Sunday, July 31, 2016


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!

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