Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 2009

“XP-82 Restoration Project”
#44  83887 Progress Report

Lefthand fuselage going together
Work Progress
The month of February sure seemed to go by a lot faster than 28 days.  The LH fuselage is now safely tucked away in the #1 container with plenty of room to work on it on both sides.   I gave the XP-82 project about 20’ of floor-to-ceiling shelving for the container so that we can now read the contents labels on all of the boxes that were double stacked.

The majority of the RH fuselage ribs are now press formed and through hand finish awaiting heat treat.  I will not bring any to heat treat in Orlando until all are done to save on the “one or a one hundred parts all the same price” syndrome.  All of the guys and girls are putting out parts so good that they are difficult to tell from the originals.  Really good work.  

50-ton press pressing a part
Today, we finished the last rib pressing for the horizontal.  We can start the horizontal assembly as soon as the four obtuse (open Angle) 14‘ spar caps arrive from the machine shop.  Both vertical stabilizers are now structurally repaired and sub-assembled, awaiting skinning.  The flaps, aileron(s) and elevator trailing edge parts have been delivered by Vic Peres.  They look like skinny arrow heads, 
1/4‘‘ x 1‘‘ with a .025 or .032 relief in them for the skins.  

Peter Lesche has started on some of our more complex machined parts, and Vic Peres now has two of the four dynafocal engine mount forgings completed -- very complex parts to make.

Shrinking a rib flange
Our rubber 50 ton hydraulic press is working just great, causing great chagrin to the shops that wanted to charge us a kazillion dollars to do our press work.  We now can press a rib, two stages, in just five minutes with another twenty to thirty minutes average of hand finish, saving us on average three to four hundred dollars on each rib.  On the very thick parts, .100 or greater, we still have to send them out as it takes a minimum of a 300 ton press to process that thickness of aluminum.  We have less than twenty parts in the fuselage that will require the heavy press.  We are looking for the 4‘‘ x 6‘‘ x 19‘ billets to be delivered to NJ sometime this month so that Peter Lesche can start on the spar caps and all of the other parts -- longerons, wing attach angles, etc., etc.

The new etch primer we are using (Sterling), tinted to the exact original yellow tone, is a great product with good adhesion, coverage and price, $155 per 2-gallon kit.  All of the fuselage parts have been painted using only three gallons total so far.
Employee of the Month
Kleko the cat!  What else can one say about her?!

Bumps in the Road
None!  I sure like being able to tell you this.

First parts for the lefthand assembly
Jay Wisler, warbird parts seller extraordinaire, thinks he has found us two P-82 wheels.  We already have two, but they are quite ugly.  In December, Jay sold us twelve new Merlin exhaust stacks, and he is looking for twelve more new ones for us.  There are lots of used ones out there, but I would like to hold out for new.  

I was able to purchase most of the remaining coolant AN fittings we need, new surplus at an outstanding price of 10% of retail.  

This March I will travel to Lutz and Tampa, FL, to pick up the two prop hubs -- new old stock and now yellow tagged at no additional cost to us (Wisler) -- and the canopy frame purchased from Theresa Besseldorf last summer, packed away until she got back from the West Coast.

Two vertical stabilizers
One thing that concerns me is that we are getting very few investors coming by to check on the progress.  A few have never seen the project!!  Thank you very much for the confidence you have in us, but with all of the investor fraud you now read about, I would like everyone to come and  put hands and eyes on the project.  Don’t forget your work clothes!

We decided to alarm the hangar and container with a direct line to the police station.  Now with the diminished value of scrap aluminum, the chance of a break-in for aluminum is remote.  The cost is about 60 dollars a month for the alarm and monitoring.

Thankx  everyone!


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