Airplane Kit Arrival Day!

Hours: 6

My Sling TSi airplane kit has finally made its way to my garage and arrived yesterday from The Airplane Factory in South Africa. Since I ordered the entire kit in one go as a quick build, it was shipped in one large 20 foot container directly to my house. The container arrived about two weeks ago in the port, but then the Seattle Snowpocalypse happened and we had the heaviest snow in February for over 70 years. The Seattle area is very hilly and so the sudden large amounts of snow and the hills made for impossible driving conditions and so while I couldn’t get a truck to deliver the airplane, instead we went skiing on our road sometime last week since our hill has a pretty steep incline.
It's not every day you can ski on your own street

Luckily it stopped snowing by Tuesday and warmed a bit and the City managed to start plowing neighborhoods and we could drive again by Thursday, so I called the Freight company and told them they can now give it a shot to deliver and the scheduled the delivery for Monday, which worked out great.

Unloading an airplane from a container

I set up my GoPro to try to capture the unloading process, it worked out fairly well to capture everything, so here it goes:

If this wasn’t enough, then here’s the complete story:

The Truck with the 20 foot container arrived just as my friends, who graciously were on standby the past two weeks to help, were arriving to help me unload and we went to work. The first order of business was to figure out the order to unload the container.
Container ready to be unloaded

Happy Airplane unloading crew
After taking out the big box with the Finishing kit on the side, we juggled around a bit to see if we could take the boxes on the bottom out, but they were blocked by the Fuselage Tail support, so we figured that we should take out the Fuselage next.
The wood that the Factory used to build the framing is of some impressive quality and the heavy screws driven into them were very tight, so it took some loosening by hand before even my impact driver could undo the screws, so I grabbed my trusty Milwaukee M12 Hackzall and made due process so we could get on with unloading and then undo the rest of the structure later. That and heavy use of my Utility Knife to cut through the many support straps that held down the structure.

After we got the Fuselage out, it was time for the boxes that were stored under the Fuselage, followed by the Wings.
Unloading the right Wing Wings in their happy hammock

After all that was said and done, we took down the rest of the wood framing in the container so the container was truly empty in the end:
Container unloaded and wooden frames taken down

We moved the boxes into our basement multi function room, next to our LEGO collection – building your own airplane is kind of like LEGO right?

Boxes of Airplane parts stored next to our LEGO
And the Fuselage and Wings found their home in the Garage on one side, leaving me with the other side as work space, plus I can easily move the wings around since I have wheels on the wing rack.

Fuselage and Wings stored in the garage

Cleaning up and taking inventory

I felt like the tail should have some extra support, so I quickly built a small stool for the tail to rest on, in addition to the existing framing that it came in, here is a quick timelapse of me cleaning up the workshop and building the stool:

Stool for the Tail to rest on: I built a stool to balance out the load of the tail

After that was done, I asked Juliana to come down to the Garage as I was pretending to fly the airplane as any reasonable person with a new toy in their garage would do:
Obligatory pretend flying in the airplane

And then we opened the Empennage box and started taking inventory so I can stop building wooden tables and stools and start building an airplane:
Taking inventory of the Empennage Kit

Now it’s time to build an airplane!

Garage ready for the kit

This should hopefully be the last “waiting for the kit” post. The container with the kit has arrived at the port a couple of days ago. The logistics company is working through arranging the truck to bring the container to my house to unload. Hopefully I’ll have some good news tomorrow and have a firm date for the delivery this coming week.

Garage Ready

The garage is ready for delivery and I also picked up a wing stand to store the wings from the flying club I am a part of, as we just installed the wings onto the Cessna 150 airplane we are refurbishing for an upcoming charity raffle to fund college scholarships for kids that survived cancer. The wing stand is from a design by Tony Bingelis and can be found on the EAA website here.

I took a time lapse of the process of installing the wings on the Cessna. It took a little bit of lifting and then a lot of jiggling to get the bolts in place.

I also attended a discussion meeting at our local EAA 84 chapter last week about going to Oshkosh, which was very interesting as I haven’t yet managed to go to Oshkosh myself as I was busy last year finishing up my instrument rating, so I’m hoping this year might be my first. If I go, I will likely fly commercial and then camp there and I’d love to meet some other Sling Builders at the Sling Ding Party hosted by The Airplane Factory and Sling 2 builders Bob & Joan.

Waiting for the kit & making a LED METAR Map

The wait for the arrival of my Sling TSi kit is almost over and if all goes to plan it should be in my garage in the next 7-10 days after it finishes it’s way across the Pacific ocean.

In the meantime, my girlfriend and I were inspired by a post on reddit of someone making a flight conditions map using a sectional chart and some LEDs.

I can visualize my flight instructor shudder every time I refer to a sectional chart as a map, but it’s a lot easier to talk to normal non-pilot people about a map we put up on the wall with lights than calling it a chart.

So here it goes, we made one ourselves of the Puget Sound area and hung it up.

If you’d like to make your own, I’ve written up the detailed instructions here.

METAR Map of the Puget Sound

EAA Sportair Sheet Metal workshop

While the wait for the arrival of my Sling TSi kit continues, I got to do some sheet metal practice attending the EAA Sportair Sheet Metal workshop recently.

It was a two day weekend workshop that was held at the Seattle Museum of Flight Restoration Center, teaching the basics of sheet metal work with all sorts of various techniques used when building a sheet metal airplane.

Over the course of the two days each participant made two practice pieces. The first one was to get a feel for the different techniques, from drilling, to deburring, to dimpling and countersinking. Here’s the first piece:

The second practice piece was a cross section of an elevator, where we had to bend rib pieces, practice more match drilling and dimpling and then fabricate a flush inspection plate held in place using nut plates. Here’s some images I took during the process:

All in all, it was a great workshop, a lot of learning and building confidence in the skills required to build your own airplane. So if you’re toying with the idea of building your own airplane from sheet metal, but are unsure about the work involved, this workshop is a great entry point.
While I likely won’t need to use some of the riveting techniques I learnt in the workshop, since the Sling assembly mainly uses pop rivets, it was still great to get a good understanding of the different techniques.

Here’s a final picture of all the practice of the workshop put together (with an airplane drawn as a bonus).

Quickbuild Factory progress

I got an exciting progress update from the factory today on the coming along of my Sling TSi Quickbuild kit down in The Airplane Factory in South Africa.
The Fuselage is mostly assembled and here’s the pictures of it:

Aside from that, my tool collection is coming along nicely. I now have hundreds of clecos, various pliers, deburring tools, drill bits and countersinks. Just a few more tools to go from the list from TAF.
The project may also have been my excuse to buy a label maker, I ended up with the Brady BMP 21, so now I get to print nice labels, I started with some boxes for the clecos as seen below.

Another fellow Sling TSi builder received his Empennage kit today, so I look forward to following his progress until I receive my kit to start.

Tools, more tools and an expected ship date of my kit

Hours: 2

I got an update from Barry at The Airplane Factory in Torrance that the expected ship date of my Sling TSi Quick build kit is November 19th from South Africa. That means that I should be able to expect arrival here around year end.

My father was visiting the past two weeks and helped me assemble the second workbench and getting a rolling toolbox so I can keep my garage organized with all the tools.

Aside from that I am eagerly reading blogs from fellow builders to ramp up on the process, watching instruction videos, buying more tools and researching various primers and have created a small test sheet with the NAPA 7220 Self-etching primer, which is now dangling in the garage.

Building a workbench

Hours: 2.5

While it will be still a while until I can expect the kit parts to arrive, I can get started on acquiring the various tools I will need and getting my garage workshop ready.

Right now I have one workbench that is permanently mounted to the wall of my garage, so I decided to build another workbench that I can move around more freely.

As for the design, I decided to follow the tried and tested design of the EAA Chapter 1000 workbench, so after a trip to the hardware store and a couple of sheets of plywood and 14 two-by-four’s later I was ready.

Here’s a timelapse of the assembly:

Welcome

Hello and welcome.

The time has come and I have ordered the Sling TSi kit from The Airplane Factory.

After visiting them in Torrance, CA and having the opportunity to test fly the Sling TSi, I was happy that I found an airplane that satisfies my mission criteria and economic consumption.

This is going to be my build log in the journey of building the Sling TSi aircraft from the kit from The Airplane Factory.

While I wait for the parts to arrive I will have some time to clean out the garage and accumulate a healthy amount of tools and knowledge to prepare me for the project.

Here’s some images from my visit of TAF in Torrance, I also recorded the test flight and will post a link to the video once I’ve finished editing it.