The first kit arrived three weeks ago, but I hadn’t a chance to actually dig into the contents in any way. The first weekend, I was at the EAA workhop, then last weekend I was out working on my IFR rating. I really wanted to have a block of time (that also wasn’t bitter cold) to work through and find all the myriad pieces in the crate and get them organized.
So, yesterday, I got that chance. I finally moved most of the aircraft tools out the factory. I also finished up a tool cart and most of the DRDT-2 dimpling station. It was funny, I still hadn’t touched any of the parts in the crate sitting in the middle of the garage as I worked around it. It was almost as if I knew once I touched a part, I would be committed to the action of building.
Finally, after a quick lunch with the wife, I dove in. The biggest part of the problem is where to put everything as you take it out. Most of the small parts were headed to a cabinet that the bike shop left behind in the garage, but the skins and spars are huge! There was also the reams and reams of paper to deal with. I read horror stories of small parts buried in scraps of paper that get discarded, so I carefully unrolled and checked each of the many sheets of packing paper. I didn’t find a single part, but I guess it pays to be careful.
I think this is because Van’s now packs parts into what it calls “sub-kits.” These are bunches of semi-related parts that are artfully fit together into a compact bundle. They are wrapped in plastic sheet and tucked into a corner of the crate.
It would have been nice to keep them snugly wrapped, but I needed to verify the inventory within 30 days and I wanted to check for part damage and I worried about moisture getting trapped inside the plastic wrapping.
So I carefully opened each bundle and worked through the parts. Since the inventory sheet was also organized by sub-kits, it made it a lot easier to find all the parts to check them off. This was extremely helpful since scanning 5 pages of similar sounding names for E904-1-R is a real pain.
It took about four hours to get through the entire inventory. I was hoping to use the crate as a storage shelf, but in the end, I pushed it up against the wall and left it on the ground to hold all the skins and spars. I pulled out the spars and doubler for the vertical stabilizer (the first part of the build) so I could get started on them during the next session. You can seem them on the table in the left of the picture below.
There’s still some garbage to sweep up and the dead light (above the ladder) to replace and the dimpling station to complete and a couple tools to set up, but I’m really close to actually starting.
Still a lot of work to do before I actually squeeze that first rivet, but it’s about to get very real!