This is a BIG week for our household...the first airplane kit has arrived. For those who are interested, we are building an RV-10 from Van's Aircraft (http://www.vansaircraft.com/public/rv10.htm). When Mike and I were in Oregon last fall we visited the Van's factor and I got my first taste of what kit building actually means. Mike also had the opportunity to take a test flight in RV-14, which is what he originally intended to build (before I convinced him to go for the bigger RV-10). Here is a picture of us sitting in the RV-14. The RV-10 has DeLorean style doors (I'm sure there's a technical term, but you know what I mean. Mike was just reading over my shoulder and informed me that they are called gullwing doors.) and 4 seats.
The empennage kit arrived in a really long, flat crate that Mike had to pick up and haul to the airport. The hangar where we are building is inside the security perimeter of the airport and Mike didn't want to deal with the hassle of getting the crate delivered directly there. The crate fit in the back of the pickup, barely. It also weighed about 300 pounds. One of Mike's friends had the brilliant idea of using our fancy new workbenches to wheel the crate from the pickup to the hangar, which worked like a charm. Then the uncrating began.
Once we had the crate open, it was time to inventory all of the parts. In the lower right picture above, you can just see a bunch of paper wrapped bundles at the back of the crate. Each of these was full of parts. The people who pack up these kits must be awesome at Tetris because you would not believe how many parts they could fit into this box. The packing list was 7 pages long and actually came with instructions to explain what all the letters and numbers mean. The first three and a half pages contained all the rivets and bolts and tiny pieces of hardware that we will be using.
It took us about 6 hours to inventory all the parts. Mike spent two of those hours going through the bag of hardware. Each bundle had to be unwrapped and then the pieces had to be separated and identified. Most of the parts were tagged with a number, but you had to be careful not to confuse VS-1011-PC and VS-1001-PC. The bigger pieces were taped into the bottom of the crate with some sort of industrial strength duct tape. We don't really have a storage system set up for parts yet, so everything is currently stacked up on the workbenches. At the moment, this is what our plane looks like.
Gullwing doors - doors that open up, like on a DeLorean.