Sunday, July 31, 2016


The pickup was a little bit hectic. The plane was in Long Island, NY and I am out of Washington, DC. That is not too bad, but I had a bit of work travel in that timeframe in which I needed to get the plane. I made a plan with James (my good friend and co-worker) that while I was flying back from San Antonio that I would fly (commercial) to JFK rather than IAD. James would meet me out in Long Island and we would go grab a u-haul in the morning and pickup the plane.

This plan was going as expected until the weather rolled in. I ended up with a couple of flight cancellations and delays. When I finally made it to the last leg of the trip, we ended up having to divert out to the ocean to burn off some fuel as ATC gave us direct when we got into the air.  Based on our original flight plan going over Ohio and paralleling Lake Erie we took too much fuel on board for the new direct path thus too heavy to land.

On top of that, in the mix of rescheduling flights I was not checking my email. Mainly one from u-haul that said that my new pickup location was 40 miles from our hotel and at 1030 rather than 0700. Sparing you all of the details it ended up to be a couple hundred dollars of Uber and driving a 20ft box truck right through downtown NY at 1630 on a Friday. 

It was worth it though, because James and I were in a box truck driving down 95 with the amazing feeling of having a major portion of a plane in the back of the vehicle. We were living the dream (well at least my dream ;)

For anyone else looking to make a similar transport, here are the details:

  1. Wings and stand
  2. Fuel tanks (partially assembled)
  3. Fuel tank stand
  4. Tail cone 
  5. Horizontal Stabilizer
  6. Vertical Stabilizer
  7. Elevator
  8. Rudder
  9. Ailerons
  10. Tools
  11. Fiberglass
  12. 2 suit cases
  1. 20ft Uhaul
  2. x36 blankets (just enough)
  3. x4 10 foot straps
  4. x4 6 foot straps
  5. 100 feet of cord
  6. Flat Bungies
  7. 20 feet of medium density foam (the leading edge and bottom of the assembled horizontal stabilizer is resting on this)
  8. 40 feet of 6" by 2" styrofoam


My family (wife and 4 year old daughter) and I have been flying GA together for a little while now and everyone is into it. Historically we have always enjoyed road trips. From the time our daughter was born it was clear that she likes traveling and now it is time for the next step. While car based road trips are great, there is very little sense of planning involved in the process. Waze, Storm, and an endless supply of highway exits with both fuel, food and lodging transform you into a mindless drone no longer computing risk based paths. 

Our daughter is now 4 and I hope to be able to teach her that some activities (most of the ones my wife and I like) do in fact contain risk, but not to be scared of them. Rather to embrace those activities, learn everything that you can about them, plan them, execute them, and always be prepared with alternatives. I was fortunate to learn at a young age that I greatly enjoyed this process and more importantly discovered that I am able to leverage those experiences in my career. Starting a new program at work is less stressful when you have things like building a freaking plane in your garage as a baseline.

I will admit, we spent many months weighing the options between certificated plane and home built. In the end, I think it was a pretty easy decision that we debated a lot more than we needed to. I have always been the person to take apart everything that I owned. Every motorcycle I have ever got into my garage would come completely apart before I started seriously riding it. Given a box of parts off any of my vehicles I could tell you where it belongs. Conversely, all the planes I have flown I have always had an uncomfortable feeling of not knowing where every fuel line was run, what was under the cowls, what was behind the panel. Yes, maybe I would have found a mechanic to let me tag along as he worked on our plane, but come on, that is ridiculous. My hands are meant to be dirty. 

After making the decision to go home built, the second question is what plane to go with (ignoring excuses like "do I have enough space to build it").  For our situation there really was only one. A fast, fuel efficient four-seater that I can build in the garage. I like metal. So RV-10 it is.

Once we settled on the RV-10, we needed to figure out where to start. At this point I had been watching all the classifieds. Over a period of a couple of months I looked at a few RV-10s in various stages. I am a pretty particular person (just ask my wife) and was pretty deterred by some very un-organized/sloppy builds. I came to the realization that while there were a couple of partial kits a month that come into the classifieds, that I would start ground up so that I had control of how the entire process worked. Then one day there came this post on Vans:

While this post looked like most of the others, as soon as I started talking to Steve (the seller) I knew that we were a lot a like. His organization, his demeanor, his craftsmanship, it was all spot on. I really could not find anything different that I would do. This was it, the start of my build!