Comparison Photos

On 21 May 1927 after Charles Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget field in Paris, France, he and the Spirit of St. Louis were overrun by the throngs of spectators who had come to the field to watch history being made.  

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Unfortunately, some among the spectators took it upon themselves to rip, tear, or cut out pieces of the fabric off the Spirit of St. Louis to keep as souvenirs of the historic event.

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This vandalism needed to be repaired before Lindbergh could fly the Spirit of St. Louis again.  

The French government moved the Spirit into a hangar and kept it under armed guard to protect it from any other souvenir hunters while they replaced the fabric from the cockpit, aft, with Irish linen.

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This photo is of the cockpit area once the damaged original cotton fabric was removed in 1927.

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This photo is of the cockpit area of the Spirit of St. Louis by JNE in 2016.

compare to Paris photoedited

Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine Article

On June 28, 2016 the Washington Post published an article about finding the pliers beneath the main fuel tank in the original Spirit of St. Louis.

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It was very disappointing to see that the head conservator of the National Air and Space Museum was taking credit for the discovery that John had made while we were there in March 2015 during the time the original Spirit was on the floor.

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In speaking with the conservator after the article was published, he explained that the author of the article did not write what he had described.

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In speaking with the author of the article in the Washington Post, he explained that he had written what the conservator had said.

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So, there you go!  

Each individual pointing the finger at the other one in an effort to place blame on the “OTHER” guy.

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After having conversations with both entities and asking for a correction to be made … leaving it up to both of them to do the “right” thing … we were soon contacted by Heather Goss from the Smithsonian Air & Space magazine.  

She asked John for details about his discovery of the pliers, and although she was on a limited time frame (due to publishing deadlines) she wanted to get the REAL story out there.

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We appreciate the conscientious attention paid by the National Air and Space Museum in their capacity to preserve American History in an authentic and accurate manner.

Pliers found by John Norman on 26 Mar 2015

For those who might be interested in reading the article written by Heather Goss for the August 2016 edition, you can follow this link  ( click here ).

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To date, we have not been contacted by the Washington Post in any manner in order to make the corrections to their article.  I guess that just shows us who is the more honorable reporting agency between the two!

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The June 28th article by the Washington Post can be found here ( click here ).

Rudder Cover ~

Summer has come to an end, and Autumn has made her way in.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are experiencing wonderfully warm and dry days though the nights are certainly feeling more like typical Fall weather here.

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With the higher humidity in the air, it makes the covering process a bit trickier than it would be if we had been able to start the covering job this past summer.

However, we do not want to put the “cart before the horse” with our project, so even though we had gorgeous weather this past summer … it simply was not the TIME to begin the covering.

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John has decided it IS time now to go ahead and begin covering some of the smaller parts of the “Spirit by JNE”.

The rudder was his first choice.

We will be able to put it into one of the smaller rooms in the shop where we can turn the heat on, keep the heat at a steady temperature and reduce the humidity to an acceptable level as it dries.

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Above: John is covering the rudder with Grade A cotton and sealing the overlapping fabric with butyrate dope in preparation for the first stage of “shrinking” the fabric.

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~ H

Balsa Wood Fairings?

There are so many interesting facts we have learned about the construction of the original Spirit of St. Louis as we have been moving forward with our reproduction.

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One bit that many people don’t know is the fact that the wing struts were covered with balsa wood in order to create the ‘streamline’ shape we see when we are looking at the airplane.

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John has spent hours running the balsa wood boards through the planer to get them smooth before gluing them together to get the proper length and depth “blank” he will need for each strut.

The next step is to cut the ‘blank’ down the length and then carve out the center to the proper depth and curve so the ‘blank’ will fit together again around each strut.

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I see lots and lots and lots of balsa wood chunks and sawdust in our future 😉

Balsa Wood Blanks with watermarkedited~ H

Fuel Tanks and Stringers

June found John working steadily every day as he installed the forward fuel tank and oil tank in the motor mount on the JNE Spirit of St. Louis.

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Once the tanks were in place, John was able to begin the process of running the fuel lines, the tachometer cable, the throttle line, and more ~ from the cockpit forward to the front of the aircraft where they will eventually hook up with the engine when it is installed.

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When we returned from our visit with the original Spirit of St. Louis in Washington, DC, John discovered the stringers he had were not long enough.   🙁

John tried to find a 20′ long Spruce board to cut new stringers out of … but ended up having to purchase a board that was 26′ long in order to get the straight, clear, knot-free wood he needed for the 1/4″ thick stringers that form the shape of the aircraft.

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Once he got all the stringers cut and formed, he secured them in place by wrapping them with cord just as the original had been done.

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Then he moved on to “framing” the door with wood and making the window frames.

DCIM100GOPRO

The JNE Spirit of St. Louis waiting patiently to see what this new part is that John is making …

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~H