“XP-82 Restoration Project”
#44 83887 Twin Mustang Progress Report
On Tuesday evening, 14 October, Paul and I traveled to Minneapolis and then on to Blaine to copy all of Pat Harker’s center section skins. We were able to obtain very reasonable airline flights and hotel accommodations, but the rental car was another story. I explained to the rental car girl that I didn’t want to buy the car, but just wanted to rent it for four days to no avail.
We arrived at Pat’s on Wednesday morning, 15 October, and he and his men were extremely helpful on our efforts to copy all of the skins and to photograph the multitude of center section details. Thanks, Pat!
We were able to complete all of the drilling and build a new 4’ x 12’ palletized box to ship the aluminum sheets back to Georgia by Friday evening The trucking company shredded the crate on the Georgia to Blaine shipment, but fortunately, none of the aluminum was damaged. This time we built a much stronger box to withstand the loading dock gorillas.
Barry (ATL) is completing both of our engine mounts at his home workshop. This arrangement has saved us some cost on travel and hotels.
|Lefthand fuselage complete|
|LH fuselage goes into container|
Paul and Randall have completed two of the three top fuselage skins. They can’t finish the third skin because it doesn’t fit perfectly in the left forward corner and we have to wait for Casey (English Wheel wizard) to return to adjust it. (Picture attached) The LH fuselage has been moved into the number two container, and the layout and assembly of the RH fuselage has started. (Pictures attached) When Casey completes some pre-committed work, he will return and adjust the LH fuselage third skin and complete the wheeling of the three RH fuselage top skins.
More Good News
|Salvaged wing stringers|
We were able to save the two below canopy panels that were dented and creased that came off of the original Soplata fuselage. Within a few hours of careful English wheel work, I was able to form them back to the original shape and save us about $6,000+ instead of having Casey make four of them from scratch. We will make two concrete molds, LH and RH, as patterns off of these two saved panels and press two additional ones for the RH fuselage with our new rubber press table. (Picture attached)
|Salvaged below-canopy panels|
Two of our men from the Stearman job started drilling extrusion stringers off the one P-82 wing section from Colorado. We were able to save about 25 stringers and eight fuel tank large hat sections, saving us about $4,000 because we won’t have to replicate these parts.
We are just restarting on the center section flap skinning and should have it completed by 30 November.
We went to Minnesota and copied the center section skins and spar webs. The restoration work that he and his men have accomplished on his project is breathtaking. (Pictures not allowed. Sorry.)
|Fuel tank hat sections|
A small change of plans. I was going to sub assemble the center section in Erie at Peres’ machine shop, but with the additional data we got at Blaine, I decided to have the spars sent directly to Douglas and start assembly here.
We are attempting to hire one additional sheet metal man that we have a good lead on. I will keep you advised on our success.
|The righthand fuselage is under way|
Next summer when we have the majority of both fuselages, both aft fuselage extensions, horizontal stabilizer, elevator, flap, vertical stabilizers, and engine mounts completed, and the center section going together, we will have enough parts to make our project look like an airplane.
Bumps in the Road
None -- Except the wheels that we purchased fit but they are not the correct spoke style. When the man that now owns Chesapeake Airways Surplus looked at our old wheels, he said he might have two in his parts collection that we can buy.
This month they didn’t do anything but sleep, meow for treats, sleep and do lots of things that required litter box attention.
Come see your aircraft!
P.S. Boo! (Happy Halloween!)