PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

Volunteer Work Day

June 21, 2008

Reported by Tom Gaylord and Al Sumrall

We had another excellent turn-out and the guys quickly broke up into groups to work on various projects.

Ted Dawson and Terry Bledsoe went back to work finishing the Luscombe up. The airplane was moved frorm the storage hanger to the main shop portico to be worked on. But one of the first things to happen was a test run of the customer D.VII's Gipsy Queen engine. The purpose was to double check the engine rpm at full throttle as the cockpit tach was only indicating 1500 rpm, well below maximum rpm for this type of engine. Yet it felt strong to Roger. Don Dixon - who flew in to continue working on the Curtiss Junior - monitored the hand-held strobe tach and confirmed that the cockpit instrument was correct!

As mentioned, Don Dixon was in to try and get the tiny Salmson radial on the Curtiss Junior running. Didn't quite get that far as he and Sanford spent nearly the whole day continuing to work on the fuel/oil tank mounts and tie-down straps.

Ted and Terry made great progress on the Luscombe. The prop was re-mounted and the engine cowls buttoned up, but I believe there are still a few tasks to complete before the airplane is ready for flight again.

Covering Thomas-Morse Scout parts

Most all the remainder of the airplane guys fell onto the Thomas-Morse Scout tail feathers, continuing the covering process.

First the two horizontal stabilizers were brought to the shop from the storage hanger and work started on cleaning them up and preparing them both for epoxy varnish. Both stabilizers were varnished and set aside to dry.

I wouldn't call it a production line, but we made great progress on getting the vertical fins and elevators covered. I think all the elevators were covered, shrunk and the first coat of nitrate dope applied. I believe the rib stitch reinforcement tape was applied and rib stitch holes marked off and punched on all components. I believe that Jeff Basham - with a little coaching from Roger - completed rib stitching one fin, while Gary Goolsby and Doug Hortvet were rib stitching elevators.

It was decided to fly the Fokker Dr.I triplane so we hauled it out and prepared it for flight. Roger expressed concern because there was a slight cross-wind on the runway and once the triplane's tail settles onto the ground the pilot is along for the ride. And the cross-wind might induce a groundloop.

Sure enough... upon landing the airplane didn't seem to want to lose speed very quickly while on the main gear, and when Roger dropped the tail the groundloop commenced. Very stately and elegant... almost slow-motion as the airplane was very quickly losing speed. The starboard wingtip skid dug in hard.

The revised mounts held though and the skid itself is in one piece. The mounts are bent, and the front one may need to be replaced. Didn't look at the tail skid very closely, we'll need to inspect that thoroughly before it flies again. So... a little drama with the triplane flight this time around!

Team Vehicles

Dave and Art worked on the black touring car most of the day, working on sundry things and taking off and testing the starter. Looks like we have two bad starters, the former TT starter and the touring car starter. I will look into seeing what can best be done getting at least the touring car starter rebuilt. Dave and Art worked very hard trying to save the starter but it looks like it is a goner.

As for the TT, John, Tom's son, and Al adjusted the tranny pedal and it appears we have gotten a bit more life out of the TT without having to replace the band material. It stlll may need some more adjustment but right now is doing ok. John and Tom's son also changed the oil in the Signal Corps truck. Additionally they primered the side strakes for the TT, then John and Al later in the PM painted the strakes with a coat of green. It adds to the TT appearance quite a bit. The next job for improving the TT will be to start re-varnishing the wheel spokes. This is not just for appearance but to protect the wood. The varnish is mostly gone. After that we will need to be thinking about manufacture of the C cab and maybe doing some spot will look awesome after that.

We didn't get to the Quad, but Ron was able to do quite a bit of work on the ammo box. He got the doors and locking latch working smoothly.

Roger mentioned that Mike McMains has the parts for the Indian gas tanks now, so hopefully he has what he needs. Some parts had to be machined.

We had a step backwards with the wrecker, but it may not be that big of a deal. It appears the starter solenoid went out so we could not get it cranked up. Roger thinks he has some extras. We have juice going to the solenoid and you can bypass the solenoid so that probably means the solenoid went out. It shouldn't take 30 min to fix if we have the part. I will look into availability also and if I find one inexpensively I will get one so we will have a brand new one on there. This is probably the kind of thing that is to be expected with the Ts, little things here and there are going to crop up.

This was not a spectacular day for Team vehicles and friends, but still a productive one. We do hope to get the Quad running again, and we will be looking at the French ambulance to see what can be done getting that one running as we are going to have to wait for a starter solution for the black touring car.