by Chuck Cravens
The December/January update will be brief because most of the progress on Lope’s Hope 3rd this month happened at Odegaard Wings. The fine folks there sent some images of the wings. In the meantime, at AirCorps, the time consuming work on the windows moves forward.
The narrow strip of skin that will go in the open area is left off to allow rivet access. It is the last piece of skin to go on and is riveted from the tip end toward the root end. It can be gently bent up to reach the backside of the rivets when it is installed permanently. The last few rivets can be accessed from the gun bay.
Cockpit Enclosure Continued
The frame is clecoed together with the plexiglass in the channel of the frames. Once it is riveted together permanently, the final step is to apply a special sealant to the edge of the frame where it meets the plexiglass.
There was a Technical Order regarding these “D” windows on the P-51Bs and Cs “to reduce the possibility of the loss of the cockpit enclosure rear panels in flight.” The fix was new and stronger rear panel attaching springs.
Tech Order No. 01-60JD-39 appears below. Neither the original Lope’s Hope 3rd, serial number 42-103585, or our restoration airframe, 43-24907, needed the modification because they were either modified at the factory before they were delivered or the change in parts reached the line before their ‘D’ windows were installed.