Empennage kit ordered!

Two big things have happened recently: the N-number I hoped for (N437EC) was reserved successfully and the RV-14A empennage kit has been ordered from Vans Aircraft and will arrive in a couple of weeks! Had it not been for the annual Keys trip that my brother and I take this time every year, the kit probably would’ve been here by now. But they couldn’t guarantee it would be delivered before I leave for the Keys next week so they’re holding it and will ship it when I return. I’ve done some prep work to get ready for the commencement of this build, but having the first kit ordered just makes it that much more real. It’s getting exciting now! For anyone not familiar with the kit plane layout, the RV-14A plane is divided into four sub-kits, each consisting of a complete section of the plane:

  • Empennage – Tail section from the rear of the fuselage to the tail (rudder, elevator, etc)
  • Wings – Self-explanatory
  • Fuselage – Starts at the forward edge of the empennage, connects the wings, and runs to the firewall and contains the baggage compartment, pilot/co-pilot seats, controls, and panel
  • Finish – Everything firewall forward (engine mount, engine cowling, canopy, etc)

The empennage and finishing kits are considered “standard build” kits, meaning that 100% of the work to complete is for the builder, but the wing and fuselage kits have a “quick build” option. In a quick build kit, much of the assembly work is already done by the factory in the Philippines, leaving only a fraction of the work required to complete the kit for the builder. The quick build kits are substantially more expensive than the standard build kits, but by all accounts it seems like the quick build wing kit is worth the money due to the monotony and repetitiveness of the wings. I will likely go this route when the time comes and save myself 300-400 hrs of build time. The fuselage kit seems to be an interesting build with lots of variety, so I plan to go with the standard build option for that one. But I’m getting ahead of myself; I still have lots to do before even beginning the empennage kit! Among the things still on the to-do list:

  • Finish the EAA Workbench. I built two, but still need to put the lower shelf on both, and add a top to one.
  • Finish my air drying kit to protect my air tools and provide dry air for a spray gun, should I decide to paint the airplane myself when the time comes. I will detail this in the next post.
  • Finish cleaning out and organizing the garage.
  • Take the Aircraft Building Fundamentals class from Synergy Air. This is a one-day hands-on course that teaches sheet metal riveting fundamentals for the aircraft builder.
  • Order the RV-14 tool kit from Cleveland Tool. I could order the tools as needed, but I’d rather have (most) everything I need upfront so I don’t have to wait on things to arrive once I start building.

There’s plenty left to do before the kit arrives, not the least of which is finishing my air compressor set up and ordering the tool kit. I plan to show the air compressor and air dryer setup soon.

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