Brendon has shared a new batch of detail photos of Mustang Two Three on Facebook, credit to him:
For those who like a bit of detail - this is inside the tail section. The tailwheel has already been removed but retracted manually without any problem before removal. You can't help but be impressed with the design details of the Mustang and compare it to the Spitfire. Everything about the P51 is aimed at making it easy to manufacture in volume whereas the Spitfire was alway a "hand built" aeroplane design with all that entails. Volume manufacture of the Spitfire was solved by applying lots of workers to the task. The P51 Mustang is a relatively simple aeroplane by comparison. Its easier to see now how North American's factory in Grand Prairie was able to roll out Mustangs at a great rate alongside AT6 Texans (Harvards) and B24 Liberators. In one 30 day period, 728 aircraft were produced, a mark never bettered in the US aviation industry. The Grand Prairie (Dallas) factory at its peak employed 38,500 staff working three 8 hour shifts every day. The structure of NZ2423 is covered in the stamps of individual operators at the plant who completed each section.
As another week draws to a close, our focus has been on two main tasks - building up the main fuselage jig and preparing the items heading off overseas for rebuild or overhaul. As we start with a factory built airframe, the jig is built up around the key alignment points on the fuselage and checked against the specifications. A separate jig will be built for the rear fuselage. The main fuselage jig will allow accurate replacement of the main fuselage longerons and skin repairs and replacement as required. The engine, propellor and wing group are all heading to the US in mid December for rebuild which will allow our in-house focus in 2021 to be on the fuselage, systems and tail feathers until everything starts to come together back at Biggin Hill. Early days in the journey but some good steps taken so far.
Wonderful............love to see it in person during the rebuild some time
in the meantime, at least, that'll mean more than just the trans-Tasman flights. From Brendon on the BHHAC Facebook page yesterday:
A couple of milestones today. Our wings and propellor have left for repair/overhaul in US by Odegaard Wings in North Dakota and the propellor to Maxwell Aviation Service in Minneapolis. The completion of the main fuselage jig has allowed a start on removing the fuselage skins and preparing for replacement of the main fuselage longerons in the New Year when they arrive.
A closer look at the exposed main fuselage structure. The main enemy of the aircraft has been the generations of rats that made a home in the aircraft over the last 60 plus years. Some of this damage is evident in the frame section behind the main fuselage tank. In general the airframe is in exceptionally good condition.
I'm glad these posts are of interest - it may just be me but the P-51 and P-40s don't seem to be getting anywhere near the public attention of the Mosquito.
A new Facebook post from Brendon a few minutes ago:
One of the confronting parts of any restoration is watching the aircraft disappear before your eyes. Every component in the fuselage is being removed, bead blasted, inspected and will be reprimed before going back into the jig. At this stage we anticipate a very original aircraft with everything possible being returned to the aircraft. We have also made a start on the side project of recovering some of the multitude of parts from other RNZAF Mustangs that John Smith had diligently collected. We keep being reminded how much we owe to that man's foresight. We have about 17 undercarriage blocks to recover as a starter and a damaged one was used to develop the recovery process. These may well help other Mustangs to get or keep flying in the future. The vast array of other spare items will be tackled at some stage in the future and we intend to part out the other airframe items that John had collected from the scrapping site in Moutere as they contain many useful forgings, fittings and other fixtures. The rear section of the fuselage has started having its jig built around it. This multipurpose jig frame will be used for the tailplane, elevators and rudder as well.
Hi there. I'm new to this forum and registered out of interest in the restoration of the P-51D. The work-in-progress pics are incredibly helpful for my own 1/32 scale Mustang build. I'm curious whether the work has stopped since Christmas?