The Hutch / Merritt route or Hutch / I-95 which is the better route? Besides being up really early 3 days a week to volunteer my time on this project, I also have to get there. I took the Merritt straight up this morning. It was the ride that never seemed to end. I know I won’t do that again.
After a nice cup of coffee this morning I checked in and got the keys. This morning wasn’t doing it. The repetitive task of removing galled and rusted, rotted fasteners starts to get well plain boring. I guess guys like Bill Dinghly got bored of the repetitive task of building the Spar sections of the Corsair during the war as well. Yet production never seemed to slow down, only to speed up. It is with that though in mind that I opened up Building 53 to find the Corsair peacefully sleeping. That was about to change.
I resumed the removal process and after a run back to the shop, Chris Soltis arrived and got to work cataloging some of the larger parts that were taken off last year. Bill Dinghly wasn’t too far behind. Bill has finished up the replacement of several small stiffeners in the landing gear bays and moved on to making our work space a little safer.
The Starboard side of the canopy has suffered major damage from inter granular corrosion and a jagged section of the canopy rail with sharp nastiness that can snag you and cut you has been a constant danger. Bill took a few minutes and ground the area flat and made it a little safer place to work.
The canopy will be removed at a later date since it is like everything else galled into place. That is the fasteners are not moving.
We were treated to a visit by some former Lycoming retirees including Dick Sykes and Chris Soltis’s Great Uncle Zoltan Kovacs. Mr. Kovacs was a machinist who worked on the B-17 Flying Fortress. Our guests were given a tour of our building and a talk about the Corsair and issues we are dealing with. Such as needing to raise some money for the project and finding some of the missing parts.
I talked with Dave Phipps, who is restoring the Connecticut Air and Space Centers T-33 Jet trainer. You see, I am a firm believer in asking questions and seeking a second opinion. I find that positive or negative feedback can make you stop and think for the 1 or 2 critical seconds before pulling the trigger on starting a major advance on a project. Our short term goal before June is to drop the Vertical and Horizontal tail surfaces and then break the fuselage at 3 points in order to start the major part of the restoration, replacement of the wing spar. It was agreed that this would be the easier route since the horizontal stabilizer is suffering from serious corrosion at the attachment point.
Part of this process is to mout the sections on jigs to enable the moving of the sections for repair, preservation and finishing. Our next move is to arrange for the proper rigging and a few extra hands on site when we start the process of getting the jigs built and separating the tail feathers. That is once I finish up with the 4 DZUS fasteners that refuse to give way to a drill. Popping the tank out will allow us the access we need to see the spar bolts and really give a total assessment of the critical damage.