Thursday, August 30, 2012

August Newsletter

Our XP-82 Twin Mustang during its initial prototype flight.  
Note the upsweeping props over the center section

Work Progress

Paul and Ayman have been busy fitting many of the accessories to each firewall and fuselage:  rudder pedal amounts and fuselage castings; hydraulic tank, vent tubes, mounting brackets for switches, cowl attachments, stainless steel floor pans, both engine mounts, glare shields, etc.

Stainless steel floor pans including the rudder and fuselage mounts

Glare shield and base being fitted to the left fuselage

Glare shield and base being fitted (left side of left fuselage)

Engine mount being fitted to the right fuselage

Center section coming apart for final milling on the spar caps; then for debarring and painting

Center Section
Randall, Bryan and Jeremy have completed drilling the center section now, and have taken it apart for the debarring, paint prep and internal painting.

After the four center spar caps were removed, I had to finish milling out numerous fillet areas where the top and bottom center section skins nestle into these fillet areas.  These milled areas could not have been accurately completed by Peres (Erie) until the final fitting of the center section skins was done here in Douglas.

Tom final milling fillet areas after skins were fitted to the center section

One complicated part that we had to create was the right-hand leading edge-to-fuselage bow.  From the Colorado scrapped parts, we had two left-hand ones and no right-hand ones.  I was able to make one by mirror-imaging the opposite side out of a billet of aluminum stock that I had from Kissimmee.

Milling the right leading edge bow

New right leading edge bow on the left.  Original left bow on the right.

One logistical issue is that I must go immediately to Orlando to take the four (original Colorado parts) center section wing attach angles for nondestructive inspection (NDI). We bench-checked them here with dye penetrant prior to the center section being assembled for all of the pre-drilling required, and they passed.  This will give us a comfort level as we know they will pass inspection, but I must have FAA certification papers on these four original angles to reinstall them permanently.  The center section will be going back together permanently again by the end of the month.

Center section wing attach angles

Stick Towers
Both stick towers, with the pilot and co-pilot sticks permanently installed, are now completely finished with the exception of one large casting, two push rods and two stick grips.  When I find some of my surplus grips out of my Kissimmee stock, I will install them so we don't have to purchase them.

Both stick towers with the pilot and co-pilot sticks permanently installed.

We have now passed through 7,000+ feet of aviation Teflon wire, building up all of the harnesses required.  We completed the last of the harness on Monday, the 20th of August.  That does not mean that the wiring is done.  Everything still needs to be hooked up when these harnesses are installed in the aircraft.  Weezie and I have gone cross-eyed looking at all of these tiny pin letters in all of the Cannon plugs.  The picture shows about one-quarter of the harnesses that we have made.

Some of our wiring harnesses

Instrument Panels/Switch Panels
All of the pressure and vacuum hosing and electrical harnesses on both panels are now complete.  We received and installed our last remote compass instrument, brand new 1944, from Jay Wisler.

The pilot and co-pilot switch panels are complete with the exception of the automatic override switches for the coolant door(s).   There are no original P-51/P-82 coolant door switches available anywhere in the parts system.  I was able to find four almost identical NOS switches, also through Jay Wisler.  The availability of these switches was one of the minor bumps in the road that I was going to have to solve.  Thanks, Jay!

Chuck Cecil, High Point, NC, who completed our two pilot/co-pilot switch panel screen printing, promises he will have the screen printing of the fuel control box completed and delivered to us by 1 September.  Thanks. Chuck!

Good News
Congratulations to Mike, one of our original investors, and Terra, his new bride.  Congratulations also to Ayman and Rose on the birth of their new baby girl, Ayah Rose, 7 lb. 10 oz.

The Katz
Ugly news.  Rivet had a romantic dinner date with a fox or coyote the other night.  I guess she didn't realize that she was going to be the meal.  After a serious vet visit and a few days of healing, one would never know that anything had happened.  Except for her bare stomach where they had to shave it to do some internal work, she looks just like the old Rivet again.

"Please send me somewhere cooler, and make
sure there aren't any foxes or coyotes there!" - Rivet

"I don't understand it!  When I got here a few
years ago, I could fit in this box." - Allison

Hurricane Isaac
Our prayers are with five of our investors that are in the projected track of Hurricane Isaac.
We hope that it remains a tropical storm and doesn't injure anyone.

One of our investors tragically lost her son unexpectedly at the age of 34 from an illness.

Another one of our supporters was killed in a turbo Navajo accident last month.

And, one of our elderly supporters died from complications due to a fall. 
Lt. Col. Paul A. Jarrett, with over 6,000 flight hours and 30 years of military service
in the Air Force, flew the C-47 during the Berlin Airlift.

God Speed, Eric, Donnie and Paul.