Archive for March, 2011 »
One of the great things about restoring or recreating a classic airplane is that the learning never ends. In the twenty or so years Jim has been working on, thinking about and researching the Hall Springfield Bulldog, there have been many resources for gathering the history and details about the air racer.
We’ll have more about some of the history of the airplane, and Jim’s history of recreating it coming up in the next few months, but one of the recent discoveries that led to a new engine mount was right on the front page of the newspaper.
__(‘Read the rest of this entry »’)
Tags: Hall Springfield Bulldog
We took advantage of some nice evening light recently to add some pictures to our galleries. Last summer we did some air-to-air photos of the J-5A and the Clipper, but we forgot to get some simple ground photos of each airplane. So with sun setting in the west and snow on the mountains to the east, we decided to pull them out on the grass and snap a few shots. More of the J-5A photos can be found here (click on photo tab) and more of the Clipper pictures can be found here.
Some times its the parts that are almost as much fun to find as the airplanes themselves. This was recently the case when Jim was crawling around a barn belonging to a friend of the museum down the river. Amidst the large number of airplane fuselages and other pieces, was a long wooden box with a brand new propeller inside. Jim was able to acquire the propeller for the museum and we look forward to it filling in nicely among the vintage parts we have already.
Best of all it wasn’t your average wooden propeller, it’s a constant speed propeller delivered in 1944 made by the Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO) of Riverdale, Maryland. Beginning shortly before the United States entered World War II and lasting throughout the war, aluminum was in short supply for manufacturers of general aviation aircraft and even the military trainer fleet. So propeller manufacturers built wooden propellers to substitute for the metal ground adjustable and constant speed props. Of course wooden propellers were nothing new, but for these more advanced props, metal had been the norm.
The ERCO propeller uses a 2B20 hub and was used on airplanes such as the Stearman and Stinson V-77. The blades were carved from a laminated, compressed, impregnated block of wood and were stamped with the “Compreg” label. Brass covered the tips and leading edge like many wooden propellers. A steel alloy ferrule was attached permanently to the blade and allowed the connection between the wooden blade with the Standard Hamilton controllable pitch hub.
The shipping box included a box of parts as well as the log book and other historical items.
The restoration hangar has been in full swing over the winter and the Bulldog isn’t the only airplane seeing action. The most recent addition to our short wing Piper collection is nearing completion. Work has been ongoing with the Vagabond and over the past month or so the last of the items to be painted have been checked off the list.
The cowling and nose bowl have gone through a thorough cleaning, priming and painting in recent weeks. This is the last of the major paint work to be done on the airplane. Once the pieces are assembled on the fuselage, we’ll be zeroing in on the final assembly of the interior and a just a few other things before taking her skyward.
And presto! They’re painted. The hangar door won’t look the same without the Vagabond’s face hanging from bracing.
Of course those final few details still means plenty of work to be done. And with this Vagabond being one of the “deluxe” models, there are a handful more details to take care of compared to your typical Vagabond. A peak inside the cockpit shows much of the work has been done, including installation of the beautiful, albeit simple, instrument panel.
Tags: Piper PA-15 Vagabond