Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Updat

Since we are getting very close to the completion of our XP-82 project, there are fewer and fewer major accomplishments that can be photographed. Our restoration project updates will now be every two or three months.

Top Engine Cowlings
Casey Hill, one of our two English wheel subcontract wizards, came down for three days to help on the fairings, and I pointed out the non-fitting top right-hand engine cowl and asked if he could do anything with it. It took him and Paul a day, and the two of them had it fitting perfectly. The team should have this left-hand top cowl completed within the next two weeks.

Fuselage Fairings
All the outboard fairings from each leading edge to trailing edge of the fuselage-to-wing are now completed. The final seam welding of the two outboard forward fairings was completed this past week.  The last two parts to complete are the two lower halves of the inboard side of each fuselage-to-center-section fairing. 

Paul, our lead sheet metal team member, has done a wonderful job by learning these English wheel and Yoder hammer sheet metal techniques with help from Rick Reeves, our other English wheel subcontract wizard. These have been very difficult pieces to form, but they have come out very nice. In one more week, Paul will have the two bottom halves completed, awaiting seam welding. That will complete all of the fairings on our XP-82.

Lower Chin Cowl to Air Induction Trunk Adapters
Randall and Paiden have accomplished in two weeks what I thought would have taken at least a month: forming these two extreme compound curve adapters that join the chin cowls to the air induction trunks as well as the adapter covers to rubber seal these two removable joints. The only remaining thing to do is to install the rubber for the seals (on order). 

Two team members have been completing and checking out each electrical system one circuit at a time. Every circuit has now been proven except for one wire on one coolant door motor, two rotating beacon resistors and the entire up/down landing gear circuit. Within the next two weeks we should have the remainder of the electrical system completed.

Exhaust Fairings
When we purchased the Soplata XP-82, we found only two of the four required exhaust fairings. These secondary stainless steel exhaust fairings only fit the P-51 H Mustang and the first 22 Merlin-powered 82s. We have scoured the earth and surrounding planets for a pair of these exhaust fairings, but no extras to purchase exist. There are only three H model Mustangs still flying and their owners have no clue where we could buy any of these fairings. 

These six-exhaust-stack fairings are very difficult to press due to the .050 thickness of the stainless steel and the very sharp-edged detail around each exhaust port. Thus we have to have a pair of aluminum male and female press dies (four) machined to produce these parts. We have sent one of these two mirror image exhaust fairings to one of our subcontract machine shops to have it 3D printed. The computer can flip the 3D printing to be able to make the mirror image part.

Avionics Package (Garmin)
The Garmin radio package was delivered. The installation will be started sometime in July.

Man (and woman) hours spent on our XP-82 restoration to date 
173,000, including everybody who has worked on it over the past nine years, our labor force, subcontractors, volunteers, etc. Thank you all.

North America Aviation – The design and engineering hours to build the first XP-82 (our aircraft) up to and including its first flight. 1,462,190.

The Kat

Allison wishes everyone a Happy 4th of July!




  1. Dear Tom, congrats on the progress! Instead of 2 to 3 month skips, might you still post monthly, even if they are shorter? Signed, XP-82 blog addict. Ps Happy 4th.

  2. What Robert said! It would be great if u could, but I understand how busy u are!
    Can u give us some idea about how much work there is left to do?
    Very best of luck with this incredible project

  3. We are 95% done with what seems to be another 95% to go. : ) : ). Actually, the punch list is getting dramatically shorter. The major items are: inboard and outboard gear doors, brakes, retractions, weight and balance and secondary exhaust fairings.

  4. Tom, The aircraft is, as always, beautiful. I was a frequent visitor to the Kissimmee hanger. Do you allow visitors to the Douglas shop? I would of course promise hands in pockets and bring cat treats. Gary T South Carolina

  5. We do. And Allison would be a friend forever! Please come by and see us. We have moved from the north end of the airport to the south end. We are now in the large hangar next to the FBO.

  6. Hey,did you ever get the propeller hubs fixed so the props aren't stuck in full feathered position. Thanks,Robert

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