Trip to Sun-N-Fun 2006

Added 4/09/2006

As many of you who've followed the page may know, I had the target of getting to Sun-N-Fun 2006 for probably over 1/2 year previous to completion.  It was a goal set to fly by March 1, 2006, so I could be flown off before the show and get down there with our new plane.  In addition, it was used as bribery/payment to the kids for being so patient and helpful during the building process.  I promised them that the first trip would be to Disney, and I kept that promise.  Below are some photos of a few of the highlights of our vacation.
We started our trip by staying at one pair of Grandparents house and doing some fun things around there, including a trip to Silver Springs.  Then came Tuesday, the day I needed to drop the airplane off at Sun-N-Fun to display at Van's booth.  I had heard that they may be looking for a -10 to display, since they were only bringing 410RV, and it was going to be used for demo flights much of the week.  I figured instead of parking it up in Leesburg (North of Orlando), I may as well let you builders peek at it during the week while I toured around with the family.  

As we prepared to depart, the AWOS was calling 1000-1100' broken, so we launched, with lots of vis. under the cloud deck.  After takeoff we hit maybe 800' ceilings (broken) and found a hole and went up for a look-see.  As we turned on course for KLAL, we found it went solid overcast, so rather than continue, we turned around and blasted down through a hole in the area where we first popped up through, and went back to KLEE to wait for it to burn off a bit.

Surprise, Surprise, after sitting there for 1/2 hour, we saw a formation of T34's and other planes enroute to SNF, and suddenly they turned toward the airport and started to enter the pattern.  Ground workers scurried about to clear the FBO ramp, so we knew they were coming.  Turns out they decided to stop there too because of the ceilings, and wait it out with us.   19 arrived, and you may recognize some of the people.
After delivering the plane to the show, we went to a disney waterpark, and to MGM, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom for those 3 days.  Epcot has a new ride that any pilot would love, called "Soarin'"   Highly recommended.  My oldest daughter Colleen (the C, in 104CD) turned 7 at disney, so we got some birthday cakes for everyone.  Danielle (the D in 104CD)had just as much fun, as you can tell.
Finally on Friday we got to go to the show.  The kids and grandparents took care of theirselves pretty well for the day, and I spent most of the day by my plane.  It was like a relay of people...and it was great to meet all of you.  One person would come, talk for a while, and then by the time that person left another was there waiting with their questions.
I fried myself red and finally got some sunscreen in the afternoon from another -10 builder (THANKS Barry, by the way!)
so I could continue on.  I did get out for a few minutes to shop, but not for much.  Henkjan from Holland brought his locking door latches (watch for some photos later) which look very good for someone looking for an easy to install, and less expensive way to add locking door latches to their -10.  They only require you to remove the existing screws, and then install the lock externally and reinstall the screws.   He's targeting about $200 per PAIR of locks, so it's a good choice to save some cost.  About the only drawback with them is that they are not flush, but add a small disc that is raised from the door.  It will not bother many builders, but some picky ones may opt for other choices.   I looked all over for a place where Coss Aviation was displaying their flush latches, but could not find them or find them in the directory.  I did hear they were around, but am not sure if they actually had a booth or not.  Too bad, because I was appointed by another builder to check them out and if I thought they looked good, he was going to buy them a.s.a.p.  Coss, if you get installed photos, get them out to the group because there are very interested people.

Saturday I tried to slip away a bit more so I could see some sights and do some shopping.  My only real sizeable purchase was of an Oxygen System.  I went with a portable system from Precise Flight.  Here's a recent post I made after checking some portable systems out.  I've also just received some photos of Randy's Mountain High install that I'll add to that page this week.

There were a couple of highlights at the show for -10 builders though, one large one was the new overhead ventilation/lighting/DVD console designed by Tony from Accuracy Avionics.  It's something I may have to add after my current builder's burnout fades, as it's very cool.  An air scoop in the tail feeds air to overhead vents for front and rear, and there are lights and even a flip-down DVD console in it.  I believe it's likely that you'll see it in the Van's accessory catalog at a future time too.

A 2nd new product is one that I didn't check out too closely myself, but there is an Air Conditioning system available for the RV-10 by Flightline AC of Bend, OR.  They are offering a complete A/C system for $5,500.  Their number is 541-330-5466.

Chelton was there, with wiring harnesses and new GADAHRS on hand to show what they will be selling, and all the other EFIS/EIS vendors had their wares on hand too.  There are so many new features in these systems, 2006 is sure to be a hot year for all of those vendors.

Thanks again to all of the -10 builders who I got to meet, for taking the time to say Hi.  I wish I could have spent more time with everyone, especially if it were cooler outside.  I'll be at OSH for a few days this summer, so definitely come and see me there.  Also, if you can get in my area at other times, I would love to give some people demo rides if you wish.

One of the most popular questions I was asked at the show were "How fast does it cruise?", and "Does it really make the published numers."  Sorry to say that at the show I couldn't properly answer the question.  I didn't get above 8500' on my flyoff time, and didn't have too awful many hours on it before I took the 1100 NM trip to Sun-N-Fun.  On the way down I was stuck under an overcast at 1000-1200AGL (Staying VFR on this trip until I get more time in) for over 2 hours (to St. Louis),  and then after climbing to 5,500' for a while I had to stop for fuel.  I hadn't yet logged closely my fuel fillups so I could calibrate my flow sensor. I could tell it read fast, but didn't know how fast, so I didn't want to come anywhere near pushing the range of the airplane until I knew it intimately.  I limited my range to 500-600NM maximum.  Then after the fuel stop, the OAT was very warm, I had previously set my EIS to warn me at 400 degrees CHT, and go red at 417 degrees.   I didn't know if that was good or not, but I stayed conservative.  Well, after leaving my first fuel stop, I easily got into the yellow on only a climb to 1000' AGL.  I couldn't climb more than 1000' at a time, or it would get hotter than my current settings.   I also had my WSI cranked up and saw there were green/yellow/red returns from storms on both sides of my proposed route, so I really wanted to stay low where I had plenty of forward Vis. to distant airports. So, I chose to fly at 2500' or so, which was giving a good ride in light bumps.  Not good for getting good performance numbers though.

Well, after flying down and recording my fuel fillups, I saw that the difference between fuel used actual, and fuel used totalizer was consistently about the same percentage of indicated, so I set my FlowCal to 180 (from 200), which was the calculated
change, and used that for my return trip.

This a.m. I launched on our return trip from KLEE to KLUM, a distance of 1084NM over my rotue of KLEE-KAMG-KJVY-KLUM.
I stopped an extra stop to again not stretch my range, and also to pick up cheap fuel per an flight plan.  If you haven't ever used to plan fuel stops, it's highly recommended.  I was able to make the trip without paying more than $3.25/gal.  One other plan I made had a max price of $3.01/gal.    The first leg was a bit short, and I should have skipped it altogether, but I thought it would give a good stop after I got out of the worst part of the weather on our return trip.  I think in the future I will fly this flight with one stop in the middle if I can find a cheap fuel spot.  The kids like a break in the middle for bathroom and food.  My total flight time was something in the neighborhood of 7:15, which is a stark contrast to my average trip time of 10.5 hours in our old plane.  

The initial portion of the trip I had to blast through a hole in the broken layer to get on top, and we stayed there at 6500' for a perfectly smooth ride.  From AMG to JVY we cruised at 8500' and despite high winds, we cleared the mountains north of Atlanta with no bumps.  Beautiful trip.  We stopped at Louiville (Clark Co.) for a cheaper gas stop, and then continued on, this time staying at 6500' for a while.  It seemed tha the winds favored us that way.  We had about 1/2 the trip with headwinds, and 1/2 with tailwinds.

Below are some screenshots of some of the instruments too.  You can study them to see some performance specs, but I'll list some below that I wrote down during cruise as well.  I think one of the shots even shows some traffic on my screen from the TIS.  Speaking of TIS, I can now not imagine flying without WSI or TIS.  Both of them were extrememly handy on the trip.  We had a couple of traffic encouters that would have been very close without TIS, one of them was even with a descending commercial plane...surprising that ATC would have let them get as close as they did.  The WSI was truly amazing.  We fully utilized all 3 screens on the Chelton system.  I kept my PFD in front of me, but both other screens were constantly swapped around through various modes.  The middle screen was often engine instruments, often a map page with our current route.  I used it to hit NRST - Airport - INFO and grab the altimeter settings from airports as I approached them.  I used it to read winds at destination airports.  On the 3rd screen, my wife used it as a PFD at times, she used it as a regular map screen at times to set radio frequencies for me, or punch in destinations as I was climbing out, or as an engine screen.  Sometimes she'd configure it as the Datalink screen where you can get a long-range weather picture with Doppler....very handy to have, and since she could set her MFD for Datalink, I could keep the center one configured for regular map, effectively giving us more than 3 screen options available in various positions.  On the short trip from KLAL-X35(gas)-KLEE after Sun-N-Fun Saturday, we had some nasty winds on landing at X35, and an approaching nasty storm with tops at 450 with HAIL.  There was a return over KLEE too, which worried me, but we could tell when the doppler picture updated that it shrunk over KLEE and moved off.  So we flew on with no problem.  As it turned out later though that storm that was approaching turned out to be NASTY.  We rented a hanger for the night just to prevent any worries.

So anyway, with the fuel flow calibrated, my flow at my home base upon filling was EXACTLY the same on tht totalizer as what I added at the pump.....not even .1 gal difference.  The trip was done with extreme smoothness, all VFR, and the only turbulence encountered was during the last 45 miles or so.  What a spectacular trip.

Enough of the boring stuff....see below for some actual performance specs.

Here are some performance specs from the trip.  Be aware that I was not at the altitudes for best economy, and I haven't spent nearly enough time testing various MP/RPM settings, so this is just my best guess as to what seems to work.  I believe when I cut the RPM, my speed dropped, so I spent a lot of time around 2350 RPM.  I also didn't go to full MP on most legs, opting to keep fuel flows lower.

6750' 21.8" 2300 13.8 162Kts +18oF ISA 53oF 7960'
8500' 21.6" 2330 14.2 168Kts +17oF ISA 46oF 9700'
6500' 22" 2360 15.1 164Kts +3oF ISA 40oF 6460'

As you can tell, it's going to be very easy to flightplan for 160KTS in this plane, or more depending on what you're willing to climb to.  We forgot our O2 cannulas in Florida (with the Grandparents) so we didn't have the Oxygen to do any high level cruising, and I've never cruised anywhere at anything over 9500' before.  The highest I've flown in any aircraft is about 11,000-11,500', and I KNOW that I was affected by light Hypoxia at those levels, so I won't be trying to fly high without being properly prepared.  Perhaps I'll later see the real good long-range high-altitude cruising that Jesse's dad has seen in his RV-10...over 1000NM on one fill.  If I can reliably get 800NM on full tanks with plenty of reserve, I'll be very satisfied myself, as I usually play it safe and stay fairly full on fuel.  The RV-10 though does have almost 100% of it's fuel as useable fuel (in level cruise) so I should be able to burn it down to a reasonable level for range.
Here are some photos from Stephen Blank during SNF2006 that he sent me.  Thanks Steve, it's great to have some photos, as I didn't get to take many myself!