While it has been many months since a progress report was posted, the Morane project has been moving ahead, albeit slowly.  As with most projects like this, some of the most difficult or tedious actions have been put off to the end.  There have also been a few last minute changes when we discovered that something wasn’t going to fit exactly as planned.

While enthusiasm was high and a lot of student hours were logged prior to the airshow in Dayton, last fall, the number of hours worked dropped dramatically after the airplane was brought home and work resumed.  We have seen a slight increase in student hours recently, and now that the Morane is back from its most recent display trip, it will stay in the shop until it is ready to go back to the airport for a test flight.

A lot of time has been put in on manufacturing the wooden streamlined covers for the struts.  These start out as regular wood stock cuts and then have to have a half-round shape cut in them to accomodate the steel tube strut, and then the outside has to be cut to create the streamline shape.  That is a lot of fancy saw work, finished with a lot of hand shaping and sanding.  Then the ends need to be tapered, and the whole assembly fitted in pairs to each strut.  After varnish, the wood is attached to the strut and held in place with lacing cord.  A final coat of varnish will secure the cord.

Lots of fancy cutting has gone in to fashioning these streamlined covers for the struts

Some temporary instruments have been installed in the panel to help planning for the pitot-static lines plumbing.  These will come out and be replaced with instruments more accurate to the period before the project is complete.  The pitot tube will be on the left wing, with the line following the contours of the struts and back to the cockpit.  Static air will be supplied from an open line mounted in the fuselage

Temporary instruments have been fitted into the panel to allow us to design the pitot-static system plumbing

As you can see in the photo above, the guns have been completed and mounted.  While they are really “dummies” they have been built to make really authentic noice and fire.  Connected to a canister of MAP gas, the guns accurately reproduce the sound and muzzle blast of the real thing.  They have been test fired, but the avionics techs are busy building circuitry that will fire the guns alternately.  This will save on gas, and should make for a more realistic sound pattern.

Stainless tubing for the exhaust system has been ordered, but still must be rolled into the correct size collector and have the stubs welded on.  Work also continues on some redesign in the fuel and oil systems to make tanks that will fit better and increase the fuel capacity.  Our goal is to have about 26 gallons of fuel.  Not enough for a long cross country, but enough to hop scotch airports and get to a fly-in.

Stay tuned for further updates!

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