Saturday 6am… Weather Plain Snotty… It is a beautiful day at Area 53. The rudder was about to lifted off the tail and the stabilizers removed and documented. We have five hours, almost a dozen hands and that is plenty of time to accomplish everything. Pardon me while I take a second to have a good laugh.
First, Ed McGuinness and I had to make some corrections to the shop. We all believe in a safe work place and all the recent activity has shall we say ballooned the space that we currently use with a new desk, tubs and a large double height cabinet to store parts. Along with Jerry and Robert we reorganized the area for a better flow and safer work area. That ate up 45 minutes.
Robert’s wife Olimpia Brucato came in today. She took some of the documentation process slack for Chris who has been working very hard lately at his day job. I’m not a taskmaster. We went back to the rudder to see if we could get the galled pin free from the top hinge. Ed took over the process with Robert. Drilling, grinding, sawing, they may have even discussed an air strike from the Connecticut National Guard to try and knock that pin out of the rudder. Time keeps ticking.
Jim, our newest friend who knows how to weld and rig stopped by and we started laying out how we will remount the plane after we break the rear section of the fuselage to advance the disassembly of the Corsair so we can clean out the corrosion. I turn to the best people we have for help and advice because this is a big project and at the top of the list is being safe. Remounting the plane will be a major move in the right direction and with Jim’s help, I think it will be done properly.
Long timers at the CASA, Pete (sorry, I don’t know his last name yet) and Bob Givens came in to lend a hand. Pete had been working on the port flap actuator trying to get the cover plate off. It has been soaking for weeks with Kroil and PB Blaster. The screws still wouldn’t budge so out came the air drill. Bob and I had a chance to talk for a few minutes about corrosion control. Bob teaches at the Air Technical School and has brought some parts into class to use as a teaching device where the students clean and apply corrosion control agents to help keep the parts clean and free of ickyness for some time to come. We hope to be able to educate people about the dangers of corrosion and what the long term effects can do to an airframe even in storage for a few years near the water. They eventually had success and were able to remove the panel but again every screw, nut and bolt is welded due to rust and takes a major effort to remove.
As a treat I have added some speakers to our work bench and Chris what quite surprised with my choices of music on my iPod. In his words, “Drew, your coolness factor just went up”! Seems we share a love for Japanese Jazz & Blues from the TV show Cowboy BeBop! Chris is a great illustrator, you should ask him to see his drawing of the infamous JU-88 CAJUN. A plane so hot and spicy that it is on floats, because it would melt rubber on tires!
Back to the planned beating of the rudder pin…Rich Carlson, stopped by, a member who has served as the CASA archivist and our connection to the occasional goody donated from Pratt and Whitney. He took over shooting some photos of the guys working and giving a hand on the flap removal. Finally, after much drilling the pin popped out. It took a group effort to lower the rudder and we preformed like a well oiled drill team. Ed and Rob spent the whole day working one piece of metal that shouldn’t have ever been placed into the rudder. Yea, it was a carbon steel pin in an aluminum bracket. You guessed it, galvanic corrosion welded it solid.
So the day ended and aside of some rather big news that I can’t talk about. We managed to remove a total of 13 screws and 1 rudder pin. Yea, we will have this bird disassembled in at least the next 2 years. Uggh…