Today is The Big Day, Part 1: Moving to the airport. This morning, I finished up the crotch strap bracket on the left side. The right side, not so much. I didn’t even get into it because I knew it’d take far longer than I had, and I wanted to transport the airplane with the interior assembled. So I finished up the bracket, then started prepping the house for the impending load-out.
This RV7 stands 7’2″ wide from axle nut to axle nut. The garage doors are nearly 8 feet wide, but the issue is the hot water heater stand. It pokes out into the space about a foot. What it does is reduce the available pathway from around 8 feet to 7’1″ and that’s a showstopper. So being clever (never confuse clever with smart.), I jacked up the heater stand, took off the inside legs, and supported it with jack stands. This allowed the right wheel enough room to get the camel through the eye of the needle.
This might look unsafe, but it’s not; there are huge metal straps holding the tank against the wall.
Removing the washer, dryer, and guest house range revealed the mess the guys left when they demoed the bedroom walls. Nasty.
David arrived at 11am, and when I finished getting crap out of the way and zipping up the interior, we headed over to Marina Boat and RV storage to pick up the cube truck. I had originally booked a 22′ truck with a lift gate. This one is a 24 footer; and we definitely needed the extra two feet.
This is without a doubt the largest vehicle I have ever driven. I need to look up the stats, I don’t know if they were supposed to rent me this without a CDL. But oh yes, it has a lift gate.
Paulus and Ellen arrived around 1:30 and with both Paulus and Dave helping, we got the tool chest, the workbench and the plane onto the truck in less than an hour, mostly thanks to that lift gate. The lift gate is both brilliant and dangerous: It has the potential to mangle appendages, crush bones, pinch skin, and ruin your stuff. David said that on a film set, something like 30% of all injuries are caused by folding lift gates like the one on this truck. Whatever, it’s totally worth the risk. That thing is genius. The tool chest and workbench were just a warmup for the main event: the fuselage. That was interesting. We had to make lots of weird little turns to get the thing out of the shop and into position where it could roll toward the little garage. At least I didn’t have to knock the wall down to get the thing out. Some builders have.
Once the ship was under open sky, I fired up the avionics. This has plagued me for months: Did I wire the ARINC429 communication between the EFIS and the GNS430 correctly? Did I install the GPS antenna properly? For the first time since I’ve owned it, the GNS430 locked on to a satellite constellation and began speaking to the EFIS, so yeah, I’m awesome.
With tests complete, we started rolling the plane toward the lift gate. Shelley took some shots, which is nice, because I wasn’t about to stop and do it. At this point, we’ve just made it past the hot water heater.
Lining up on the exit…
Moving forward, at a pace reminiscent of the giant crawler NASA used to move the Shuttle to the launch pad.
The lift gate made this dead easy. All we had to do was get the main gear as far forward as we could, then I lifted the tail while David raised the gate. After that, it just rolled right in. This is why you use the Penske trucks instead of the U-Haul: there are no wheel wells or fuel tube humps to deal with. The truckbed is flat and made of wood, so you can do things like screw 2×4’s into it with deck screws.
The rest of it was what Dave called “Tetris: Homebuilt Aircraft Level.” The rest of it was us loading, strapping, and securing. Oh, and we forgot the prop, so we had to shuffle some things once we remembered the giant wooden prop box skulking in the corner of the shop.
We knocked off around 5 and buttoned up the truck. I had dinner, walked the giant furface you see in the first pic, then put everything back that I’d extracted from the garage earlier to make way for the airplane. Now I’m beat, my feet hurt, and I’m going to go sit in the hot tub. Tomorrow, we hit the road at 8:00AM.