PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

Volunteer Work Day

May 5, 2013

by Tom Gaylord

Steve and Kurt washing the Fokker Triplane

The workday on the 5th started out with cookies, brownies, coffee and the usual morning chit-chat in the shop office. Ian Whitaker showed up with a show'n'tell box - it had an early small steam engine in it he'd found on eBay! The engine was the type to be found on an early steam powered automobile. Missing a few parts mind you, but Ian hopes to restore it to running condition!


Fokker Dr.I Triplane

The wash crew (predominantly Steve Richardson and Kurt Maurer) washed the Triplane but came up short on a cleaning fluid that would take care of the castor oil residue!

Curtiss Canuck

Exhumed from the hangar and walked over to the shop apron for some attention to be paid to the water pump and the airplane in general. Chris Freeman was in town for the week (and Air Fair) and his Number One Mission was to go over the Curtiss OX-5 engine and get it sorted out and then turn his attention to the airframe. The primary concern with the engine is the water pump shaft - the noise and the leaks! Roger and Steve have been talking about fitting a zerk fitting on the impeller shaft so it can be greased occasionally to prevent the noise. Chris will fix the packing to slow down the water leaks

The engine was unbolted from the mounts and moved forwards on the engine bearers so the water pump could be removed from the rear of the engine. Ordinarily the water pump is virtually inaccessible, wedged between the rear of the crankcase and the firewall.

Steve Freeman working on the Canuck

In the week between the workday and the 2013 Spring Air Fair Fly-In Chris got a lot done on the Canuck. The water pump shaft binding issue was resolved and the water leak significantly slowed down by reworking the packing. The zerk fitting was installed, but since it, like everything else on the water pump, is inaccessible with the engine mounted in the normal position the shaft and seals were lubed with marine grease.

Once the engine's issues were addressed the motor was bolted back in place and all connections made up and Chris could turn his attention to the airframe. He double-checked all the rigging and tuned up the control cables. He also shimmed the horizontal tail surfaces to make the airplane fly a little more neutral in pitch - come the Fly-In Chris and Steve were pretty happy with the adjustments though Chris felt he could dial the airplane in a little bit better.

Steve started flying the airplane on Wednesday afternoon. He put a good 20 minutes onto the airplane, and it flew again several times on Friday, the day before the Air Fair.

Thomas-Morse Scout

Steve Richardson spent a little time working on the bulkhead form for the belly formers, mainly still working on getting the proper shape of the proposed bulkheads.

Bleriot XI, Rearwin Sportster, Fokker D.VII and Pietenpol Sky Scout

All three aircraft were washed and set out to dry in the sun. Old Pete will need some reassembly to be fit for display, and Ian set about putting it back together.

Several aircraft had their tires inflated - mainly the Fokker D.VII and the Rearwin Sportster. These two machines did not hold air for long; both had deflated by the end of the day. Steve has ordered a new inner tube for the Rearwin. Steve is also looking for replacement tires for the Fokker Triplane and the Curtiss Canuck. The D.VII will need them as well....


Steve conquered the paperwork issues and took it up for a test flight before committing to the long cross country flight from Memphis to Kingsbury! Steve reports the airplane flies very nicely, but it needs a new prop as the prop on it is incorrect - allowing the engine to overspeed. He grounded the airplane till this issue is resolved, so it won't be at Air Fair after all.

Team Vehicles

Kevin fogging the area with the Triumph


Kevin got the machine out and ran it some - made an excellent mosquito fogger! Kevin says he needs to tighten the belt drive and adjust the tension.


Kevin has started painting the fuel tanks and took the sidecar home with him to reassemble the machine. In the week leading up to the Air Fair he finished the machine and reports the bike runs very well now, clutch is smooth and takes up properly and the kick starter works!

Blue Racer

Cameron Whitaker dove into the transmission to figure out why the tranny was slipping again. Inside he found the Kevlar lining on the transmission band shredded! He was also plucking tufts of Kevlar material out of the transmission. While the Blue Racer was returned to service for the Air Fair it apparently needs more work to really be right.

Other Model Ts

Cameron had fixed the started motor for the Model T wrecker at home and reinstalled it, and got that machine running again.

Steve Penaluna and others worked on the US Ambulance, repairing the tire and getting it mobile and back in service. The other Model Ts were started and run.

Gun Crew

Kurt Maurer and Al Sumrall got together during the week between the workday and the Fly-In to work on LMG 08/15 parts. By the Air Fair they had added a few bits to the Fokker D.VII's machine guns, namely ejection chutes for the spent brass, and fabricated a length of the appropriate two-hole ammo belt to equip the D.VII.