Saturday, June 2, 2012

May Newsletter

Work Progress
Almost the same description as last month...with lots more parts getting completed.

Center Section
Just about everything is complete on the drill-up and fitting of all components between the aft spar, center and forward spars with the exception of four "waffle" skins.  Bryan, Randall and Jeremy are now into the leading edge ribs that form the curvature of the leading edge between the two fuselages.  All of the leading edge ribs have been completed for some time.  So now the men are into fitting all of them into the forward spar, stringers, gun bays, bulkheads, etc.

Leading edge ribs being attached to the front spar.

The four remaining waffle skins, very complicated parts, are riveted to the underside of the top skins in the top of the two gear wells.  2' x 3' skins reinforce the two wheel well areas where there are no substantial ribs or bulkheads where the tires and wheels retract into the wells.  We were able to form the two aft ones on the sheet metal break using a solid 3/4” pipe to get the desired radii.  The two forward skins, mirror images, are another story.  We were able to recover some sample cross-sections from one side of the Colorado parts and a portion of a totally mangled and burnt part from the Alaska wreck.

Aft waffle skins - LH and RH

We sent all of the crushed sections to Thrush Aircraft for annealing (Thank you, Thrush!) and, with a couple of days of severe pounding, stretching, shrinking, welding and twisting, we were able to put together enough broken and burnt parts to get a sample of what they were supposed to look like.  With that sample, we made oak forms to fill the many different shapes and epoxy-glued all of them into place.  Now, with this male form strengthened against crushing and mounted on a hard backing with the oak-epoxied fillers, new parts are being pressed with our rubber 200-ton press.  These two mirror image parts will go through the final hand forming stages and then be taken back to Thrush for heat-treating up to T-4 condition.  

LH non-airworthy mold made from original part(s)

Our first pressed part prior to final forming

Paul and Ayman have been busy finishing the last scoop.  One more skin to go and the two access doors!  They both thought these two scoops wouldn't ever get done.
Three of our investors, one all the way from South Africa, came up last weekend and helped.  We also have a new volunteer--a young aerospace engineering student--who wants to learn warbird restoration between semesters.  Thank you, all!

Electrical/Switch Panels
Our two pilot and co-pilot switch panels are now almost complete, just waiting for the last few switches.  Chuck Cecile, Advance Sign Graphics, High Springs, NC, and Ken Friend, model builder extraordinaire, completed all of the silk-screen printing and, Weezie installed all of the new switches and lights.  A wonderful job!
I am heavy into gathering together all of the remaining placards that need screen printing and, Weezie is pulling up all of the plans for the copy to send to Ken and Chuck. Almost all of the original placards are unreadable due to years in the weather.

New silk-screened panels with new lights, knobs and switches

Tubing Glycol (coolant), Fuel and Oil

As mentioned last month, I went to Anoka (Blaine), MN, to form our tubes on Pat Harker's  mandrel bender.  Within three days, I had all of them duplicated times two (two fuselages), except for two matching Glycol tubes which I currently do not have a pattern for. When the tubing is permanently installed, the final one missing pattern will be easy to diagram to complete the two missing parts.  Thank you, Pat, for the use of your machine.

Mandrel bender
New tubes -- three days of work

Miscellaneous Jobs
I have also been busy working on small jobs, i.e., canopy cranks, flap handles, hydraulic and fuel components, armament parts, fuselage heater controls and ducting, instrument panel mounts, canopy cable control and jettison systems, etc., etc.
Bumps in the Road

"Sorry, you are just going to have to wait
 to read these plans 'til my nap time is over."  

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums out there.   
And, Happy Memorial Day to all veterans, past and present.

"The power is not with the people who vote.  It is with the people who count the votes."
Joseph Stalin 1939

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