PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

November 23, 2002 Project Update

Fokker control stick handle & grips

Team Fokker, represented by Richard Johnson and Bill Broussard continued work on the D.VII November 16 and 17. Richard had finished 98% of the control stick handles. Some finishing sanding and staining was done. Control cables were run from the cockpit to the rudders and elevators.

A lot of time was spent with various people in the cockpit for an ergonomics bull session. Problems were discovered in that the aileron horns on the control stick and the rudder pedals interfered with each other. It was also noted that due to the rather unique design of the control stick handles and the auxiliary throttle on the stick, there was a reduction in the ability to move the stick left and right. The control handle on the right side and the auxiliary throttle on the left side would hit the pilot in the knees before full deflection could be attained. Roger Freeman decided to do away with the auxiliary throttle on the left side which allowed full deflection to the left. It was uncertain what would be done for the right deflection. All of this was accompanied by much measuring, plan consulting, discussion and chin rubbing. It was noted that the rudder pedals on the Dr.I were about 2 inches further from the seat than the D.VII pedals. Possibly the problem could be due to the longer legs of more modern pilots forcing the knees higher in the cockpit, putting them in the way of proper control stick deflection. Would be pilots, with shorter legs noted that deflection of the stick was not as much a problem.

Roger decided to move the aileron control stick horns a couple of inches forward to alleviate the possibility of interference with the rudder pedals. In either position it was noted that the gas tank fabricated would interfere with the aileron control cables, but especially if the horns were moved more foreward. The tank was not built to original Fokker size which was part of the problem. Roger was also dissatisfied with the way the tank would have been mounted to the fuselage. A new tank will be made.

Bill then continued work on some of the gun trigger parts preparing them for mounting to the control column.

Marguerite Corbello sewing wing envelopes

Bill's wife, Marguerite Corbello showed up with her sewing machine and work began with sewing the fabric envelopes that would cover the wings. First covered would be the ailerons. After cutting and sewing the two different lozenge fabrics the right aileron sleeve was fitted to the aileron frame. Roger then began ironing to shrink the fabric when a problem was discovered. The top fabric would not shrink. The bottom fabric shrunk properly. Work immediately stopped on the covering session when it was discovered that the whole bolt of fabric was defective. A new bolt will have to be procurred from the supplier. The defective cover was left on the right aileron for display purposes (as seen here).

Covered aileron

After the picnic on November 23, Bill stayed through Sunday to try to rescue the aileron fiasco of last week. Roger found another bolt of top fabric. Bill cut a small piece off and verified that it would shrink. The defective bolt was returned last week to be replaced by another bolt. Sunday morning was spent cutting out pieces for both ailerons. Each side of each aileron requires 2 pieces for a total of 8 in all. Each piece was attached to its partner piece with a French felled seam (a seam like the one used in blue jeans). They were sewn by Marguerite Corbello. This resulted in four pieces, one top and one bottom piece for each aileron. These were then pinned around the ailerons to mark a proper seam line, sewn along this line and then turned inside out to form an envelope into which the aileron frame is slipped.

Roger attached the fabric to the ailerons and shrunk them on. This time everything worked well, the fabric shrunk properly on both sides and the scalloped effect was quite noticeable. Bill left that afternoon. Before he left he measured the wings and took the fabric home with him to start sewing the envelopes that will fit over the wings. After Bill left Roger rib stitched one of the ailerons and covered the stitching with the lozenge tape he has.