PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

Volunteer Work Day

September 18, 2010

by Tom Gaylord

We had a pretty good turn-out for the day, but I am afraid I didn't do a great job of keeping tabs on everything that was going on. I have some highlights and photos, but I am particularly weak on the activities of Team Vehicles aside from the fact that I know they got several of the Model Ts running!

Steve Freeman was present and had tried to fly in from Memphis in his award-winning Ryan PT-22. It is a gorgeous little thing! I recall seeing the airplane quite a few years ago and it was pretty then, but Steve really spiffed it up and appears to have made it more accurate in his restoration upgrade. I believe the airplane won a "People's Choice" award at Oshkosh a year or two ago. Steve had been forced to leave the airplane at San Marcos due to weather on his trip in, but on Saturday morning went and retrieved the airplane.

Dave Edgerly, with assistance from other volunteers, continued his quest to clean up the T-1 rotary engine. Various potions were tried to see what worked best on ancient, baked-on castor oil and believe it or not one of the most potent was Easy-Off Oven Cleaner!! The motor is really shaping up, but Dave is finding that the engine rusts quickly if he doesn't apply some light oil to the surfaces after cleanup! Dave eventually turned his attention to the T-1 engine mounts and firewall and was cleaning those off very thoroughly. Not sure whether he finished the job. Roger suggested at one point that we try the Easy-Off on the grimiest parts of the T-1 fuselage! I do recall seeing Bob Gardner scraping goo and old felt off the wood ring attached to the T-1 firewall. So Bob was definitely one of Dave's helpers!

Dave Orloff assembled a crew to continue covering T-2 wings! Dave's wife Tammy came to the workday with Dave and brought her sewing machine, as the remaining wing envelopes have not been assembled. (It was Tammy who brought the delicious apple pies, Don. Really a pity you missed it... cuz we sure didn't leave any left-overs!) Billy Cheshire, Tammy, Dave, Bob Gardner, and others got the second lower T-2 wing panel covered and the fabric shrunk. I do not know whether they were able to apply any dope to the fabric. The team did turn their attentions to preparing one of the upper wing panels for cover.

Jeff Basham cleans a Tommy fuselage

Jeff Basham and I worked mainly on the T-1 fuselage. Last workday, Jeff and Alexander Matlock worked to varnish the wood members of T-2's fuselage, so that fuselage is essentially done as far as repainting of fittings and varnishing the wood goes! This week Jeff unleashed his energies on the T-1 fuselage. Cleaning the wood and metal fittings started last week and we continued that work this time. The only thing we removed from the fuselage this workday were the fabric rub strips applied to the outside of the longerons. These strips had the nails pulled and then were bundled together and stored in the attic, next to T-2's belly formers/stringers. Much of the rear of T-1's fuselage was scraped clean of loose paint and varnish. We still have a fair amount of work to do on this fuselage to get it equal to T-2!! But we will get there. T-1's landing gear remained untouched, but it sure was easier to work on T-1's fuselage with the gear off!

Team Vehicles

by Al Sumrall

We were down to three volunteers (Lynn of course was out of involuntarily and several of the other TV folks had other commitments), me, John Bush, and Andrew Matlock, but thanks to the latter two a lot got done and we are now up and running again, that is the "Three Ts" are up and running. John never stopped all day and Andrew was not far behind, me, well you know how I get sidetracked but fortunately John with Andrew stayed the course, filled radiators, charged batteries, checked air, put in the gas I brought, and John (while I was at lunch) lined up the three Ts and changed all their oil in assembly line fashion.

Starting them was a little tough as the switches seemed to be unhappy, but it was very humid (although thankfully cool). The combination of that and maybe the summer hiatus made the starter switches balky at first but they came around and the three T's got in some exercise. We were able to identify three issues that we just need to get down and address, maybe the next workday in our efforts to tweak these vehicles into better operating condition. Another new T driver also made her debut. Tammy Orloff got to drive her first "T" on the only break she and Dave would apparently allow themselves. Andrew also got some T time in. Things were going fine until the gully washer in early-PM and that pretty much shut us down...but frankly I was dazzled by Steve's PT-22 and had to spend a lot of time just ogling it. It's rare that an airplane looks better the closer you get to it but his PT-22 is just perfect in every detail.

To a great extent thanks to the weather, some hangar flying got done and there was a brisk discussion about normally "taboo" subjects like WWII aircraft (really obscure ones like Brewster Buffalos, Curtiss CW-21s and 22s, and how we got off on WWII submarines I am not sure...) but then the subject of pie came up and suddenly there was this burst of activity towards the pie. Of course through most of this some people just kept on working like and managed to get in their comments in any event.

No question we are now back in "prime-time" for workdays. Please come out if you can, we need you. The Tommies are now really progressing and you aircraft aficionados will be in heaven with the Tommies as I think the hump has been gotten over on those aircraft and now the more "exciting" parts of the project are beginning.

In motorcycle news, I have decided not to modify the Kingsbury Special...it is fun like it is, but I will still be building the lengthened 1909 Indian hoop frame for the second bike and have got cutting and welding time booked in East Texas this coming weekend. Also Mark Cowan is well into his tribute bike and will be testing it very soon with a modern tank but he is also working on a retro style tank cover like the Kingsbury special has. Right now it is on a yellow frame and silver oil and gas tanks are anticipated. He has already mounted cream color tires so the bike is going to have a good vintage look.