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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Radiator arrives

The long awaited radiator had finally arrived!

Nearly a year ago, we had contracted with Pursang in Argentina to build us an authentic radiator. We sent them as much information as we could (details) and the results were great. The radiator was a work of art!

The radiator has the original style core, which is a bunch of round 1/4 in. round brass tubes flaired to 5/16 in. square at the ends (so the tubes stack and the water runs between). This is a Hisso radiator which is a bit different from the OX-5 radiator. The Hisso needs more cooling area and is rounded on both the top and bottom.

Just for fun, Ron and I held the radiator up to the engine. I was also surprised how much the radiator weighed! We had it built exactly to specs and it weighs as much as a Sherman tank! Only kidding. It is pretty heavy, though. Don't worry - it's supposed to be that way.

Till next time...enjoy


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Second Front Gear Fitting

And now there are two....! Made the second front gear fitting today.

Here are the two new fittings with the two original rear gear fittings.

The next step is to attach the doublers. The tab has to be bent yet before I weld everything together. I'll save this for the next shop day.

Till then, enjoy


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Front Gear Fitting

All right - Guess what? I made the fittings incorrectly. One would think that a fitting gets bent so as to have the weld at the spine, right? The basic drawing that I had did not go into much detail. So, I followed logical thinking. Weld the spine.

Not on a Jenny! The weld goes in the front of the fitting. Rats!

In my research pictures, I also noticed that the bolt holes were in the wrong location. Take a look here. The correct fitting is on the left. Had I used the wrong (spine welded) fitting on the right, the lower bolt hole would have been in the thinnest part of the front landing gear leg. So, I made two more fittings with the weld in the front.

Jenny landing gear wind chimes anyone? Perhaps Christmas tree ornaments? (below). What else will I do with them?

Anyway, here are the two new fittings.

I designed the jig to work this way. The original pattern fitting is on the right.

First, the excess was cut with the bandsaw.

Then it was ground to follow the angle of the jig and filed to shape.

Now the fitting is ready for the lower plate. Here's the completed fitting after the welding was done.

There's a doubler that needs to be brazed onto the long ear yet, but that's for next time.



Sunday, April 13, 2008

Front Landing Gear Fittings

Back home after taking the wife, kids and in-laws on a week long vacation. We had a good time and yours truly actually got to spend an entire day at the Sun-N-Fun airshow.

Back to work on the Jenny!

I got a call from Clint at the machine shop. The front landing gear bending jig was ready.

Other than pictures, I did not have any original drawings of the front gear fittings. Luckily, Doc Hood made some pretty accurate drawings. I used these drawings to design the bending block as well as the patterns for the fitting.

Here's another shot of the bending block. I had Clint put the 27 1/2 degree angle on each end. You'll see how this comes into play later.

Here's the process: I took the .063 in. water jet cut steel and marked the centerline. Here is where you make the first bend, mostly by hand, after heating the centerline. I used two vice grips, one on each end of the steel.

Heat slowly with the torch, pulling the ends downward. Sometimes, a few taps with a hammer made the steel follow the form. Keep the front end clamped. It helped keep things in place.

Then I flipped things over and worked on the back side.

The steel was a little long (about 1/16 in. on each side) so I cut off the excess with the bandsaw and a file.

The end was welded and the fitting pulled off the block. I started making the second fitting, but ran out of time.

While I was on vacation, Ed Rogers from Indian Lake High School sent me some pictures of their shop project. His students had made quite a bit of progress on their Jenny. I'm pretty proud of them and hope they keep plugging away.

Till next time, enjoy.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Station 2 wires

Five more wires wrapped today. Station 2 is half-way finished. One more station to go.