Bit by Bit …

Bit by bit, piece by piece, John is making progress on the JNE Spirit of St. Louis.

 

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Despite being laid up for nearly three weeks from late January through the first week of February with a mean flu bug …  John was STILL able to get all the parts for the forward fuel tank and the oil tank ~ fabricated and put together before the end of February.

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Once completed, they both slipped right into place :-)

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John was also able to complete the re-work he needed to do on the cylinders for the Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine so we can now send them out to be chromed.

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Once the cylinders come back, John will be able to finish assembling the engine.

THAT will be a grand day :-)

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~ H

 

 

Moving Forward …

We finally made it through the first month of 2015.

It’s difficult to see very much progress, but we really HAVE been moving forward.

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In between waiting for various parts to arrive so that John can keep moving ahead on the Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine re-build … he has been working on the second fuselage fuel tank and the oil tank.  Both of these tanks fit between the main fuel tank (that he completed last summer) and the engine.

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All of the pieces for the fuel tank have been cut out, the baffle holes have been cut & rounded, and the outside edges have been turned so that there is a ‘lip’ all around them to enable them to be riveted together.

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John has even cut out the skins for the oil tank and has the whole thing clecoed together and temporarily placed in the fuselage to check the fit.  As he put it in place, it was with a sigh of relief because the whole thing simply slipped into place as if it was meant to be there!

Imagine that!

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I’d like to share a wonderful photograph that our dedicated “Team Spirit” photographer took of the cockpit area of our Spirit of St Louis back in late 2013.  This LINK will take you to the photograph on his webpage.  You may purchase a copy of the image by clicking on the “buy” link at the top of the photograph if you would like to have your very own copy of the Spirit of St. Louis cockpit and instrument panel.

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~ H

Happy New Year 2015

WOW!

2015 already … how did THAT happen?

Does it seem to anyone else that time is speeding up and flying by faster and faster every year?

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We have a very busy year ahead of us.

The goal is for John to get the Spirit fuselage off to the sandblaster in the next few weeks.

While she is gone, John will be working on completing the second fuel tank that sits just forward of the main fuel tank he completed this past summer.

He is also working on building the fuel tank that sits just ahead of that second fuel tank … both of them inside the motor mount!

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In the meantime, John has been plugging away at getting the ‘internals’ of the Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine all ready to go.

So far he has had to remove the heads off all nine cylinders in order to get at the valve seats.

He has removed all of the worn valve seats …

made new replacement valve seats and …

using liquid nitrogen, inserted all of the new valve seats in the cylinder heads …

Then put all the heads back on the cylinder barrels once more.

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We’ve had three magnetos (2 to power the aircraft, and 1 spare) rebuilt by Savage Magneto in Hayward, CA.

We also sent the carburetor out to get rebuilt and now have it back on the shelf ready to be installed.

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Although it may seem as though there is no progress being made on our Spirit of St. Louis because I’m so far behind with getting photographs posted … we really ARE making great progress.

Stay tuned …. more to come …………….

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~ H

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So Much To Be Thankful For ~

Here in the United States, we will be celebrating our Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.   May we take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a wonderful day?  We hope you will be able to spend the day with the loved ones of your choice and that the true meaning of this day will envelope one and all.

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John continues to make forward progress … though ever so slowly … on the Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine.  We recently received two boxes of much needed parts, so he is now cleaning them up to ensure they will be serviceable.

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We hope this finds you all in good health as we look forward to the holidays ahead.

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Onward and Upward,

~ H

October ~ Where Did it Go?

October is now drawing to an end.  

The days are getting shorter and we will soon need to turn our clocks back as we prepare for winter to arrive. 

The leaves are falling, the winds are blowing and the temperatures are dropping.

Here in the Pacific northwest, we are beginning to experience the typical rainy days and nights that we are known for.  

I guess we must accept that autumn is upon us and winter just a month and a half away.

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John has been working diligently on getting the Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine ready to go.  

Unfortunately, when one attempts to restore an engine that was originally built in the 1920’s, one finds as they go along, there are a myriad of issues they need to overcome.

John has had to search high and low for several of the internal parts he needs for the engine.  

Not only are the parts hard to find … they are expensive … since there are so few of them left. 

He has been lucky to find a couple of individuals who have been willing to share their knowledge with him in order to overcome some of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles he has run into.

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Perhaps if we all collectively keep our fingers crossed, we will be able to find the rest of the parts he needs in order to complete the engine.  

Without an airworthy Wright J-5 Whirlwind for a power plant, our Spirit of St. Louis will not be making the 2016 USA tour that we are planning.

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If you know of anyone who might have one of these old engines sitting around that they no longer have any use for … please let us know how we might get in touch with them.

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Be safe if you venture out on Halloween, and enjoy your autumn!

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~ H