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Old 12-03-2017, 07:15 PM   #11
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Default My neighbor and his "Mustang!"

You are correct, JimC. I got too many IIs. Nitrate dope wasn't developed until WW I was underway. According to the replica builder guy, Pilots actually preferred varnish to dope because it was less flammable, and when you didn't wear a 'chute flammability was a distinct negative.

One problem with varnish on the fabric of the day, either linen or cotton, was that it didn't shrink the fabric as much as dope would. If you look at early movies of the planes, the fabric isn't as taut as modern covering. Some planes, like Fokkers, used a cable trailing edge so it could help tighten the wing covering. I got into the discussion with the replica builder when I noted that his authentic finish looked more dull than dope, and the cloth covering had a lot of lacing to tighten it.

The restorer on "Plane Resurrection" also noted that before aluminum dope came into use, earlier finishes were transparent to UV light and that played havoc with the cloth and wood underneath.

It seems like it would be a daunting task to build a Merlin (or Packard version) engine from scratch. According the the RR film shown as part of the P-51 "Plane Resurrection" video, the crankshaft was a steel forging. That would require the use of forging dies and the size of press needed to do a 'shaft. You can's hog a crankshaft of required strength from a billet, because the metal grain structure would be wrong. And I can't imagine what would be required to re-create the Merlin supercharger. But I guess with enough $$ anything can be done.

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Old 12-03-2017, 10:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ed Dartford View Post
skywag... My point is that building a new P51 from scratch would be prohibitively expensive, except perhaps for a billionaire enthusiast. Technically one could build one, although it looks like the outfit you bring to our attention just makes parts for people who are restoring existing airframes.

"Billionaires" are a dime a dozen, And Cal Aero has been building complete P-51 aircraft for decades.

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