Stewart Delivers

You know its a custom transporter when the only thing in this trailer all the way from Indiana was our kit.

About ten days before Christmas, we fell into an incredible deal on an F1 Rocket kit (and a motor!) that was located in central Indiana. The financials worked out, and it was clear there was nothing to slow us down getting the kit to our home in Nevada except 2,000 miles of winter driving. I looked at U-Haul… I could rent a truck for about $2900, add gas to the tune of about $1200 more – add airline tickets at the last minute, rental cars, hotels – it was going to cost five or six grand and take at least three or four days – of winter driving.

But wait! There is a company set up specifically to transport precious cargo liek aircraft, aircraft kits, and kit cars—Stewart Transport, based in Phoenix, Arizona. Stewart had long established connections with kit-car maker Factory Five Racing, and already knew the custom transport business when Tony Partain, a longtime custom transporter of aircraft kits decided it was time to retire. Stewart absorbed Partain’s business—and the care he put into each and every delivery—and became a serious option for those needing a kit delivered to their door without damage. Traditional motor transport carriers seem to get a little careless with their forklifts at times.

Stewart’s trailers have an overhead crane that can sling loads from the front of the rig all the way out the back.

I dropped a note to Stewart about a trip from Indiana to Carson City, expecting that it would have to be set up for January, but lo and behold they had a driver in the Carolinas looking to get home to Phoenix for the holidays, and they’d rather have a paying load than an empty truck for the trip. Stewart priced the load at $5500, and said they could make the pickup in two days and the delivery three days later. What wasn’t to like? We shook hands over the internet, and I turned my attention to preparing a place for all the parts of the kit. The driver made the pickup on time, with the seller (Vince Frazier of Team Rocket Aircraft) helping load the otherwise empty trailer. I was kept informed via texts and calls of the progress, and Mark, the driver arrived fifteen minutes ahead of his predicted time. The airpark neighborhood turned out to help with the unload, and everyone was impressed with the care with which the kit was packed, loaded, and transported. The onboard crane made unloading the IO-540 simple and  Mark was on his way an hour after arriving, heading out to pick up a load bound for Arizona.

The custom trailers feature special racks for wings on the walls, and drivers accustomed to cargoes needing special handling.

While I greatly enjoy travel and driving long distances, Stewart was a no-brainer when it came to bringing this cargo across the country safely, swiftly, and with care. With costs about the same as if I did it myself, it was easy to let the pros handle the entire process!

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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