PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

December 18, 2006 Project Update

Fuel Guage

All in all a pretty good work day... I doubt we were all that ambitious so close to Christmas yet we managed to make pretty good progress on three of the four items we wanted to get done.

Team members who showed up were Karl Holbert, Greg Solberg, Mike McCormick, Dick Schenck, Ted Dawson and Tom Gaylord. Our tasks for the day were to:


Installing the Fuel Guage

Ted Dawson and Greg Solberg worked together to get the former P-51 fuel guage and sender working freely, get the sucker to fit into the fuel tank, and finally to install the device permanently. This was a difficult task as the unit mounted into the tank in only one way due to the fuel tank's baffle which left two problems to be conquered: the face of the guage pointed to starboard and couldn't be read from the cockpit and the sender's float interfered with the fuel tank's sloping forward bottom surface. The float arm was shortened to greatly reduce the interference problem with the tank's sloping forward surface, but only after using liquid nitrogen to twist a press fit coupling on the unit so the float arm went in the right direction (i.e., the guage's face could now be read from the cockpit)! But they did finish the job.

Greg and Karl worked on the engine bolt installation but this task remained unfinished. "Why?", I hear you ask? Excellent question! When the engine unit was hung the last work day one mounting hole had no bolt in it so this was the easiest hole to measure to determine the proper bolt length... turns out it was also the shortest of the four logs! So 3 of the 4 mounting bolts ordered are too short!

Tom, Karl, and Roger worked on the making up the remaining bits of the cabane strut bracing cables and this task was accomplished without too much drama. The toughest part was squeezing three people onto an elevated work stand so we could clamp the nicopress fittings properly. It took one person to keep the clamp positioned properly and two people to squeeze the danged thing! Very awkward!


Fitting the interplane struts

The last task, the interplane struts was tackled by Mike McCormick and Dick Schenck, mostly. These little parts are turning into a nightmare!

The thinking at the end of the day is that the brackets holding the wooden struts are going to have to be "custom" fabricated for each strut. Mike will build the wooden parts to fit the set of the wings and the brackets will be welded afterwards to ensure the angles are correct. Aside from crafting the wooden parts of the struts to s finer degree of polish, about all that was completed on the interplane struts was finally coming up with a plan of attack that will work for finishing the task!