Curtiss Jenny Restoration

Welcome! We hope you enjoy following the restoration process of a 1918 Curtiss JN4D Jenny. Once completed, the aeroplane will be flown and displayed at the Candler Field Museum in Williamson GA (30 miles south of Atlanta). You can contact me below by clicking on "VIEW MY PROFILE"

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Location: Peachtree City, Georgia, United States

Friday, January 25, 2008

aft fuselage wires

I really like this tool. Lately, I've been using it a lot! Thirty two wires have been made in the past three days.

Here's a shot lining up the vertical pieces.

Each universal fitting gets a small brass screw to keep it in place.

Progress as of this afternoon. Looks pretty cool.

Close up of a universal fitting.

Busy weekend coming up. More later. Enjoy


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wires around the tail skid

Back at it again today. If you make the bracing wires for the bottom of the fuselage in Station 10 the same as all the other bays, the tail skid will hit during its travels. So to remedy this, Curtiss made a rectangular piece to spread the wires and still retain plenty of strength.

I did not have any drawings of this part. Paul Dougherty did quite a bit of researchand he figured it out. I was lucky enough to measure his plane during my last visit. From what I can tell, some Jennies used the rectangle (like this one) and others (Canucks I think?) solved the problem with a flat plate.

For those of you building a Jenny some day, the dimentions of the rectangle are 2 3/8 in. X 1 5/8 in.

I welded up the frame with .035 wall 5/16 in. tubing. Each loop of the wire has to be attached to the frame. When I was done, my kids thougjt it was a funny looking spider or something.

Anyway, the front of the rectangle was 6 3/4 in back from the cross member. I held the rectangle in place and marked the wires.

Here's the finished bay. You can see the hole for the tail skid (soon, I hope!)

I also made several other wires today...all in the back end of the fuselage.

Till tomorow.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Station 3 cross bearer fitting

Since we had a cold spell here in Georgia this week - first measured snowfall in nearly five years - I decided to so something in the shop that required the use of a torch!

This is the fitting at station 3. I had this fitting cut on a water-jet machine but the tabs still needed to be bent.

I used the simple heat, beat, heat, beat etc. method. Get the tab cherry red and tap in the flange with a block of steel. It works rather well. Give yourself about 1/8 in. of bend allowance on your vice.

Also, get yourself a good helper! Our oldest son Graham offered to heat the fitting while I did the tapping.

Here's the finished part.

Here is where it goes. Next step - drill the bolt holes.

Graham also got to bead blast and paint the fittings. With two people, the process went very smoothly We had both parts done in about an hour.



Friday, January 18, 2008

Fuselage is together !!

Well, the fuselage is finally together - from spider plate to tailpost!

Over the last few days, I sporatically worked on finishing up Stations 6 - 10, putting together each universal fitting to the longeron. Today, I finished joining the longeron to the tailpost.

I started by making a template from the upper tail post. Remember, as you cut away the ash, the longeron bends closer to the tail post. This moves the longeron "back" if you will, screwing up the perfect calculations for the perfect cut you already made. So, allow for that, please!

I rough cut the outline using a simple hand scroll saw. Final fit was made with a Dremel tool fitted with a sanding drum. That way, you can take a little off here and a little off there to make a good fit.

Here it is !

I'll cut the tailpost to size after I fit the fin and rudder. The tailpost houses two rudder hinges, so I want to make sure I have enough length. I still need to rout the center of the tailpost but that will wait intil I break the fuselage down and rout the longerons.

On a side note, I'm proud to report that the kids at Indian Lake High School have started making their own Jenny !! Several months ago, shop teacher Ed Rogers comtacted me and told me about his goal of building a Jenny with his students. I wished him luck and sent a few missing drawings. Sure enough, I received this photograph the other day with their progress!

I asked Ed to tell a little about the project. He writes:

"Student Andy Durm stands beside some of the preliminary production parts of a Jenny which is currently being researched for possible production by Indian Lake High School. The high school has an enrollment of roughly 600 kids and is still lucky to have two, full time Industrial Arts instructors. The high school is situated south of Indian Lake Ohio on the outskirts of Lewistown.

With any luck, the project will encompass a four year cycle of kids from the 9th grade staggered to seniors. The project came about as a suggestion from a group of shop kids who wanted to build a WW I fighter. A handful of them actually took it upon them selves to find everything which they felt we needed through networking of their own. Mainly, Brian's web page as one example...which we are gratefully indebted."

I wish I had a shop teacher like that when I was a kid.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Station 4 and 5 wing fit

I wanted to finish the alignment of Station 4 and 5 today. This is the wing attach points and I felt their alignment was rather important. So, I took the first section of the damaged original wing and used it to align the fittings. Here my friend Dave Daugherty came over to the house to help.

Not only is the fore and aft measurement critical, but the stagger and height is important as well. There are two drawings where I got this information. One drawing is a diagram of the upper and lower wing center points. The other drawing was a jig diagram for attaching the fittings. They proved to be quite useful.

Here's a shot of the forward attach fittings.

Measure twice cut once, right??

Here are the fittings drilled, bolted and in place.



Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fuel tank, Spare Parts and Engine Bearer

Glued up the second engine bearer today. Brighton gave me a hand.

Also took the engine bearer support out of the clamps and sanded to fit. Here it sits in place with the one engine bearer in place. This will be held together with "U" braces eventually.

I flew to Minneapolis yesterday to meet Mr. Ken Rovie. Ken, if you remember, spearheaded the construction of the Curtiss Jenny that hangs in the Minnesota Historical Center at St. Cloud. Anyway, Ken had some spare parts from their project. I was thrilled when he mentioned that they had a spare, original Jenny fuel tank !!!

He also had a pile of spare fittings - nearly enough to make another basic Jenny fuselage.

Plus, he had a bunch of jigs which will save me a ton of time in the future. Notice the cone shaped jigs used to make the control horns.

Here's Ken (4th from the right) and the group in 2006

And the finished airplane hanging in the rotunda. Beautiful.



Friday, January 04, 2008

Cable Jig

I spent today trying to make a Wire Splicing/Wrapping tool.

While driving to PA, Andrew King was nice enough to call me and give me some of his secrets about making old style cables. I consider Andrew an authority on the source. He's a wealth of information about old techniques and I have seen some of his cable splices on a few Bucker tailwheels. They were really nice.

Andrew gave me some more tips about wire wrapping and soldering. He likes to use a different flux paste called La-Co Regular Flux Paste found at any good plumbing supply place. I may try to get some for comparison sake. He also gave me pictures of his cable splicing/wrapping tool. Using that knowledge, I made one of my own. Here it is:

I'm not ready to give Chet Peek back his old cable wrapping tool (see old blog). At least not yet! Not until I'm sure this new creation is going to work! We'll see soon.

Also picked up a Tycos Altimeter on e-bay.

Lastly - another act of kindness. Fellow Bucker Jungmann restorer Bob Bailey found this Jenny book in his father's collection. He immediately thought of me and the book was soon in my mailbox. I learned a lot from reading this book - especially when it comes to rigging. One of the first pages had a picture of a disassembled Jenny in a crate from the Curtiss factory! What a sight. Oh, what I'd do to see that right now.

Till next time (probably monday)


Visit to the Golden Age Air Museum

I went back to Pennsylvania last week to say good bye to my aviation mentor Bill Schadler (see back a few posts) and while I was there I stopped to see Paul Dougherty at the Golden Age Air Museum.

Paul, his father and the crew are nearly finished with their Jenny restoration. As you can see from the picture, the workmanship is magnificent.

Here's a shot of Paul making the access door opening in the Jenny side cowl. Paul probably saw the look of envy on my face as I admired the great looking louvers he had made.

Feeling generous, Paul made me a set of cowl access doors to take home! Check these out:

Paul made these louvers by pressing a rubber sheet into a female mold with a hydraulic press. By the way they turned out, I'd say his ingenuity was effective.

Paul also made an extra set of windshields for me. Since no real guidance survives (old blueprints or drawings) He spent hours trying to get the windshields exactly right from old photographs. Thanks, Paul.

If you get a chance, check out the Golden Age Air Museum website