PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

February 28, 2003 Project Update

Laying out a new rudder bar jig

Tom Gaylord and Bill Broussard continued work on the cockpit area of the Fokker D.VII. Joined by Gary Marsden and Richard Johnson, several different sub-projects were addressed. After some discussion, the cockpit control stick was lengthened by 1.5 inches. This was done to aid side clearance of the stick. Modern-day humans are taller and wider than our heroes of yesteryear, and the original cockpit dimensions just don't work very well. The stick, as made to original specifications would contact the knees of modern pilots, limiting the amount of side travel and thus the roll rate possible to achieve. We also decided to move the rudder pedals forward, since our legs are longer than the original pilots'. The first attempt at moving the pedals didn't work, since the new location impinged on the aileron control horns. As a result, we decided to rebuild the pedals pretty much from scratch. This picture shows Tom laying out the pattern for the new rudder bar on a workbench.

Access doorn

We had also decided recently to re-build the fuel tank and use a different mounting system. To make maintenance easier, we're also adding a small access door to the left side of the fuselage. This small, triangular door will let us get to the fuel hose fittings after the fuselage is covered. Gary began collecting information to make the patterns for drawing the skull-and-crossbones design that will be painted on the fuselage sides.

Some discussion also occurred comparing the Gypsy Queen engine to the Ranger we're planning to use. The advantage to the Ranger is that we have one, but the Gypsy Queen is closer to the horsepower and torque rating of the original Mercedes engine. That would also allow us to use a larger propellor, which would look more original.

Trigger pieces and stick grip

Gary continued working on the gun triggers by fabricating the parts used to connect the Bowden cables to the joystick trigger levers. The cables will be used to control the switches for the propane machine guns. The two curved pieces shown here are the trigger levers, with the cable connector pieces just to the left. We hope that most of the control stick will be finished by our next work day. Gary also did a bit of sanding work on some rib pieces that will be used on the SE5a.

Wing envelope being prepared

Richard, Roger Freeman, Tom and Bill removed the bottom wing from its storage rack on the wall. Roger Ritter and Bill did the final pinning of the wing envelope fabric. These pieces consist of two different lozenge camouflage patterns, one for the upper surface and one for the lower. The pinned envelopes will be sewn together in Houston. Once that's done, we can slide them back on to the wings and do the final attachment, shrinking, rib-stitching and doping to finish the wing covers.