Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
I have been building my Cruzer by purchasing individual kits as the "airplane in a box" approach was a bit intimidating at the time (would do it in hindsight). Wings and empennage are complete. I ordered my fuselage/controls kit in August.
The kit consists of two separate crates. One is 153 X 49 x16 inches @355 pounds and the other is a large, heavy duty standard shipping box of 62 X 44 X 30 inches @ 200 pounds.
I was contacted on Monday that the kit was at the local terminal, so we made arrangements to pick it up the following day.
Here is what I saw when I was escorted to the largest crate.
This is one end
I was numb with disappointment. The hardest thing was dealing with a staff that really didn't seem to care - kind of a "stuff" happens attitude. I called Kaitlyn and she advised noting obvious crate damage on the paperwork, taking photos, and then accepting the shipment. A claim would be filed as needed for replacement parts.
We wrapped the battered crate like a burrito using a very large tarp (intended to shield it from rain, but now serving a dual purpose of part containment). The other standard cardboard shipping box looked fine, but its pallet had been damaged and one of its 2x4's was removed by the forklift operator.
My wife and I carefully unpacked both crates yesterday and to our surprise and relief, all contents appear fine. Will confirm when I remove my first skin in a few days. As we all know, Zenith and team do a great job with their crates, part arrangements, and copious amounts of packing material to keep our airplane parts in good shape.
I am hoping my luck with local transport improves. My horizontal stab/elevator kit arrived several years ago with another forklift crunch that caused the rivets and counterweights to "depart the crate" before I received it. Zenith replaced them. I changed trucking firms and my wing kit arrived in perfect condition, but they failed in their encore performance!
Anyway, life is good and this Thanksgiving gave me an additional (bur minor in the big picture) thing to be thankful for. Happy Building ... and Shipping, to all.
I had an almost exact crate damage situation a few years ago when having parts and skins shipped from Zenith. The shipping crew at Zenith do a great job in constructing sturdy crates but the trucking outfit fork lift operators can tear up the working parts of an anvil. I'm convinced also they can't read English!
I'm convinced also they can't read English!
They can read ... they just don't care! :<(
The solution: a regional delivery company out of Chattanooga delivered my big-screen TV in pristine condition. I told the delivery man how relieved I was it arrived OK since previously, DHL had crushed a big-screen TV I ordered, crushed the replacement, and finally got it right the third time!
He said it was not a problem at his company: if anyone handling any carton or crate marked "fragile" damaged the item, they immediately were terminated. Problem solved!
Experienced some damage to ours as well a few years ago, and Zenith didn't hesitate to replace missing or damaged parts, at no cost to me.
Ouch. Glad to hear everything's OK.
Like you, I ordered the individual kits, and fortunately Estes Freight delivered them in excellent condition every time. Also like you, if I had to do it again I wouldn't do it that way.
I'd still order the rudder kit first to get a feel for the kit and acquire the minimum number of tools. I still think ordering the horizontal tail/elevator kit second like I did is OK, because it's not that expensive to ship, is relatively self-contained, yet is involved enough to give one some idea of how involved a full build will be.
However, knowing what I know now, I'd then order the rest of the kit in full, less the tail kits already received. I would have saved a few thousands in shipping and crating fees. Furthermore, as I eventually found out, the rest of the component kits overlap. To finish the fuselage kit there are parts of the wing kit you really need, to finish the wing kit it helps to have the fuselage kit complete to a certain stage, and there's parts of the finishing kit that you really need to complete both. At least that's what I ran into, and why I ordered everything eventually and now have various plane parts scattered around the garage, shed, living room and a bedroom.
Like you, I was very impressed with the excellent job Zenith Aircraft did building and packing my crates.
Good points Bob. Indeed, the $$$$$ of added shipping charges with the multiple sub kit approach really gets ones attention after a while. The shipping charges from Mexico to the Pacific NW were just shy of $1000 for the fuselage and controls kit that I just received.
One benefit of the subcomponent approach in my case was that had I ordered the BIG BOX several years ago, I may have missed out on the pre-drilled longerons and pre-cut angles in the new fuselage kits. I am just starting out on the bottom fuselage assembly, but it is very obvious that this is a huge timesaver.
I do think, however, that for future builders contemplating the BIG BOX vs multiple smaller subcomponent kits, one has to weigh the challenge of part management but with access to the full parts set vs the fewer parts to manage, but with significant additional freight costs and some issues about not having all the parts you may want to examine or install when you feel you need them.
Former shipping industry guy here (many years ago, multiple companies). You'd be shocked at some of the stuff that happens in sorting facilities and on loading docks.
Ramming/shoving/dragging heavy freight with a forklift is standard practice, which no doubt is how your crate got damaged. It's not just your crate, it's all the other stuff that is rammed into it. All that matters (to the guys on the loading dock) is getting the stuff loaded and out the door.
Forklift "spearing" sometimes happens. That can be pretty bad. Once saw where four metal drums of hazmat (strapped to a wooden pallet) got "speared" by a forklift. Down the road it went.......