PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

February 5, 2005 Project Update

Middle and lower wings

At lunch Roger shared some of our triplane's history. The aircraft's past accounts for some of the difficulties we are having in getting this bird together. Roger said this aircraft was once a flying replica but was damaged in a crash of some sort. The aircraft was salvaged out to the USAF Museum, who wanted it rebuilt to static display condition for the museum. Roger bid to construct a more historically authentic replica and received the damaged triplane in the deal. In rebuilding the airplane to flying status, Roger is also trying to make the replica more historically accurate. Between the "historic upgrade", crash damage, uneven quality of initial build, and time spent in storage, the aircraft has issues we need to conquer to get it back in the air. The efforts expended this workday felt like one step forward, two steps back... but good progress was made.

Ted Dawson and Terry Bledsoe install top wing fittings

Ted Dawson and Terry Bledsoe spent the day working on wings. Their first accomplishment was getting the initial coat of dope onto the now covered middle-wing. Jim Johnson has been working during the week, mainly preparing the lower wing for rib stitching as cold temperatures have hampered the doping process. Ted and Terry then turned their attention to the top wing. The top wing was first cleaned and vacuumed and the fittings rustled up. Ted roughly estimated that the top wing's weight was reduced by 5.76 pounds by this thorough cleaning! Many of the top wing's fittings fit poorly and would need some remedial work and heavy-duty cleaning, especially the hinging brackets locating the control cable pulleys and the pulleys themselves. Roger assisted Ted and Terry in reworking some of the pieces and at the end of the day all the fittings had been installed and worked great! Unfortunately, more work is needed... the envelope covering the wing needs to be laid out, pinned, and sewed and bracing for inspection panels needs to be built into the wing so we can access the control cables after the wing is covered. Control cables still need to be fabricated.

Greg Solberg working on the firewall

Greg Solberg and Tom Gaylord spent their day on the firewall. Ron Marcotte and Greg had previously fabricated two "L" shaped semi-circular parts that needed to be riveted to the firewall. These parts serve to mount the engine cowling. Ron had apparently made a return trip and had laid out the rivet marks on the cowl mounts. Tom and Greg located the holes and punched them through, then transferred the rivet positions to the firewall. The firewall holes were then punched through. Rivets were cut to length and Roger, using his brand-new rivet gun, riveted the pieces together. Greg and Tom then started attaching the firewall to the engine mount brackets using flight-quality hardware. Time then, to fit the firewall back onto the fuselage for a fit check. Problems were noted; the rivets interfered with the ends of the fuselage longerons and the fittings anchoring the cowl mount cable didn't align with the corresponding pieces on the firewall. So, the cowl mount cable anchor tabs were cut off and the ends of the fuselage longerons were cut back. Roger said he would weld the longeron ends shut, relocate the cowl mount cable anchors, and finally weld on the mounting brackets for the wooden cowl cheeks. All that would then be ready for "Fokker Green" paint.

Other triplane work of note: the parts for the new and improved fuel tank are being fabricated. The day ended with Roger firing up the Cub and giving rides to those folks still hanging around and willing to risk the cold breeze blowing through the cockpit.