They say some like building, and some like flying. I like both. Thus far, it's worked pretty well to alternate building for a year then flying for a year to keep me out of trouble. In March, I sold my 6a, and knew right away that the next project would be an 8. I want to learn tailwheel, and just love the piston-fighter look. After searching for an affordable project that could be finished in about a year, I was able to snag a pretty complete airframe which included a potentially useable engine and prop.
Flying out of KPHL Wednesday morning at 6am, I arrived in Phoenix, AZ at 8am local time, and picked up a 26' Penske truck and went to load up. By 1pm, kit and I were on the road for two and a half days, or 36 hours of driving! Fortunately, I was able to pick up a travelling companion for the last 12 hours. The promise of spending a week with her grandchildren was enough to persuade her to endure a day in the truck
As for the truck ride, it went splendidly. I chose the Penske for several reasons: price, newness of the trucks, and the fact that they had wood floors into which we could screw tie down brackets. The truck I was given was nearly brand new with less than 7k miles on it when I got it and nearly 10 when it was turned back into a local depot here in Delaware. The extra space of the 26' truck allowed for a little more versatility in where we tied things down. The result was a remarkably uneventful journey.
I wish I could say that were the end of the story, however. Upon arriving at home, we began to unload. Everything was going great and soon all that was left was the fuselage. We placed two ramps made of 2x10's behind the main tires and walked the tail down the center ramp. I had my wife stand on the bottom of one ramp and my son on the other so that they wouldn't slide backwards when the tires hit them. As I gave the required rock and heave to get the tires up on the ramp. As I did, the left ramp gave away, and the whole fuselage came crashing down on the central ramp. Talk about a kick to the stomach. A valuable lesson on waiting for more help. (ironically, a bystander had just offered some assistance... "No thanks. I've got it...." ) The center ramp left two huge wrinkles in the firewall and lower floor panels. Fortunately, while it caused significant additional labor, the cost to repair was relatively minimal. The lower panels are merely cosmetic and they, along with the firewall, saved anything structural from being damaged. I don't have a pic of the damage, but here is the firewall removed and the new lower panels being installed.
The new firewall went in pretty easily, and now after two weeks, we're back to where we started from.
The several days of waiting for parts left time for inventory, and evaluation of the kit condition. Like most used kits, there are some pleasant surprises, and some things I'd do differently. Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased with the quality of workmanship.
Anyway, That's the first installment. Lots of progress has been made in the past two months. I'll do some back-posting to get the thread up to date as I'm able.