“XP-82 Restoration Project”
#44 83887 Twin Mustang Progress Report
|Aileron hinge blocks|
A very productive month, but somewhat expensive (engine payment $65K). We completed all of the high shear riveting on the left-hand fuselage longerons with the exception of the two outer most aft upper fittings. Both of these fittings failed NDI inspections due to below surface corrosion not detectable by the human eye. Both fittings are being manufactured out of a new 7075 T-6 aluminum billet and will be delivered the first week of March. After receipt, they will be high shear attached, and the final assembly of the left fuselage will begin.
Of the 186 parts that went for NDI inspection only five failed; the two mentioned above, and three steel parts which we have duplicates of among the Colorado and Alaska parts.
|Center section fittings|
I have made three round trips back and forth to NDI and cadmium plate in Orlando; 520 miles each trip. All of the fittings and associated parts being inspected are too valuable to trust to UPS or FedEx. You can imagine the re-manufacturing expense, not to mention the cost of the delay incurred to replace a box of 60 to 80 parts. We inventoried every part by part number--both out the door and back in again--and didn’t lose a one. The gas and time spent was more than shipping by UPS, but well worth the extra security.
We are also re-cadmium plating all of the new and original hardware and steel parts back to Cad I, the original silver color finish. Cad II is a present day gold color plating, definitely not correct for 1945.
|Engine mount saddles|
We are making good progress on the aft fuselage sub-assemblies and are continuing the re-skinning of both vertical stabilizers. We have also completed high shear riveting on approximately half of the fittings on the right-hand fuselage longerons. When the left-hand fuselage is complete and off the fixture, we will complete the fitting of the remaining attachments to the right-hand fuselage, as we need the fixture to precisely locate the rivet and attachment holes to be drilled in the new “non-drilled” longerons. (Matching the right-hand fuselage longerons to the matching location left-hand fuselage longerons, by using a setup table, will not be accurate enough so we must wait for the fixture to be available.)
All of the second engine mount structure leg components are being pressed by our part-time parts maker in Atlanta. These are very difficult and complex parts to form, but he has four of the eleven already completed.
I am also going to donate my stock of new bearing supplies left over from Kissimmee. Contributing this large number of new K3, K4, K5 and K6 bearings, needed for our XP project, will provide a substantial savings to our budget.
Engines & Props
I was notified by MT Propeller that the first prop will be completed and test run in Latrobe, PA in April. I will go to PA to witness the test run and to finalize spinner back plate size and contour.
Vic Peres (PA) has agreed to manufacture our two large forward center section spar caps. This leaves the two aft horizontal and two aft center section spar caps to be completed by Lesche (NJ). However, we are not getting much production out of Lesche, so I intend to pull the spar cap order from him and give it to Peres after he finishes the two forward center section spar caps.
Bumps in the Road
The above mentioned parts hold up from Lesche -- but as of yet, it is not causing any work delays.
Michael O’Leary from Air Classics wants to do a feature story on our XP project as soon as we get the skins on the first fuselage. I expect him to do an article sometime this Spring.
Thanks everyone for trusting us to manage your hard-earned investments and to bring this ultra rare XP-82 back to life! As always, the books are open for your inspection.
Please come see your aircraft -- and bring your work clothes!