June 15, 2007

Picked up my Wing Kit!

Today was a big day... one that I've been waiting for for over 8 weeks. There is currently an 8-week lead time to get a wing kit. I've been very anxious for this day to arrive. I'm fortunate to live in Portland, Oregon. It's less than a 25-minute drive from my house to Van's Aircraft, so I don't have to pay for crating charges or shipping. I just drive over there and pick it up. There's no sales tax in Oregon either, so it's a deal you can't beat. Anyway, I will be building the Standard Wing Kit (I don't like the term "Slow Build"!)

Sooooo... the challenge for today was to see if an entire wing kit would fit in my Ford Expedition. I had my doubts about the wing spars and the longerons, but I figured if it came down to it, the worst case scenario would be to leave some of the stuff at the factory for a second trip later on with a larger vehicle, pickup, trailer, or whatever it would take. So I took the 3rd seat out of my Expedition, and folded the rear seats down so my SUV was configured for cargo mode.

I drove down to Van's, and after wrapping up some paperwork at the front desk, they directed me to the back of the factory for a Will Call pick-up. There was lots of activity back there. Some quick-build wings and fuselages were being loaded into a huge trailer. I talked with the guy, and found out that he did this all the time. His load this time was destined for Southern California. Anyway, the guys inside wheeled a cart out with a large box sitting on top filled with my wing kit. I realized it was the large box normally used to ship one of these kits. They said "everything here is yours... except the box" and I said "great! I don't have room for this box anyway" and started loading it up.

It took me a while, but here's how it all went in:

The wing spars just fit! They stretch from the very back all the way forward to the instrument panel, resting on my center console. There's much more here than meets the eye. There are lots of skins, spars for the flaps and ailerons, the large white wing tips, and several big piles of ribs. The blue recycle box behind the right seat is something I took with me. It's filled with lots of smaller parts, and the hardware bag, which is bags and bags of rivets, bolts, washers, platenuts, and other hardware. Even the front seat and floor have stuff sitting there, including a set of drawings and plans. But it all fits!

The only thing I had to hang out the window was the last few feet of the longeron bundle. I borrowed a couple of "Fragile" stickers from the guys at the factory to use as a makeshift red flag, so I don't get pulled over on the way home. As you can see, this picture was shot in my driveway after driving home. Whew! I made it!

Now it's time to unload all of this stuff, and begin taking inventory.

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