Friday, April 30, 2010

April 2010

“XP-82 Restoration Project”
#44 83887 Twin Mustang Progress Report

Work Progress
Again a good month with only salaries and a nominal amount of machine work paid out.

Vertical stabilizer with new skins
The majority of the month was spent on the two aft fuselage extensions making everything fit perfectly--a somewhat more time consuming task than I had planned, as parts that appeared undamaged from the Alaska wreck didn’t quite line up with the original rivet and bolt holes in some of the parts.  The impact inertia stretched the part(s) just enough that the damage wasn’t visible until you checked it with a mirror image part or the plans.  This step added some time to the set up as we had to prove every dimension.  Both tail extensions are now complete, attached to the verticals (less skinning) and the forward bulkhead alignment that I mentioned in the last month’s newsletter.

Peres' spars
Peres (PA) has completed our two forward upper and lower spar caps well, and he has started on the two aft ones.   (Pictures attached)  Lesche (NJ) has completed and shipped our two rear spar caps for the horizontal stabilizer and four 4’ obtuse (open) engine mount angles.   Barry (GA) has completed eight out of eleven engine mount formed parts.  This is the same Barry that made all of our second fuselage longerons and saved us a kazillion dollars!  He just did it again.  (Picture attached)
Engine mount legs

And last, we just contracted with Casey Hill (GA), an English wheel expert, to wheel our eight upper and lower aft fuselage skins.  He is the one that formed all of the wing and tail fairings on the B-17 Liberty Belle prior to my selling it.

More engine mounts
On 10 May I am going to Peres Pattern (PA) to start the engineering layout of all of our center section and wing attach angles.  I sent him all of the good and rejected attach angles out of the Colorado parts gold mine that I found so that he can have them for patterns.   With the three remaining billets from the center section and horizontal stabilizer spar caps, we should have just enough material remaining to do the angles.  I am absolutely sure (maybe) that we have enough metal left over.  I’ll know when I get there and lay out everything.   I am also having the four outboard torched-off spar caps sections shipped UPS to Peres to have as patterns for the tapers and reliefs milled in the outboard ends of each spar.  The plans do not depict these tapers or reliefs, so we must copy from existing parts.

Aft vertical extension 
We haven’t started shooting skins on the fuselage as of yet.  Paul and I were tied up on the aft fuselage extensions through the third week in April.  1 May we will get started on riveting. along with riveting in the aft horizontal stabilizer spar caps.

We are bringing samples of the horizontal, vertical, and center section leading edge shapes to Thrush Aircraft (Albany, GA) for them to press-form these edges for us.  

Some of the troops are also into salvaging usable stringers and compression ribs out of the scrapped three center sections from Colorado.  We have to recover these parts first prior to copying the Minnesota center section skins as the rivet holes in the two center sections, his and ours, might not match.  We will finish drilling the new skins during final assembly using air worthy salvaged parts for rivet patterns.  It’s always a large complicated puzzle, but not hard to figure out as long as one doesn’t prematurely drill holes where they will not match the replacement parts.
Peres' aileron parts

Pictures are attached of new machined parts back to us from Vic Peres (PA).

We are starting to amass a very good supply of new #1 Cad plate hardware (original silver color of our XP hardware); so, as we continue reassembly of our aircraft, everything will match.

Some of our help has been working on the two XP seats.   We got two different seats from Walter Soplata, so they didn’t match--different manufacturers.  I had one seat to go into my “D” Model Mustang which matched one of the XP’s so we are mixing and matching parts to assemble two that are identical.  Thirty years ago one could  buy WWII seats, all you wanted, for $20 each.  Now they are hard to find any at any price.

“Kat”astastroke (almost)--as Jimmy Durante would say for all of us old enough to remember him.  (For those who are too young to remember who Jimmy Durante was, he was among Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Buster Keaton and Milton Berle--real comedians.)   Rivet, our kat, captured a young mockingbird and dragged it into the office through the front door and the fight was on to see who was going to get the bird.   After much blood--mine--we got the bird away from Rivet, and after examination by Weezie, it was apparently unhurt, just frightened.  She carried it a few hundred feet away to release it into the trees, but the poor little fellow wouldn’t let go of her and fly away to freedom!  Only a substantial amount of prying of claws from her finger and arm got the job done!   It’s amazing how animals can sense who is there to help them.

Bumps in the Road
Employees of the Month
Our Katz
See photo of Allison and Rivet sleeping all intertwined with each other.
Caption:  “We love this union job!  We don’t have to wake up till 5 p.m. and then just to punch the time clock!”
Come see your aircraft!



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