Carrying on the armaments theme, the RNZAF Mustangs were equipped with six Zero Rail rocket launcher mounts as this photo of NZ2423 awaiting disposal at RNZAF Woodbourne in 1957 shows (Air Force Museum of NZ photo).
We have around 20 undamaged front and rear mounts and another 7 that just require a little attention plus a number that are only souvenir/parts use.
Next for inspection and cataloguing are bomb/drop tank mounts...............
The tail plane has revealed a nice connection back to unknown workers at the Dallas factory with hand written notes on the two rear spar sections. The first says "Do Not Use" and the second has two mysterious messages - "Hold Everything" and "Hold for Contact Day" - on the Do Not Use section we can see oversize rivets with one of the doublers so assume someone made a small mistake in drilling.
The tailplane internal structure has yeilded almost 100% components being re used including the front skins.
Brian Harris is working on the tail gear system and once again there is no wear on components in line with the very limited life of 260 hours flying time.
Quite a busy week for the team at Ohakea with a start on new skins for the tail plane, interior green components back with us for final assembly in the main fuselage jig, pilots seat ready to install, more electrical items processed, systems going into the rear fuselage section and the firewall assembly ready to go away to have its top coat added. This should be back with us early next week and will go back into the jig with the longerons permanently.
Parts sorting and cataloguing this week has thrown up some interesting items. The gun heaters for the AN/M2 50 cal machine guns took my eye as much as anything for the detailed instructions provided. We have 40 of these assemblies and also uncovered a nice pair of bomb/drop tank mounts including Mustang specific fairings.
The team in North Dakota at Odegaard Wings have also had a productive couple of weeks with the first of our wings back in one piece and disassembly work advancing on the other wing. Similar to our experience, the wings also revealing a link back to the production line workers at the Dallas factory. Be interesting to decode.
An important day as the sub assemblies for the fuselage start to go in permanently. Single piece top skin for the tailplane is also being fabricated using the original as a pattern. Stencilling still to be done on the firewall.
One more update to mark a significant step forward in the project today with the main fuselage assemblies starting to go back into the jig. Its easier to see why the fuselages on early Mustangs were built in two halves - left and right - including wiring and fittings before being joined.
A curiosity from today is the pair of rudder pedals from NZ2423. They are different in terms of the lettering style and also the North American Aviation logo. Can anyone explain the mystery? NZ2423's low hours is evident in the lack of wear on the pedals.
Another interesting week with a large amount of riveting done on the main fuselage, painted components of the tail plane arriving back allowing re assembly work, oil tank getting some attention and also the central section of the "doghouse".
Perhaps the difference in the rudder pedals is the result of the extensive sub-contracting that the american aircraft companies did during the war to keep up with production requirements. While the sub-contractor would have been given the overall specs of the requirement some "interpretations" to ease manufacturing of individual items may have crept in. British aircraft manufacturing was notorious for this problem
Another curiosity which caught my eye is this test unit used by No 4 TAF Squadron at Dunedin. Another of the seven units we have is marked as 3 SQN at Wigram. Six have Cannon style two pin connectors but one has 1/4 inch connectors. Our best guess is they were used to test the rocket firing circuits. Any better ideas out there?
Another week gone by with progress on the tail plane and some interesting items back from painting. A first inspection of our six elevators to identify the best two for rebuilding. Sorting, photographing and cataloguing our spares is a slow but steady side task at the moment.
Another week of steady progress as the clecos on the main fuselage steadily disappear to be replaced by rivets, a start on the refurbishment of the many items fitted in the cockpit, work on the "doghouse" assembly to deal with any corrosion, tailplane stalled a bit waiting on hardware items and fuselage fuel tank awaiting fitting to the rear of the main fuselage. Rudder pedals assembly parts tested and now awaiting painting and re assembly.
When the first batch of 30 RNZAF Mustangs was on the water from the US, the NZ Government tried to cancel the aircraft but was forced to accept them. The abrupt end to the Pacific war meant they were surplus to requirements and were no longer needed to begin the replacement of the Corsairs. The aircraft were covered in a protective coating called Plastiphene. This protective coating was already damaged on many aircraft from the shipping process and anyway was intended as a very temporary protection.
As the 29 RNZAF Mustangs (one was dropped on the wharf during unloading and subsequently scrapped) were no longer needed they were placed into long term storage with their Plastiphene coating still on. By the time they were removed from storage starting in 1952, the airframes were already suffering from deterioration under the protective coating.
At RNZAF Whenuapai the Base Commander's concerns for the Mustangs in service with 1 TAF Squadron led to the memo asking for permission to re finish the aircraft in High Speed Silver, an RAF finish applied to the new Vampire. This was concocted by mixing aluminium paste with a clear finish.
NZ2423 will be finished all over in High Speed Silver to give the airframe the maximum protection for longevity.
Work continues on refurbishing the so called "doghouse" which houses the two radiators. A common intake feeds separate channels for the oil and coolant radiators and each has its own outlet with a thermostatically control output flap.
The doghouse on the Mustang was designed to utilise the Meredith effect which basically used the hot air exiting as a source of propulsion to compensate for the drag of the overall housing. It was based on research undertaken at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough by engineer F.W. Meredith.
When I visited about 100 years ago with Jerry Beck they were actually experimenting with a charge in a water tank but I am guessing that has been refined somewhat. Think those are the originals cleaned up for re-use. It was amazing to see so many mustang frames, ribs etc all stacked in like components and racked on the walls there
Last Edit: Jun 24, 2021 22:02:19 GMT 12 by Mustang51: Added comment
Another steady week gone by with the tail plane now out of the jig and allowing fitting of elevator trim mechanisms. Main fuselage looking more Mustang like with fuselage fuel tank in place and retractable tail wheel assembly and rudder pedal assembly going back together. Note that the fuselage fuel tank will not be able to be used or filled but will serve as a backdrop to the original radio boxes which will be reinstalled and house the modern equipment out of sight. It has been re installed to be faithful to how it was built in 1945.