Empennage inventory

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.2014-02-01 14.37.06

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.

2014-02-01 14.44.05


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.

2014-02-01 14.36.59


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.

2014-02-01 17.53.38

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!



2 thoughts on “Empennage inventory

  1. Tom Tonge

    Hey Pat great to see that the process has started. I have not committed to it yet but getting closer. I was also suprised that the empennage kit came with all the fuselage structure.. Have fun. Tom Tonge


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