High Mountain Doings

From 8200 feet along one side of the Upper Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, my blog is about many things: travel including river and bicycle trips, and other experiences as well. The focus is on photography, not lots of text.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Shipping Container

After speculating on here about what kind of container brought my Sinus, a guy wrote and told me about it. He said that the truck trailer (minus frame and wheels) WAS the shipping container. That some shipping containers are designed to fit onto bare truck trailers (just the frame, hitch, and wheels--and lights, and brakes, etc.). The container attaches to the bare trailer frame with four pins, and then it pulls behind a tractor just like any other trailer would, and looks like a regular truck trailer.

This is why my Sinus had been packed so well: Pipistrel did it! Then they lifted it onto a truck trailer frame, took it to Germany where it was loaded onto MOL's Sealand Florida, brought to Houston, I suppose snapped similarly onto a railroad flat car, unloaded at Denver, fastened back onto a truck trailer frame, and brought to me. Inside, it did look a little unlike a regular trailer, and so it was!

All this sounds innovative and good,


Snowshoeing Near St, Elmo, Colorado

Patty and I drove up to St. Elmo, Colorado, about 15 miles west of home, and went snowshoeing on January 24. As opposed to cross country skiing, this is nearly a new thing with us. I had first snowshoed about two weeks earlier: I believe Patty had done it before. On this day, we went just over a mile. We decided we didn't really need the poles, but found using them to be better full-body exercise because you naturally tend to push yourself along.

The snow was ideal, except when we tried to walk out into a nearby meadow. There, we sank in deeply and it was difficult. It was a rather cold afternoon, even for winter at about ten thousand feet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ready to Build

Stands from Rotax boxes. The instruction book called for the making of stands, to support the Sinus during work. I thought about how I'd do that but wasn't satisfied with most options. Secure, sturdy stands would require some time to construct.

Aha! I had two empty Rotax engine boxes that would work. The third such box contained the Rotax engine. Various non-engine parts had been packed in the other two. So I used these, laying boards across each box (a 2x10 and a 2x6), and sawing away a few inches of the back of the front box, just in case anthing should go wrong back at the tail. My two stands are a little bit high, but I can deal with that.

I put mats over each of the boards and, having a box full of wooden wedges, I put one of those under each side of the front matt so that the fuselage won't tilt as easily.

Well, nearly ready, anyway! There are still a few specialized tools I need to gather from places like Aircraft Spruce, Harbor Freight, and others. But the Sinus is in my shop. Having masked all around, I'm about to go apply some black paint beneath where the edges of the windshield will go. I see that the instructions on the various cans of paints and glues are all in Slovenian, so I'll have some figuring out to do, but I think I've found the correct can. Perhaps there are enough similarities in languages that I can figure out what to do.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shipping Container

I've been told (see comments--thank you) that the truck that brought my Sinus did, in fact, have a shipping container inside of the trailer. I'd never seen shipping container before (the trucking company I'd driven for didn't use them) and if this is what it was, it really fit the trailer tightly! But I guess they'd be designed that way. It looked like part of the trailer to me.

Now it all makes sense. The shipping container must have been packed in Slovenia by Pipistrel, trucked to Bremerhaven, loaded onto the ship, brought to Houston, looked at by US Customs (I had to pay a duty of $405 plus an even bigger fee to the import agency that handled this--and I suspect I got hooked a bit on the deal), then put onto a train, and trucked up into the mountains from Denver.

More photos will follow, but I really need to get some work done on the motorglider!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Truck in my Driveway--Sinus Delivery

(Sequence here is from the bottom up)

By the way, "Sinus" is pronounced sin-us, not sign-us like the hole in our heads. Another Pipistrel model is the Virus, which is pronounced veer-us, and not like the little organism that makes us sick. I don't know Slovenian, but I'm sure the possible medical meanings are accidental, as well as somewhat humorous.

And so, the entire kit was unloaded into my shop. The wings have since been moved next door into my garage and the three boxes (except the one containing the Rotax 912 engine) have been unpacked. One of these boxes landed on my fingertip, smashing same, but after two weeks, it's well on the way back to normality. Now I should be ready to get busy, though I'm still gathering some of the specialized tools that are required.

Todd handles a wing by its spar while Patty lifts the other end. We were able to get everything out without too much trouble, and without damage. If the kit had been packed in a shipping container, it might have required a small army to get out of the truck.

The Sinus was packed inside the truck. I had expected a shipping container, but the kit components were packed in the trailer and were very well fastened down. Somebody did a good job of this. Wood screws had been placed directly into the wooden bed of the trailer, and there were racks to which the wings were fastened.

The truck driver phoned from nearby, needing to know which house was mine. I had him back up my road because my driveway angles a little and (having driven trucks) I know he couldn't have backed in otherwise. It worked out very conveniently. There were three of us to unload--me, Patty, and Todd, a neighbor.

The truck arrived from Denver on the morning of January 10th, 2009. I really don't know whether this same trailer was packed in Slovenia, where Pipistrel is located, and was put on the ship at Bremerhaven, Germany, crossed the ocean on the Sealand Florida (an MOL ship, and the trailer said MOL on it), came by train from Houston, and by road from Denver--or whether the contents had been repacked at some point.


Catching Up

It's been a while since I blogged anything. It's been a busy time. The biggest thing that happened was the delivery, on January 10th, of my Pipistrel Sinus motorglider kit after receiving, and overnight mailing on to the customs agent, the proper bill of sale to get it into the country at Houston, Texas.

I thought about setting up a separate blog about this, but I've decided to blog about it right here. It's a part of everything else that's going on, so here we go!

Some other things have happened, too, and I'll be catching up on those.