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View Full Version : The Champaign Lady - Urbana, Ohio B-17 Restoration



Zeus-cat
04-23-2009, 09:34 PM
Here are some recent photos of the B-17 restoration that I am helping with.

Frank and one of his sons painted this mural on the wall in the B-17 restoration area.
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/FranksMural.jpg

Here is the workshop.
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/Workshop1.jpg

We installed an automatic self-destruct device in case anyone tries to steal the plane. All four of the 500-pounders drop from the ceiling if anyone breaks in.
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/Workshop3a.jpg

Closeups of the 500-pounders
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/500PounderReplica1.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/500PounderReplica2.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/500PounderReplica3.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/500PounderReplica4.jpg

The tail polished and with the first coat of yellow applied.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/Tail2.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/TailPartiallyPainted.jpg

The nose
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/B-17Nose.jpg

The fuselage
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/B-17Fuselage.jpg

The upper turret

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/UpperTurret.jpg

The waist gun

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/WaistGun.jpg

Aluminum sheet for part fabrication. The sheets are 4 feet by 12 feet.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/RawStock1.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/RawStock2.jpg

The old skin from the wings. We drilled the head of each rivet, used a hammer and chisel to knock the head off and then used a hammer and punch to knock the shaft of the rivet out.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/TheOriginalSkinfromtheChampaignLady.jpg

Some graffiti that was found when the skin was removed. The graffiti was drawn on by the employees who originally assembled this aircraft in 1945.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/CloseupoftheRemovedSkin.jpg

Fortunately we have a reference page showing how to assemble the aircraft.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/ConstructionPlans.jpg

Here is the brake we use for bending aluminum. Its about 10 feet long.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/Brake.jpg

We use this tool to cut sheet metal.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/MetalSheetCutter.jpg


Here is Dale cutting some aluminum.
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/DaleCuttingAluminumStock1.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/DaleCuttingAluminumStock2.jpg

Zeus-cat
04-23-2009, 09:44 PM
The frame for one of the pilot seats with the bulletproof shield installed.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/PilotSeatFrameandShield1.jpg
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/PilotSeatFrameandShield2.jpg

Here are the some of the assemblies we have made that will be assembled into the pilot's seat.
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/PilotSeatBuild3.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/SeatBottom.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/PilotSeatBuild1.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/PilotSeatBuild2.jpg

We used this bead roller to put the grooves in the seat back and seat pan. Teh grooves really help make the sheet aluminum rigid.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/BeadRoller1.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/BeadRoller2.jpg

We have started assembling the second seat frame.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/AssemblingtheSeatFrame1.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/AssemblingtheSeatFrame2.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/AssemblingtheSeatFrame3.jpg

I'll add more photos as we get further along in assembling the seat and frame.

Waldo.Pepper
04-24-2009, 12:19 AM
Every time I see one of your progress report, I am completely impressed at the work and the dedication and the patience of all involved. This is so great.

I wonder what just one of those sheets go for these days.

Wildnoob
04-24-2009, 07:43 AM
magnific mister Zeus-cat!

it's a soberb honor we have people like you here on these boards.

if you allow me to ask, the plane is intended to be put fly condition when finished?

really congratulations, wish much, much good luck for you and your team! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Zeus-cat
04-24-2009, 10:52 AM
I believe we are in year 3 or 4 of the project and it is supposed to take 8 to 10 years to finish it.

The plane will fly when we are finished.

I only work on the plane about 2.5 hours a week (Thursday nights). There are people who volunteer 30-40 hours a week.

danjama
04-24-2009, 11:35 AM
Man you are very lucky to be working on that plane, i'd do anything for such an opportunity! It's looking awesome.

Segwin
04-24-2009, 02:21 PM
That's really cool!

Did you ever post any pics of the engines?

How did all this start and where did you find her?

If this has been posted before perhaps a point in the right direction.

Thanks.

Zeus-cat
04-24-2009, 04:18 PM
We only have one engine in the shop and I think this is the only photo I have of it.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/Engine.jpg

Frank and Adam working on the seat frame - April 23, 2009
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/FrankandAdamworkonSeatFrame.jpg

A B-17 throttle quadrant the restoration project purchased from a bar. I don't know the details of that. Interesting point: the small circle on the side of the throttle quadrant(near the top missing about half the paint) is an ash tray. That means this came from an early model as the ash tray was removed from later models.
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/ThrottleQuadrant1.jpg

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/Zeus-cat/ThrottleQuadrant2.jpg

Segwin
04-24-2009, 04:40 PM
That's really great stuff.

I can't help but think, as I look at the throttle quadrant, who's hands were on it, what type of mission they were flying, and how they must have wished that they were back home with their gal.

You're lucky to be part of the restore. Very cool indeed.

jarink
04-24-2009, 04:55 PM
Great stuff, Zeus, thanks a million for posting the update. I wish I lived close enough to visit and help out!

mortoma
04-25-2009, 08:33 PM
Where on earth do you get a hold of replica .50 cal Brownings? Or are they the real thing that has been disabled?? Very interesting. If I still lived in Indiana I'd want to come visit.