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Joe Graham's Online RV-7 Builder's Log

The First Days...

12-19-05 - Monday

Reserved my N-Number on the faa.gov website. I have requested N762G. The initial database search indicated that this N-number is available and that was confirmed at the time I put in the reservation request. The cost was $10.00 and the reservation is good for one year. I need to see how complete the aircraft has to be in order to actually permanently assign the number.

Looking on-line at the order form. The kit prices for the RV-7 are currently:

The prices are going up by 3 percent in 2006 according to Van's, but orders received before the end of the year will be guaranteed at 2005 prices. I will FAX my form tomorrow. With the Electric Trim option ($240.00), the total kit price comes to $1778.00. PLUS whatever UPS will charge me for shipping.

12-20-05 Tuesday
Just faxed the order for my empennage kit… And so the journey begins.

12-21-05
Van's called today to confirm my order. They said it would be shipped via FedEx.

12-22-05
Got a FedEx tracking number in an e-mail from Van's today. I checked the information on the FedEx site and it indicated that my delivery will be here on December 28. Guess I'd better start getting the garage cleaned out.

My garage is the intended manufacturing facility for at least the first year or so of the project. Of course, my garage is already filled with other projects, vehicles, tools, lawn equipment, etc... The only way I can make enough room is to put all that non-airplane stuff in a storage shed... problem is, I have no storage shed. Guess I'd better get to Home Depot to buy some lumber.

12-23-05
I've never done any building construction, so I wasn't exactly sure how to proceed. Fortunately, I went to Home Depot and they had a few assembled sheds on display outside the store. I just happened to have my measuring tape with me, so.... I took a few measurements and I designed my storage shed tonight. Tomorrow, I'll get the lumber and get started on construction.

12-24-05
So there I was, 8:00 AM on a Saturday, laying out the final details of my shed design... what's that? The doorbell? Who would be ringing my doorbell this time of day???

It's FEDEX!!! My Empennage kit is here! Days earlier than expected.

So now I REALLY need to get the shed going. Here's a picture of what I finished today. It took forever to get the base leveled. Couple that with my total lack of experience in framing, and you have a long day with not much to show for it. But I was outside, working with my daughter, not a bad day all in all...

12-25-05 - Christmas Day
Took today off from all projects. This is a family day. And speaking of my family, I had a card on the tree from my Wife, Son, and Daughter, with a $100.00 gift certificate from Avery Tools! One of the best gifts of the day is this hand-made card I got from my daughter.

12-26-05
Started inventory of the kit parts. Finished up the small box, everything is there. I started an Excel spreadsheet of all the parts that I've inventoried. This is taking a while, but will probably be worth it in the long run. Besides, I don't have my garage/shop ready yet and I still need to get a bunch of tools.

I also worked some more on the shed today. Here's a shot of the progress... You can also see two of my assistants in the shot.... Gracie and Abby...

12-28-05
Worked on the shed again today. We are having un-seasonably warm weather this week. Seems like it's been tailor-made for my outdoor shed project. There's a burn-ban in effect and North Texas is eleven inches behind the annual rainfall average, but it's perfect weather to be working outside. Here's a shot of the sunset tonight as I wrapped up the day's work. A perfect end to a productive day...

12-29-05
I took the day off from the shed project today. I needed a break, and I wanted to get my log pages under way. I also played around a little bit with a paint scheme for my RV-7. Here's what it looks like so far...

01-16-06

So... After a couple of weeks off from work for the Christmas break, I had to get re-acclimated to going to work every day. This meant that by the time I got home each day it was nearly dark. So not much happened with the back-yard construction project over the last couple of weeks. I'm also waiting to take the February Orndorf class before I break out the rivet gun on the empennage. So this weekend, I finally completed the shed.. at least enough to start moving stuff out of the garage. I still need to finish some trim work and get it painted, but it is ready for occupancy as far as I'm concerned. Here's a photo of the nearly finished project....


Photo by Joe Graham

Now at last I can start moving stuff out of the garage and transforming it into my shop.... PROGRESS!!!!!

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