Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Newsletter

Work Progress
Another inexpensive good progress month!

Reinforcing Panel
Paul, Randall and Ayman have completed the third left-hand skin on the right-hand fuselage.  One time-consuming issue was the two reinforcing panels behind the control access doors.  Two complicated triple-bend formed rings had to be made.  The most time was spent on cutting the oak forming blocks and then our new rubber press table was used to press form them.   A little finish up hand forming was required and they turned out perfect.   None of these original parts survived on the Alaska crash aircraft, even though they were located all the way back to the tail.                                                                                   

Middle WCS Spar and Web
Bryan, Jeremy and I have completed all of the sub-assembly build-up on the aft and middle spar assemblies for the wing center section.  These two spars house the four spar caps that Peres (Erie) milled for us.  We were able to save about twenty compression ribs from the scrapped Colorado parts.                                       
Aft WCS Spar and Web

Compression ribs are approximately 1” x 1” 
Compression Ribs
x 15” 90 degree angles that are installed vertically to join the top spar cap to the flat aluminum web to the bottom spar cap.    The remaining compression ribs were made from in-house extrusions.
Work has now begun on the forward spar, the last of the three in the center section.  The web and the compression ribs were easy, but finding the extrusions for the top and bottom caps has again been an economic challenge.
Tom Milling One of the Spar Extrusions
The problem is the 18’ length and the 120 degree obtuse angle.  I have found two cross sections approximately 18’ long for about $700 each, but both of these will need substantial milling to bring them to the exact cross section.  So, I am evaluating milling our own out of one of the billets that Peres returned to us from Erie.  I think milling the two of them out of one of our billets will be the more economical and efficient way  to go.  With the completion of the third spar sub-assembly, all of the spar components of the center section will be completed.  I spent the last two weeks of March on the mill cutting all of the many special shapes required for the three spar assemblies.                                           
Peres (Erie) is busy plotting the dimensions for all of the center section wing attach angles as we will need them first and then the outboard wing attach angles next.

Thrush Aircraft's 510 P
Thrush Aircraft (Albany, GA)
Thrush Aircraft is the world’s leading manufacturer of agricultural spray application aircraft built today.  The turbine powered aircraft they manufacture, compared to what was used back in the 50s and 60s, is like the difference between a 985 P & W powered Stearman with a large Ag tank to today’s $100M Ferrari Formula I race car.  One cannot believe the advancements that Thrush has made in the Ag aircraft development.  Thrush has been very helpful and generous with the use of their heat-treating ovens and, most lately, charging extremely economical prices on their surplus aluminum extrusion cross-sections that we can use in our center section and wings.    Thank you, Thrush!

Tail Wheel Aluminum Casting and Yoke
Ayman is busy working on the two tail wheel assemblies.  These are two units out of the Odgers’ scrap yard pile.  The only parts that will probably be savable are the two main aluminum castings which hold the yokes.  The steel mounting tubes are easy to duplicate.  The yokes are another story.  I have a large block of 7075 T-6 billet leftover from the Kissimmee days which is large enough to mill both of them out of.  They are two complex parts, but no more so than what we have accomplished in the past.  The tail wheels are simple.  I contributed two of them to the project that I had out of my Kissimmee surplus stock.

Glass Canopies

Pat Harker sold us three canopy glasses that were surplus to his needs.  Since we need only one, one of these three should match our existing new one, completing both of our canopies.  Thankx, Pat and Jim!

Larry Kelley, owner of the B-25 Panchito, contributed two N.O.S. C-5 fuel strainers and two vacuum oil separators for our XP project.  Thankx, Larry!

Coolant Door Actuator
Jay Wistler, a warbird parts dealer extraordinaire, found us a N.O.S. coolant door actuator.  Thankx, Jay!

Bumps in the Road                                                     
Lower Longeron Fitting
One of the lower longeron fittings that I had made turned out to be the wrong side.  It should have been a mirror image and it was not.  I don’t know whose mistake it was, but the correct one is now made and I paid $1,243.00 out of my personal account for it.


“I’m staying right here reserving my place for the first ride.  Except when I have to go poop.” -- Allison

Come see your aircraft … and bring your work clothes!



P. S.    Two completed main landing gear legs.

Main Landing Gear Legs

P.S.S.  “Radial vs. Turbine” is included for your reading pleasure.

                                         Radial vs. Turbine

                       Dedicated to all those who fly behind round engines.

A turbine is too simple minded, it has no mystery.  The air travels through it in a straight line and doesn’t pick up any of the pungent fragrance of engine oil or pilot sweat.

Anybody can start a turbine.  You just need to move a switch from “OFF” to “START” and then remember to move it back to “ON” after a while.  A computer is harder to start.

Cranking a round engine requires skill, finesse and style.  You have to seduce it into starting.

Turbines start by whining for a while, then give a ladylike poof and start whining a little louder.

Round engines give a satisfying rattle-rattle, click-click, BANG, more rattles, another BANG, a big macho FART or two, more clicks, a lot more smoke and finally a serious low pitched roar. 

When you start a round engine, your mind is engaged and you can concentrate on the flight ahead.  Starting a turbine is like flicking on a ceiling fan.  Useful, but hardly exciting.

Turbines don’t break or catch fire often enough, which leads to boredom, complacency and inattention.  A round engine at speed looks like it’s going to blow any minute.

Turbines don’t have enough control levers or gauges to keep a pilot’s attention.  There’s nothing to fiddle with during long flights.

Turbines smell like a Boy Scout camp full of Coleman lanterns.

             Round engines smell like God intended engines to smell.

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