Day 1 - Here we go...

Since I was in the area, I thought I would pop in on Reality Aircraft's HQ to see what was going on. I did not for one minute think I would be leaving with my kit - it was not due for a month, but I managed to swap with another customer (THANK YOU NOEL!) who is happy to wait for the next shipment (due late October).

I then spent the next 3 days with Terry, learning techniques, watching, then putting the wings to the fuselage- what a palaver! It is a very delicate business, and I am glad I had Terry on hand to help. But already you can see the wing fold - just a bit of fabric and we're nearly there... Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Thanks to Terry for lending me his trailer. The majority of the kit will fit inside a larger car (if you have a good sized boot, the rudder is fairly large, for example) but some items are long - the fuselage is 15ft, the wings about 12 feet, even the lift struts are about 8ft. Terry has a special jig on his trailer for transporting the kits, and mine survived 120 miles without any damage.
First signs of Terry's helpfulness - he offered the use of the trailer and then did not mention any hire charge!
Some of the bigger bits of the kit.
I'm glad I ticked the quick build wing option, I would not fancy putting the wing together without Terry's jig. It can also do the flaps and ailerons, washout and all.
The end of the rear spar need preparing, so that it folds. The spar needs drilling at the top (see manual for templates and measurements) - make sure it is EXACTLY on the top of the tube, otherwise it will affect the accuracy of the wing fold.
Once the rear spar is in place, the front spar needs drilling. Terry uses a special jig (hard to see how to do it without it). Before drilling, make sure the two wings form a straight line (we used a laser line tool), and that they are perpendicular to the fuselage...
The quick build flaps then need the trailing edge fitted. Use lots of clamps to make sure each rib is correctly spaced. Drill, countersink, abrade the edges to be glued, clean with MEK, glue, rivet and then clean the excess glue. Easy! When riveting, squeeze the rivet in a little bit, then relax the riveter, realign the rivet, then gently squeeze the rivet in the rest of the way. This ensures a tight fit, but if the rivet is loose, drill it out and start again - inspectors like tight rivets!

First impressions: The kit seems to be very well put together, welding and powdercoating are good, the bags containing the (HUNDREDS OF) bolts, rivets, turnbuckles etc, are self sealing and have a large label sticker on them. A couple of items haven't been shipped yet, but they were well signalled, and Terry has assured me that the missing items will be here in time so as to not hold me up.

Terry is trying hard to keep up with himself at the moment, handling the enormous amount of interest in the new plane (even from visiting firemen!), finish the build manual, get kits out to customers, and generally run his business. This does not stop him offering advice whenever needed, helping out with unconfident plane builders and explaining to flexwing flyers what a wing strut is...

Now I have 2100 bits of plane and a draft build manual... watch this space! Next page