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New aircraft supply store

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I wanted to let everyone know of a great little place that sells all kinds of aviation products from flight instruments to aircraft tools.I was real surprised to find a set of aircraft cylinder base wrenches(4) for under sixty-bucks.Their web link is: www.chiefaircraft.com A new aircraft supply company is always a new breath of fresh air in my opinion! Give them a try,I am.


Joe Cygan

Cozy MKIV #1022

Joe Cygan

Cozy MKIV #1022

Southern California

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Chief isnt that new, Joe. They've been around at least the three or four years I've been building. I used them once with no problems and good service. There's also another relatively new (at least to me) company http://www.recreationalmobility.com They're small, and cater mostly to the ultralight world, but they carry some reasonably priced instruments. The owner (Jim Ratte) is concerned and responsive. I've had pretty good experience there.

I can be reached on the "other" forum http://canardaviationforum.dmt.net

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I guess I have to get out there more.I'm telling you,I think I would rather pay more for a product if the service and delivery times are as promised than dealing with the anguish of half hearted businesses.That last link you gave out http://www.recreationalmobility.com ,I'll definitely keep that one.

I have to share this little story another pilot friend of mind posted in another aviation list about the continuing problems he has with a aircraft supply company in Southern California.To be fair I will be XX'ing out the name of the company and my friend.Here it goes....


Last night, I heard it all. I went to order a Skybolt

tubing kit from XXX. Before I did, I wanted to check

freight rates to ship it here to Alaska. I checked

with a few local companies to see if they had L.A.

offices. One did, so I decided to ship with them. Of

course, they needed the size and weight of the box. I

called XXX, and asked this question to a guy there.

What was the answer??? OH, YOU CAN'T DO THAT. NO




Hmm....I Seem to recall driving it, a couple times

now. Even flown a few airplanes up here. Followed this

long winding ribbon, with cars and stuff on it....

Looked like a road to me.


SO, what did I do? I just placed the order late last

night over the Internet. What were my two shipping

options? UPS blue, or UPS red. Box was gonna weigh

Approximately 70 lbs. (yeah, right) This morning I

called to make sure everything was OK with the order,

and that they had figured out it was to go by truck,

not UPS. I talked with a lady named XXX, she

really seemd to know her stuff, and got it all squared

away with the shipping company. I guess its all just

who you talk to at XXX. The one guy was obviously an


Can't wait to see if they screwed up the order... :0)


Oh, If anybody is wondering what it costs to ship a 24

foot 360 lb box from XXX, CA to Fairbanks, Alaska;

it's a very reasonable $208.99. It should be here by

Dec 10. What would UPS have charged?? The last little

box-o-stuff I ordered from XXX weighed about 10

lbs, and was about 1 foot square by six inches high

(just tubing and sheet steel for walking beam and

pitch reverser) and it cost SIXTY BUCKS in shipping!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!



We'll,I guess some of us are more harder to please than others,Happy Thanksgiving!


Joe Cygan

Cozy MKIV #1022

Joe Cygan

Cozy MKIV #1022

Southern California

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay,here is part "B" of my buddies story, trying to get stuff from a particular aircraft supply company in Southern California.If you did not read the first part, it is three posts above this one.



Dear Y'all,


Well, Rudi was right. If there's a way to screw it up,

XXX will find it. It has been TWO WEEKS now since I

ordered my tubing kit, ALL OF WHICH, by the way, was

IN STOCK according to their web site the night I

ordered it. Called back the next day, the lady said to

have the shipping company come pick it up that

afternoon. Thought we had it licked. So, TWO WEEKS

later it still hasn't shipped. Hmm. Called up a week

ago to find out why. Spent a combined total of 35

minutes on hold that day being passed from will-call

to shipping to customer service (misnomer??) and back.

Finally talked with a guy who seemed to know his ass

from his elbow, and told me the reason it hadn't

shipped is because some of the tubing was (gasp)

backordered. What?? Not according to your website. Oh,

and nice of y'all to call and let me know that. And of

course, they do not eat the shipping on backorders to

Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico. It was decided

(supposedly) that they will in this case. (It's not

THAT much tubing that's backordered.) So today I call

up to find out why in the dear sweet name of all

things good and holy my stuff hasn't shipped

yet....(50 minutes holding today) It's because

something ELSE has since become backordered. I let

the guy know that in the amount of time they had me on

hold today, they could have gone to the warehouse,

picked the stuff, AND had it on the truck. SO, now

he's gonna look into it and call me. (Sure, just like

last time.) The thing that really pisses me off?

Shipping, cust svc and willcall can't seem to get

anything straight. I've been to XXX in Corona.

It's not THAT big of a place. Why is one hand not

talking to the other?? For small orders, I have had

GREAT luck with XXX,as has the company I fly for.

Never seen a shipping delay with them. THIS is

friggin' rediculous. Moral of story?? For anybody

else getting ready to order their tubing, I have the

phone numbers for Wicks and Dillsburg. Be more than

happy to email 'em to ya.


Thanks for letting me rant!! :0)



Joe Cygan

Cozy MKIV #1022

Southern California

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>their catalog makes for GREAT reading when I'm on the can.


I agree. It also comes in handy when you run out of toilet tissue.

That's about ALL it's used for in my house. I didn't even bother picking up their 2002 catalog at Sun & Fun.


Lets get this out in the open. This level of service does not merit annonymity. It deserves publication to protect other builders.


The company we're talking about here is Aircraft Spruce. They've been able to maintain the same (abysmal) level of customer service nationwide for the 4 years I've been building, and before according to the archives. They've even earned their own special place in history by having a full web page dedicated to them on my web site. See http://kgarden.com/cozy/spruce.htm


I've used Wicks consistently for four years. Always personable, always efficient and always responsive. Never leave you on hold for more than 30 seconds, call you back if there's a question about part shipments or a possibility of savings on shipping costs, remind you to order the parts you probably forgot - like the sleeves when ordering AN nuts. Ask you which way you want the grain when ordering al sheet. If they make a mistake they fix it, whether you knew about it or not. The contrast is like black and white.


My advice - order everything you need from Wicks. If they don't have it buy it anywhere except ACS - go overseas if you have to. If you still can't get it - make it yourself.


John Slade

I can be reached on the "other" forum http://canardaviationforum.dmt.net

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I feel your frustration about Aircraft Spruce and I think there are a lot of people that have has similar experiences.I'm sharing these stories with you not because I'm trying to create a movement to sway people away from ASS.

I'm sharing these stories with you in the hopes they will read this and understand that there pissing off a lot of people.I have been buying stuff from there for the last seven-teen years and I can honestly tell you it has not always been like this in my opinion.In fact, the young bunch of guy's that work at the front desk in Corona are pretty cool people.Unfortunately,I think they need better management and better customer service.So,as much as I like to b**** about f#%cked up orders,I'm hopeful that one day things will get better.They better,I only live three miles from them,see!

Joe Cygan

Cozy MKIV #1022

Southern California

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Well, I understand John's frustration, but just to moderate the tone of this a bit, I'll offer the observation that I've ordered supplies from both Wicks and Aircraft Spruce since I started on my Cozy seven years ago (I'm through Chapter 20, but now backtracking to pick up Chapter 18). Both companies have given me excellent service.


I will agree that the people at Wicks know our projects and are proactive in anticipating our needs and making very helpful suggestions. Most of us are familiar with Janet and her professional assistance with our orders.


Aircraft Spruce is a more bureaucratric in operation, so like most bureaucracies, things work better if you don't have to intervene. For instance, the previous post about the tubing order for a Skybolt project appeared to run into a snag associated with a backorder. Aircraft Spruce lets you choose whether to ship incomplete and backorder, or hold the entire shipment until everything is ready. If you tell them to hold shipment until it's complete, then the question is whether Aircraft Spruce assembles your incomplete order, stores it somewhere until the backordered items show up, then adds those items, box it up and ships it. If I were running a high-volume operation, that scenario sounds like a recipe for problems. On the other hand, if you wait for everything to be in stock before you fill the order, you then run into the problem of something else running out of stock by the time the original missing item becomes available, which is what happened to that tubing order. So, it's not easy, though John and others will quickly point out that this is Aircraft Spruce's core specialty, so they should be able to deal with this presumably common scenario efficiently.


Aircraft Spruce offers an incredible breadth of coverage of all the stuff we need to build airplanes in our garages, and I find both their catalog and their web site superior to those of Wicks. Having said all that, my normal ordering pattern is to order the materials packges by plans chapter from Wicks, because Janet has done a pretty good job of picking up all the inventory changes over the years. The Wicks packages also include a couple of specialty parts, like those threaded studs that attach the main gear to the fuselage, that don't show up anywhere else in anyone's catalog -- even Wicks. When I'm ordering a few individual items I go to Aircraft Spruce because they are almost certain to carry what I need and their catalog/web page make it relatively easy to decide what I want.


If you know exactly what you want, and you want a bunch of it and nothing else (like that Skybolt tubing order), then you're usually better off to go to a specialty house. Dillsburg Airplane Works is the best source for 4130 steel. I got to know Charlie Voglesong, the owner, back in the early 70's when I was working a Skybolt project of my own, and he's a great guy if he's still with us -- Charlie was already in his sixties back then.


I'm only offering another observation for those who are just getting started. Ultimately you'll form your own opinions. When I moved my Cozy project to England six years ago I could not believe how big a hassle (and how expensive!) it became to get materials. Many hours were spent just finding someone who even offered what I needed. For the most part I have reverted to ordering from Wicks or Aircraft Spruce, having it delivered to a US address and either picking it up on a business trip or getting someone else to pack it up and bring it with their household goods when they move to England. All this adds big chunks of delay and costs. Anyone with the resources and perseverence to complete a homebuilt aircraft outside the US is unavoidably incuring a penalty of many additional months and many thousands of dollars. Come to think of it, things weren't all that much different in the US thirty years ago before Aircraft Spruce entered the scene and started expanding their product line. Back then Wicks Aircraft was still a small sideline for Wicks Organ Company, and they were simply a good source for high quality aircraft-grade spruce lumber as an offshoot from their pipe organ business. Be grateful that you can now pick up the Aircraft Spruce catalog, or log onto their web site, pick out what you want, place the order, and have it on your doorstep in a few days (or next morning if you really need it), nearly every time.

Paul Kuntz



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Paul's points are accurate and well taken. However, I think that the ATTITUDE of management at Spruce has a lot to do with the problem. I spoke to a few of them at length when they were trying to get me to take my web site comments down.


They pay lip service to the issues, then revert back to the standard operating procedure. The only way to improve their service is hit them in the wallet - then maybe they'll pay attention.


I'll knowingly pay a premium for a product from Wicks rather than give ACS the business. If enough people do this, then perhaps we'll all benefit by forcing a change in the ACS corporate attitude.


I suspect that a large part of the problem is that their order takers appear to be very low grade minimum wage people who dont know the products, or care. You know the rule, "pay peanuts - get monkeys". As long as they can get away with it, they'll chase the bottom line.

My 2c

I can be reached on the "other" forum http://canardaviationforum.dmt.net

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whoever you deal with, order in advance. When we purchased the foam for our wings, we bought them out!! They only had enough foam in stock for two sets of wings! These are small suppliers in a small market, our rule is to keep 3 months supplies on hand at all times, then you rarely get bit by the out of stock bug.

When you deal with the custom fab shops, hardware/landing gear struts/etc we extend that rule to 6 months.



maker wood dust and shavings - foam and fiberglass dust and one day a cozy will pop out, enjoying the build


i can be reached at



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