Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 2009

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

Work Progress
During the first week of September, I took time to visit our subcontractor locations--Wilson and Underwood, both in Atlanta--just to personally check on progress and, as expected, everything was satisfactory.

I continued onto Ohio for a dual purpose trip.  While there, I spent a half day at the Air Force Museum carefully examining the exterior of their B model P-82 Betty Joe.  I observed many details that our plans don’t show clearly, i.e., identical placement or mirror image of battery access doors, trim tab locations, number on each surface, hardware attachment of the stainless exhaust shields, hand holds, canopy releases, firewall forward inlet and vent ports and the most important, the height of the vertical stabilizers and rudders.  

The later E through H models had significant changes whereas the two XPs and the 20 B models are virtually the same.

Newly machined parts
Many parts from the Alaska and Colorado parts find are G and H models in which we have found numerous changes from our XP, i.e., duplicate trim tabs for autopilots, taller verticals, access door locations, etc.  Having an early model to look at is sure a big help.

Wilson (Atlanta) is working on our aft bulkhead framework parts.  Peres (Erie) is working on our four horizontal-to-vertical-attach and aileron-hinge fittings.  Nautilus (Ohio) is working on our trim tab fitting and rudder hinge points, while Underwood (Atlanta) on our RH lower forward longeron, aileron bell cranks, center section hinge points, and misc. arms while Lesche (NJ) is working on our horizontal stabilizer spar caps.  See the enclosed pictures of some of the delivered parts and sub component in-house manufactured parts.

The five men and one girl, Miss Dimples (Weezie), are busy with the four ailerons, one elevator and a center section flap.  We are just getting started on duplicating the ten RH forward fuselage upper and lower longerons.  We explored the feasibility of producing these in-house instead of sending them out.  I am more comfortable keeping these original parts in-house.

So, last week I got together with Barry Hutton, our part-time parts maker extraordinaire, to examine the possibility of producing our longerons in-house.  Within three days Barry had the two aft upper longerons, including the two doublers, finished, saving us approximately $5K.  We are now into the four aft lowers and middle uppers .160 thick longerons which are right at our in-house bend limits.  

Upon arrival back last week from a Florida work trip on my B-25, I found that Barry had completed the two lower afts and was just successfully completing the two middle uppers.  What a pleasant arriving home surprise!  We are now projecting being able to manufacture these six longerons and doublers in-house with a savings of over $14K.  We will now try the two middle lowers.

Chuck Cecile, one of our sheet metal fabricators, brought his sign making computer to Douglas.  This makes it possible for us to now have the drawings enlarged to scale, making the manufacture of parts easier.

P-40 "flying Tiger"  Air-to-air
What A Relief - Curtiss P-40E
Having the P-40 completed and test flown for 5+ hours has now freed me up  to concentrate more time on the XP-82 project descriptions that I have saved for myself, i.e., hydraulics, landing gear, specific hydraulic boost control modification from G-H model back to XP manual controls, and electrical systems.

Bumps in the Road
Things continue to go on exceedingly smoothly.  I am sure that something is lurking out there, but as of yet I see nothing on the horizon.

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