XP-82 in flight

WarbirdsNews has received the latest XP-82 Twin Mustang restoration update from Tom Reilly at his workshop in Douglas, Georgia, and we thought you would all be pleased to see the latest progress!


Wing Tips
After what seems like forever, the forming and welding of the seams on the two wing tips are now completed with the exception of their final spot welding.  The Lucite (Plexi-glass) red and the green lenses that cover each tip light bulb still need to be formed.
The left-hand wingtip. Notice also the wingtip light. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The left-hand wing tip. Notice also the mount for the wing tip light. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The right-hand wing tip with tip light mount and three holes for the identification lights. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The right-hand wing tip with tip light mount and three holes on the wing underside for the identification lights. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

Tail and Wing Fairings
The left and right horizontal-to-vertical stabilizer fairings are now complete, less the welding on the leading edge seams. They have a unique mounting. Each fairing screws horizontally to the vertical stabilizer and dorsal panel, but only rubs on a thin phenolic strip mounted to the upper and lower surfaces of the horizontal stabilizer. There are no vertical attaching screws.
The left hand horizontal stabilizer fairing prior to welding the seam. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The left hand horizontal stabilizer fairing prior to welding the seam. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The right hand horizontal stabilizer fairing prior to welding the seam. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The right hand horizontal stabilizer fairing prior to welding the seam. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The forming of the fuselage-to-wing/center section and trailing edge fairings has just got underway.

Top Cowlings for Right-hand Engine
The right-hand top cowl for the right-hand engine has now finally been reworked, fit and drilled to the internal framework. The left-hand top cowl is still presenting such a challenge that Tom Reilly thinks they will have to remake the entire panel. He states that it has been quite a frustrating job to try to correct these two top panels.
The right hand top cowl after much rework. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The right hand top cowl after much rework. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

Original WWII Radios
The final original radio receiver, a BC-966-A, has been installed completing the entire radio package. The team also found a rare detonator switch that was designed, in the event of a high-G crash, to trigger an explosive charge mounted in each radio thereby destroying it and preventing an enemy from gaining any knowledge. Of course, all of the XP-82 radios have not had these charges installed.
The BC-966-A Receiver, the last original radio needing installation. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The BC-966-A Receiver, the last original radio needing installation. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The detonator impact switch. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The detonator impact switch. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The team also has original Cannon plug connectors for each radio that still need to be wired for authenticity.
The latest Garmin radio and avionics package was being installed as these words were written.
Carburetor Air Temperature Control Motors
These two motors, with their microscopic armatures, field windings, micro-switch wiring, 90° gearing and switch rollers are almost complete. The left-hand motor has been finished for about two weeks now.  Reilly expects to have the final backlash fitting of the two 90 degree gears in the right-hand motor completed next week and both motors finally installed in the engine compartments.
One of the Carburetor Air Temperature Control Motors with it's protective lid removed. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

One of the Carburetor Air Temperature Control Motors with it’s protective lid removed. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

Another image of a Carburetor Air Temperature Control Motor with it's protective lid removed beside a reduction gear assembly. (Photo via Tom Reilly)(Photo via Tom Reilly)

Another image of a Carburetor Air Temperature Control Motor with it’s protective lid removed beside a reduction gear assembly. (Photo via Tom Reilly)(Photo via Tom Reilly)

Screen-printed Panels

All of the screen-printed panels have now been fitted with their switches, rheostats, lights, push buttons, etc., and mounted in their respective positions in each cockpit.
The left cockpit flap handle, aileron trip, landing light switch, rudder trim, elevator trim and gear handle. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The left cockpit flap handle, aileron trip, landing light switch, rudder trim, elevator trim and gear handle. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The radio channel selector alongside the Emergency Gear Uplock Release Pull Handle in the right hand cockpit. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The radio channel selector alongside the Emergency Gear Uplock Release Pull Handle in the right hand cockpit. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The Bendix Radio Remote Tuning Unit MN-28-C. The red handle is the emergency landing gear up-lock roller(s) and gear door hook(s) releases (Pilot's cockpit). (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The Bendix Radio Remote Tuning Unit MN-28-C. The red handle is the emergency landing gear up-lock roller(s) and gear door hook(s) releases (Pilot’s cockpit). (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The pilot's main circuit breaker panel. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The pilot’s main circuit breaker panel. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The co-pilot's circuit breaker panel. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The co-pilot’s circuit breaker panel. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The pilot's left hand switch panel. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The pilot’s left hand switch panel. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The co-pilot's left-hand switch panel. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The co-pilot’s left-hand switch panel. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

Gear Retractions
Tom Reilly chose to make two special steel mounting plates that attach with internal wrenching bolts to and through each lower wing attach angle.  Each jack mounting plate has two male sockets, one adjacent to the center section main spar used for jacking the aircraft for gear retractions, and a second one next to the main landing gear for the weight-and-balance pick-up point. Both steel mounting plates are removable after the retractions and weight-and-balance calculations.
The undercarriage jack plate visible in this shot during the undercarriage trials. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The undercarriage jack plate visible in this shot during the undercarriage trials. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

A detailed view of the jack plate. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

A detailed view of the jack plate. (Photo via Tom Reilly)

The restoration team has now filled the XP-82 hydraulic system with 14 quarts of Mil H 5606 hydraulic fluid, and is proceeding with the gear retraction tests.
Much time is being spent adjusting the twelve push-pull rods which activate each inboard gear door forward and aft up-lock hooks along with the emergency up-lock release and hook pull cables.

And that is all for this month’s report.


Many thanks again to Tom Reilly for this update. You can learn more about the project on their blog HERE. Please be sure to check back with WarbirdsNews in May, 2017 for the next installment in the story following the XP-82′s road to recovery!

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One Comment

  1. Kevin Kerr says:

    This was my father’s favorite aircraft. He was a flight engineer for B-29 aircraft during the Korean war. During inclement weather he liked to hang out with the men who maintained these aircraft. He would be thrilled to know that someone was restoring one. Thank you very much.

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