April/May Texas Flying Legends’ P-47 Update

Update by Chuck Cravens
The left side main tank bay shows in the foreground of the fuselage structure with the auxiliary tank bay behind.


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This month work continued on the tank bay and pilot floor areas we reported on in last month’s update. They are complicated and time-consuming parts of the P-47 fuselage, in large part because of the multiple corrugated parts that must be formed.

The work involves fitting, trimming, and trial assembly.  Once the structure has been initially put together with clecos and everything is correct, much of it has to be disassembled and sent to paint for a zinc chromate coating.

One of Rob McCune’s fine renderings gives us an idea of the spatial relationship between the tank bays and cockpit areas. The larger forward space is the main tank bay, the aft, smaller one, is the auxiliary tank bay.

Fuselage Structure

This cropped engineering drawing shows the crosstie assembly in cross-section.

Pilot’s Floor

Main Fuel Tank Bay

The upper skin of the main fuel tank bay lower panel rests on a protective cloth after the zinc chromate has been applied.

This piece will have round head rivets and will be covered with a liner to protect the rubber self-sealing tank in a couple ways. It helps with chafing wear, but it also has an interesting name that leads to its other function: it is called anti-flowering covering. The flowering it refers to is the petal-shaped metal fingers surrounding shell hole damage. Those metal shards are sharp, of course, and would damage or even puncture the tank. The liner resists the “petals” coming in contact with the tank itself.

The anti-flowering tank bay liner was made by Firestone Tire and Rubber and is described in engineering drawings as having been constructed of “2 Ply Plasite”. Plasite  was an early low-pressure laminate form of fiberglass.

Auxiliary Tank Bay

Another of Rob McCune’s CAD renderings shows the auxiliary tank bay directly under the rear of the cockpit floor.

Aaron Prince

This month we profile Aaron Prince, who appears in the updates frequently.  Aaron hails from Geigertown, PA, which is about an hour west of Philadelphia.

Aaron earned his A+P license at Pennsylvania College of Technology and comes to us from Mark Dinest’s MD Aero, where he also was restoring warbirds. There he worked on Ron Fagen’s award winning SNJ.

Aaron works on all facets of our restorations but he specializes in wiring and electronics installation.

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