Wednesday, March 15, 2017

February/March XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Update

Another Great Month for Our XP-82
Lower Cowlings
The final spot-welding on all of the lower cowls is now completed, and the interiors are now painted to color.

Filtered Air Boxes
The filtered air boxes are now also completed and permanently riveted to each forward induction trunk. These filter boxes hold carburetor air inlet filters in event the aircraft is operated off of sandy or unimproved runways.  The filtered air position is selectable by either pilot. The chance of this XP-82 ever being operated off one of these strips is probably less than zero, but for authenticity they had to be installed. The camera makes the colors look different.

Both the MN-26C Radio Compass ADF Loop  and the AN/ARC-3 Radio Antenna Mast are now installed. Thank you to Larry Kelley and Bill Saunders for the contribution of these rare items.

Wing Tips
The four wing tip panels, two top and two bottom, are now finally fit awaiting the welding of the center seams and mounting screw holes and, installation of the tip lights and strobes.

Both the pilot and co-pilot oxygen regulator/blinker panels, along with the gun sight rheostat are also installed.  All of the oxygen bottles are now stenciled with the original markings and reinstalled in both fuselages.

(Temporary breaker panel awaiting silk screened panel)

Oxygen bottle stenciling intentionally inverted to match the original installation.

The K14 gun sight and gun strike camera are now permanently installed. The strike camera presented a problem because the 90-degree top periscope interfered with the center armor glass since the glass had more sweep back than the P-51 windscreen. The periscope had to be shortened ¼ of an inch for clearance as the later camera version had.

Gun strike camera

K-14 gun sight

Main Gear Doors
The frameworks for the main inboard gear doors are now being formed to fit the curvature of the press dies for the inboard door panel. These two inboard doors are one of the last two complex hurdles we must complete on our XP-82 restoration project. 

The last complex items are the two brake calipers. These two brake calipers are now being machined and are expected to be delivered in about two months. 

Walter & Margaret (Peggy) Soplata
With much sadness we must announce the passing of Margaret (Peggy) Soplata. Walter (who passed six years ago) and Margaret Soplata from Newbury, OH, were the husband and wife team along with their five children who saved countless extremely rare warbirds and priceless artifacts from the smelter.

All of the warbird community owe them a debt of gratitude for saving these precious collectables for us and future generations to enjoy.  God Speed Walter and Margaret. Now they are together again in heaven. 

A small list of some of the aircraft and parts the Soplata Family saved:
• 2 F4U Corsairs, one 4360-powered FG1
• 2 North American B-25s
• 1 B-36 Peacemaker
• C-97 and C-82 Fuselages
• 1 A-26 Invader
• 2 TBM Avengers
• 1 P-63 King Cobra
• 1 AD4 Skyraider Prototype
• 2 F86  Sabres
• 1F7U Cutlass
• 2 T-28s
• 1 Victor Cockpit
• 1 SNJ – 7
• 1 XP-82 Twin Mustang Prototype/1 F-82E Twin Mustang
• 1 BT-13
• A rare snow-ski configured P2V Neptune that is the lone survivor of an epic
 Navy expedition to explore Antarctica in the 1950s
• 1 partial F4U fuselage
• T-33 and F100 cockpits
• A number of V12 Merlins, Allisons and radial engines
• Numerous cutaway display engines
• Countless propellers, starters, generators, magnetos, and antique WWII radios
• Countless other aviation-related artifacts

The Kat

An Oldie but Goody worth repeating.

“Would someone please hand me a pair of Cleco pliers?”
----- Allison



  1. i wonder, when he started down the road to being the savior of all of this warbird mecca, if he realized what a contribution he would make to the world and remembering the contributions of those that have gone before us. i wonder what motivated him to start this wonderful collection?

  2. Will you be adding the twin mustang to your collection or will you sell it?

  3. I feel "funny" or "disrespectful" (not sure of the correct word to use), but on the Oxygen Cylinders, "Available" is misspelled.

    I would hope that this is easily fixed!

    Regardless, it's a completely wonderful restoration. Your attention to details is fantastic, and I know that you'll want to get this "typo" taken care of.

    On so many warbird restorations, I'm amazed that the word "AROMATIC" is misspelled, too, for your information. I've seen it as "Airomatic" or "Aeromatic." I believe that if someone is spending 7 figures to restore a warbird, they would want to have obvious things done correctly.

    Thank you for your restoration of this warbird! Once again, I hate to be "small" in pointing out a spelling error.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Is the team going to put the drop tank back under it? Lov to see this bird again last time I see it was in 1974 when I was 14. Tom gave me a a book about planes.

    1. It was a Black silhouette enemy plane id book that was used in the ww2.

  5. Is the team going to put the drop tank back under it? Lov to see this bird again last time I see it was in 1974 when I was 14. Tom gave me a a book about planes.

  6. Do u folks know how the other TM is getting on? Will be great to see them in the air together!

  7. Do u folks know how the other TM is getting on? Will be great to see them in the air together!