Restoration Project | Our Airframe
Connecticut Corsair concentrates on Center Section Wing Group
Prior to our acquisition of 97330, our aircraft was involved in an accident leaving most of the airframe needing complete reconstruction. Connecticut Corsair is currently focused on the Center Section Wing Group, specifically the Main Beam. The main beam is constructed of extruded flange angles reinforced with thick vertical stiffeners. Forged wing hinge fittings to which the outer panel is attached are bolted to the upper and lower beam flanges. A forged vertical stiffener is placed between the beam flanges to stabilize the upper and lower fittings against inclined loads. Forgings in the form of stiffeners are located where the landing gear ribs attach to the beam in order to redistribute the highly concentrated loads.
Rather than restore our aircraft using traditional one-off hand fabricating method to manufacture or repair parts, we are applying today's state-of-the-art technology. Spare parts for the Corsair are almost non-existent, so we reverse engineer from microfilm, manuals, and photos to create CAD drawings utilizing SolidWorks® computer programming.
Connecticut Corsair is focused on the Center Section Wing Group, and specifically the Main Beam. The main beam is constructed of extruded flange angles reinforced with thick vertical stiffeners. Forged wing hinge fittings to which upper and lower fittings against inclined loads. Forgings in the form of stiffeners are located where the landing gear ribs attach to the beam in order to redistribute the highly concentrated loads.
Daryl works with Solidworks® to create CAD drawings of Corsair Main Beam parts from microfilm copies of original Corsair drawings. The picture on the wall behind him is a Jody Dole photograph of a laser-cut instrument panel from the F4U-4 Corsair.
Each of the over 400 parts of the Corsair's Main Beam are modeled in SolidWorks to take advantaged of the technologically advanced manufacturing systems available today. The above 'web reinforcement' is one of the first parts we reproduced.
(Left) Photo of Main Beam from Corsair parts manual. (Right) Main Beam modeled in SolidWorks® -- a work in progress. (Below) Mock-up main beam on top and our airplane's original main beam on the bottom. All parts are made using the perfect blend of old and new technology.
Our volunteers are fabricating a full-sized mock up of the Main Beam utilizing non-aviation metals and rapid prototype forgings and stiffeners. The mock up will serve many purposes in the long run: to highlight state-of-the-art technology; to showcase the capabilities of Connecticut-based businesses; to generate the necessary SolidWorks® models with which to fabricate an airworthy main beam; to use as a fit, form and function tool; and to use as the drill guide template for the airworthy main beam. The mock up was showcased for the first time at the SolidWorks World Conference 2009.
The pictures above show our progress prior to the SolidWorks World Conference 2009. The main beam display was shrink wrapped and the guys transported it to Orlando, FL. Volunteers Craig, Daryl, Steve, and Jill worked the booth which drew a lot of attention.
When only original parts were available, white light scanning by Bolton Works® captured much of the needed data. After modeling the parts in SolidWorks®, new sheet parts were laser cut and drilled using Trumpf Lasers® , and then machined and rolled. Clinkenbeard® , the world leader in rapid prototyping, fabricated the forged parts in plastic. Insert DVD
The Main Beam Assembly is the key component to the Corsair restoration. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time, each part for the Main Beam has been reverse engineered, modeled, detailed, and manufactured through the use of SolidWorks® .
Many military and civilian aircraft designed and built prior to computerized engineering are still flying today - years beyond their expected life spans. CAD modeling will greatly enhance reverse engineering capabilities throughout the aerospace industry for spare part manufacture.
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