Kit Building: Preparations
Arrival and Unpacking
You don't need a lot of room to build a Challenger. Most of them get built in a single car garage, or one side of a double car garage. Understandably, you need a bit more room to put the wings on and complete final assembly. Most folks who are pressed for space just wheel them outside for completion!
If you decide to build in your basement, and a few have, make sure you test fit getting things up and down the stairs before you get too far! Airplanes don't bend real good! Of course, if you can get the boxes down there, you can likely get it out again, but remember the airplane grows as you add parts!
Our Plane Arrives
A few days after we left for the 2005 Winter
Rendezvous, our plane arrived!
Roadway is really good, but they sometimes use a local carrier to deliver to the last mile and some of these folks just don't give a rip. I would make sure you are there when they deliver your challenger. Inspect the boxes carefully and sign the waybill "subject to further inspection on opening"
Our trucker was really gentle, but he has an airplane habit too! Some aren't.
Don't let your trucker slide this part off the back of the truck. They will if you let them, and then you get to replace stringers. It's a two person lift. Most things around here are a one man and one woman lift!
Do it yourself airplane! Man the shop was clean then!
Keep this big box - great to paint against and cover the wings while they're waiting for paint.
Kit Building Infrastructure
While we were waiting for our plane, we got busy building some very sturdy tables. Each is 4' x 8', framed with 2" x 4" and 2" x 6" lumber, and has a sturdy 3/4" MDF surface and lower shelf.
These took a Saturday to construct, cost about $225 and are VERY sturdy (and heavy!).
As you can see here, the lower shelves hold not only the left over table materials, but virtually 100% of the Challenger kit. The only thing not under here is the nose cone, engine, and the wings (which are in the large box seen leaning against the back of the tables).
We discovered that MDF is actually 49" x 97", so we planned the extra inch to fall on one side and end so that the tables could join up and be clamped together to be 16' long for wing construction. That extra inch forms a nice relief for clamps on the front and one end of each table!
Just can't wait to get the tail done so we can get these wings out in the air!
We had a few bits and pieces backordered and
when I called Quad City to check on things, they indeed knew about
every little bit as soon as I gave the our serial number. All
backorders were received within a few weeks.
Dad and Tables and
All the Parts
Dad and Tables and All the Parts
Now about those sore feet ... there might be some better solutions, and I know I saw some on the web that would have cost $2,000 or more to do what we accomplished here.
My Dad had acquired one of these mats somewhere, but wasn't sure where. He promptly donated the one he had to the workshop - which immediately created a demand for more!
Dad-in-law to the rescue, "I saw those at Costco the other day". Sure enough, they had several pallets of them in stock for $15 each. They have little tabs that lock them together- each one is about 30" square The total to go around the two tables as shown was less than $250, and our feet are sure thankful.
Other bits and pieces to buy
The Fine Print - Caution
Ideas, illustrations and photos are the author's own
work and are for information only.