PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

Volunteer Work Day

March 29, 2008

We enjoyed a good turn-out and mild weather. The work team split up to work on four broad projects; the Fokker Triplane, the Canuck, the vehicles, and grounds maintenance.

The Fokker Triplane

Before we fly it again, Roger wants to focus on addressing all the 'squawks' from the initial taxi testing and first flight, as well as deal with the last details to really finish this aircraft. Ron and Tom, with some crucial assistance from Derek Staha, completed many of these items. During the day, the ailerons were re-rigged so the ailerons are in a neutral position when the stick is centered. Derek's assistance was greatly appreciated, as he was the only one on site limber enough to safety wire the turnbuckles on the aileron control horns on the torque tube in the cockpit! Derek ended up electing to dive into the cockpit headfirst to complete the task.

Various screws were inserted into sheet metal fairings to eliminate the rattle that alarmed Roger on the first flight. These are all buttoned up tight now! Roger also wanted a slip indicator mounted in the cockpit, and Ron and Tom installed that. Lastly, they went to work on fabricating gun butt pads. Ron took the parts home as he thought he has some impact resistant foam padding and he could completed the pads there. Tom took home a fastener for the wing inspection panels, as both the Triplane and the D.VII need more of these.

Roger mentioned that he found the weight and balance measurements and that the airplane is 10 pounds heavier on the port main-wheel than on the starboard, and the airplane flies port wing heavy. As flight testing continues, Roger intends to add weight slowly to the starboard side to try and balance the aircraft.

Remaining known items needing finishing are the wing inspection panel fasteners, cockpit padding on the two forward fairings, gun butt pads and cross-brace pad, and maybe painting the tail skid guide plate?

The Canuck

Canuck engine running-in

The engine and all systems are hooked up on this airplane. Tom Miller led a small team in inspecting the connections and then the plan was to ground run the engine, breaking it in for flight. The airplane was thoroughly tied down and new chocks built by Dave Miller were used. While the engine would start and briefly run in the morning, the OX-5 wouldn't run for more than a minute. Folks were wearing themselves out propping the motor!

Eventually it was decided it might need more fuel, so at lunch additional gas was obtained. The engine started up and the team ran the engine for an hour! Tom bagged cockpit duties, varying rpm and monitoring temperatures and pressures. Roger would like to accumulate 3 - 5 hours of ground running before flying the aircraft.

The Vehicles

Art Caballero and his cousin went to Kingsbury mid-week to try and get the TT running. They succeeded!!! On Saturday, Art showed up with his rolling tool truck and work on the vehicles commenced! Art brought out a portable pressure washer and several of the vehicles were thoroughly washed off. Those in running condition were started and driven around the grounds for awhile. The broken steering wheel on the TT was removed and shipped to Greg Solberg in Houston to fabricate a new wooden steering wheel rim.

Grounds Maintenance

At the morning meeting it was noted that we needed to begin some effort at clearing up the grounds for the upcoming Air Fair event. It was noted that May 24th is the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, but ultimately the decision was made to not move the event. The two guys who spent some time on grounds maintenance were Terry Bledsoe and Derek Staha. Terry spent much of the day either assisting the Canuck crew or driving the tractor with the mower all over the property. Derek was working around the various buildings with a regular lawn mower and weed whacker, in addition to Fokker diving and working in the office with the plans library.