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Thread: My Yakima Building Adventure

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    Junior Member RustyPilot's Avatar
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    Default My Yakima Building Adventure

    My Yakima Build Adventure

    This narrative is to chronicle my experience before, during and after my FX3 build at CubCrafters headquarters. I plan to write as the week progresses. Disclaimer: I canít guarantee yours will be the same or the information I provide is still accurate, only as my memory serves.

    My avatar on the forum is RustyPilot. Iíve had no posts until now. I learned quite a bit from the forum, my salesman and new friend Mike Sasser (Red1) and lots of research. Lots and lots of research. I talked with several FX3 owners.

    Iím fortunate to live within flying distance from Mike. Iíve had the opportunity to fly Red1 about 4 times before Yakima. It gets better each time.

    Before arriving I learned if you take a helper they must return with you for the final assembly. Bummer. Against the advice from CC, I came with no helper. Weíll see how that goes.

    My Day one Saturday
    Hotel and crew car were as advertised. I decided to arrive on Saturday so I could rest and acclimate. Didnít happen. Mike and Red1 arrived in KYKM from Alaska a couple of days earlier. He Ďaskedí if Iíd help ferry some aircraft to Hood River. So much for rest.

    My Day two Sunday
    Mike offered Red1 for the day so back to Hood River for breakfast and a great visit with TacAero. I canít say enough about these great folks. Mike left to deliver an aircraft to Minnesota which left me with Red1. Oh darn. More on Red1 later.

    My Day three Monday
    First day of work I arrived 0615 at HQ, should arrive at 0645 as instructed.
    Meet several people today at the different stations, all great folks with interesting backgrounds.
    My concierge for the week is Mitch Travis. Since 1999 heís worn many hats at CC but currently in charge of the kit department. He occasionally does the builder assist. Your concierge may vary.
    Work today started a short drive from HQ.
    Weíre off and running to the composite building. Using patterns, I cut carbon fiber, seat material, cowling material, padding and other stuff using electric scissors and roller knives. I was there about 2.5 hours. I missed the first break.
    Next was to the fabric cutting. Follow the lines for the fuselage, wings and feathers. I spent about an hour there.
    We went next door to the metal shop. Lots of different stations here. To summarize I ran C and C machines, saws and lathes to cut ribs, panels, bushings, airframe, pushrods and other stuff interrupted by a short lunch. I missed the afternoon break.
    Then it was back to the first building to infuse resin in the carbon fiber molds which was maybe 45 minutes.
    Back to the metal shop for a little finish up metal work.
    If you can use patterns, tape measure, a hand drill, grinder, scissors, vise grips and follow instructions, youíll do fine.

    My Day Four Tuesday
    0700 at a different station in the metal shop for lots of bending, grinding, cutting, drilling shaping and pressing. Iím using materials from Monday and starting to see familiar shapes. 4 trips over to the C and C to cut more material. Made 1 trip over to composites building to infuse more carbon fiber with resin. These parts were the cowling, seat, wing tips etc.
    I laid out both fuse sides for welding using materials cut from day one.
    Then there was Hippie. I (We) laid out parts for the rudder and vertical stab plus the elevators and horizontal stab. Enough said, youíll have fun. Youíll see him again.

    My Day Five Wednesday
    All the buildings are blurring together. Did more carbon resin infusing. I finished the layout with Hippie. Most of today was using the 350 ton forming machine making main, leading and trailing wing ribs along with flap and aileron parts. Other stuff happened today but itís just finishing touches of previous tasks.
    BTW I ran into CC owner Jim Richmond after work. Nice guy.

    My Day Six Thursday
    Today is an easy day to explain but hard to accomplish. Flaps and ailerons. Ailerons and flaps. Did I mention flaps and ailerons? Lots of clecos, deburring, drilling, rivets, ribs and skins. Lots and lots of clecos, deburring, drilling, rivets, ribs and skins. Where is the helper I brought?

    My Day Seven Friday
    Today you can finish any needed flap and aileron work then off to the World HQ building (remember Monday?). Here the work involved wiring bundles, making control cables, packing wheel bearings, mounting tires and rough cut on the windshield.
    Mitch and I met with Customer Service Manager Terisha Ray for a final review of options.

    Fortunately, I was invited to attend an employee appreciation and recognition lunch which takes place a few times a year. I reminisced with many of the members of the CC team.
    This group of folks are encouraged to bring family members to CC gatherings throughout the year. Iím beginning to understand the support that management provides for all members of the CC team. They take pride in their work and their company. I wish I was able to acknowledge each and every person I met throughout the week. Off to the hotel. Iím planning an 0400 Saturday departure.

    My Day Eight
    The owner of Red1, Mike Sasser, didnítí want to return to Yakima for Red1. He hadnít been home for over a month. He asked If Iíd bring her home.
    Wheels up at 0410 for 3 legs and a 12 hour block time to an ABQ RON. About Moab my tired light illuminated. Iím considering removing Mike from my Christmas card list.
    Day nine was only 3 legs and a 9 hour block time to Texas.
    After 18 hours in Red1, Iím convinced buying an FX3 was the right choice.

    In summary, would I do the builder assist again? No, but I wouldnít miss the first time. When CC comes out with an FX5 Iíll send someone in my place so they too can enjoy the builder experience!

    Best Regards,

    RustyPilot

  2. #2
    Senior Member John Whitish's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    RustyPilot-

    Thanks very much for detailing your experience here in Yakima. I'm glad it was a good one.

    Prospective customers ask us what it's like to participate in our FX program. From now on, I'll refer them to your post!

    Thanks again.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    Great summary Rusty

    Bill

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    Member kiwibob's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    Thanks RustyPilot, I start mine in September and Iíve been wondering how it will go. It sounds exhausting.

    No one has mentioned a helper which is just as well as Iím traveling from New Zealand and doubtless there would be several takers but the cost! Especially twice.

    Dumb question perhaps but may I ask what you wore and did it work? I have to pack for 10 days and Iím at a loss to know what to bring......
    Bob Gray, FX-3 #38, ZK-FXC

  5. #5
    Junior Member RustyPilot's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    Bob,

    iím sending you a PM.

    Rusty

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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    I had my week build experience Oshkosh week. The day to day tasks were just as RustyPilot so adequately detailed. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire week. I don't have a lot of build experience so it was all new to me and I learned a lot and got to play with some pretty cool equipment. True, you need to be on your feet a good part of the day but otherwise it was not hard, in my opinion. Things moved along well and the folks couldn't be nicer or more helpful. I thought the days flew by and we were generally done early to mid afternoon and had the rest of the day to myself. Nice town and the guys recommended some very good places to get a bite.

    When asked by the staff if I would recommend the week or even consider doing it again, I said "absolutely."


    .

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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    [QUOTE=daleberk;21961]I had my week build experience Oshkosh week. The day to day tasks were just as RustyPilot so adequately detailed. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire week. I don't have a lot of build experience so it was all new to me and I learned a lot and got to play with some pretty cool equipment. True, you need to be on your feet a good part of the day but otherwise it was not hard, in my opinion. Things moved along well and the folks couldn't be nicer or more helpful. I thought the days flew by and we were generally done early to mid afternoon and had the rest of the day to myself. Nice town and the guys recommended some very good places to get a bite.

    When asked by the staff if I would recommend the week or even consider doing it again, I said "absolutely."


    .[/QUOTE
    You are in luck because you are not done yet. I am in Yakima for my final build with certification tomorrow. The final build includes installing the interior, the landing gear, the tail, elevator, brakes, and a lot more. If you loved clecos and rivets you will probably love cotter pins. It is only a day, but it too is work.
    I would recommend everyone doing it once too, but twice would be a tall order for the uninitiated. The staff couldnít be nicer, but a desk jockey needs all the help he can get. Now that I see the bird there is no doubt it is a great program and a great product.

  8. #8
    Member kiwibob's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    Quote Originally Posted by RustyPilot View Post

    This narrative is to chronicle my experience before, during and after my FX3 build at CubCrafters headquarters. I plan to write as the week progresses. Disclaimer: I canít guarantee yours will be the same or the information I provide is still accurate, only as my memory serves.
    Before arriving I learned if you take a helper they must return with you for the final assembly. Bummer. Against the advice from CC, I came with no helper. Weíll see how that goes.
    Just finished my week at Yakima and my experience was pretty much exactly as RustyPilot and WetCub document it.

    A couple of things spring to my mind. I'd probably have preferred to wear a long sleeved shirt on day one, I found the fibreglass and the like quite itchy for the rest of the day, not too bad but...

    At no stage did I feel that I needed a helper, all the people I met were more than helpful and allowed me to work at my own pace and were uncritical of my skill level.

    I should probably have read https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/.../AC_20-27G.pdf - the advisory on the 51% rule (includes the checklist) first which would have given me a much better understanding of how the process works.
    Bob Gray, FX-3 #38, ZK-FXC

  9. #9
    Senior Member John Whitish's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwibob View Post
    I should probably have read https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/.../AC_20-27G.pdf - the advisory on the 51% rule (includes the checklist) first which would have given me a much better understanding of how the process works.
    This is good advice. Be aware that the "AMATEUR-BUILT AIRCRAFT FABRICATION ANDASSEMBLY CHECKLIST (2009) (FIXED-WING)" included in Appendix 8 of the circular has been superseded by a new checklist in 2011: https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/gen_av/...syCklistFW.pdf
    Last edited by John Whitish; 09-18-2018 at 04:27 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: My Yakima Building Adventure

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwibob View Post
    Just finished my week at Yakima and my experience was pretty much exactly as RustyPilot and WetCub document it.

    A couple of things spring to my mind. I'd probably have preferred to wear a long sleeved shirt on day one, I found the fibreglass and the like quite itchy for the rest of the day, not too bad but...

    At no stage did I feel that I needed a helper, all the people I met were more than helpful and allowed me to work at my own pace and were uncritical of my skill level.

    I should probably have read https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/.../AC_20-27G.pdf - the advisory on the 51% rule (includes the checklist) first which would have given me a much better understanding of how the process works.
    Even after certification the event isnít over. I returned to Yakima 17 days after certification and had to wait another 8 days to begin my fly off, 40 hours within 75 miles. Make sure you donít return early to pick up your airplane, it wonít work out well. I used Tac Aero to fly my airplane for a couple of hours to make sure I had discovered any necessary discrepancies, (they found none). I also had them install the Acme strut system which is awesome. The fly off is a bit boring but the fx3 lands with a little power and doesnít float like a carbon cub. I would recommend using Tac Aero. I would also recommend Crafted for gourmet food and Gilbert Cellars for wine, you will need them both after flying for 6-8 hours a day over the valley surrounding Yakima. I do love the airplane, but I didnít realize you could tire of viewing the Columbia River Gorge.

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