Saturday, July 2, 2016

June XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Project Update

Happy 4th of July

Firewall Forwards
The internal ribbing and reinforcing panels are now completed for the two engine side cowlings along with new access doors for the right-hand cowlings. 

The final microscopic adjustments on the firewall forward lower cowling ribs to match the English-wheeled lower cowls, on both engines, are now done. Also, the final adjustments on the right-hand engine upper cowl arches have been completed.

Press dimpling the cowling side skins for the Dzus fasteners

Internal ribbing on the cowling side skins

Carb Air Temperature (CAT) Control Motors, Gear Boxes and Rotating Air Control (#1 Ram Air, #2 Hot Air, #3 Half Hot Air and #4 Filtered Air)
A substantial amount of time has been spent installing and adjusting the settings of the rotating cams that actuate limit switches for each stop position on each motor. These pilot-controlled electrical switches stop the motors at the four different carb air temperature locations. Also, the original rotating carburetor air control diverter, located under the spinner on the original fuselage, was smashed due to ground handling and had to be reworked so the internal barrel would rotate. The two shells that hold the barrel were bent, corroded and needed all new fasteners installed along with the new manufactured ones that we received from one of our machine shops. A beautiful job.

New machined CAT shells with the rotating barrel remove (below)

One overhauled condition CAT motor with six new limit switches

One overhauled condition CAT motor with six new limit switches

Air Intake Scoops
This scoop is located under the spinner which houses the carburetor inlet air control mechanism. This sheet metal unit was extensively damaged due to ground handling as previously mentioned. With the new manufactured carb air temperature shells that hold the rotating barrel, machined exactly to the North America Aviation plans, we were able to final reform the air intake scoop so that it would exactly fit the cowling and the shells. With these final corrected measurements, we have started making press molds to make two new air intake scoops. 

Vertical Stabilizers/Rudders
The final 30 degree travel settings have been completed on the rudders, and the lower boots have been installed.  All four rudder and vertical tips are now completed through forming and exact bead-welding as per the originals. Two of the four are now fit on the left-hand vertical/rudder, awaiting drilling of the attachment holes.

Vertical and rudder tips

We have had one of our full-time men working on all of the ammo belting and attachments from the belting to the ammo boxes, and on the other end to the guns. The welding of the six stainless steel tubes and spring pins that attach the belts to each ammo feed box is now completed. 

We also found a parts supplier, BMG Parts (Browning Machine Gun) in Carson City, Nevada, where we were able to obtain some of the specialized belting end feed chutes that attach to the guns, stainless steel link ejector chutes, and gun heaters. All extremely difficult parts to find for authenticity. The few remaining armament parts that we cannot find can be made in-house. 

Gun heater and spring pin (one of six)

Ammunition feed chute and connectors

Ammunition link ejector chutes

Three Hughes ammo feed electric motor housings and chuting
are now installed to the three left-hand .50 caliber guns.

Firewall Forward Dishpan

We were short one oil tank dishpan to complete the right-hand firewall forward. We attempted to draw-form a new stainless steel dishpan matching the original XP-82 design without much luck as we kept coming up with unacceptable wrinkles on the sides. After much studying of the mashed “E” model dishpan that we received with the scrapped Colorado parts, and with some serious English wheeling and spot welding,  the “E” model pan was reformed to match the original XP-82 pan exactly. We had to spot weld an original stainless steel pocket to the bottom of the dishpan shell to accept the 1 1/2” oil-feed supply line from the tank to the engine oil pump.

Spot welding

The Kat
“Pay attention and I will teach you how to read a micrometer!”

---Tom to Allison 

Saying of the Month
“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”

--General Douglas MacArthur, 1943

Have a Safe & Happy Fourth of July
Tom Reilly & The XP-82 Crew

We are sad to announce the passing of Doolittle Raider David Thatcher on 22 June 2016.  This leaves only one Doolittle Raider left with us, Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, Co-Pilot, Crew 1.

After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, drawing the United States into WWII, Thatcher volunteered for a secret mission that would help change the course of the war. He and 78 other volunteers, led by legendary Jimmy Doolittle, trained for approximately three months before embarking upon the mission, a raid involving 16 B-25s on 18 April 1942. 

After the raid on Tokyo his B-25 crash landed in the surf. Thatcher saved the lives of his crew by gathering them on the beach, administering first aid and making contact with some friendly Chinese. He was awarded the Silver Star. His other decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Chinese Army, Navy and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.

Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher
Engineer-Gunner for Crew 7 - “Ruptured Duck”
July 13, 1921 - June 22, 2016

David Thatcher - far right.


  1. Wow! Fantastic updates. Thank you sooooooo much for all of this.

  2. wonderful progress. Thanks for educating me on Staff Sgt. David Thatcher. Truly part of the greatest generation. I look forward to future updates. Well done gentlemen.

  3. One more goblet turned over.

    It will be a truly sad day Lt. Col. Cole leaves us and the immediacy of that amazing historical event will only be available through media resources.

    God speed to them all !

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