This morning I met Michael (Haveblue) at Marc's hanger at the Hartford airport. Michael and Marc were going to go visit Scott Dennison to look at some metalworking stuff for the Corsair restoration. I can't remember if I have even written about this or not on the blog before, as I believe we were trying to keep things under wraps until we found for sure if we had the job. Anyway, last year I received a message from Michael about a WWII Corsair that had been purchased by a Northern Illinois warbird collector. Michael had heard about this through Marc (who I wrote about here) as Marc was being considered for the aileron build portion due to his experience with wood wings. Marc had inquired about someone who could help with CNC programming for fixtures and aileron wood components, and Michael was already onboard with doing 3D scanning and CAD work for Marc. I started by doing some scans of some of the old microfiche and doing some vector drawings over the top while Michael worked on doing some 3D scans at an unnamed East Troy motorcycle manufacturer (via a Faro arm). Well, it turned out that with Marc's experience and our "puttering about" that this was enough to get the job. Now Marc will be making the ailerons for the Corsair.
Michael has been pouring through tons of microfiche and scanning anything that we feel is important to the recreation of the ailerons. The particular Corsair that is being restored had a former life as a race plane so it's wings were shortened and several important things have been modified or stripped from the plane. This means that many things are being built from scratch and to original specification, as this Corsair will be flown.
The history lesson that this project has provided me has been so amazing. I was not aware that any WWII era fighter plane would possibly have wood components. If you read about the Corsair you'll find that metal ailerons caused flutter and they finally went to wood on all Corsairs. I can't even describe what a history lesson the microfiche and discovery of process has been like. Everything from wood wing construction to metal shaping: aluminum torch welding and heat treating has made me realize that I don't know a blessed thing about making things. Living in a time filled with technological knowledge, I actually think we have lost some major chunks of knowledge and skill in the quest for the "next big thing" or methods of "improvement". Anyway, this project is bound to be a learning experience and I can't wait to see where this all goes.
Today, we checked out Marc's CNC router workflow and he had Michael run some wood parts for the Witman wing kits he sells. This allowed me to see how Marc usually puts code to work. I left the hanger wanting a pendant control and a giant vacuum table (NO CLAMPS!!!). I've included some pics of some of the preliminary work that I did and some of the initial scans that Michael did. Stay tuned for more pics from my first Cessna flight and our visit to Scott's shop; that day got even better!