Texas Flying Legends
by Chuck Cravens
This photo of the right wing gives us a good view of the gun bay.
The December/January update will be brief because most of the progress on Lope’s Hope 3rd this month happened at Odegaard Wings. The fine folks there sent some images of the wings. In the meantime, at AirCorps, the time consuming work on the windows moves forward.
The left side looks to be at the same stage of completion.
More rivets remain to be installed in the bottom of the wings than the top.
The narrow strip of skin that will go in the open area is left off to allow rivet access. It is the last piece of skin to go on and is riveted from the tip end toward the root end. It can be gently bent up to reach the backside of the rivets when it is installed permanently. The last few rivets can be accessed from the gun bay.
One of the more complex areas of the wing are the landing gear bays, this one is on the left.
A view of the right side gear well is a mirror image .
Almost all of the bottom of the right wing shows in this image.
This side window is hinged along the bottom and the top enclosure panel is also hinged to tip toward the right side. This is where the pilot enters and exits the B and C model Mustangs.
Ryan fits cork that will properly position the plexiglass as it is final fitted and will also seal it to the frame.
A tighter view shows the careful fitting needed to be certain the window is airtight at high speed.
A wider piece of cork goes where the attaching cam locks will be installed.
Here the larger piece is in place.
“D” window on the bench , it’s masked to prevent scratches as it is worked on.
Cockpit Enclosure Continued
The frame is clecoed together with the plexiglass in the channel of the frames. Once it is riveted together permanently, the final step is to apply a special sealant to the edge of the frame where it meets the plexiglass.
There was a Technical Order regarding these “D” windows on the P-51Bs and Cs “to reduce the possibility of the loss of the cockpit enclosure rear panels in flight.” The fix was new and stronger rear panel attaching springs.
Tech Order No. 01-60JD-39 appears below. Neither the original Lope’s Hope 3rd, serial number 42-103585, or our restoration airframe, 43-24907, needed the modification because they were either modified at the factory before they were delivered or the change in parts reached the line before their ‘D’ windows were installed.