.

I then started on the fuel return port. The EFII instructions only require that you place the fuel return at least 3 inches away from the feed line to prevent bubbles from fuel being returned to the tank from being picked up and sent back into the feed line. After reviewing some posts on VAF, and seeing multiple other people put their fuel return lines in a spot that would interfere with attaching the tank and the wing to the main spar, I decided the best spot was just forward of the vent line port. Several others ended up with similar placement. Once the spot was decided, I had to drill a 0.5″ hole for the center AN fitting and surrounding holes for the screws which help prevent rotation of the bung.


I’ll let this sit for a while to cure, then it’ll be time to leak test the tank.

I was also able to enlarge the holes in the wing ribs to 3/4″ to accept conduit for my wire runs. I also added a second 7/16″ hole to run a second static line to my Pitot tube for its AOA function.

Garmin GAP26 Heated Pitot Tube and Mount


Static lines and conduit routed 

Right wing, just conduit here

Wing Progress…

Even with Quick Build wings, the instructions tell you to go over everything step-by-step to make sure everything was completed. This was the discrepancy list I came up with after my review:

Of course some of the complete sections that have yet to be done, are expected. The following shows the sections that a Quick builder has to complete. (All the shaded sections)


I started knocking off some of the list above by tapping the tie-down blocks, and installing the nutplates on the inboard edges of the wings, also removing the fuel tanks and riveting on the bearings to the attachment bracket. I seem to be jumping around a bit based on what makes sense next.

I’m currently thinking strongly about utilizing both Electronic Ignitions and Electronic Fuel injection systems in the plane. The electronic fuel injection requires fuel to circulate back to the tanks, requiring me to add a fuel return fitting to my already completed tanks. I ordered these “bungs” from EFII which make adding a port like this relatively straight forward. If I don’t end up going that way, these will be easy to cap off.


While waiting for these and some proseal to come in, I started working on section 19; The Stall warning system.

The Stiffener acts as a template

It’s really tough to drill and cut through a perfectly good skin.

4 corner holes with cutout outline
Access Panel cut complete

Stiffener with nutplates installed.
Holes drilled and rough cut of the slot for the stall warning vane
Slot complete