August CAF Red Tail Update

by Chuck Cravens

This is a front view of fuselage with lower cowl former and also note that the side cowl former has been dimpled and the Dzus springs installed.

This is a front view of fuselage with lower cowl former and also note that the side cowl former has been dimpled and the Dzus springs installed.

Update

Last month’s update was produced early to have a current status report at AirVenture in Oshkosh, so this month’s update covers a slightly longer period.

We ended last month with the hope that the Merlin would arrive soon from Roush Aviation. It did come in the last week of July as you will see in the photographs.

Fuselage

Fitting of skins, windows and accessories were the main thrust of the repairs to the fuselage this month.

The left side cowl skins are clecoed on for fitting in this shot.

The left side cowl skins are clecoed on for fitting in this shot.

Right side view showing reused skin panel with Tuskegee prominently visible.

Right side view showing reused skin panel with Tuskegee prominently visible.

Forward air induction duct is being readied to be drilled for rivets.

Forward air induction duct is being readied to be drilled for rivets.

Cowl

Curved “D” window panels await fitting.

Curved “D” window panels await fitting.

Rear view shows the red horizontal and vertical stabilizers, the rudder will become red when the entire Mustang is repainted.

Rear view shows the red horizontal and vertical stabilizers, the rudder will become red when the entire Mustang is repainted.

This trim tab control linkage detail shot shows how the trim tab connects to the pushrod that activates it.

This trim tab control linkage detail shot shows how the trim tab connects to the pushrod that activates it.

This trim tab control linkage detail shot shows how the trim tab connects to the pushrod that activates it.

This trim tab control linkage detail shot shows how the trim tab connects to the pushrod that activates it.

Ryan is working on making the structure ready for the aluminum “smile”casting.

Ryan is working on making the structure ready for the aluminum “smile”casting.

New radio bracket Aaron made for the ADS-B radios is in place.

New radio bracket Aaron made for the ADS-B radios is in place.

"D" Windows

Engine

As promised, the Packard Merlin arrived all repaired and ready to go from Roush Aviation. They do great work and it is always exciting when the power plant goes in. First the mounts need to be prepared.

Scoop

Restoring a scoop, or making a new one for that matter, can seem to take forever.

Scoop progress can be slow because it is such a complicated assembly but the Red Tail’s scoop and doghouse are being joined and are close to completion and reinstallation.

Wings

The good folks at Odegaard Wings are repairing the wings so that, together with AirCorps, we can get this iconic Mustang back in the air. She is too important to the educational program of the Commemorative Air Force and especially the Red Tail Squadron to spend any more time in restoration than it takes to do the job right. Casey Odegaard sent these photos of the progress they are making.

Landing Gear

The final area of restorative progress on “Tuskegee Airmen“ we will examine this month is the main landing gear. A great deal of work went into getting them ready so that when the time comes to put them in, there is no delay.