Updated: March 11, 2020
Van’s Aircraft is investigating the discovery of potential surface corrosion on the interior aluminum surfaces of Quick Build wing and fuselage kits assembled during a specific timeframe. Kits that are in-scope for this review are those that were assembled by our contract company and delivered to Van’s Aircraft between June 2020 and January 2021. Note that not all kits from this time period are necessarily affected, and the scope of our investigation is intentionally broad to help ensure sufficient and complete information collection.
As we all know, COVID has resulted in significant impacts on the staffing and timeliness of businesses around the world. While we have worked hard to navigate the difficult business environment and maintain our business as close as possible to pre-COVID operations, these impacts have affected Van’s and our various subcontract business partners. In mid-2020 our Quick Build contract team was forced into a 100% closure for several weeks, and then was significantly limited in terms of staffing due to local COVID regulations.
Our investigation and a series of lab analyses indicate that in cases where surface corrosion is present on these QB assemblies, the cause appears to be the insufficient formulation and/or application of primer combined with the introduction of sweat on the parts’ surfaces during assembly at the contractor’s facility. Van’s temporarily halted Quick Build production in January while the primer application issue was identified, verified, and remediated. In addition, Van’s has examined and is in the process of remediating primer issues found on Quick Build kits that have already been delivered to us as well as kits that are currently stored at our factory warehouse. This will, of course, take some extra time to complete and has resulted in delays to our delivery timelines for all QB customers. We have not yet completed the process of determining what the extent of these delays will be, but know that we are working on that and will communicate more details as soon as we have made those determinations. We will ensure first and foremost that the QB kits we ship meet our standards and that we offer customers options so they can decide how best to address the situation for their project needs.
As we continue our investigation, we are currently reaching out directly to customers who have already received Quick Build kits that could potentially be affected, to assess the delivered kits and ensure they are checked. We have asked each of these customers to complete a survey, in which they follow specific instructions to briefly examine and photograph certain parts/areas of their Quick Build kits, and then submit that information to Van’s Aircraft for review. In the event a customer’s kit is affected, our staff is working directly with each kit owner to resolve his or her individual needs based on our analysis of that kit. As always, Van’s Aircraft stands by its customers and products, and we’ll do what it takes.
For customers who are awaiting Quick Build kit delivery, we are also reviewing each of the QB kits that we have received in our factory but not yet shipped, to determine the state of each with regard to the primer issue under investigation. As a result, timelines for customers awaiting kit delivery have been affected and we do not yet have a new timeline to communicate. We will communicate information as it becomes available.
For customers who more recently ordered a QB kit and have been provided a future delivery date or have been quoted a 12+ months date, we will also work to determine and timeline impacts and will communicate estimated delivery timelines as soon as we are able.
Unfortunately, this effort and determination of the timelines is not a quick process. The parts that are manufactured and sent to our Quick Build assembly partner are, of course, the same parts that are packaged and used to create standard build kits. Therefore, our overall manufacturing plan must carefully accommodate the multiple kit pipelines and minimize delivery impact, while several variables are in play. That plan now needs to include remediation of already delivered kits as well as the reworking of some kits. It is a complicated situation, but it’s one that we are working hard to resolve. We will communicate more with each customer as soon as we have sufficient information and are able. In the meanwhile, please know that we appreciate and understand any and all frustration and worry, and that we’re hard at work to get our kits to people as soon as we can during difficult circumstances.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support and understanding!
The Van’s Aircraft Team