In mid June 1998, I received an email from the Glassic factory that my first subkit (fuselage and main spar) was about ready for shipment. There was just a small matter of sending them $11,815 first, which I did via wire transfer. I would be receiving a single crate, roughly 6'x6'x13' weighing 621 pounds by truck (Watkins Motor Freight), and they gave me a tracking number so that I could follow its progress from Tennessee to Washington via Watkins' website. And believe me, I did.
As the crate made its way westward, I started rounding up helpers. Although I'm a super-muscular body-builder type, I knew that I wouldn't be able to unload the crate by myself. With promises of beer and the excitement of catching the first glimpse of my soon-to-be airplane, I managed to get half-a-dozen helpers lined up. I spoke with a Watkins dispatcher to set a firm delivery date of Monday, June 22, 1998 and requested that they deliver the crate after 4:00PM so that my friends wouldn't have to leave work early.
Monday finally arrived and I darted home right after work to make sure everything was in order. About 3:30PM I got a call from the Watkins dispatcher, claiming that my crate had been mis-routed to downtown Seattle, and that it would be re-scheduled for a Wednesday delivery. "That sucks," I thought. "My friends will be arriving in a few minutes, and now I'll have to turn them back and hope they're free and willing to return in two days. Damn." As I went to my garage to sulk and await my helpers, I saw a somewhat lost looking guy wandering through my complex. As he approached, I could see the Watkins logo on his shirt. As we greeted each other and confirmed he had a very large crate for me, I concluded that the dispatcher didn't know what the hell she was talking about. The driver was a little bit early, so I told him to go ahead and pull his truck in, but we may have to wait a little while until my friends arrived. I was his last stop, and he was very agreeable.
Moments later my friends started arriving and we opened the back of the truck to reveal "the crate." Yes it was large. Yes it was wooden. Yes, it had "Fragile Aircraft Parts" stenciled on all sides. And yes, it was beat up pretty good. Or should I say it was beat up pretty bad? I feared that I had just spent $11,815 for a bunch of wrecked parts. The condition of the crate was too poor to attempt unloading it, so we decided to dismantle it inside the truck and take out the contents piece by piece. This actually worked out well, since the 2 fuselage halves were temporarily joined at the factory, and several more parts were loaded inside. Once that was unloaded and placed onto foam supports on my garage floor, the remaining parts took just a few minutes to unload. And to my relief, everything appeared to be undamaged. The Watkins driver offered to take away the remnants of the crate, I gladly accepted, and off he went.
This would be a good place to insert some photos
of the "uncrating party," but as I mentioned before in the Preparing
the Workshop section, I have misplaced that set of photos and have nothing to scan.
I think this justification enough to buy a digital camera... If the photos ever
turn up, I'll be sure to upload a few shots here.
So now I had the workshop, the tools, and the kit: it was time to start building an airplane!