Friday, July 31, 2009

July 2009

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

Summer sure has arrived.  Inside the hangar, the temperatures are usually above 100 degrees during the workday, but inside our 40’ white container that houses our fuselages, the water spray air conditioner keeps the temperature in the comfortable mid 80s.

Parts Trip
I left on my OH, PA, NJ and DE trip on 22 July.  While at Soplata’s in Ohio, I was told that he recently found the RH engine cowlings and rudder, but he couldn’t remember where.  All is not lost as I was told that in the near future I would be the one to clean out all of his storage buildings to sell or auction off all of his treasures.  When that time comes, I will surely find more P-82 parts that are deeply buried there.

Pere's Machined Parts
My next stop was Erie, PA (Peres) and I picked up one of two billets, a pallet of aluminum sheet stock, which a few months ago the XP-82 project bought for 50¢ on the dollar, plus the two completed lower engine mount leg forgings.  They were extremely complicated to machine out of a billet of 7075-T6, but they came out beautiful as usual with his work and right in line with what I thought the cost would be.

The next stop was Georgetown, DE.  Larry Kelley (B-25 Panchito) has contributed some electronic parts for our XP-82 project.  

My last stop was to drop off at the Atlanta machine shop, Underwood Mold, one 4” x 6” x 20’ billet along with the sample RH lower arch longeron and one LH lower engine mount leg.  Out of this one billet, they will mill out one longeron and three engine mount legs, two for the RH mount and one replacement for the corroded LH mount. They are doing these part(s) as an investment into the project, the same as an equivalent cash investment.

Work Progress
Doghouse and Scoop Parts
We are currently completing the belly scoop bulkheads for both fuselages.  The coolant ducts in the LH fuselage were severely damaged and corroded from sitting in the dirt for so many years, but we were able to get good patterns off of them to duplicate two sets.  

The work on the doghouses (radiator boxes aft of the scoops) is also going well.  We had no RH doghouse so we have to manufacture one new along with all of the corroded parts from the LH one.  The fuselage was sitting in the dirt for fifty+ years, so the corrosion in those areas was also severe.

The aft lower and upper longerons being done by Tom Wilson are coming along quite well.  The press molds are completed on these longerons and they will be going to the 500-ton press the second or third week of August.   He then will immediately start on the ten longerons for RH fuselage which will follow the same duplication procedure.  

Same as last month, we are still shooting together duplicate sub components and installing one of each set in the LH fuselage -- which is starting to look like an airplane.

Weezie has completed dimpling all of the side fuselage skins, approximately 300+ holes per skin x 12 skins.  We now refer to her as Miss Dimples -- a fitting description.

Our lower and upper longeron manufacturing by Wilson (Atlanta) is being held up by a large customer that is in front of us at the press company.   During my trip I was to stop in NJ (Lesche) to pick up the horizontal spars, but he has been having mill computer problems, so they are not ready.  Here’s hoping they will be done soon.  Neither hold up is causing the project any delays as of yet, but another month will start to concern me.  I am starting to look at other options.

Allison & Rivet are inseparable
Bumps in the Road
Again, none!

Katz (as in plural)
In addition to Allison, 
Little Rivet joins our family
a tiny charcoal kitten showed up at our front door.  She must have seen our help wanted sign out front.  After a couple of days of howling, biting and general all out war 
between the two to determine the pecking order, they are now best of friends -- inseparable.

We were able to purchase from The Smithsonian four P-82 manuals for $250 total:

01 - Pilot Flight Handbook
02 - Erection & Maintenance
05 - Weight & Balance
06 - Basic Inspection Handbook

We already had 03-Structural Repair and 04-Parts Book.  This recent purchase completed every manual we needed.

Come see your project!



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