Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 2010

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

Work Progress
Horizontal stabilizer subcomponent
January was a very good month!  We have completed the sub-component structure assembly, less skinning for the following:  both vertical stabilizers, horizontal stabilizer (less two spar caps), both rudders, elevator, center section flap, four trim tabs, four ailerons and both forward fuselages.  The right-hand fuselage is still disassembled as the left-hand is occupying the fixture.

We have initiated the sub-assembly of the two aft fuselage sections, the two engine mounts and the set-up for the high shear riveting of both sets of fuselage longerons after receiving all of these parts back from heat treating.

Center section flap subcomponent
We received two of the four horizontal stabilizer spar caps from Lesche (NJ).   We also received the two elevator hinge point mounts from Peres (PA), more trim tab mounts from Nautilus (OH), and many other small parts too numerous to mention.
Beautiful jobs  as usual from everyone.

The new heat treating company we are using, because they have a huge oven and quench tank, is Ayres Company, a part of Thrush Aviation Agricultural Aircraft Manufacturing Company in Albany, GA.  The first batch of 28 parts, longerons and bulkheads I carried to them came back without a bill.  I called and asked why there was no charge and the owner said “Merry Christmas.”  He had heard of our project and wanted to help.  Thanks to Ayres.  
Engine mount cradle

Rudders and ailerons
MT Propeller (Germany) is busy with the design and production on our eight blades, hubs and spinners.

Our elusive investor that had never seen his project finally came down from the cold North to take a look.  Needless to say, he was blown away by what has been accomplished since he last saw it in Soplata’s yard.  He was also amazed at the extent of the work being done to the parts he helped recover in Alaska.   Our investor  stayed the majority of January helping to detail the four trim tab actuators and the acme screw jack mechanisms.  He also assisted on the horizontal stabilizer spar caps, along with a multitude of other jobs.  Many thanks to all of our investors who have contributed their time working on our XP project!

Vertical to aft fuselage set up
We are now poised to complete the difficult set-up of the two aft fuselage sections.   Wilson (GA) has already made the twelve longerons and four bulkheads necessary for this part of the project.   The original aft fuselage extensions were severely damaged, even though they were the last parts to hit the ground during the Alaska crash.  (The inertia that all of these parts were subjected to must have been enormous.)

The set-up of the aft fuselage sections, where they connect to the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, will be a challenge, but it’s nothing we can’t do.  (See attached picture of the initial setup of the aft lower fuselage section to the vertical stabilizer.)
Aft fuselage bulkheads

The final fit of the aft fuselage sections to the forward fuselages cannot be accomplished until the center section has been completed and both fuselages are mounted.  Then the two aft fuselage sections--with verticals and horizontal attached as an assembly--will be aligned to the aft fuselage bulkheads.  This alignment is  critical in six different dimensions.  If not correct, the airplane will not fly straight.

Elevator hinges
Prior to assembly of the two aft fuselage sections, I delivered 83 structural hinge points, longeron attachments, engine, tail and fuselage mounts, and everything else that had to be non-destructive tested to QC Labs (FL).   When they are done with this batch, I will bring them additional parts to be tested.  The dye-penetrate and/or X-ray inspections performed will determine if any structural flaws exist, giving us a good comfort level regarding the integrity of these parts.

Bumps in the Road

ADF Loop
Ultra Rare Part Find
In the picture of our XP-82 in flight, look at the LH fuselage.  Behind the canopy you can see a mounted round ring .  It’s an ADF (Automatic Direction Finder) loop, representative of the old radio equipment technology discarded in the 40s by everybody.  Larry Kelley, B-25 Panchito owner, found one and contributed it to our project.  Thanks Larry!

They are doing fine!  Lazy!  Can’t get much work out of them.

Come see your XP-82!


Trim tab actuators
Trim tabs and hinges

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