Another month goes by -- time flies when you're having fun!!
Work has been progressing steadily on the center section. All of the rivet holes have been drilled up to one-letter-drill-bit smaller and reamed to size. A letter drill bit fills the size gaps between fractional and numerical, #1 - .228 Letter “D” is .246 Fractional reamer – ¼” - .250. We finished all of the holes with the specific dimension reamers for the different sizes so that all of the close-tolerance hardware, rivets, high shears and high locks all fit tight in their respective holes.
The leading edge skin is now riveted to all of the rib structure, and the forward spar has been completed. I have been installing all of the gear and gear door up-locks, associated control rods, cables and levers to the spar now, as after the leading edge has been riveted to the spar, access will be more difficult.
Thank goodness we were able to obtain the three (two left and one right) partially scrapped center wing sections from the Colorado parts find that had the majority of all of the gear and other previously mentioned systems. Nothing usable in the center section area survived the Alaska wreck due to the impact and subsequent inferno.
Leading edge skin riveted to the ribs
Paul, Randall, Ayman and Jeremy have been making good headway on riveting all of the internal structure(s) together prior to the top and bottom skin riveting. By the time you are reading this, the skin and wing attach angle and skin riveting will have been started.
We’re on track to have the sheet metal part of the center section basically complete, less the flap bay, by the end of the year.
A slight change of plans—I have decided to temporarily leave off the lower forward skin to install all of the systems in their respective locations, i.e., fuel, oil, hydraulic lines, cables, electrical bundles, landing gear, fuel shut offs, cable towers, control rod arms, etc., etc.
We studied the plans and came to the conclusion that was how the factory had to have done it. To install all of these components after the last skin was installed permanently would have been a nightmare to gain access. This change of plans will temporarily push back the mating of the fuselages to the center section until all of the system work is completed.
Center section ribs permanently riveted in
View of forward side of forward spar
View of aft side of forward spar
View of aft side of forward spar showing some of the up-lock mechanisms installed
View of forward side of forward spar showing some of the
up-lock mechanisms installed
Machine shop delays haven’t caused any problems as of yet, but if these delays go on much longer, they will. I am actively looking for more good shops to pickup the pace.
Weezie and I have been busy completing multitudes of remaining small system jobs. It feels like we have completed a million system tasks (well not quite than many), and still have a list of less than a half of a million to finish.
Emergency up-lock release mechanisms
Milling a spar doubler
Pulley towers that cable connect both LH and RH pilot quadrants together
New Heli-arc welded control rods for up-lock releases mounted on the forward spar
Oil Cooler/Heat Exchangers
I have not started on the heat exchanger project(s) as of yet as I have not yet been able to pick up the sample cooler from a friend. None of us want to chance shipping it. The chances of FedEx or UPS losing it are around zero, but the around zero odds are not good enough for me. It will have to wait until one of us is going that direction to pick it up.
On 2 November I went to a local auction at an aircraft maintenance facility that went out of business to bid specifically on a pair of 5-ton jacks to safely support our XP-82. The jacks were essentially brand new and the shark feeding frenzy at auctions ran the price up to within a few hundred dollars of list price. So, we saved about $600 plus shipping on a pair of $4800 jacks; not a real good deal, but we had to have them within a few months, so it was either wait and pay list price, or roll the dice at an auction.
Our gold plated jacks
I have been contributing hundreds of small and large parts from my Kissimmee stock, i.e., NOS boost pumps (2), ignition starting buzzers (2), hardware, pulleys, 50 lbs. of rivets, stainless cable, fittings, aluminum extrusions, sheet stock, nut plates, steel tubing, switches and relays.
NOS (new old stock) Parts from my Kissimmee stock: Aft to front: 2 Thompson submerged fuel boost pumps, boost pump relay, 2 Pesco 4101 engine-driven fuel pumps, a B 8 starter relay and 2 air shield mounts behind spinner.
"I wish someone would buy me my own DeWalt drill for Christmas." - Rivet
We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and
wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
2013 should be an exciting year for us and our
XP-82 Twin Mustang!