“XP-82 Restoration Project”
#44 83887 Progress Report
Work is going along at a very rapid pace. Everyone is doing a great job! We are now into our final part(s) disassembly and remanufacture prior to all the new pieces going to heat treat.
|Lefthand fuselage parts|
We are in the middle of the four ailerons, elevator and center section flap rebuild. The elevator and ailerons are the most challenging parts as of yet; very difficult parts to rivet and close out. The term ‘close out’ refers to where the riveting team starts and where they are able to gain access with the bucking bar(s) to exit out of the riveted part. The goal is to use as few structural pull rivets as possible due to not having access with a bar.
The aileron rib remanufacture (just about every one) is getting more tedious as they are getting so small with no room for any error; not that any of the previous parts were built with any error, but these small parts are tough.
Vic Peres completed all of the trailing edge pieces and both single left and right dynafocal engine mounts. He is now into the dual dynafocals machine work. We have just started to assemble the first two of four engine mount legs which hold these mounts. By the time you read this, the 4‘‘ x 6‘‘ x 225‘‘ billets will have been delivered, six to Lesche in NJ and two Vic Peres in PA.
Lesche will be making the four horizontal spar caps 1.5 x 1.5 x .187 obtuse angles 16‘ long and the four center section spar caps. Vic will continue on all of the small parts and concentrate on the one lower forward fuselage longeron and the eight aft fuselage longerons. These eight parts are approximately 4‘‘ wide by 2‘‘ deep channels which have changing angles on the sides as they transition from forward to aft, also with a gentle curve to them about 2‘‘ per eight feet -- fun parts to machine.
We have decided to retrieve our top cowls and intake duct forward lip from the contractor in WV as he has not been able to get to any of our work for the past ten months. Our P & W parts fabricator now can do these jobs in house, saving us quite a lot. The induction trunk being worked on in California is coming along well but slowly at best.
I am very pleased with the six person work force we now have in place. With me having to spend my time on both the Brooks’ P-40 and our XP-82, six is just the right number for me to be able to keep a watch on. When the P-40 is complete -- hopefully in a month -- I’ll add about two more experienced shooters and buckers to the team to start on the fuselages and verticals which are ready for skinning.
This summer, I will be traveling back to Ohio to again plunder through Soplata’s parts to find more XP parts. While up north, I will also go to Vic Peres’ facility to assist in some of the machine work and pick up our longerons (from Lesche) and all of the completed Peres’ parts.
|Engine Dynafocal Mounts|
We have been in touch with MT Propellor regarding making composite blades, both lefthand and righthand for both of our 82 projects -- approximately $125K complete for each four-bladed prop assembly. We had budgeted about $500K for both props, so this change might save us $250K on our budget -- a great deal if it works out! If we go this route, fitting spinners might cause a small problem, but easily overcome.
I traveled to South Florida and picked up the canopy frame and both prop hubs. If the MT Prop deal goes through, we will not require these Hamilton Standard four-bladed hubs as the MT Props come with their own style hubs.
|Engine Mount Legs|
As I am told, our two N.O.S. hubs are the last two available in existence. If we find they are surplus to our needs, we should realize a sizable profit -- when we sell them.
We also had Tom Wilson build the righthand engine mount center saddle, a very difficult and thick aluminum assembly of parts. The job came out very nice. He has been given another six heavy structure parts to do.
Bumps in the Road
None! I’m waiting for the first shoe to drop (old saying), but none have so far.