FG-1D Corsair #92460. A proud bird with an interesting past. I will do a full back story at some point, so look forward to that. The big fact now is that she is undergoing restoration in Stratford, CT at the Connecticut Air and Space Center. I recently have begun volunteering to work on the restorations including working on the Corsair in question. Today Charlie, Chris Soltis and myself removed the fuel tank cover accessing the self sealing gas tank (or whats left of it). The purpose of this is to remove the rear section of the nose to gain access the wing spar bolts to assess the total damaged area.
Chris applied citrus based non toxic stripper to the numerous cam-lock bolts around the tank cover / rear cowl. The circular section allows access to the bladder and gas filler. The cam-locks are rusted / corroded and packed with copious amounts of layered paint.
This is the kind of damage this historic plane as been subjected to from being left to rot in the Long Island Sound salt air sitting in front of Sikorsky Airport. Had this plane been kept indoors and protected, or restored to flying status and yearly inspected, this kind of damage could have been prevented or at the least stopped in a very early stage. The damage you see to the right is total Inter-granular Corrosion of the main wing spar. Unlike our brothers out west in the desert who don’t have salt air, our salt air combined with the steel mounting plate created a perfect storm of damage.
Back to the cam-locks. After the stripper started to work Charlie scraped out the slots on several of the cam-lock heads. Meanwhile Chris and I drilled out the rivets that held the gas filler cap on, yes rivets. The larger bladder inspection panel was riveted in with various sized rivets for some odd reason. Using several drill bits of varying sizes to match the corresponding rivet heads, each was drilled and cajoled till they popped out. The numerous layers of paint held the panel tight till Chris, using a small flat-head screwdriver, made the panel popped with a TWHANG!
To our surprise the self sealing rubber tank was inside, but hard as the armor plate behind the pilots head. Behind the tank is a Firestone (Stamped) made backer panel, which seemed to be made of a Masonite type material. It is held with small slotted head to the ribs of the airframe. Now here is the predicament, to get to the back of the cam-locks, so we can spry them with PB Blast or Croil, we need to remove the tank and the Firestone backer board. In order to do that we need to remove the panels that is being held with the cam-locks… Son of a … OK so we moved to Charlies cleaned out cam-locks and tried to make a few move. With all my weight bearing down I got 3 of them to move a 1/4 turn. That was more than anyone else has been able to do but not enough to make them pop.
So we soaked the cam-locks again and are letting them sit until Tuesday. It was a good day today and I feel we got something accomplished, and that’s always a good thing!