Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 2010

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

Work Progress
Engine mount legs
Another good progress month.  Everyone is receiving this news release about 3-4 days early so you have it prior to our get together on 4 September.

Engine mount parts
Barry (Atlanta) completed the last three lower engine mount legs (picture attached), and I took them including all of the remaining eight engine mount parts and the four aft fuselage extension leading edge angles to Braddock Heat Treating in Daytona Beach to bring them all up to T-4 hardness.  While there, I had the center section center flap steel track annealed from 39 Rockwell down to soft so that we could bend it back to straight and weld a small tear in one corner.  At 39 Rockwell one could drive a tank over it without bending it.  It is now malleable enough to re-straighten with our large press.  It was easier to repair the piece than make another due to its complexity (picture attached).

Parts from hell (aft fuse. angles)
Barry has finally finished (the four parts from hell) the aft fuselage extension forward angles.  These four incredibly difficult parts cost us about $15K to make, severely nibbling into our budget (picture attached).  

Vic Peres (Erie), has been making canopy rails and other long extrusion shapes for the rear center section spar webs. 

Paul, Tom (the other Tom), Randall and Bryan have been working the flap leading edge and skinning the vertical stabilizers (picture attached). 
2nd oil pan mold

We have made a concrete wire-reinforced mold off of the original oil tank pan mounted in the LH firewall as a press die to press another pan for the RH firewall (picture attached). 

Firewall installed
We had a confusing misalignment of about .050 (pretty small) of a inch where the very forward lower longerons attach to the stainless bottom of both firewalls.  It turned out to be the 100+ degree heat causing an expansion of our steel fuselage fixture combined with a small warpage from the fixture welding.   Everything is now adjusted and in alignment.  We have one firewall completed with the second one not far behind (picture attached).
CS Flap leading edge

We also had the same heat misalignment problem with the Lexan plastic drill pattern for the lower flap skin.  (One uses a sheet of Lexan to visually drill through the existing holes in the structure so you can align all of the ribs and stringers perfectly straight.)  We used the drill table in the 100+ temperature of the hangar, and the pattern expanded to a half a hole longer in length than the setup holes in the piece of .032 sheet aluminum.  We cured the problem by using the table in the air conditioned office.  We brought the Lexan and aluminum in, and after a little wait, the lower temperature brought the alignment right back in tolerance (picture attached).

The guys are sure using up lots of pounds of rivets (my leftover stock from Kissimmee), shooting all of these skins.

Cockpit ribs installed
Jeremy, our new painter, has been using up gallons of yellow primer on all of the last remaining fuselage, mount and tail parts prior to their being riveted into the structure(s).    The LH forward fuselage is starting to take shape with the installation of the two lower longerons and all of the vertical rib structure attached to the firewall (picture attached).

Leading edge on VS
We hope to see a propellor test run early this fall.  As soon as we get a satisfactory test run by MT (we don’t expect a problem with the run as the products MT manufacture are flawless), we will sell the two 4-bladed Hamilton Standard hubs that we purchased as backups.

The new vertical leading edge that Thrush repressed for us is now riveted in place (picture attached).  Thank you, Thrush!  

Casey using English wheel
Casey Hill (Atlanta), our English wheel wizard (a dual-wheel, metal-forming, upright machine to roll compound curves into flat stock), came and formed three of the four top fuselage skins (picture attached).  Each fuselage top requires three skins.  When the fuselages are on the rotisserie, he will then make the six bottom skins.  Wheeling skins is a lost art which takes many years to learn.  I have been working on the wheel for twenty years now and still don’t have it completely figured out.

Bumps in the Road
Allison reading a drawing plan

Synchronized sleeping
Synchronized sleeping--a new union Olympic sport.  Allison helping us read the plans (pictures attached).

Party Get Together
At the get together, everyone that has been so instrumental in making this project a reality will get to meet each other.  You will also get to meet the incredible team we have put together to bring your extremely rare XP-82 back into the air.  Along with our employee team, you will get to know all of our subcontractors (Barry Hutton, Lowell Ford, Carlin Thomas, Tom Wilson, Cullen Underwood, Jody Bays, Casey Hill, Ron Farleman and Vic Peres)(I know I have forgotten somebody’s name).  Each one of the above is responsible for manufacturing some very difficult parts for our XP project.  You will also see demonstrations of the English wheel, riveting, rubber press operations, cable swedging, braking and shearing, and more of the operations that go into restoring your aircraft.  We are also going to have a nice luncheon with warm beer and cheap booze.  Sorry, no booze or beer on the airport.  Dinner will be at the Flying Cowboy restaurant up at the corner, strange name but a really nice place.

Hope to see all of you on 4 September!



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