Monday, April 30, 2012

April Newsletter

Another month with a great deal of visual progress!

First, I would like to wish our XP-82 "Happy Birthday" 
as its maiden flight was 15 April 1945, 67 years ago.

Center Section

Bryan, Randall and Jeremy are now completing the fitting and drilling of the top and bottom skins, and all of the stringers and gear box structure between the middle and forward spars.  By the time you read this, they will be final fitting the forward spar to all of the completed structure forward of the center spar--extremely good progress considering the amount of parts in these gear box areas.  On the following picture the two stick towers are temporarily mounted for fitting purposes.

Vic Peres (Erie) has completed the last of the outboard wing attach angles with the exception of the two bottom flat stepped straps.  These straps attach the outboard wings to the lower attach angles in the center section.  They are one-half inch thick at their thickest point and step down to about three-eighths at the thinnest point.  Their total length is about seven feet.  Finally, a part that we need to have machined that will not cost us a bazillion dollars.

I was able to find, along with the forward gun mounts, the .50 caliber ammo feeds.  Brand new in WWII boxes manufactured by Hughes Aircraft, i.e., Howard Hughes, from... you guessed it... ET Supply in California.  These are cylindrical electric motors that draw the .50 cal ammunition from the ammo boxes and feed the cartridges into the guns.

The last and most difficult original parts to complete our armament packages are the stainless steel adapters that hold the Hughes feed motors and the aft gun mounts... six of each that can be made if we cannot find originals.  Just for information and to make the BTAF more comfortable, none of our armament system(s) will be operational.  They will all just look operational.  

I have been busy completing the carb ram air quadrants, the main gear up lock hook assemblies and the gear door hook mechanisms.  Also, both windshield glare shields have been completed less the forward bows that we are waiting for from the machine shop.

After much research, I finally found the twelve engine mount-to-fuselage attachment bolts.  These are special internal wrenching Allen-head bolts, six per mount.  Expensive, but they didn’t break the bank.
On 1 May I am off to Pat Harker’s (magnificent E Model F-82, Anoka, MN) to mandrel bend all of our coolant, oil and fuel lines on his special bending machine.  Thankx to Pat for allowing us to use his tooling.  
Last week our two radiators passed pressure tests and were delivered to us safe and sound.
Thank you, Martin Aircraft in Gasport, NY, for a wonderful job on our radiators.

Paul and Ayman have totally completed all of the left-hand scoop and doghouse sections and are just about finished with the setup drilling on the last of the right-hand sections.  Four little complicated close out doors have also been completed.
Paul and Ayman also have completed the elevator and elevator tab.  A bunch of intricate work was required on the trim tab.


Allison and Rivet got hammered after being out on the town all last nite.

Tom’s Personal Risk Exposure
As everyone knows my health and risk avoidance are paramount as the XP project highly depends on my supervision.  Since the beginning of the XP-82 project, I have given up all of my risky sports, i.e., jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, driving a 240 mph top fuel dragster in an eighth mile, riding motorcycles, and went from flying B-25s 100+ hours a year to less than 15 last year etc., etc.  So, I have now taken up a much safer sport, tennis.  I am the one closer to the camera.


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