Friday, June 10, 2011

Here is the right side with the cargo door hung.
John at the riviting.  Got to love a guy who brings his own tool and work bench to the job.
                                          Barry and the Mrs.installing the new tail rotor blades.
Today and yesterday we got a lot of exciting work done on old "Charlie" the H-34 dawg.

Jim Locke put in an amazing feat of patience and perseverence by figuring out the multiple problems with the main cargo door and got it hung on its tracks.  It seems that some where in the past a heavy load had been dropped on the lower edge of the cargo hatch, deforming the lower track, making it almost impossible for the door to attach to and slide in its proper way.  Jim was able to correct the swerve in the track with a few careful whacks from a 5 pound sledge hammer.  This is delicate work here, folks. He was also able to puzzle out how to replace the ball bearings back into the upper track and get that reluctant track back into its groove. Then he installed two windows in the right side;  no easy task considering the old rubber seals were very inflexible and reluctant to cooperate.  Once again he showed amazing perseverance and patience.
Then he did a repair on the right side engine door and placed a new screen on one air intake. Jim is amazing! Thank you Jim!

John Pugh has put in two arduous days drilling out old rivets and putting sheet metal patches over the more serious spots of fork lift rash.  These old hulks were not treated well over the years, and no one cared if they got puncturted or bent up. He is is very talented with the sheet metal and will find lots more work here before we are done. We have been having some nice conversations while we work about places we both have both visited.  Marble Mountain being one. Thank you John!  John had some fascinating stories to tell about his recent trip back to Viet Nam as a tourist;  makes me want to go! His charming wife Candy assisted him for a while.

Barry Gage, who got his experience in Viet Nam repairing and crewing on Hiller H-23's, ( I had no idea these little things were even in Viet Nam, much less going out armed as gun ships!)  took three of the tail rotor hubs back to his shop and pressed out the bolts so he could then install the beautiful rotor blade replicas that he hand crafted out of traffic barricade plastic, and painted to look very much like the real thing.  This was a real challenge.  At first we tried to simply back out the old tail rotor blade retaining bolts, but they would not budge.  Then we tried to heat up the blade retaining hubs with propane to allow the bolts to come out.  After a hard hours work on ladders we got two bolts out;  that just was not working.  So Barry took the entire tail rotor assemble apart and took the remaining three hubs home to his shop where he used a hydraulic press to press out the bolts.  he said it took 6000 pounds of pressure to get those bolts out!  No wonder we had problems trying to do it by hand. These things are all built to very close tolerances, and sitting in the desert for decades did them no good whatsoever.

Last, but far from least, Roger King  (Shouldn't  we be calling him "SKY KING"?) stopped by a coupla days ago with a finished main axel nut;  we should have the wheels on very soon!  Roger made five, count'em: five, prototypes with his magical computer controlled milling machine before getting the magic combination of threads and diameter right.  What a challenge for Roger. And what a great help to the project.  Roger is also working on the tail wheel assembly.  Love these guys with so much mechanical talent.  My job has always been to take the machines out to the field, work them hard until broken and bring them back to the base for repairs.  I never had to worry about the repair bit.  After I wrote up the problems, I went to the bar!

Mike Kazar stopped Thursday by to get aquainted and to confirm that he is willing to pull Charlie thru town for the 4th of July parade with his Korean War vintage JEEP.  YEA  Mike!

With a bit of luck we will have Charlie in the standown at our local fairgrounds next Saturday. the 18th.

Next post:  "What's in them black boxes, anyway?"

AND, Just because I must:

If anybody would like to make a donation to this great cause, it will be tax deductible.
Send a check made out to V.V.A. chapter 890
send to:

bill collier
402 Sandpoint ave. 
No. 224
Sandpoint, Idaho, 83864

all donations will be used carefully and will be greatly appreciated.


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