Monday, February 28, 2011

February 2011

“XP-82 Restoration Project”

#44 83887 Twin Mustang Progress Report

Forward Right-hand Fuselage
Work Progress
A very inexpensive and major progress month!

Work on the right-hand fuselage is coming along exceedingly well.  Paul, Randall and Ayman are through with the riveting on the two forward and the left-hand middle skins, and are fitting the left-hand aft skin. 

Forward Right-hand Fuselage


Bryan and I have started on the two windshields and canopies.  The new one that we got from Wittington needed to have only the aft and side skins English-wheeled, due to handling damage, and the white paint scuffed and repainted to the correct interior color.  

Canopy Glare Shields
The canopy that we got from the woman in St. Petersburg, FL, which turned out to be a correct one, was in terrible shape, but salvageable.  We were able to repair the lower two rails and make all new internal and external English-wheeled skins to fit. Both windshields and one canopy still need their arched bows machined and fitted.  The one new canopy glass that I received from Wittington in the canopy is in perfect condition and usable.  

Glass Beaded Canopy Parts

I will be buying a second canopy glass to fit into the second canopy frame. All of the windshield glass, six panels in total, will also have to be made.  The two windshield glare shields are now going together with major repair work having to have been accomplished on the left one as it had been sitting under water for decades.  All of the structural work on the glare shields, windshields and second canopy frame, less bows, will be completed by the end of February.

Reworking Gear Door
After the inner and outer skins on the outboard gear doors from the Alaska crash were annealed, I have been trying to rework them out to an approximate shape so that I can make patterns to duplicate the parts.  Boy, did they get squooshed in the crash!  Fortunately somehow they got clear of the inferno, so they didn’t get burned up, and we can possibly get some data off the parts. 
English-wheeling Gear Door 

Good News, no – Great News
A few months ago I mentioned that I had purchased a pair of 32” x 8.8” wheels from  a vendor out in Utah, knowing that they were Skyraider wheels, but they did not have the same spoke design as the XP-82 wheels.   I was told by a number of parts dealers that the spoke-type wheels were just not available any longer. 

Our New Wheels
I called a friend of mine who has a P-47 Thunderbolt (gorgeous) and a AD Skyraider and asked him if he possibly had any leads on any spoke-type 32” x 8.8” wheels.  He mentioned that he had two spoke-style wheels and said that he would possibly like to trade for the Skyraider types that we had.   His wheels turned out to be brand new Goodyear manufacture wheels in the factory boxes.  We traded even-up.  Thank you, Neal! 

New Wheels

Neal Melton and John Shoffner own matching P-47s and have a wonderful warbird museum, Tennessee Museum of Aviation, near Pigeon Forge/Sevierville, TN.  If you are ever up close to that area, stop in and see them at the Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport (GKT).

Website, Facebook, EAA Article
Hurray!  Our website is up and running.  Thank you, Weezie, Donna and Jen Renninger.   And, thanks to Mike Brooks for helping set up Facebook.

•  The number of hits to our website was 542 within the first seventeen hours. 

•  The EAA article generated 1,950 hits within the first month. 

•  The Facebook page generated an astonishing 16,000+ hits within the first month from  
    fifteen different countries.    

•  I have found out that Internet Explorer does NOT work correctly with our website.
    There is a compatibility issue.  Use another browser and it should appear just fine.

At this rate, the people inhabiting Pluto will know about our XP-82.         

Up North Trip
Jeremy left on Wednesday, the 16th, toward Detroit with a bunch of my A6 Intruder and F101 Voodoo parts that I had sold to the Yankee Air Museum, so part of our fuel expense will be covered for part of the trip.  Friday morning, the 18th, he left for Cleveland to pick up our repaired gear casting, and then on to Erie, PA, to pick up our spar caps, longeron canopy rails, right-hand fuselage top spine rail, wing attach angles and 13 left-over aluminum billets.  Thank you, Vic, fore a very long and difficult job that came out beautiful.

Right-hand Formed Engine Cowls
On Friday evening, Jeremy continued southbound to Lewisburg, WV, and picked up the new right-hand formed engine cowls and the two original left-hand cowls that were used as patterns.  Very nice job.  Thank you, Bill Yoak with Aerospace Specialties!

All of the parts arrived back in Douglas without a scratch.  When he returned, we immediately got started on the set-up of the center section on our new fixture. 

Along with the spar caps and misc. other parts completed by Peres, we received back numerous (13) billets approximately 2” x 2.5” x 19’ long.  These billets were saved by  Vic’s sawing out sections of the 4” x 6” x 19’ billets used to make the center section spar caps instead of turning the extra shapes into chips.   With our new mill that we purchased last summer, we can shape these left-over billets into many center section and wing extrusion shapes.  Each one would cost us approximately $20-$30 per foot plus the extrusion die charge.  Bunches!  If we straight line mill the shapes with the power feed, each shape will cost us about $5-$10 per foot for labor and tooling, a significant savings on our wing and center section material costs.

Center Section Assembly
Water-jetted Side Plates
The center section assembly has started by attaching the wing attach angles to the water jetted side plates, gear boxes, and then attaching the angles with the new skins we copied from Pat Harker’s center section.  All the roll, pitch, yaw and washout (twist) adjustments will then be calculated and locked into the fixture.  It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple (after the number of times I’ve done it to other types of wing assemblies).  The rest is just adding ribs, stringers, spar caps/webs and making sure everything remains straight, dealing with the temperature changes. 
Rear Spar Caps and Web

We have also started sub-assembly on the rear spar caps and web.  The Alaska rear spar is pictured on the right.  There is not one piece on it that is salvageable due to the impact and fire. 

Landing Gear Boxes and Sub Spars
One of the most critical assemblies will be aligning the (landing) gear boxes.  Fortunately, we have good airworthy castings and sub spars from the Colorado parts. That Colorado parts find has been a goldmine of savings for us.

Bumps in the Road

Lack of Bumps
We have now gone 32 months without a work loss injury.  I congratulated everyone and thanked them for their good work ethic and outstanding safety record.

“The last treat you gave me had aluminum 
shavings in it!”  Allison.

Come see your aircraft and bring your work clothes.



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