The project’s XP-82 Twin Mustang during live-fire trials of the experimental, eight gun, machine gun pod (at the same time as the six internal .50 machine guns mounted inside the center wing section). With the addition of this pod, the XP-82 had a massive total of 14 forward-firing .50 caliber Browning M3 machine guns! Note the pile of spent shell casings massing on the concrete floor! (photo via Tom Reilly)
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! As we mentioned in our last update in early July, since the project is coming very close to completion, there are fewer major accomplishments that can be photographed, which means that our usual monthly reports will happen more infrequently, hence the two month gap since the last posting. This does not mean that plenty isn’t happening on the resurrection of XP-82 Twin Mustang 44-83887, just that only some of it can be documented easily.
The project’s XP-82 Twin Mustang during her trials with the experimental, center-mounted machine-gun pod. (photo via Tom Reilly)
Fuselage Fairings – Inboards and Outboards
All of the fairings are now completely finished. The final task for each of the twelve fairings was to polish out the microscopic English wheel roller marks. Each fairing has had its mounting holes drilled. All of the edges have been trimmed to match and all are now completely fit and installed.
The left-hand inboard trailing edge fairing. (photo via Tom Reilly)
The left-hand outboard leading edge fairing. (photo via Tom Reilly)
The left-hand inboard leading edge fairing. (photo via Tom Reilly)
The right-hand inboard leading edge fairing. (photo via Tom Reilly)
The right-hand inboard trailing edge fairing. (photo via Tom Reilly)
The right-hand outboard leading edge fairing. (photo via Tom Reilly)
The right-hand outboard trailing edge fairing. (photo via Tom Reilly)
Top Engine Cowls
Both top cowls (right-hand engine, left and right) are completely riveted, spot-welded together and now undergoing final polishing and edge trimming. They have been a challenge, to be sure, but have finished out very well.
The left-hand top engine cowling panel for the right hand engine in place during the test-fitting and trimming phase. (photo via Tom Reilly)
A rear view of the right hand upper engine cowling for the right hand engine during the fitting/trimming stage. (photo via Tom Reilly)
A view of the right hand upper cowling for the right engine during the test-fitting and trimming phase. (photo via Tom Reilly)
Tom Reilly sent both of the newly-manufactured, right-hand, engine top cowlings to Kermit Weeks’ facility in Polk City, Forida, for spot welding. Rick Reeves, the man that helped form many of the project’s parts, did the job using Kermit’s state-of-the-art spot welding machine.
Every electrical system in the XP-82, with the exception of the landing gear position wires, has been checked under power. The massive number of wire harnesses in each cockpit is now being tie-cord wrapped (aviation cord instead of tie wraps).
The Instrument Panel Covers
The aluminum closeout panels which cover the top of each instrument panel are now complete.
The newly-fabricated cockpit instrument panel close-out covers. (photo via Tom Reilly)
The project had some timing issues with both the landing gear and flap actuating valves, but they have now been adjusted and hydraulically evaluated on the test bench. They now check out perfectly, and are due to be installed this week in order to start the gear retraction tests.
Tail Gear Doors
Tom Reilly received the four tail gear door inner pressings from Pat Harker in Anoka, Minnesota. Harker had male and female press dies machined to allow the manufacture of new inner tail wheel waffle skins for his own F-82E Twin Mustang project, and generously made a set of new skins for the XP-82’s tail wheel doors as well.
The tail wheel gear doors mounted in place during the test-fitting. (photo via Tom Reilly)
Original tail wheel gear door. (photo via Tom Reilly)
The XP-82 restoration team has just completed fitting all four tail wheel doors. On Tom Reilly’s next trip to Florida, he will have the outboard skins spot welded to the inboard waffle skins.
New tail wheel gear door waffle skins awaiting spot welding. (photo via Tom Reilly)
Inboard Main Gear Doors
This week the restoration team started pressing the interior waffle skins over machined aluminum press dies for the inboard main gear doors (36” x 42”). These inside skins are formed from .063″ thick, untempered 2024 aluminum sheet, and have a 2″ depth on each of the six pressings. They were formed by “flow forming”, using soft hammers and wooden blocks for the close radiuses.
The heavily damaged original gear door inner skin which Reilly’s team used as a template to create new examples. (Photo via Tom Reilly)
The two internal gear door skins are now completed awaiting final fitting, trimming, heat treating. riveting to the internal framework and spot welding. (photo via Tom Reilly)
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. Although we are not exactly sure when the next formal update will come, please be sure to check back with WarbirdsNews in a couple of months for the next installment in the story following the XP-82′s road to recovery!