The morning started with firing up the media blaster. Using Polyfil, a plastic medium, cleaning up the corrosion is made a little easier. Working on the cowl flaps and some of the assorted bits and pieces has become a side job for me. With such a good team of guys working at my disposal, it leaves me with little to do but manage the situation. While I am glad to serve as the project lead, part of the fun is getting dirty.
There is a certain Zen space I find when erasing the layers of time from metal. With the sodium vapor lights buzzing, blower fan whirring, vacuum whining, and media blaster howling, the cacophony of sound makes conversation impossible. The sissing of the media at 80 pounds per square inch tearing the old paint keeps your attention locked into the narrow window. That window keeps you from being pelted by the hurricane force wind, packed with abrasive media. So where does the Zen part come in you might ask in the middle of all this chaos? When you take the ear muffs, place them over your ears the world goes quiet. Your focus locks in on the matter at hand and you find you center on the sole task at hand, other things drift away from your mind.
Trying to be at least a little green, we recycle our media when possible. Oh let’s be honest. It saves money. So after two 5 gallon pails worth are emptied into the vacuum, the process of sifting begins. Like a gold miner of long ago , I stand there with a screen shaking and sifting till I have a clean batch of media. And refilling we go. Today I used 12 buckets of media. Yoinks that was a lot of Zen sifting.
Elsewhere Mark K. and Chris joined me in AREA 53 to start work on the bolt removal. The tail section has 6 bolts that need to be broken loose and removed. If we have learned anything at this point, “only 6 to break loose” means it’s going to be a real pain in the backside. It was and is. With Chris in the fuselage section, climbing in and up through the tail wheel door bay, we began the process. The short story is 4 hours later and we removed 1 nut and discovered a massive bit of corrosion that will involve a very expensive trip to the machine shop. It really is a miracle that the Corsair did not fall apart right on the pole. Anyone thinking that this is an exaggeration only needs to schedule an appointment to meet with me and I will personally show you the damage first hand.
Mark K. spent the morning helping Bill and working on the cradle that will help house the tail section. The newest addition to AREA 53 is the 4 of July Float, which this year the float will center more on the space aspect of air and space. George, Lou, Gene and Ben spent the day getting the float decked out and set up for the parade in a few weeks.
After everyone else left I ended up in the blasting room working on one of the inboard flaps. Again the corrosion is bad and there are several holes that are eaten into the skin. This point begins the discovery phase of what level of work will be required. We have so far seen the damage on the spar and tail section but there is a lot more to discover as the paint comes off the skins. Over all it was a good day and I look forward to spending time with the Media Blaster again. It’s relaxing.