Yes, I know, it’s been pretty quiet from the blogging front. There’s a reason for that. If there was ever a frustrating month so far in my build, August 2023 definitely tops the cake. Because of the major backlog of orders caused by the COVID surge, in February 2022 Van’s decided to alleviate some of this supply constraint by expanding their vendors to incorporate Laser Cut parts into their supply chain. Nearly 18 months later (June 2023), Van’s made an announcement that reports of cracking around dimpled laser cut holes were starting to come in. At the time, it wasn’t clear how large of an issue this was, but over the next month it became obvious that this was a major issue. It affected wing kits, empennage kits, fuselage kits, and even quick build kits.
Well there is some good news. Based on my kit shipping dates, I was able to rule out my wing and empennage kits as having the issue. Unfortunately, my fuselage kit was affected. After talking with Van’s, their recommendation has been to hold off on any additional work until they sort out the go forward plan for the parts that are affected. Because of this, any progress on the fuselage has essentially slowed to a halt. Sam and I were able to get a few hours in countersinking and deburring some parts that I know aren’t affected, but that’s about it. A bit of a side note… there are many people whose wing and empennage kits were affected, (including spars!). It’s going to be a total nightmare for them and Van’s to sort out the issues. Hopefully it doesn’t end in ugly legal battles, but I could imagine that as one possible outcome.
After taking lots of deep breaths, and evaluating the situation, it’s not the end of the world. The part set affected is fairly limited, and given my current progress, I have a good opportunity to get to almost every part I need to if necessary (lots of parts I haven’t even riveted on yet).
So what to do? First things first, I was able to delay my finish kit (now late 2023), and engine delivery (now early 2024). But I don’t want to lose the momentum that I had over the summer. With a new month rolling over, I decided it was time to refocus my energy on wing completion. If you recall, I chose not to close up the bottom of the wing to delay until wiring is complete. I’m going to go ahead and get that wiring plumbed and then I’ll start close up of the bottom skins. This should take me easily through the next month (if not two) so that should allow some progress while I wait for final verdict from Van’s on the fuselage.
As frustrating as the whole thing has been, it’s given me a good perspective on the journey. I can choose to let this get in my way and essentially sit around pouting, or I can figure out what progress I can make, and go make it. Bye bye August… it’s time to get this build going again. Until September…. Happy building!