Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Project Update

Firewall Forwards (FWF)
The team has been busy final English-wheeling the three lower cowls on each engine. They also completed the four filter door access panels located in the forward left and right section of each lower forward cowling. 

The two original top cowls for the left-hand engine were in pretty tough shape. But, with countless hours of addressing a multitude of small dings, scratches and the occasion hole and, many hours of English-wheel time, they came out virtually perfect.

The team is wheeling from scratch the two right-hand top cowl skins (each 3 feet x almost 8 feet long). 

They also completed the two right-hand lower side engine cowlings, the ones that surround the forward, lower and aft edge of the exhaust stack opening. These both had to be English-wheeled where they curved in and around to match the circumference of the prop spinner. All of the internal ribbing and structure had been completed for the right-hand engine cowling a number of months ago. When the last of the wheeling of the two right-hand top cowls is completed, all of these components will be spot-welded together.

The welding of the 4130 steel FWF throttle and propeller governor control rods is now completed and awaiting installation. 

Fitting the side cowls to the temporary wooden form on the right-hand engine

Carb Air Temperature Controllers
The last two complicated jobs to complete on the FWF is the fitting and mounting of each carb air temperature control mechanism and rebuilding the forward air induction intake scoops. We have one that was extremely damaged due to years of rough ground handing. It has now been pressed out to approximately its original shape good enough to tell what it looked like and to get some data measurements from the reformed piece.  We will have to make two new ones as the original is too damaged to save. With the XP-82 plans that we have and the original semi-straightened intake, two new ones can be made.

Reformed damaged carburetor air induction scoop

Ammunition Feed Chutes and Motors
Out of the wreck site we recovered a partial set of ammo feed chutes with the mounted Hughes (as in Howard Hughes), electric .50 caliber feed motors. They were all extremely damaged by the impact. We had no luck being able to buy any of these from any of known armament sources. So, we were committed to try to save what we had. 

Original damaged ammo chute

Hughes Aircraft Company Ammunition Feed Motors (NOS)

Assembling the ammo chute pieces prior to welding

Right-hand Firewall Stainless Dishpan
The pressing and forming of the right-hand dishpan has been a challenge. It somewhat resembles a rectangular kitchen sink.  When this dishpan is completed and installed, both oil tanks and heat exchangers (oil coolers) can be mounted and attached to their respective oil and coolant tubes. 

Leading edge with the six .50 caliber gun ports 
being installed on the center section

Fuselage Closeout Access Panels
One team member has completed the final detail fitting of every access panel on both fuselages and center section. These flush panels had to be precisely edge-fit as they are flush-mounted with the fuselage skins. A lot of detail edge sanding to maintain a .030 edge dimension, with a number of panels going into the scrap aluminum bin when the edge distance exceeded that dimension.

Tail Wheel Assemblies (as mentioned last month – 90% done with another 90% to go)
We had to manufacture two new down-lock barrel stops as, over the years, the tail wheel stop mechanisms striking the barrels had elongated the .750 barrels and the hat channel structure they mounted into.  The fix was to buy a special .770 reamer and ream out each barrel hole so that the new .770 OD barrels fit tightly in the precision-reamed structure.

Both steering arms that attach to the top of each yoke are now installed, waiting for the machining of the two rudder control arms that are connected to the lower steering sectors mounted in each rear fuselage. When these two arms and one remaining sector are completed, they can be mounted and the final cables installed to complete the tail wheel steering. 

With these tail wheel assemblies finally completed, 
and the tail wheel tires and wheels mounted, 
our XP-82 will be able to roll on its own wheels for the first time in 66 years.

The Kat
"See that Tom gets me a larger table to sleep on during work hours before I fall off."
-- Allison

"We need to talk to the Union steward about your sleeping during work hours."
-- Tom


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