Day One

The first day went really well!  We actually got a bit more done than I thought we might.  We unpacked the entire crate, inventoried it, and built two EAA workbenches.  The work benches still need a top layer of MDF and a shelf, but are mostly complete.  There ended up being two damaged elevator skins.  I’m surprised it wasn’t much worse given the holes FedEx punched into the crate on both ends, and the fact that they completely ignored the this side up markings.

While Randy and I were working on the workbenches, Joanna inventoried the “bags”.  Thousands of rivets, and a lot of bolts and other little parts.  She put them all in storage containers and labeled them, and counted everything but the rivets.  It’s kind of amazing given the number of parts that there wasn’t anything missing.

Crate sort of unpacked:


Not for use on aircraft:
(It will definitely be used on an aircraft.)









Berck, Randy and Jonah: 9 hours each. (though, no actual construction.)

We’re really doing this.

A few months ago I mentioned to Randy that one of the reasons I bought the house I did is that the garage is big enough to allow me to comfortably build an airplane.  (Big enough to allow me to comfortably build an airplane and store two cars inside, at least until we get started on the fuselage).  His response came so quickly that it was unclear he’d actually processed what I said, “Do you want a partner?”

“Important decisions should be made in the space of seven breaths.” – some samurai movie.

“Sure!” I responded, after less than seven breaths.

In the space of one lunch at Schlotzsky’s, we both agreed that we’d build an aluminum aircraft, and that it should probably be a Van’s kit.   Why?  Never be first.  Van’s sells kits that are immensely popular. There are 8,572 of them completed and flying.

I hadn’t actually decided on Van’s, but I knew that when I started looking at kits, they’d be the first place I looked.

After lunch, Randy handed me a webpage, fresh from the printer.  He’s always doing this.  It would never occur to me to print a webpage, but when you’re Randy’s age, information isn’t real unless it’s on paper. (When Dad died, I found dozens of web sites printed and stuffed into file folders and then into file cabinets)

The page was a cost estimate of the RV-10.  I’d never heard of an RV-10, but it sure did look like it cost twice as much as I’d figured a kit aircraft should.

Randy is not the sort of person who kicks around an idea endlessly. “Let’s build an aircraft together!” is the sort of sentiment that’s easy to express, but the follow through is substantially harder.  Three months later, there’s an RV-10 empennage kit in my garage.


In the FedEx truck.  They sent out a rather oversized truck piloted by a woman of questionable competence, low self-esteem, but with somewhat redeeming pink highlights.


Thanks to some awesome help from coworkers (and zero from the pink hair), we unloaded the crate.  It was clearly damaged on both ends.  We noted the damage on the bill of lading (what the hell is a bill of lading?  Is it related to a letter of reprisal?), and photographed the damage.

RV-10 41535 Emp Kit Ship 1 RV-10 41535 Emp Kit Ship 2

I’m hoping the damage is limited to the crate.  If not, we’ll be filing a claim with Van’s and FedEx.

This weekend we’re building our EAA-spec workbenches, inventorying the tail kit and hopefully starting on our Van’s practice projects.

We have some tools:14 - 1

And the kit is now in the garage: