Saturday, August 5, 2017

July Update

We will post a detailed update next month ... but in the meantime ...

A Major Bump in the Road
Darn ... another XP-82/F-82 showed up at Oshkosh 2017 (not Pat Harker's F-82E or our XP-82) without anybody knowing that this 82 existed. We thought we would be the first 82 to get to Oshkosh ... but it's not going to be!

See you next month!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Updat

Since we are getting very close to the completion of our XP-82 project, there are fewer and fewer major accomplishments that can be photographed. Our restoration project updates will now be every two or three months.

Top Engine Cowlings
Casey Hill, one of our two English wheel subcontract wizards, came down for three days to help on the fairings, and I pointed out the non-fitting top right-hand engine cowl and asked if he could do anything with it. It took him and Paul a day, and the two of them had it fitting perfectly. The team should have this left-hand top cowl completed within the next two weeks.

Fuselage Fairings
All the outboard fairings from each leading edge to trailing edge of the fuselage-to-wing are now completed. The final seam welding of the two outboard forward fairings was completed this past week.  The last two parts to complete are the two lower halves of the inboard side of each fuselage-to-center-section fairing. 

Paul, our lead sheet metal team member, has done a wonderful job by learning these English wheel and Yoder hammer sheet metal techniques with help from Rick Reeves, our other English wheel subcontract wizard. These have been very difficult pieces to form, but they have come out very nice. In one more week, Paul will have the two bottom halves completed, awaiting seam welding. That will complete all of the fairings on our XP-82.

Lower Chin Cowl to Air Induction Trunk Adapters
Randall and Paiden have accomplished in two weeks what I thought would have taken at least a month: forming these two extreme compound curve adapters that join the chin cowls to the air induction trunks as well as the adapter covers to rubber seal these two removable joints. The only remaining thing to do is to install the rubber for the seals (on order). 

Two team members have been completing and checking out each electrical system one circuit at a time. Every circuit has now been proven except for one wire on one coolant door motor, two rotating beacon resistors and the entire up/down landing gear circuit. Within the next two weeks we should have the remainder of the electrical system completed.

Exhaust Fairings
When we purchased the Soplata XP-82, we found only two of the four required exhaust fairings. These secondary stainless steel exhaust fairings only fit the P-51 H Mustang and the first 22 Merlin-powered 82s. We have scoured the earth and surrounding planets for a pair of these exhaust fairings, but no extras to purchase exist. There are only three H model Mustangs still flying and their owners have no clue where we could buy any of these fairings. 

These six-exhaust-stack fairings are very difficult to press due to the .050 thickness of the stainless steel and the very sharp-edged detail around each exhaust port. Thus we have to have a pair of aluminum male and female press dies (four) machined to produce these parts. We have sent one of these two mirror image exhaust fairings to one of our subcontract machine shops to have it 3D printed. The computer can flip the 3D printing to be able to make the mirror image part.

Avionics Package (Garmin)
The Garmin radio package was delivered. The installation will be started sometime in July.

Man (and woman) hours spent on our XP-82 restoration to date 
173,000, including everybody who has worked on it over the past nine years, our labor force, subcontractors, volunteers, etc. Thank you all.

North America Aviation – The design and engineering hours to build the first XP-82 (our aircraft) up to and including its first flight. 1,462,190.

The Kat

Allison wishes everyone a Happy 4th of July!



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Project Update

Happy Memorial Day to All of our Veterans
both Past and Present

We are in the last phases of all the tests of each electrical circuit. Quite complicated systems in the XP-82 and also the first twenty B model 82s which all had full dual controls. Each pilot had the ability to switch all electrical controls back and forth between the two pilots, i.e., boost pumps, fuel shut-offs, cross-feeds, all lighting, electronic mixture controls, coolant door motors, carburetor air temperature motors, generators, bombs, rockets, guns and super chargers.  All of this switching of the electrical controls could be given or taken by selecting certain switching relays.

This unique ability to switch the controls from pilot to co-pilot was required as the 82 had a 12-hour plus range with external fuel. This way one or the other pilot could sleep on long missions. (In 1947 Col. Robert Thacker flew Betty Jo, a Merlin-powered P-82B, non-stop from Hawaii to LaGuardia airport in 14.5 hours. He is still living today at the young age of 100.)

We finally found the last of the two electrical components to complete the original radio installations. The impact detonator switches which could be set off by either pilot prior to bailing out to destroy at that time the top-secret radios are now installed in both cockpits.

Pilot's radio package

Co-Pilot's radio package

Fuselage Fairings
Most of the months of April and May have been spent English-wheeling the fuselage-to-center section and the fuselage-to-outboard wing trailing edge and wing fairings. Quite a bit of complicated special curvatures had to be wheeled into the trailing edge fairings that do not show in the pictures. All four fairings are temporarily fit prior to final trimming.

Left-hand inboard fuselage-to-center section fairing

Right-hand inboard fuselage-to-center section fairing

Right-hand outboard fuselage-to-wing fairing

Left-hand outboard fuselage-to-wing fairing

English-wheeling one of the fairings

We have just started forming the four compound curved leading edge fairings that go from the fuselages to the center section and fuselages to the outboard wings.

Top Engine Cowling
Prior to spot-welding, the tack riveting of the top right cowl for the right-hand engine is now being completed. The solid rectangular line of clecos is holding in the stainless exhaust trough. These will be filled with rivets as spot-welding will not attach stainless to aluminum. The opposing left-hand top cowling panel will have to be remade.

Interior of the top right cowling for the right-hand engine

Exterior of the top right cowling for the right-hand engine

Hydraulic System
The hydraulic system tests for the landing gear and flaps should be completed by the end of this coming June.

Control Systems
The final rigging of range movements for the primary flight control cables for both the elevator and rudders is now completed, along with the trim tab systems for each.

When the outboard wings are full attached, the final rigging for the ailerons and trim tab will be completed.

Engine crankcase vent tubes that are attached to each valve cover and the
nose case vent port are now completed

Allison - Employee of the Month
Doing what she does best

Quote of the Month

“What keeps you awake at night?” CBS “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson asked Gen. “Mad Dog” Mattis.

“Nothing,” a stone faced Mattis responded. “I keep other people awake at night.”


When Paul Tibbits was preparing the 509th Composite Group to drop the first atomic bomb, there was a tremendous amount of griping about how dangerous flying the new B-29 was. (It really was as many of the first ones crashed due to mechanical difficulties.) 

So, one extremely hot summer day, he ordered all of the pilots at Tonopah, NV, the private base they were based at for security reasons, to stand at attention in a straight line out in the sun along a yellow line painted on the pavement. Along comes a B-29 overhead with #1 engine shut down (feathered) which would usually lead to an accident. Instead of the B-29 landing right away, it circled over the airport and then feathered #2 engine (both left-hand engines are the critical engines due to torque being produced by engines #3 and #4). All of the pilots standing in line started to make comments about how surely there was going to be a fireball very soon. The B-29 made a perfect approach, safely landed and taxied up to the ready shack.

A number of minutes go by and the entrance/exit hatch opened and a woman pilot (WASP – Women’s Air Service Pilot) exited the aircraft and walked into the base headquarters.  All of the male 509th pilots, now sweating profusely, were waiting at attention for the male pilot to exit the aircraft. Another minute goes by and a second female pilot exited and walked into the base headquarters. Col Paul Tibbits dismissed all of the 509th pilots and they all ran over to look up into the B-29 and realized there was no other personnel aboard. There was no more griping from the men about flying the B-29 after that. He had a special way of working with personnel.

This was a personal story told by then Gen. Paul Tibbits to Tom Reilly on one of his many 1990s visits to Tom’s warbird museum in Kissimmee, FL. This photo was taken in Tom’s museum while the general was signing autographs.

Paul Tibbits - 23 February 1915 - 1 November 2007. 
He piloted the Enola Gay, a true American Hero.


Friday, May 19, 2017

XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Presentation

For those of you that live in Oregon and Washington, EAA Chapter 1567 and Gorge Aviation will host Tom Reilly on 17 June at noon who will give a presentation on the restoration of our XP-82 Twin Mustang.  Come to the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport and here Tom tell the story of the XP-82 restoration from discovery and salvage to where we are today in the final steps to becoming a flying Twin Mustang! As an added bonus, Col. Dick Cole will be there!

Friday, May 5, 2017

XP-82 Twin Mustang Updates

Due to an overwhelming work load and being off schedule for a couple of months, we will resume our newsletters on the 1st of each month from now one like before. Thank you for your continued interest in our XP-82 restoration project.

Our XP-82 Twin Mustang

Monday, April 17, 2017

April XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Newsletter

Wing Tips
After what seemed like forever, the forming and welding of the seams on the two wing tips are now completed with the exception of their final spot welding.  The Lucite (Plexi-glass) red and the green lens that cover each tip light bulb still need to be formed.

Left-hand wing tip with tip light mount

 Right-hand wing tip with tip light mount and three holes for identification lights

Tail and Wing Fairings
The left and right horizontal-to-vertical stabilizer fairings are now complete, less the welding on the leading edge seams. They have a unique mounting. Each fairing screws horizontally to the vertical stabilizer and dorsal panel, but only rub on a thin phenolic strip mounted on the upper and lower surfaces of the horizontal stabilizer without any vertical attaching screws.

Left-hand (above) and right-hand (below) horizontal-to-vertical
fairings prior to welding the seams

The forming of the fuselage-to-wing/center section and trailing edge fairings has just been started.

Top Cowlings for Right-hand Engine
The right-hand top cowl for the right-hand engine has now finally been reworked, fit and drilled to the internal framework. The left-hand top cowl is still presenting such a challenge that we think we will have to remake the entire panel. It has been quite a frustrating job to try to correct these two top panels.

Original WWII Radios
The final radio receiver, a BC-966-A, has been installed completing our entire radio package. We also found an rare detonator switch that upon a very high G-force crash sends a signal to an explosive charge mounted in each radio that destroys the radios so an enemy cannot gain any knowledge. Of course all of our radios have had these charges removed.

 BC-966-A Receiver

 Detonator impact switch

We also have original Cannon plug connectors for each radio that still need to be wired for authenticity. 

The latest Garmin radio and avionics package is being installed as we speak.

Carburetor Air Temperature Control Motors
These two motors with their microscopic armatures, field windings, micro-switch wiring, 90 degree gearing and switch rollers are almost complete. The left-hand motor has been finished for about two weeks now.  We should have the final backlash fitting of the two 90 degree gears in the right-hand motor completed next week and both motors finally installed in the engine compartments. 

 Screen-printed Panels
All of the screen-printed panels have now been fitted with their switches, rheostats, lights, push buttons, etc., and mounted in their respective positions in each cockpit.

 Left cockpit flap handle, aileron trip, landing light switch, rudder trim,
elevator trim and gear handle

Right-hand radio channel selector/emergency gear up-lock
release pull handle in right cockpit

Bendix Radio Remote Tuning Unit MN-28-C. The red handle is the
emergency landing gear up-lock roller(s) and gear door hook(s) releases
(Pilot's cockpit)

Pilot's main breaker panel

Co-pilot's breaker panel

Pilot's left-hand switch panel

Co-pilot's left-hand switch panel

Gear Retractions
I chose to make two special steel mounting plates that attach with internal wrenching bolts to and through each lower wing attach angle.  Each jack mounting plate has two male sockets, one for jacking the aircraft for retractions adjacent to the center section main spar, and a second one for the weight-and-balance pick-up point next to the main landing gear. Both steel mounting plates are removable after the retractions and weight-and-balance calculations. 

We have now filled the XP-82 hydraulic system with 14 quarts of Mil H 5606 hydraulic fluid, and we are proceeding with the gear retractions.

Much time is being spent adjusting the twelve push-pull rods which activate each inboard gear door forward and aft up-lock hooks along with the emergency up-lock release and hook pull cables.

Happy Easter from the Easter Bunny. Strange how she looks so much like our Allison.