"America" is scheduled to
fly in September, 2007. Pictures are listed below and don't show
the amount of work that has been completed by Art Wilder (Head engineer
at the Curtiss Museum) and his tribe of dedicted workers. He has quite
a team but could always use more help (hint, hint). More pictures to
when they become available. Please check back often for the latest
update. (To view photos in full size, right click on the photo and
select "View Photo") Thank you.
The wings above have been varnished and are on display in the main museum floor (74 foot top wing!). I understand they have covered the bottom wings and are in the process of "stitching" the ribs. The fuselage is coming along as well and is planked for the most part and is being sanded as we speak I am sure. Rigging the stab and tail feathers is coming along nicely!
Update! The wings are totally covered and rib stitched. The hull had to be rotated around its longitudinal axis so the hull could be planked and reinforced (not an easy task). This was completed and the airframe was rotated back upright on November 18, 2006. The serious business of interior and "tail feather" work is now the main priority. See photos below!
|November 2006: As you can
tell work is progressing at a racing pace! Bill Bardin came down from
Rochester (photo 1) to weld the engine mounts and other metal work,
while others work on the hull and planking. The wings are covered
(except for one small center panel) and are ready for interior cable
work and paint. The hull was planked as the original was with two
layers of 1/8" spruce planks reinforced with polyester fiber in
between. It was then filled, sanded and turned over for the final work
inside the hull and out.
I Know that you are interested in the Curtiss Flying Boat "America," so will bring you up-to- date. I went down to the Restoration Shop Monday for some current photos and to lend a hand.
The "America" is coming along nicely . It is scheduled to fly at the Curtiss Seaplane Homecoming on Keuka Lake in mid September. The wing structures are all complete, prime coated, and are in the process of having the U-V coating applied.
They are working on the interior of the hull installing the controls and seating. The hull, wings and tails all coated internally with a marine varnish. The hull exterior is coated with an epoxy varnish that is compatible with the fabric covering.
The following two pictures were taken a few months ago while the rudder and elevators were being constructed and fitted.
The next photo shows the detail that is put into securing the joints. If the "America" was being made to just "look at," this structural detail would not be necessary.
The next photo of the hull was taken Monday. Note that the engine supports are being installed and the upper wing will go way up on top. Two original Curtiss 100 hp OXX-6 Water-cooled, overhead valve V-8 engines are being professionally reconditioned since they do intend to fly the "America" to other air shows, perhaps Oshkosh, either this year or next. One engine has to be modified for counter rotation of the propeller. Trim tabs are being installed on the rudder and elevator.
The attached QUESTION/ANSWER sheet (Adobe Acrobat Format) will provide most of the details. I just realize it missed the weight. As I recall, Jim Poel, our pilot, estimated slightly over 3000 pounds. Incidentally, we have four pilots who are all multi-engine, seaplane qualified.
You can find further information on the web site WWW.GlennHCurtissMuseum.Org.
You can also forward this email to your "fly guy" email list if you would like. I have copied Jim Poel who will fly the "America." He indicated he would be glad to answer any questions you might have.
PS to Jim Poel. George Palmer was former Chairman of Aero Engineering at Purdue and was involved with Olmsted Pusher back in the 1970's.
Click on images to see full size!
|Update July 2007: Things are getting
close to completion with the "America"! All parties concerned can't
wait for the big day. September 14th through the 16th. It is going to
be quite a sight. If you would like to register or the event, you can
go to the Curtiss
Museum restoration website and download it or click
Interview with pilots (Jim and Lee) and Art Wilder (Engineer)
Art Wilder video about the fabric