Monday, November 30, 2009

November 2009

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Work Progress
Intake lip and engine mount
Progress has been going quite well.  Jason and Chuck have been on the fourth aileron and the forward intake duct.  This duct is an extremely difficult and expensive part of press form.  With our success on our longerons, I decided to try our hand on this part.  The first one was a reject, but the second is coming out perfect, saving us a substantial amount of expense.  

Trim tab hinge fittings
We received back from one of our machine shops (Nautilus) some of the aileron trim tab hinge points.  A good job for the dollars.  We also received back from Peres and Underwood more flap hinge points and mounts.

Paul, Chris and Randall have been assembling the leading edge counter weights and gap seal platforms on the ailerons.  Jason has the fourth aileron just about complete through subassembly.

I was able to purchase a large batch of new surplus cable pulleys and structural pull rivets from a surplus dealer that I know for 50¢ on the dollar, saving us about $2K.  All of these parts came in original boxes with papers, so I am comfortable with their originality and quality.  

During the third week of November, I had a serious talk with the machine shop manufacturing our horizontal spar caps.  I was promised they would be delivered within three weeks (mid-December).  If they don’t make it by then, I am considering taking the next step to purchase a large surplus Bridgeport mill and make these spar caps myself.   Dealing with subcontractors at times becomes trying, but that’s why all of you rely on me to take care of an occasional bump.

Elevator ready for skinning
Next week I plan to bring the longerons to Ayres Heat Treating in Tifton, GA, for hardening.  They have a seven-foot plus oven that will accommodate our long parts.  When these longerons are brought up to hardness, we will start all of the high shear riveting on both fuselages.  High shear rivets are steel shank rivets held in place by a high tensile aluminum cap driven with a rivet gun over a ring groove in the rivet stem.  They are installed in very high shear load areas through out the entire XP-82 airframe structure.

The last major parts to manufacture on the fuselages are the nine lower and middle engine mount legs.  The reason for the odd number is that there is one lower leg on the original left engine mount that is corroded beyond saving.  The lower three that we need are complicated parts to build, but no tougher than the thickest longerons that we were able to successfully make in-house.  

Center section flap
When we receive the horizontal spar caps and install them, completing the horizontal framework, almost all of the major sub components will be completed and we will start to skin them, i.e., both fuselages, two verticals, two rudders, four ailerons, the horizontal, elevator and center section flap.  When we start shooting skins on all of these parts, things will appear to fly together, but 15 months of difficult subassembly work has gone into them.

Finally, the air show season is over with the B-25.  It has been very tiring and time consuming with very little return.  I am considering cutting back substantially on the schedule next year to spend more time at home and on the XP project.

WWII Flight Training Museum Fly-n
The museum board and volunteers put on a very nice hamburger/hot dog fly-in luncheon for the WWII Flight Training Museum here in Douglas on 21 November.  We had a good turnout even though the weather was threatening.   A lot of interest was shown in YOUR XP-82 project.

Bumps in the Road
None except for subcontract holdups which as of yet haven’t caused any delays.  They will if these delays continue into mid-Spring 2010.

Finally, the CAF (Confederate/Commemorative Air Force) lost their last appeal to keep their B model P-82.  The aircraft was sent back to Dayton this past summer until the final appeal.  All we know now is that the CAF’s P-82 will never fly again, leaving the world with only two:  ours and Pat Harker’s Allison-powered F-Model.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years
2010 should be a very exciting year.  



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