Happy Easter Everyone.
Another Excellent Month on Progress
Most all of the gear and flap hydraulic lines are now installed with the exception of one 6” line going to the emergency gear-lowering dump valve. We are waiting for the dump valve to be delivered to determine the length of that line. We are on schedule to take the center section out of the fixture during the second or third week in April.
We plan to perform gear retractions while the center section is still in its fixture with a remote hydraulic pump. These retractions will confirm that we have no leaks and that all of the cylinders, up-locks and sequential timing valves are adjusted properly.
Left-hand gear wheel well
Right-hand gear wheel well
The gear door retract cylinder, miscellaneous instrument lines and
fuel cross-feed lines are all attached with adel clamps.
All of the current overhauled fuel shut-offs, cross-feed valves and cross-ship 1” fuel tubing are now installed. These are the N.O.S. (new old stock) fuel shut-offs we were able to purchase from ET Supply in California. Also, all of the manifold, fuel and oil pressure instrument lines connecting both cockpits are completed, along with the vacuum lines for the gyroscopic instruments. I am just completing the air speed pitot and static lines that connect both cockpit instrument panels to a single air speed pick-up tube (pitot) mounted under the right wing out near the wing tip. The static line is a line connected to a port on the side of each fuselage that senses an area of zero pressure or suction. This line is attached to all of the pressure instruments, i.e., air speed, climb, oil, fuel and manifold, on the non-pressure side of each instrument’s diaphragm so that each instrument will read accurately.
Right-hand wheel well with the elevator and aileron cross-ship
control tubes and the 1" fuel cross-feed line installed.
We have temporarily assembled the six control rods that link the aileron and elevator controls between cockpits. When everything is fit and adjusted this Monday, we will take them out, paint the tubes and send the steel machined ends out to cad-plate.
Right-hand (above) and left-hand (below) fuel cross-feed line and
cross-ship control tubes mounted to their idler brackets;
landing gear and flap hydraulic lines also installed.
We have just started running through the center section the numerous electrical harnesses that also connect the pilot and co-pilot functions. It is a very electric (controlled) airplane, so there are numerous 28-volt DC wiring bundles. The only AC power (110 volt, 400 cycle) is to the remote compass out in the left wing.
Four of the eight bomb rack sway braces
Another of our volunteers has helped with the installation of the countless hundreds of feet of tubing that had to be fitted into the center section.
Ken Friend has also been completing numerous small detail parts for the cockpit. Thank you, Gerald and Ken.
I also took the father and son who contributed the P-82 canopy (the one I picked up in Charlotte last month) for a B-25 ride. Thank you, Josh and Dad.
Outboard wing center and aft ribs
Paul, Randall, Ayman and Jeremy have been making excellent progress on the spars and ribs of both outboard wings. All of the leading edge spar and rib combinations are now completed through heat-treating, epoxy-priming and sub-rivet assemblies. The four center and aft spars are nearing completion. All of the ribs between the forward, center and aft spars are now completed, awaiting heat-treating and final fitting.
Paul and Randall shooting the outboard wing outer center spar.
Outboard wing outer center spars completed.
Leading edge spar and rib combinations for both outboard wings completed.
Vic Peres (Erie) will have the four inboard center spar caps completed by the first week of April. He will also deliver to us at the same time the four obtuse angle rear spar caps. When we receive these, we will be able to start final fitting of all of the new ribs to the spars.
In mid April Randall and Jeremy will start converting our center section fixture to our outboard wing fixture by adding brackets that will hold both wings simultaneously. Our center section fixture is large and strong enough to be able to hang both wings, leading edge up, on the side of the fixture for final assembly. By building both wings simultaneously, it will be much easier to hold exact wash-out, the twist of each wing’s leading edge slightly downward. “Wash-out” is the factory aerodynamic term for the downward twist of the outboard section of each wing. This twist creates slightly less lift at the tip of the wing so that the stall characteristics are more gentle. A stall in aviation terms is not when the engine stops; it is when the wing stops creating lift.
Nautilus Mfg. (Ron/Ohio) has been keeping us supplied with countless small parts that we have been installing throughout the center section for the past few months.
Miracles Do Happen.
I received a letter from a Mr. Ayles in Arizona that told us how our Merlin left-hand turning engine arrived in Mexico City. He knew of a man that ran a small airline with Merlin-powered Canadian North Star Douglas DC-4s. He was in business for a short amount of time and the engine was there to be used when needed for spare parts. It’s a miracle that this man picked this left-hand turning Merlin and it didn’t get scraped along with the DC-4s.
The radiators mounted in the lower cowls make the engines
look like radials, but they are not.
Bumps in the Road
“OK, OK, Allison. We’ll cut the kitty door right here through the lower skin so when the airplane is done, you can go for rides.”