After five years of hard work by all of the
XP-82 team members, the major parts have started to come together to the point where
our XP-82 finally looks like an airplane!!
Right-hand fuselage installed 27 August 2013
It is amazing how after only one month it appears that we have accomplished years of work on our XP-82. What explains all the visual progress is that we have been working for years completing all the “small” and “large”parts and systems that are now being installed.
Left-hand fuselage installed 24 July 2013
At the end of July we removed the center section from the fixture, rotated it from vertical to horizontal, positioned it in the hangar and installed the left-hand fuselage on it. Both fuselages are now fit in place on the center section and temporarily bolted in place awaiting the final factory fuselage-to-center section shimming to align each side exactly with each matching tail section. When we took the fuselages off the center sections from the Colorado parts, it was amazing how many small shims the factory had in place for final alignment.
Fuel Tank Bays and Top Aft Skins
Ayman and Jeremy spent about a week on each side completing all the riveting of the top aft skins and all the final work that had to be done in each of the two inboard fuel tank bays.
Completing the top skin riveting on the right-hand aft fuel tank bay
Flap Bay & Trailing Edge
In the first three weeks of August, Ayman and Jeremy have fit and riveted the flap trailing edge ribs and assembled the access doors to the aft two gun bays.
They have also completed the heavy trailing edge support structure to support the center flap rollers. This structure carries the huge air load exerted during landing against the large center flap panel mounted between the two fuselages. Fortunately, almost all of the parts from the Colorado parts supply were airworthy so that we could reuse them after NDI (non-destructive inspection), glass beading, cad plating and painting.
Center flap roller support
Center Section/Wing Attach Angles/Wings
All of the outboard wing attach angles have been permanently fit on the matching center section attach angles using underside drills and reamers to preliminary drill all the attach holes. They will be brought out to final size when the completed wings are fit. This procedure guarantees a perfect bolt fit for the wing attach angle(s). Each wing is held on by 60 top attach angle bolts, 50 lower, all internal-wrenching, and 30 bolts through the forward, middle (main) and aft spar attachments.
We had to use special tooling to do the draw back spot facing on the wing attach angles on the center section. When I had the new sections of wing attach angles manufactured to match some of the airworthy originals I was able to save from the Soplata and Colorado parts, I chose not to have the attach holes machined in them, fearing that some might not match. It turned out that was a good decision as two out of the 200+ were both the wrong size and in the wrong location. We were able to back drill and ream to undersize and then spot face the bolt head and nut/washer surfaces so all the attachments were parallel to each other.
Upper wing attach angle with spot faces
Paul and Randall have fit the sub-assembled right-hand wing using its temporary wood fixture prior to the permanent steel-assembly fixture to check dihedral (6°) sweep (3°) and washout 1°, 30’ and 03”. They have also completed the coolant air exit door trunks on both fuselages and did the preliminary fit and drill of all the exit door fairings.
Exit door fairing on left-hand fuselage
Bumps in the Road - Wing Washout (Downward twist of the tip of each wing)
We have two different figures on the washout degrees in the plans that differ by almost one degree in the XP-82/B model wings. We have decided that before we lock ourselves into a washout degree number that might be in error, we must go and accurately digital-degree measure an existing XP/B model wing to be sure which figure is correct.
Preliminary fitting right-hand wing showing the forward fuel tank bay
Right-hand wing aft view showing the size of the outboard wing aft fuel tank.
It holds 300 US gallons internal on each side -- tons of range.
Gear Well Panels
Weezie and I completed the attachment of the two lower gear well panels. Each one of these took at least 500 screws, bolts and hi-shears to complete. This was a tough job working upside down under the center section with extreme difficulty reaching most of the hardware. Thank goodness that none of this will ever need to come down again!
Electrical / Cockpit
We also installed the electrical and switch panels in both fuselages along with the electrical power supply breaker panel in the left-hand fuselage. None of the wires are permanently hooked up yet to their matching wires on the terminal strips mounted in each fuselage’s electrical panel. I will do all these hook-up connections over the next few weekends.
Pilot's switch panel and electrical shelf
Also, the pilot’s trim box that houses all the trim functions, and the gear and flap handles, plus the quaddle throdrant (throttle quadrant) are now installed. (We have been jokingly calling it a quaddle throdrant for years.)
Pilot's trim/gear retract box and throttle quadrant
Right-hand fuselage switch panel and electrical shelf are installed
Factory cutaway drawing of our XP-82
The Katz - “I’m hot ... it’s over 100 degrees.
The tag says that this thing I am sleeping on is a cooler. It doesn’t seem to be working. Go find Tom and see if he can get it fixed so that I can cool off.”
"We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give."
but we make a life by what we give."