The saga begins…

On Jan 30th, I placed an order for the first part of an RV10, the empennage. The empennage kit consists of almost everything to the rear of the windows, including the rear third of the fuselage and the tail feathers.

Since Colleen and I were going to be out of town (in MEXEEEECOOO!!) for a week right after placing my order, I decided to have the tail kit delivered to my parents house. This ended up being unnecessary as the kit actually came the day after we got home, but no harm, no foul.

The tail kit on the way to it’s new home

I had been feeling run down, but as I seem to have impeccable timing, I came down with a bug the day of the delivery. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, but as much as I wanted to tear into the kit and start inventorying parts, by the time we slid the crate into my garage I barely had the energy to crawl up to bed. Not only did I get sick enough to be stuck in bed for a day and a half… I was stuck in bed sick for a day and a half WITH MY AIRPLANE WAITING OUT IN THE GARAGE!

And there it sat…

At least it was well guarded!


3 thoughts on “The saga begins…

  • February 19, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Brilliant use of the camera during your build. That will be an awesome memory to look back on when you eventually have 5000 hours on the airframe. I just completed the AH-64D flight school and am now getting into fixed wing flying doing the King Air course that the Army offers. I am planning on getting a kit within the next year and would like to start getting everything I need to make the build go as smooth and easy as possible. I’m curious if you have a list of tools that you used during construction, the ones you feel you couldn’t live without, down to the basic phillips head. I have a limited amount, the basics for household chores, but nothing like the shop you have set up. If you wouldn’t mind emailing me, that would be much appreciated. You seem to have plenty of practice with metal work and I’m really just an average joe who can be resourceful when it comes to fixing things around the house but I’ve had not actual training with any trade skills I think you would require to build a plane. In your opinion would you say that an average guy could complete this project or should I try to get some extra education in the craft before start riveting aluminum in the wrong place? Thank you for your time and keep up the good work. You, your wife and your project are truly inspirational, and kudos to her for getting in there and helping out.

    Kevin Smith
    WO1, AV
    Ft. Rucker, AL

  • February 25, 2013 at 9:04 AM


    Thanks for your comment, and thanks for your service!

    Before this project, I had NO metal working experience. I’d done many “handy” projects around the house and on cars, but nothing like this. The best practice for me was the little sheet metal practice kits that Van’s sells. They give you an opportunity to try most of the techniques that you use in building the entire plane.

    As for tools, I went with a kit package from Cleaveland Tools. I had a good amount of “mechanic” style tools, but most of them don’t get much use in aircraft construction, other than a few wrenches, a few sockets, and a couple of screwdrivers. I just called up Cleaveland, told them what I was building, and they helped me come up with the list of tools I would need. They did a great job, but no matter how complete the tool kit you get, you’ll be ordering more tools as the build progresses and you find out what works best for you.

    Good luck!

  • July 22, 2016 at 1:17 PM

    You’ve inspired me. I’ve always had wanted to own an aircraft but buying or even sharing the costs are more than what is what I am comfortable with. On accident I found the Van’s website, did the whole pick your aircraft by knowing your mission routine (I think you know exactly what I’m talking about) , read through the basic process of ordering, building, certifying and general FAQs. Of course, what’s the first question that came to mind? How do I move the aircraft from my garage to an airfield? A Google search led to your Reddit threads and finally to your webpage. Now, all I have to do is sell the idea to my wife since there are still substantial costs involved and I need to find a way to stay in one residence long enough to build an aircraft. My employer like to move me- In the meantime, I have a ton of info you have provided here to go through. Thanks, I’m a lot closer now to realizing a dream I thought had a high chance of not being attained.

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