PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

Volunteer Work Day

April 26, 2008

Turn-out was excellent and the group was divided up into 4 teams: one team worked on the Luscombe, one team worked on various vehicles, another worked on the Canuck, and the last team worked on the Fokker Dr.I Triplane.

Vehicles

First on the agenda was the TT, John, Art, Mike, and Johnny removed the the starter from the TT as it looks like Art's original fix couldn't save the patient. As an experiment the US ambulance's starter and bendix was removed and placed in the TT--voila! Things were looking good! Then the TT, which ran OK last workday, would crank but not start.

John, Art, Johnny and Mike stayed with it. John and Terry especially seemed to be every where at once....it was a busy hangar from end to end throughout the day! I remember at one time seeing Art, Mike, Mike, Tom, Terry, Ted, Ron, John, Johnny, all working on projects in the hangar. Who did I miss? Terry came up to help and he and Art started to work taking out the carb on the Quad. After the carb came out that is about when Art had to leave. The other three didn't stop on the TT and were able to get off the original switch that looked impossible to remove but they managed it so maybe it can get serviced by someone knowledgable like Art or Dave. Ron pitched in after I went to lunch and they started to clean the carb, including the mixture needle. Again we attempted starting but no soap. Then Roger F shows up and in only a minute or two, he adjusted the mixture and it was running... he has the touch.

Bottom line the TT was running and I for one was much happier, seeing the fruits of so much hard work by the guys paying off. The signal corps truck was run as was the wrecker in the morning, but the signal corps truck ran out of gas. That fixed she ran good in the PM. (I had purchased 5 gallons, was dividing it into four vehicles--this is a good thing-means we have 4 running vehicles). Will bring 5 more for the 10th. Maybe we will catch up.

Somewhere during the day we caught a concern by the radio control people that our Ts were cutting ruts through their newly fixed field. Most of us were puzzled as no one to our knowledge had driven on the field and we traditionally stay in the back forty. However, the mystery may be solved in that Roger F stated that the ruts were probably made by the private club fly-in aircraft.

The biggest news for us was the Quad. Just as Terry and John had gotten the Quad carb back on, Roger R swooped in his nifty Luscombe... nice bird. Roger, a Quad driver extraordinare, climbed on board and Terry did the cranking honors. With John and Johnny helping the Quad started with little resistance! However, John had put gas into the dry tank and although it was enough to run, when Roger got it out over to the water hose the vehicle quit. Apparently even the slightest incline was enough to keep the small amount of fuel from feeding. Roger F gave us 5 gallons which John went and got (I am going to stop all this carrying stuff from hangar to hangar--see below), I went to get the TT to put it to work but when I stopped it on the road, IT wouldn't start, again a victim of too little gas in the tank. About 4 gallons was put in the Quad and about 1 in the TT. I tried cranking the Quad a bit, it almost started, but then John got on it and it started. Johnny and I, after putting the rest of the fuel in the TT, got it started without further ado and put the TT to work, delivering both a ladder for Tom and the air compressor back to the shop. Hopefully the TT will prove a common sight doing these errands from now on. I hope we can all get some Quad practice in on the tenth. Would like to see it drive out with a machine gun on the back at the air show. Something different. Who knows, it might have happened for AA purposes during the war.

I especially want to recognize whoever cleaned up after all was done. I assume John, Johnny, Mike, and Terry were the heroes in this regard. I turned around and all the tools, rags and everything were cleaned up. Thanks!

We had two vehicle problems that didn't get solved. First, the left front tire on the French ambulance won't hold air. Second, the Model T wrecker ate its fan belt. The tire may be a problem with our technique in replacing the tube, or may be something in the wheel that keeps punching holes in the tubes when we replace them. We'll investigate further. The fan belt should be easy enough to fix, and Al Sumrall has already said he'd buy a couple of new ones so we'll have a spare.

Aircraft

Ted and Mike worked on the Luscombe all day with intermittent assistance from others. They are performing some serious maintenance, and the big task for the day was removing and cleaning the carb! The fuel tank is out of it as well.

The Canuck was worked on by Tom and Dave Miller. Dave Miller seemed to be specializing in carb cleaning during the day! The Canuck's carb was removed and disassembled, cleaned and put back together. Roger commented that they found numerous issues with the carb, but got them all rectified. The carb was reinstalled with all connections hooked up. Roger wanted to install an auxiliary priming system, so the intake manifolds were drilled and tapped for the spray heads. Greg Solberg spent part of the afternoon in the machine shop modifying the fittings so they'll spray fuel properly inside the manifolds. Not enough progress was made to warrant starting the engine.

The last crew worked on the Fokker Triplane. Greg Solberg and Ron Marcotte worked on adding a pair of bungee cords to the rudder bar to try and create a self-centering action on the rudder. They succeeded to Roger's satisfaction after about three or four different methodologies were invented and installed.

Ron also cinched down the cockpit cross-bar crash pad. Roger has flown the triplane with some weight hung off the starboard wingtip skid, but couldn't tell whether the airplane was better balanced or not due to the aircraft's poor directional control... it seems to always be skidding somewhat to one direction or the other. Tom Gaylord installed wing inspection panel screws then transitioned to the Fokker D.VII to install missing wing inspection plates and fasteners. Lastly, the Triplane's forward cockpit fairings were removed and left in Roger's office to have the last of the cockpit coaming installed. This airplane is ready for flight again.