Further work is occurring on my quest to reassemble the Redtail without spending significant dollars and simultaneously lightening it up a bit in the hopes of improved flying traits.
The latest is around the port side (that’s left if you were to sit in the cockpit of the P-51 facing forward) main landing gear mounting area and wheel well. That area took significant damage during the abrupt meeting between the retracts and beans at about 35mph! Yep, that is about stall speed… or at least is was that day.
Here is a sequence of pictures showing the progress. Most of this was simply measuring, cutting, fitting and a fair injection of TLAR engineering methods to try to get something put back together that will stand the strain. TLAR… you know… “That Looks About Right”!
After cutting out the sheeting and getting rid of the various splinters and unidentifiable fragments here is what I was left with.
I cut away even a bit more before adding back a bit of structure… Rebuilding the rails so that the screws have something solid to bite into required some temporary bracing…
Then I started building the actual rail structure and piecing them together with an eye toward making sure there was some interlock to help add some strength. This rail notches into the rib and creates a lip for the rear rail to rest on.
Here, all the rails are in place and all of the mounting screws have been drilled and put in place… lots of advanced TLAR to get the placement right (I hope).
Then came the puzzle of re-sheeting around the fiberglass wheel wells. I cut the existing sheeting back to expose a bit of the top of the spar and then pressed the sheeting down over the fiberglass to give me a cut line. This created shapes like this ones.
Then I added some small “railing” to catch the sheeting and give me some glue surface for the larger span of this piece of sheeting. There was also some reinforcing and rebuilding of the ribs that contact the wheel well that had to be done.
Here are the pieces going into place.
And the final bits of woodwork are glued in.
From here is will just be some recovering work, though I have considered adding a bit of light fiberglass reinforcing underneath the landing gear mount area… We’ll see.
Next up is finishing up the covering and the last of the repair work on the fuselage.