8.1.1 Fuselage inventory

The massive fuselage box was sat there, teasing me. I could hear it saying ‘open me… NOW!’ but before I could do that the workshop needed a bloody good sort out and tidy up. I started at 7.30am and spent three hours moving things around and clearing out junk. I made space for the wings to be stored once they’re done and moved the last of the wing parts to a different storage unit leaving my main storage shelves ready for the fuselage. It’s not often I see the shelves this clear.

Perfect, but the noise from the crate got louder, ‘OPEN ME NOW!’ it practically yelled. So what to do? After a quick coffee I grabbed the hammer and chisel and ripped the lid right off.


Below the wooden lid was a cardboard panel acting as secondary protection and then the glorious sight of the first of the fuselage panels. Vans Aircraft ask that you inventory everything as soon as possible in case of shortages so now seemed like the perfect time. I grabbed the now familiar brown envelope and extracted the packing list. Wait, WHAT, 15 pages of items! This was going to be a long weekend.

So I set about inventorying everything. As I removed an item from the box I would find it in the picking list and tick the box labelled ‘recvd’ on the packing list. The first couple of panels were soon removed but it revealed paper and lots of it. There was paper packing and paper wrapping. I’ve never seen so much paper in all my life.

To make things a bit easier Vans combine a lot of the parts into sub-kits. This helps make it easier to inventory and to store related items together. The idea being that when I come to work on a section most of the parts I need to work on that section will be pretty much together. Ha, let’s see if that idea pans out!

The sub-kits are wrapped in ceram-wrap that seemed to be scissor proof. I tried 3 or 4 pairs of scissors and they all struggled to cut through it. I soon found a knack to getting it all unwrapped though. It felt great seeing actual, recognisable aeroplane parts in the box like the control stick and this tailwheel spring.

Once all the big parts where inventoried there remained one large ominous bag filled with millions of little bags which I could see were filled with millions of tiny parts. Worse still there was a clearly visible note that read ‘Be sure to count everything in these bags’. Ugh!

All the bags were labelled with numbers so I laid them all out in order. This way I could work through the picking list in some sort of manageable way.

Once I found an item on the list I would grab the numbered bag, empty it out and count every, single, little, tiny washer, screw, nut and bolt!

Eventually, after hours and hours of counting and ticking it was all done. Almost everything was accounted for. Sadly, for me, there are some shortages, not too many though and I’m sure Vans will get it sorted without any hassle. On the plus side, the parts that are missing won’t be needed for a couple of months at least so there’s plenty of time for them to get here.

That’s it, inventory done. I put all the hardware (nuts, bolts, etc) back in their respective bags and will put them in the parts boxes when the wings are completely finished. I want to use up any left over rivets, nuts and bolts from the wings before I use the new ones recently sent. Someone told me that rivets, in particular, have a shelf life so I’ll do it this way just in case.

That’s it, job done!

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