5,048 miles. As the crow flies. 13 countries away, a group of Brazilians shuffles around a small shop, tinkering. Outside the musty air of busy bustle and hustle from nearby Sao Paulo mixes with the warm clean air of the Amazon rain forest. The guys speak in a distinct, quick paced Portuguese. They tote rivet guns and aluminum measuring squares in Metric, not Imperial units. But, they’re not tinkering like your typical mechanic. These tinkerers are working in precisely fabricated aluminum, high tech avionics, and light-weight-high-horse power aviation engines. They don’t go down to the mud rally once a month and tear this week’s frankentruck apart while drinking beer. Their passion, is designing, building, testing, certifying, selling, and flying light weight aircraft. Maybe that’s where the trust started, between two guys who just love to design, and love to build. Matheus Grande and his team have a passion for building aircraft, and Dakota Durden and the Grit team have a passion for building, well everything.
This time, one year ago, Matheus and Dakota were walking through a cold, dank, dilapidated hangar in Hondo, Texas. It’s hard sometimes, even for us who design and build, to see the change we’re capable of inflicting on buildings, landscapes.. our surroundings in general. And for most of us who are not designers and builders, that vision is even more challenging. But that day, Grit, and newly branded Texas Aircraft shared a vision.
Today I’m asking you all along… “got a lil’ story for ya Ags,” as my A&M comrades all say. So join me, follow Grit. I can’t wait to share all the stories, methods, tricks, successes, and even a couple failures that we were so blessed to share with Matheus and the Texas Aircraft team as they courageously brought their dream to the US (future story there by the way, for all those out there who seem to have lost site of what America means to the rest of the world).
For today, I’m just going to share some of the killer details of this project with you. And, of course, some sweet shots of the crew and the project. Here’s the bullets, come back for more awesomeness later:
- Expedited design-build schedule. Because who likes things easy, am I right??
- Budget budget budget: cheap labor, cheap materials.. meet crazy hot market, lack of labor, and skyrocketing prices. Hey Grit, handle it.
- WWII Airfield is reborn into 2019 with slick design, smart materials and methods, and commitment to the details. Even Admiral Nimitz would crack a grin at this place boys.
- Paint booths, compressed air, welding, and upholstery oh my!
- Dark dank offices get a makeover. Back off Chip and Joanna, this is big boy commercial contractor time baby.
- Machine shops, because who the heck doesn’t love big, heavy, precision machinery?
- Intelligent design, it’s a team effort. No really, we work together with other people… it’s a thing.
- Appeasing the authorities, not as easy as it was with the local JP when you got busted in high school.
And so, I leave you with an enticing 13 images, a precursor to the many stories and images to follow. Let’s all welcome our Brazilian friends, and let’s all extend our excitement for our new Texas brothers’ success.