Every month here at Warbirds News we are excited to receive the email from Weezie, Tom Reilly’s restoration shop manager, updating us on the project . Weezie does an excellent job in keep the fans of the XP-82 Twin Mustang updated.
As the summer comes to an end Tom Reilly and his crew of skilful mechanics have accomplished the final mating of the two fuselages to the center section and the two engine mounts have been permanently fitted. The team completed all of the nut plates (screw attachments that hold all the fairings on) and Dzus fasteners throughout both fuselages and mounts. The windshield and canopy bow sare near completion. A multitude of other small parts–bomb, rocket rack forgings (all structural components that fit internally in each wing), one complicated emergency gear pulley casting, one elevator control bell crank for the right-hand cockpit, flap arms, aileron bell cranks, elevator, aileron and rudder hinge points, are being completed.Weezie has started the final fitting of all the aluminum coolant tubes that run from the engines back along the cockpit floor to the radiators mounted in the rear fuselages. There are four tubes in each fuselage, two 2” and two 11⁄4”. The smaller two carry the coolant from a special chamber in each radiator to the heat exchanger (oil cooler) and also to the intercooler section of the supercharger to cool the compressed air. Four of these new tubes required special fittings to hold temperature bulbs, miscellaneous drains and other split off fittings that had to be welded on them.
The aileron pulley brackets have now been completed. Paul and Randall, two of Tom’s mechanics have been making good progress on the right wing. The right wing is currently mounted to the center section attach angles and is held in place by a temporary fixture for preliminary set-up (see picture in last month’s news release). All 32 of the hat channels for the fuel tank bays in the right wing are now completed, awaiting heat-treating. By the end of the first week in October they will have started on the left wing set-up. Almost all of the left wing parts, i.e., ribs, hat channels, spars and attach angles, were completed a few months ago along with the right wing so the left will go together substantially faster.
Ayman and Jeremy completed the center section trailing edge flap ribs and well closeout along with the two aft top machine gun bay doors. The flaps are three large panels that hydraulically extend aft and down behind the wing to slow the aircraft during landing.At the moment the works is focused to complete the four flap control arms that get mounted to two cross-ship arms linking the inboard center section flap to the two left and right outboard flaps mounted on the wings.
They were able to use two out of the six Colorado flap arms as they proved to be airworthy. Because of the scrapper’s torch and/or years of corrosion, the remaining four could only be used patterns.
Warbirds News with the help of Michael Zeeveld, of ZEEMO Digital Prototyping is helping Tom with the computer set-up of difficult parts that need to be machined. The part is recreated in a 3D computer generated model environment using Autodesk Inventor application. The 3D model computer disk then can be sent to a C & C-equipped machine shop to produce the part(s).