Monday, July 1, 2013

June Newsletter

 Happy Fourth of July from the XP-82 Crew

 The month of June has been quite good on completing the assigned tasks.

Outboard Wings
Paul, Randall, Ayman and Jeremy have made outstanding progress on fitting all of the ribs to the spars on both wings.  The left-hand wing is completed through the initial rib and stringer fitting and, by the time you read this, the right-hand wing will be nearing its initial rib and stringer fitting completion. We still have to complete the hat channel compression ribs that will be mounted in the fuel bay compartments in both wings.

 Ayman and Jeremy riveting re-enforcing stringers on each outboard wing rib

Ayman and Jeremy riveting the compression ribs on the center spar (outboard wing)

 The initial fitting means that all of the ribs are attach-drilled with a #40 drill bit (.096 thousands of an inch)(real small holes).  When the wings get mounted to the center section in the permanent steel fixture to determine dihedral, sweep and washout (described in last month’s newsletter), the ribs might need microscopic adjustments. This is why we started with such small holes.  The final drill sizes for the rib to spar attachments will be a #21 (.159 thousands) or where applicable a #11 (.191 thousands), right at double the .096 set-up holes. We have been able to save a substantial amount of parts out of the original Soplata wings.

 Paul and Randall setting up the compression ribs on the wing center spar

If any adjustment is needed (most likely not), the final size holes will clean up any minor misalignment and the rivet holes will be perfectly round.  A must!  The men have also final fit all of the outboard top and bottom bulb angles, T extrusions and 90 degree stringers that run the length of each wing. We had to buy the last of the required 4’ x 12’ sheets of aluminum to complete the wings, and a number of 1” x 1” .125 thick angles, 24 feet long for the wing stringers.  Thank you, Sigma Aerospace Metals, Aircraft Spruce, Peachtree City, GA and Thrush Aircraft, Albany, GA for excellent prices on this aluminum.

Two sets of outboard wing ribs

Right-hand outboard wing completed through initial set-up

Left-hand outboard wing completed through initial set-up

New machined outboard wing flap hinge points

Center Section
It seems that it is taking me forever to complete the final few tasks on the center section prior to its coming out of the fixture in mid-July.  But looking back at the pictures taken on 15 January 2013, the center section was empty of gear and any systems and now six months later, it is almost full of an incredible amount of gear systems, hydraulics, wiring harnesses, fuel system components, etc., etc.

I have now completed all of the main gear door up-lock rod installations.  One cannot believe the amount of monkey motion that goes on forward of the front spar just to lock and unlock the forward hooks on the gear doors!  The North American engineers in charge must have stayed up nights devising a more difficult design for these locks.  But they work.

We are down to a 12-item punch list of tasks to complete prior to the center section coming out of the fixture.  One major item that took quite a while to figure out was the gear over-center spring bungee down-lock attachment. The plans, which are usually extremely thorough and descriptive, were extremely ambiguous on the attachment along with the drawings of each part.  Weezie took it upon herself to try to figure it out and within one day of plundering through all the old rotted parts, she was able to come up with all the pieces that matched all the original rivet holes.  After much studying of the plans and comparing them to the parts in hand, one could eventually recognize the comparison.  Good job, Weez, on solving that problem.

We are waiting for four difficult fuel lines being mandrel-bent in Florida to complete the fuel lines from the shut-offs to the C4 strainers mounted on the firewalls.

We are also waiting on five special machined emergency landing gear extension bellcrank brackets that mount in the center section.  None of these brackets or fuel lines will stop us from removing the center section from its fixture, but it would be nice to have them for ease of installation prior to the removal.

Terminal strips in each wheel well with the boost pump resisters

All of the wiring is now completed in the center section up to the wing attach Cannon plugs feeding the outboard wings and the pilot and co-pilot floor plugs. An amazing amount of wires to give both cockpits complete control over all of the functions.

Fuselage/Center Section Mounting
You can tell it’s getting close because I broke down and ordered about a bazillion dollars worth of new NASA fuselage attachment bolts. I had virtually every bolt surplus for free out of my Kissimmee stock, but without certification papers.  We have to have “cert” papers on all of these bolts (as I have insisted on with every part that has gone into this restoration).  So we had to buy them new.  Actually, the prices are not that bad. $25-$100 per bolt x 16 bolts.

Windshields/Canopy Bows
Vic Peres (Erie) has started the machining of the windshield and matching canopy bows.  These are the arches that mate together when the canopies roll forward on their tracks to close against the windshield.  We had one good canopy bow that was in perfect condition that came from the Colorado parts.  The two windshield bows that came from the Soplata collection were severely corroded and barely copy-able. Nothing windshield related came out of the Alaska parts as they were the second things to impact at 300+ MPH. 

Carlin Thomas of Bulldog Steel water jetted all of our cowling stainless steel attach straps.

Stainless cowling attaches with Allison standing guard

Heat Exchangers
Martin Radiator, the same company that built our water radiators, has started on our two heat exchangers (oil coolers).

Thank You!
A wonderful thank you to all of the shops and people who have made this project a success:    Martin, Vic, John, Cullen, Ron, Gerald, Barry, Carlin, Wilson, Casey, Lowell, Josh, Ken, Nan, Nelson, Mid Florida Prop and Thrush Aircraft for the great services and work everyone has done for us, and a special thankx to Paul, Randall, Ayman, Jeremy and Weezie, plus to Phil, Suzzie and Donna for keeping the books and paying all the bills. If I left someone out, it was by accident.  Thank you, all.

We have a new supporter come aboard -- Hattaway Ford of Blakely, GA.  If anyone is thinking of buying a new car or truck, go see Nelson Hattaway for an outstanding deal.  Blakely is located between Dothan, AL and Albany, GA.

The Katz
“Shhhhhh ... don’t let on to Tom that I’m hiding under this towel or he will make me go back to work.”               - Allison

Bumpz in the Road


Thank you to our men and women service members 
that serve our country!

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