WarbirdsNews has received the latest XP-82 Twin Mustang restoration update from Tom Reilly at his workshop in Douglas, Georgia, and we thought you would all be pleased to see the latest progress! As we mentioned in our last update in early July, since the project is coming very close to completion, there are fewer major accomplishments that can be photographed, which means that our usual monthly reports will happen more infrequently, hence the two month gap since the last posting. This does not mean that plenty isn’t happening on the resurrection of XP-82 Twin Mustang 44-83887, just that only some of it can be documented easily.
Fuselage Fairings – Inboards and Outboards
All of the fairings are now completely finished. The final task for each of the twelve fairings was to polish out the microscopic English wheel roller marks. Each fairing has had its mounting holes drilled. All of the edges have been trimmed to match and all are now completely fit and installed.
Top Engine Cowls
Both top cowls (right-hand engine, left and right) are completely riveted, spot-welded together and now undergoing final polishing and edge trimming. They have been a challenge, to be sure, but have finished out very well.
Tom Reilly sent both of the newly-manufactured, right-hand, engine top cowlings to Kermit Weeks’ facility in Polk City, Forida, for spot welding. Rick Reeves, the man that helped form many of the project’s parts, did the job using Kermit’s state-of-the-art spot welding machine.
Every electrical system in the XP-82, with the exception of the landing gear position wires, has been checked under power. The massive number of wire harnesses in each cockpit is now being tie-cord wrapped (aviation cord instead of tie wraps).
The Instrument Panel Covers
The aluminum closeout panels which cover the top of each instrument panel are now complete.
The project had some timing issues with both the landing gear and flap actuating valves, but they have now been adjusted and hydraulically evaluated on the test bench. They now check out perfectly, and are due to be installed this week in order to start the gear retraction tests.
Tail Gear Doors
Tom Reilly received the four tail gear door inner pressings from Pat Harker in Anoka, Minnesota. Harker had male and female press dies machined to allow the manufacture of new inner tail wheel waffle skins for his own F-82E Twin Mustang project, and generously made a set of new skins for the XP-82’s tail wheel doors as well.
The XP-82 restoration team has just completed fitting all four tail wheel doors. On Tom Reilly’s next trip to Florida, he will have the outboard skins spot welded to the inboard waffle skins.
Inboard Main Gear Doors
This week the restoration team started pressing the interior waffle skins over machined aluminum press dies for the inboard main gear doors (36” x 42”). These inside skins are formed from .063″ thick, untempered 2024 aluminum sheet, and have a 2″ depth on each of the six pressings. They were formed by “flow forming”, using soft hammers and wooden blocks for the close radiuses.
And that is all for this month’s report.
Many thanks again to Tom Reilly for this update. You can learn more about the project on their blog HERE. Although we are not exactly sure when the next formal update will come, please be sure to check back with WarbirdsNews in a couple of months for the next installment in the story following the XP-82′s road to recovery!