PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

Volunteer Work Days

April 13 & 20, 2013

by Tom Gaylord

Jerry Stark and Steve Richardson checking the fit of a fairing template

April was a pretty good month at the Museum. Good weather, excellent volunteer turn-outs and lots got accomplished. Here are the details:


Thomas-Morse S4C Scouts

April 13 - Jerry Stark continued working on T-2's fairings, turning his attention the belly fairing just aft of the firewall. He started with a part patterned after T-1's fairing, and immediately ran into the same problems he faced with the tail skid fairing; the belly former evidently extends both further aft AND further forwards that T-1's belly former. Most problematical is where to attach the fairing along the trailing edge, as well as a fit problem with the fairing against the belly former as the fairing currently wants to smoothly arc underneath the fuselage while the belly former has a much flatter profile across the aircraft's centerline. Jerry consulted with Steve Freeman and the optimal fix is to add a thicker former to the belly former structure so the fairings have something sturdy to fasten to.

April 20 - Jerry and Steve Richardson worked on puzzling out the belly fairing on T-2. Jerry had made a cardboard template between the workdays and he and Steve spent a fair amount of time checking it and discussing ways to move forward. The cardboard template is to serve as a pattern to create an additional former or bulkhead in the belly former structure for the belly fairing's trailing edge to be screwed to.

Fokker Dr.I Triplane

Fokker Dr.I Triplane taking off

April 13 - Mike Craig and his dad were able to make the workday so they tended to the Triplane. We were expecting a tour group of WWII vets around 10 am, and Steve was anxious to fly the Triplane early on to avoid the wind picking up later in the day. Mike and the guys pulled the Triplane from the hangar once the Model Ts were moved. The engine and airplane were checked and the motor primed and lubed. The engine was started and run up.

There was a brief delay as Steve hunted down the aircraft's paperwork, but soon the airplane was hooked up to the Signal Corp truck and moved to the north end of the runway. With the engine started Steve took off and flew the airplane for quite a while, making a series of low passes and steep turns to the left and right. The landing appeared uneventful - the initial touchdown was a little off balance, but after the tail dropped the aircraft quickly stopped pretty straight and true! It probably helped that the field was softer than usual due to the recent rains!

The airplane looked great up in the air! Very exciting that this airplane will be available at the upcoming Spring Air Fair Fly-In!!

Mike Craig is continuing his search for tires as the size he looked for is not available, just as Steve had found out! However, it appears they may have been searching for the wrong sized tires! Mike and his Dad, Don, were re-measuring the wheel's diameter and struggling with the hub sticking out and making a straight measurement impossible when Don noticed the tire's size printed on the sidewall. Yup... they'd been searching for the wrong tire size!!

Curtiss Canuck

April 13 - The Canuck was immobilized for much of the morning. It was trapped in the hangar because one of the Model T ambulances (the U.S. Ambulance) was stuck in gear and there great concern about possible damage if the machine were just pushed out of the way. Team Vehicles swung into action and eventually got the transmission out of gear so it could be pulled from the hangar!

The Canuck Crew put the prop back and found all the groaning noises had stopped - interpreted as a "good thing"! On Friday the motor was still whining a bit causing raised eyebrows and concern all around.

The Canuck was checked over and pulled out onto the grass beside the hangar so the radiator could be filled with water, and then the engine was lubed, started and run. Again, the motor ran strongly in the lower rev range, firing on all 8 cylinders. However, the engine wouldn't pull all the revs it should. Don Craig did some testing with his hands over the carb intakes and the consensus is that the carb jets must have some debris in them causing the engine to falter at higher rpm.

After some testing, Dave Edgerly says the engine groaning was definitely caused by the water pump, the shaft and seal were lubricated and the groaning (from vibration) ceased. Another item to add to the pre- and post- flight lubrication regimen?

Rearwin 2000C Ken-Royce

Cleaning the Rearwin's wing

April 20 - Conservation work started on the Rearwin's wing panels which have hung on the shop's walls for quite some time now. They had received a cleaning and relocation some time ago, but we felt it was time for a serious cleaning and sealing with epoxy varnish.

Terry Bledsoe lifted Tom Gaylord up on the forklift tines to retrieve a wing panel and get the project underway. The starboard upper wing panel was outermost and easiest to get down so it was first. The wing panel was blown off with compressed air while the accumulated dust was disturbed with a rag. Only one large mud dauber's nest was knocked off the wing root rib. Looking better already!

Chris Hill and Greg Solberg took over, tapping nail heads down and sanding the upper surfaces. The cover over the fuel tank cavity was removed and the interior of that box was the cleanest looking part of the wing. Chris reported that as he tapped nail heads down along the plywood covered leading edge he could hear mud dauber nests inside coming loose and falling. Sure enough, when the wing was flipped to do the underside there was a lot of rattling going inside that leading edge! When will we ever learn to plug up openings on airplanes? And getting the nests out of the leading edge will not be easy, there are openings in the plywood covering, but they are small, on the underside of the wing, and located adjacent to solid web structural ribs - each pair of access holes runs across 4 - 5 ribs!

There are some items on the wing we want Steve to look over and give some advice on before we proceed much further. No actual varnishing was done, and at the end of the day the wing was stored back with the Thomas-Morse fuselages.


Steve Freeman reports the Ercoupe is coming along and hopes to fly it to Kingsbury for the Air Fair. In April Steve fixed the instrument panel's wiring and overhauled the carb. On to the huge quantities of paperwork to make it legal to fly!

Team Vehicles

Indian Motorcycle

When Kevin received the kick starter assembly (from Norway!) there were four holes missing for the rivets that fasten the assembly together. Kevin said the metal was so hard he couldn't even scratch it, so it was off to the machine shop again. The new clutch parts worked out well: pressure plate, spring holder plate and the spring screw locking plate (something we never had). Kevin says he has also finished painting the fender stays he'd made as well as the bike's headlamp brackets. Those parts have been installed and Kevin has also adjusted the rear fender to sit in the middle of the tire. Kevin has made a lever for the compression release that attaches to a hand lever on the fuel tank's right side which is used to turn the engine off.

Kevin continues working on the bondo on the fuel tanks, and also mentioned needing to get the olive drab paint reformulated, as the new stuff is obviously lighter than the paint already on the bike. Kevin is planning on taking the sidecar home to finish up the bike as a single piece.

Model Ts

Model T Wrecker transmission

April 13 - various Ts were started and driven, though I don't recall very many. Mostly they seemed to be pushed out of the hangar and stayed put the majority of the day.

April 20 - Team Vehicles was just three people. Cameron and Ian Whitaker, and their Fearless Leader - Al Sumrall! Bruce Roberson was there as well, working on his project car.

Cameron and Ian concentrated on installing new Kevlar transmission bands in the Wrecker. This a big job with Ts as it involves major disassembly and reassembly and is a dirty and physically taxing job in our working conditions. Cameron was successful in getting the Wrecker's transmission rebuilt but encountered trouble with the starter motor so he has taken that home to rebuild. Al expects the Wrecker to be a much improved utility vehicle by Air Fair, with its rebuilt transmission and starter motor plus the four-bladed radiator fan keeping it cool! Ian also spent some time driving a few visitors around the property in the Model Ts.

Field Bike

Ian also spent part of his day working on the ex-USMC Kawasaki KLR-650 motorcycle that is being rejuvenated to serve as a field bike... or "liaison" bike as the Team Vehicles guys like to call it! Ian has spent a fair amount of time getting the carb adequately cleaned out and functioning properly but he has finally prevailed and got the bike running late on Saturday evening.

Al is already fussing and worrying over "unauthorized" operators abusing this machine for "fun" rather than strictly using the bike for "real work" on the property. Al plans to fit the bike with a basket or a trailer to allow the hauling of parts and tools and such with the bike. Al feels we lose a lot of time and energy walking back and forth between the shop and the hangar (dang - some of us need the exercise Al!) and firing up cars to fetch is just overkill and energy inefficient. So beware folks! No "fun" with the motorbike!!


Property Road Sign

Carl Canga (left) and Dan Siegle holding the new sign

April 13 - Carl Canga had asked for the old road sign to be removed and the poles and roof refurbished. Terry Bledsoe took the old sign down and Charlotte has offered to scrape and repaint the poles during the week. The roof will need to be worked on next workday - varnishing the frame and replacing the shingles. Carl brought the new sign to Kingsbury - with help from Dan Siegle - and it is stored in the hangar till the 20th. The sign looks great!!

April 20th - Dave and Tom Miller spent their day refurbishing the property road sign up by the main entrance and ultimately mounted the new sign. Charlotte had not painted the uprights during the week - she had black paint while someone told her the poles should be white! Dave and Tom ultimately painted them green! They also took down the roof and took it to Luling at lunchtime to clean it at a car wash facility. When the roof had dried out they painted it black with a special paint formulated for severely weathered wood. The paint was very quick drying stuff and by the end of the day the sign had been mounted and the structure reassembled. The final product looks pretty darned good!

Drill Pipe Donation

Billy Cheshire donated some drill pipe to be used as poles for the proposed Model T shed. Terry Bledsoe is working on plans for the facility.

Gun Crew

April 13 - Vintage Manufacturing cut two sets of replacement cooling jacket parts, and will schedule up 8 more sets. Jerry took the two new sets, plus the endplate discs from the thicker set to attempt to roll up and weld together two complete prototype jackets. Jerry may only do one, as it appears that the rear disc may have too great a diameter... might need to get these redrawn and re-cut.

April 20 - Jerry brought the materials for the cooling jackets back with questions. He was concerned the thinner end wrappers wouldn't look right so the local "Oracle", Al Sumrall was consulted. Al's opinion was it would look fine. The parts are not curling well, tending to end up more or less as octagons, however the thin metal can be finish shaped fairly easily. Still, we need to evaluate whether we need to redraw some of the parts to provide lead-in and lead-out portions to facilitate smoother curling at the ends, and perhaps additional metal on the sides to promote smoother curves on the more heavily ventilated parts. It appears the Germans machined the cooling slots in the jackets after they were already welded up into cylinders! Not sure any decisions were made, but Jerry took the materials back home with him.