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Summer 2020 Cadet AirCorps Museum AT-10 Wichita Restoration Update

AT-10 Wichita Restoration
Erik and Aaron look over the fuselage frame structure.

Update

It has been quite a while since we’ve updated the AT-10 restoration. Past updates have emphasized the historical aspects of the AT-10, so it is a pleasure to highlight progress on the wooden main airframe this time.

Restoration on a rare airplane like the AT-10 involves a great deal of parts fabrication, which has been ongoing, and parts making doesn’t always make for interesting photos. But recently, some visually significant progress has been made, so it’s a good time to produce an update on the restoration.

Most of what has been done until now was the restoration of the metal cockpit area and the aforementioned parts accumulation and fabrication. Now for the first time, we can show some new progress on the primary wooden airframe.

Cockpit area of Beech AT-10 41-27322
Cockpit area of Beech AT-10 41-27322

Fixture

The first step in building a straight airframe is creating a fixture to hold components in alignment as work progresses.

Materials

The Ubiquitous Scarf Joint

Scarf joint diagram, from the AT-10 Structural Repair Manual, p11.
Scarf joint diagram, from the AT-10 Structural Repair Manual, p11.

Many components on an airplane like the AT-10 were longer or wider than the available wood material. In those cases, tapered joints called scarf joints were used to increase the gluing area of the joint and create a nearly seamless appearing joint that had far more strength than a simple butt joint would have had.

Fuselage Frame Structure

With a solid, straight fixture, and the parts fabricated to build an AT-10 fuselage, assembly of the structural frame has begun.

AT-10 painting by Eric Sloane
AT-10 painting by Eric Sloane, painted in 1942 and presented to Elmer Graham upon his retirement as crew chief on the AT-10 assembly line, courtesy Bill Graham collection
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