Wednesday, January 30, 2013

dismantling the frame and wheels

Front wheel.
Rear wheels and tripod frame.
Rotted rear tire which required cutting to remove.
Last Saturday a group of volunteers met to continue the work on the Curtis pusher.  It is interesting to be around this group and listen to their analysis of the various problems this plane presents.   The engine had been completely opened up and the main and rod bearing s checked.  The low end of the engine seem to look great with little apparent wear. Ben assigned jobs and mine was to remove the wheels and take a spoke out of one of them.  The tire was completely flat and wires were sticking out from the side walls.  To remove it we used a vice and a saws all.  I then went back to the frame and began labeling parts.  This is a must if we are going to reassemble this machine.  The landing gear is a tri-cycle type with a wooden center piece .  Connect to the center piece are several braces which form a V.  We labeled these V brace 1 ,2 etc.  As they came off they were taken to a sand blasting machine for removal of paint and crude.  This could be the bottle neck in the project be3cause so much material need cleaning and there is only one machine to it.  Later in the day the entire frame was taken apart and labeled.  Next week a new wooden yoke will be brought in and fitted.

Engine dismantling

Last week on a Tuesday I drove from Portland to Hood river to help in the dismantling of the OX-5 engine.  I met Bill at the museum and the two of walked out to H-1.   When we entered the hanger the engine was on the engine stand and the hanger felt like a refrigerator.  Bill is an expert in aviation engines and my experience lies in antique car engines so i followed his lead.  The first step was to remove the rocker arm assembly.  That was interesting in that they were connected by a water jacket pipe. One valve was actuated by a pulling push rod while the other valve was opened by a pushing rod.
Next the intake manifold and exhaust manifolds were removed.   Our objective was to check the cylinders for wear.
Finally the number one cylinder was removed and Bill used a device to check the trueness off the cylinder and the amount of wear it had.  The cylinders looked good.
Rocker arm assembly.
Rocer arms being removed.
Pulling the cylinders w/o intake manifolds.
Next up was to remove the oil pan and oil pump   to check the rod and main bearings for wear.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

pulling the wing and engine

The engine on the Curtis pusher is an OX-5 V-8
Originally the First Curtis airplanes offered a 4 cylinder and 8cylinder engine.  The Rheims Racers winner of the Bennet cup in France in August of 1909 was powered by a V-8.  Other planes that were sold to the public had a lower powered 4.
This engine was built for the Army in 1919 .  It has 90 HP and ticks over at 1,400 rpm. 
In ordered to remove we had to pull the top wing and hoist the engine out.

Note the position of the pilots seat. It was inches in front of the radiator and engine.  The exhaust ports were next to the pilots head .  It must have been deafening .

Removing the wings and fabric

Two weeks ago I worked with a group of volunteers in removing the fabric and wings of the center section.
The fabric is a cotton material which is sewn on to the ribs of the wing.   To remove it we slit the trailing and leading edges of the wing then the threads were cut on the ribs .  We wanted to remove as much material as possible in strips.  It is the plan of the group to preserve this material and later sell it as a fund raiser and with a framed picture of the restored air craft.   You can see the wires inside the wings that support the ribs and leading edges of the wing.
Also note how many wires cross in between the struts.  The frame and tail section are held togehter by the tension created by these wires.
Lower wing with fabric intack.
Note the internal wires that support the wing.
The total weight of the plane was about 800lbs.  400 lbs was the weight of the engine.

Pushing the Curtis Pusher

Side view of OX-5 water cooled engine.
Pushing the mid section into the hanger.

Distant view of new Jenny wings  and Curtis Pusher mid section in front H-1
Three weeks ago I traveled to Hood river Oregon to the Western Antique Auto and Airplane Museum to volunteer in the restoration of a vintage Curtis Bi plane.  The airplane was originally built by an aviator named Billy Parker.  It was later purchased and modified by Hollywood stunt pilot Paul Muntz. The airplane was donated to the museum last year and its the goal of the group to get restored and flying by September of 2013.
Today in a official cermony volunteers pushed the airplane into hanger 1 .
The wings have been restored and are wings form a Curtis Jenny WW1 trainer.  The original wings did not have individual ribs.  Its interesting to notice how the interior of the wings are supported with wires and tension through brass turn buckles.
The engine is an OX - 5   V-8 engine used mainly on the Curtis Jenny.  Notice how theengine sits directly behind the pilot.    Notice also the engine is water cooled and has a large radiator behind the pilots head.
The propeller is a pusher type and is directly attached to the engine.