PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

Volunteer Work Day

August, 2013

by Tom Gaylord

Fokker Dr.I triplane engine run

August saw the Tri-City Flyers host a "Wounded Warrior" R/C Fly-In Benefit event on the flying field. Pioneer Flight Museum also hosted the "In-Liners" car club - a group dedicated to in-line engines and the automobiles they powered. So not a lot got done in some ways, as many of the volunteers were drafted into tour guide duties. The heat was bearable (mainly) and we had a good turn-out for the sole workday held during the month.

Aircraft Activities

Thomas-Morse S-4C

Not much activity on the Thomas-Morse projects in August. Mike and Don Craig did an assessment of the T-2 sheet metal fairings and panels and worked out a methodology to get the team over that hurdle. Mike says he will bring his sheet metal tools next workday and start working the issues.

Fokker Dr.I Triplane

Usually we like to fly the Triplane when we have crowds like this, but the wind was perpendicular to the runway and varied from light to moderate gusts. So the Triplane's engine was started and run for the crowd twice, once in the morning, once in the afternoon. The engine started first flip and ran flawlessly.

Fokker D.VII

The D.VII was pulled from the hangar and set out on display. All the airplanes were fairly dusty - aside from the usual weather-proofing issues on the hangar someone had pulled out a large industrial fan and set it up in the hangar to keep workers cool, apparently. Turning it on immediately creates clouds of dust and dirt in the hangar. Most of the airplanes need a bath.

Canuck, airborne

Curtiss Canuck

The Canuck was pulled from the hangar and put out on display, and Dave Edgerly and Dave Orloff started working on troubleshooting why the engine was so stiff and vibrated when the prop was pulled through. They quickly established that a few drops of oil on the water pump shaft relieved most of the problem almost immediately! So the decision was made to try and start the engine for the crowd.

Dave Orloff is about the only guy big enough to really swing that prop, especially when the motor is stiff! Dave O. set to work while Dave Edgerly sat in the cockpit and managed the controls. Dave Orloff was eventually relieved by Mike Craig as the engine showed little sign of life. Big Dave took over when Mike got wore out and was finally able to get the engine to run. Dave E. wasn't entirely happy with the engine's performance - it felt a little rough over 1200 rpm, he suspects we'll need to adjust the valves and double-check the ignition timing.

In the afternoon, Steve flew the Canuck with Charlotte as passenger, the flight being uneventful.

Steve and Roger have conferred about the troublesome water pump. Steve has a son who is an engineer, so the plan is to take the best water pump we have and have him make drawings of the existing parts, then modify the design to incorporate modern bearings, shafts, shields and seals - essentially make a better "mousetrap"! See whether that works....

Meyers OTW

June - Steve reports that the Meyers OTW is done and ready to return to Texas! Hopefully we'll see it in September! Steve would really like to get the Meyers OTW and the Ercoupe out of his hangar!!


Even after the engine swap the Ercoupe was experiencing temperature issues, so Steve has done some light engine freshening work and set about overhauling the baffling within the cowling. Steve reports that the process is nearing a conclusion and he hopes to try flying the aircraft again soon.

Rearwin Sportster

The Rearwin stayed in the hangar the entire day, but it was good to see that the tires continued to hold air! In fact, all the aircraft that recently had tire or inner tube work done were holding air satisfactorily.

Varnishing the Rearwin 2000C Ken-Royce wing panel

Rearwin Ken-Royce

We finally got some varnish on the wing panel thanks to Steve Richardson, Tom Miller, and Scott Blair! They finished stripping the wing to allow access to the wood and cleaned some of the accumulated dust off the wing before setting about varnishing the wing and elevator. Due to the drying time of the varnish only one side of the wing was completed.

Next workday we'll need to finish varnishing this wing panel and see how much of the mud dauber nests we can get out of the leading edges. We also need to figure out a way to store the panels that will better protect them. It'll also be time to pull another wing panel down from the wall and begin prepping it for varnish.

Team Vehicles

Model Ts

With the R/C event on the field and the In-Liners Club visiting Team Vehicles spent much of their time talking Ts with visitors and giving rides.

Kurt Maurer spent much of his day driving the Signal Corps truck and reports the steering / handling is vastly improved since Ian tightened up the front end. In looking into Kurt's complaints Ian found that the front axle's kingpins were somewhat loose so he tightened them to Ford's specs. Previously the vehicle would over-steer into turns - and the faster you were going the worse the tendency. Kurt reports that charming tendency is mostly a thing of the past thanks to Ian's efforts!

Cameron Whitaker and Steve Penaluna serviced the Wrecker prior to Lynn taking it out for a drive. Lynn loaded up Killer and a passenger into the truck and started out and says he got about 50 yards before it stopped running. After sitting awhile it restarted, so he believes it may have a clogged fuel filter. Lynn also removed the leaking fuel shut-off valve on the Wrecker and replaced it with a spare he happened to have in his car.

Lynn also tried firing up the Blue Racer, only to discover it has a serious radiator leak, so the car was quickly parked. All in all, almost all the Ts except for the ambulances got started and run.

Thor motorcycle nameplate

Thor Motorcycle

Steve Freeman has a Thor motorcycle that has had a little work done on it several years ago. Kevin Monahan has taken the bits and pieces to his home workshop to finish the restoration job. The documentation with the bike indicates it is a Thor IV and is either a 1909, 1910, or 1912 model. Kevin says the serial number is upper three digits which may lean towards an earlier year of manufacture. Kevin says the engine made only 4 horse-power and has the heaviest flywheel he's ever seen on a bike engine!

Indian Motorcycle

Kevin Monahan repaired the dented Indian front forks. It appears the bike may have been involved in a minor accident at some point as the fork travel stops had dented the backside of one of the fork tubes. Kevin disassembled the front end and repaired the dent, reassembled the bike and it is running again.

Triumph Motorcycle

Dave Edgerly spent some time learning how to operate the Triumph. Dave wants to take the Triumph to the annual Harvest Classic bike event in the Austin area. (Kevin wants to take the Indian, though the event is for vintage European and Japanese motorcycles!). Dave plans on trying to peddle a few T-shirts and stir up some interest in PFM.


Shop Hangar Repair

Charlotte has been having problems with one of the shop's hangar doors catching on the siding when the hangar door is opened. Terry (and Charlotte) set about tucking the siding back under the door trim and pop riveting it in place. The process entailed a forklift to gain the necessary altitude!


McCulloch 100 - Steve had an acquaintance deliver a McCulloch 100 two-stroke flat-four engine and manual to his shop in Memphis as a donation for the museum. These engines were used to power early drones. Interesting little piece of technology!

Air Cannon

Al Sumrall bought a golf ball air cannon (M1916 37mm look alike) from an acquaintance of his so Kingsbury has a cannon now! This thing shoots both Nerf style darts (about 75 feet), and standard golf balls (about 200 yards at higher air pressures)! Al has plans to paint it up, make some functional improvements to make it work better and look more accurate - and most importantly, have fun. Al is already talking smack about shooting down R/C airplanes and setting up a target range with "German infantry & tanks".

Al reports that this type of weapon has quite a bit of historical significance. The gun was mounted in FT-17 tanks and the SPAD XII carried this gun so it has a WWI aviation pedigree also. Its WWII successors would have been the 75MM pack howitzer and the bazooka. Last US use was in the Philippines against the Japanese! Al has a link to some additional information about this type of cannon: M1916 37mm cannon

Field Bike

Ian Whitaker has been working on getting one of the surplus USMC Kawasaki KLR motorcycles to run and had made good progress. Kevin Monahan completed the job, taking the bike to his home shop to thoroughly clean out the entire fuel system and effect some small repairs. The bike runs great now! That long travel suspension sure makes running errands around the field quicker, easier, and fairly comfortable! Great job guys!