Setting aside the serious tone of what we are doing here at AREA 53 for a moment,you really have to have been there. Don’t believe me? Ask Dick Steel(Corsair Pilot 44-45) and his daughter Millie. It was quite funny.
Anyway… In the past week we have made some serious strides at the total breakdown of the fuselage. Mark C., and I were able to remove the windscreen, or what’s left of the frame, and the rickety remains of the canopy frame. Along with the armor plate now removed we have better access to the cockpit. Or so I thought.
It seems that Chance Vought didn’t design the Corsair to accommodate 21st century fat, middle aged men. Between the hoses, wires, cables, various knobs and the control stick, there isn’t much room for anyone short of a child to move around. So I spent my morning hunched over a cockpit wishing I didn’t have that doughnut this morning . I was able to free up a few bits and pieces but the control stick decided it wasn’t going to move this weekend. A large slotted bolt hold it in place through a yoke with a pressed bearing. There is no room to work in floor between extrusions, ribs and longerons blocking every angle of attack.
After killing an hour on this our new documenter arrived, Steve Resinski. Steve works in the area and is a pro with CAD. We met at the Corsairs over Connecticut show and he wanted to join up. He will be processing the parts as they come off and assisting me with the task of documenting the process.
Ed, Rob Pete, Bill and Mark K. spent the day working on getting the last of the tail fittings loose. All we have now to do is drill out about 75 rivets and loosen a few bolts. With some forward thinking we came up with a better way to drop the tail section thanks to Robs instance of a process and Ed, Mark and myself thinking outside of the box.
Dick Steel brought is daughter, Millie, over to the shop to show her what we are doing. Since they were willing to follow our safety guidelines I gave them the 50 cent tour around the shop, with the in depth explanation of the damage that the plane has suffered. We also checked out the Sikorsky choppers and engines in the back.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised by some of the questions she asked me. I am always impressed when someone asks me an obscure question. I am doubly impressed when they know which way the blades are stored on a 50 year old helicopter! I hope my tour guide skills were adequate. Them things with the blades on top always confuse me.
So what was the funny moment? Well that had to be when Mark K. crawled into the tail of the Corsair, legs dangling, much to our suprise he fit. In fact he asked for a few pillows, so Im guessing I know where he will be hiding the next time I ask him to help me break a bolt loose with the breaker bar. Oh, thats right you had to be there to understand that.
Interested in spending some time working on the Corsair? Want to be part of the finest crew working on Connecticut’s State Airplane? If your over 18 and can get to Stratford CT at least once a week, contact me. CorsairFAS217@gmail.com