PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

March 28, 2004 Project Update

Chris and Ted patch holes

On Saturday March 27th Tom Gaylord and Bill Broussard were joined by Wayne Belcher, Ron Marcotte, Gary Marsden and Roger Ritter. Tom and Gary focused on getting the Ranger engine crankcases put together with bearings, crankshaft and piston rods. It was hoped to get the cases assembled so they could be painted. First task was to tap a hole in the lower crankcase for the oil return lines and install a few studs on the rear of the crankcases. Files and emery paper were used to smooth some divots and dings incurred when Roger separated the crankcase halves. Why he elected to use a knurled pry-bar on the cylinder deck is a mystery!

Other work involved removing some of the last residues of red hollywood paint that seemed to pop up here or there. Bill tended to that task and then joined Ron Marcotte in inspecting the fuselage and verifying that all bolts and clevis pins were secured. They then re-installed the landing gear sub-wing and secured it. Small bags of mothballs were left in the front and rear compartments of the subwings. Hopefully this will keep the bugs out. Ron then reinstalled the ailerons. Tom and Ron connected the aileron cables to the control column. They noted that the three turnbuckles associated with the aileron system have to be adjusted and safety-wired. This will be done as soon as the "N" struts and cabane struts are finally pinned in their proper positions and the top wing angle of incidence are verified. The bottom wing was installed for the last time.

Saturday evening Tom and Bill cleaned and installed the crankshaft bearings in both the upper and lower crankcase housings. One bearing problem was quickly noted - Roger had a new bearing set of six bearings, but there are seven bearings supporting the crank!! The center bearing is substantially wider than the other six. No new center bearing seemed to be available.

Sunday morning it was discovered that the "new" OEM crankshaft bearings did not meet the specifications necessary for use. Main bearing clearances with the "new" bearing shells were about 4 times too large! Way out of spec! The old bearings were thrown in and checked for clearance, but they were no better. New bearings will have to be ordered and installed, but Roger thinks he has identified a vendor. This brought engine work to a halt.

Bill, under intense supervision, hand-lettered appropriate serial numbers and markings on the "N" struts, cabane struts and the landing gear. Roger Freeman, with the assistance of Wayne Jones, Ron Marcotte, and Tom Gaylord, installed some stenciling on the lower wing tips. The stencils, in German, show the parts of the aircraft where it can and cannot be lifted.

Some of the remaining stenciling will be a major pain!! The rudder will be OK - the tail can be lifted onto a trestle. The angle of incidence marking on the lower wing will be easy! But the stencils on the ailerons and the top wing will be the tough ones! These markings all go on the underside of the components and while the top wing hasn't been installed for the last time, it isn't going to get dismounted for stenciling! Each aileron needs an airframe stencil, and there are two legends on the underside of the top wing's center section.