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At the Airport

This page documents moving the RV-10 to the airport, final assembly and ground check. This includes attaching the wings, the tail, the propeller and preparing the engine for first run.




Notes and Photos


10 hrs

I received more unsolicited advice about moving the fuselage than any other part of the project. In the end, I hired a professional tow service, Randall Towing in Apache Junction. They have all the right equipment to hold it in place and a 8' wide tilt back flat bed. The landing gear on the RV-10 is 7'10" wide. I was able to leave the wheel fairing extensions in place as it cleared the side rails of the flat bed. They delivered the fuselage and horizontal stabilizer without a scratch. The wings were moved on an earlier date using a 7'x10' trailer.

Wing Move


Chasing down the street.


One Afternoon of Progress
I was met at the airport by my friend Pete A., a super human RV-6 builder, to help with assembly of the bigger components of the RV-10. In about 4 hours we attached both wings, attached the horizontal stabilizer, attached the vertical stabilizer and attached the propeller. It was an amazing day of progress. What's left? All the details that make things like wings, stabilizers and propellers work! Plus all the rigging of the ailerons, flaps, rudder and elevators.

Mid-Day Start



End of Day

2/13 to 3/20/11

52 hrs

Wing Attach
I started by securing the main and rear spars to the fuselage. The main spars were torqued in increments and in between I tapped the bolt heads with a block of wood and mallet. This was to ensure the bolts were completely seated. Once striking with the mallet had no effect on the torque, I went to final spec and checked it twice.

Next I pulled my wiring through and completed the fuselage connections. I had most of it on a connector or terminal block except for the strobe wires which run directly to the tailcone. The fuel sender needed it's own snap bushing through the fuselage because it is the only wire in front of the main spar. All the others come through behind the main spar. Then I installed the fuel tank output fuel lines. I'm not sure if I like the bends I made yet and have to measure the outside diameter of the pipe before I decide.

Installation and rigging of the flaps was quite time consuming. Once mounted at the hinges with the proper hardware, the flaps are swung and hand filed to not interfere with the fuselage. This involved quite a bit of hand carving of the flaps to fit. I made a 0.060" gap. Next was rigging the flaps. The plans say to put both the flaps against the full up stops and call that 3 degrees up. Unfortunately full up on my flaps was -4.3 degrees left and -4.0 degrees right flap. I also have the flap positioning system so from this setting I was able to measure the error at the 0, 15 and 30 degree positions. Adjustment of the flap pushrod has a greater effect on the small deflections and the large and after several adjustments I came quite close to the specifications. My final numbers are in the right most column of the table below along with an explanation of all the different flap numbers and deflections that you will encounter as you research this section.

from Full Up
Angle to WingMy Final
Max Speed
Up(Reflex)0 deg-3 deg-3.9 degVne
Trail3 deg0 deg0.2 deg122 kts
1/218 deg15 deg15.5 deg96 kts
Full33 deg30 deg30.7 deg87 kts

To set the ailerons, insert the bellcrank jigs onto the bell crank to set the neutral position. The plans seemed to think they supplied two of them but I could only find one and had to make a second one. Then through trial and error, the stick to wing push rod length is set to give a vertical stick position with a neutral aileron bellcrank. Finally the aileron is set even with the flap by adjusting the length of he bellcrank to aileron pushrod. The pushrod can not be adjusted in position. To adjust you have to lower the flaps, remove the pushrod, adjust the end fitting and reinstall to test the fit. Very time consuming but I believe it is worth the effort to get this right as the wing tips will be permanently set to the aileron position later.

Once the ailerons and flaps are positioned, the wingtips can be attached. Each wingtip has 44 screws and requires a nutplate on the wingtip. The wing itself is dimpled for the screw. The wingtips have a closeout rib that sits opposite the aileron. Once you figure out that the rib labeled L goes on the right side and the rib labeled R goes on the left side, progress will take place. To position the rib, I held it against the aileron and measured how far it should sit from the trailing edge. Then I placed it in the wingtip at that distance.

Wing attach took much longer than I thought. A common question I am asked is if the wings are "on". The act of putting them in place and pounding bolts through takes about 1 hour. The wings are physically on but inoperable at that point. The next 49 hours are spent connecting up all the wing systems to make the wings do their job. It was quite a lot of work.

Wing Root


2/13 to 3/26/11

8 hrs

Power Plant
The propeller was installed to hand tight on the day of the move. Next it was torqued to spec using a special wrench with a socket attachment. The torque pattern and procedure for incremental tightening is in the Hartzel manual that comes with the propeller. After setting the bolts, they are safety wired to prevent loosening. To add some excitement to the day, I jammed the safety wire about 0.550" into my thumb up along the bone. As soon as it happened I thought I was going to the hospital. My friend Gary was there and he convinced me that it would be OK if I wrapped my thumb in a dirty shop rag and then wrapped it again with masking or duct tape. If it didn't stop bleeding in a hour or so then we would safety wire the rag in place. Fortunately the bleeding stopped and I was left with only a throbbing pain.

I drained the preserving engine oil and spun the prop by hand to blow out as much as I could from the cylinders. The spark plugs were then blown clean of oil with compressed air. The engine was refilled with SAE 50 mineral oil.

I disconnedted the fuel line at the throttle body and put it in a fuel container. I then ran the fuel pump for 90 sec and weighed the fuel container. The system delivered 52 gph.

The airplane saw light of day and moved under its own power on March 26. On the first start the engine ran rough and showed signs of too rich a mixture. It did not want to shut down when I pulled the mixture to idle cut off. I had to do a second start to collect rpm data versus mixture setting to conclude that it was the mixture setting. I then made two full turns of adjustment to lean it and did a third start. The engine ran much more smoothly and shut down normally. I made another half turn of adjustment and then put the cowl on for a forth test. I wanted to check spinner to cowl clearance and for heating of the cowl. Both seemed OK. No leakes anywhere along the fuel or oil systems were found after first start.

Final Assembly Command Post

Safety Wiring

Fuel Flow Test

First Start

2/13 to 3/29/11

22 hrs

Tail Attach
The empannage fairing does not ship util the finish kit and by then you are on to other things and have the tail surfaces in storage. So now is the time for the tail fairing. It mounts with machine screws into the vertical and horizontal stabilizers. I was able to dimple and squeeze rivet the plate nuts to these surfaces without removal from the airplane.(luck). The screw holes along the longeron are tapped 6-32 and counter sunk. This should be the last piece of fiberglass in the kit that I have to cut, sand and prime. I also think I have driven my last rivet of the project too.

The elevators were then mounted and the wierd trim system calibraed for 0 degree deflection in the level position. This gives me a slight up on the left trim tab for nose down that shouldn't be there but I am not going to mess with it as I have good alignment at neutral position. I used screws instead of rivets on the trim cable holder so I can revisit in the future if need be.

Final touches were to add the tail number and data plate.

Tail Fairing

Gap Seal Fairing

3/18 to 4/15/11

12 hrs

Preparation for DAR Inspection and First Flight
To weigh the airplane, the seats and harnesses need to be installed and most of the fairings should be in place. I had to drain the fuel I added for engine start. The airplane needs to be in a level condition and this took 2" of shims under the mains. So because of the shims, it was a job getting it up on the scales. But all was accomplished and the airplane weighed 1,632 lbs without paint and wheel fairings. My CG is at 107.1".

I had a avionics shop come by to do a transponder check which is necessary for first flight since I am under the Phoenix class B. While they were here I had them do a IFR cert to check the pitot and static systems as well. I mainly did this for peace of mind as I don't think I will be flying IFR in the near future. I have 40 hrs of test flights ahead of me before I can leave my test area.

Now that everything is together, I get to take it apart again for the FAA to come by and look at it for sign off. They want the airplane in condition for flight but be able to look at things inside. I have the monumental stack of paper work ready for them but they can't get here until next week. So for the moment, I have run out of things to do to the airplane.

The airplane sat for almost 2 weeks waiting for DAR sign off which happened on Tuesday April 12th. I found the FAA paper work a stressful PITA and I am glad it is over and hope I never have to go through it again. I spent the next couple of days after work putting the airplane back together. Then Thursday night I managed to clear the EIS computer and had to go home to recoup. Friday I was up at 4AM and back to the airport to reprogram the computer and finish installing the interior. By 1PM it looked like it was ready to fly. So I headed home to get some sleep and then was back at the airport around 4PM for first flight.


Paperwork for Sign Off



If you are interested in the progress of flight testing, look at the very left navigation pane for FLIGHT TESTING. I will be posting the data I collect and progress of the test flights there. I may come back to this log in the future to cover painting of the airplane.

AzCloudFlyer at
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