Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back at it

Boy, it's been a helluva month! Since I last wrote up my progress I rode out the "Halloween Storm" without electricity for 5 days (and losing all our food from the garden), blew the transmission in my daily driver (2005 Lincoln LS -2nd time) and broke a lower balljoint in my backup car (2001 Lincoln LS with 202,000 mi.). So all in all I did not get down to the Hook much.

The disassembly is coming along much as was to be expected with the level of weathering & corrosion, generally difficult with a couple of truly ornery parts. The last of the Main fins to be removed on the first missile ( I am naming them Castor and Pollux to keep track) had two bolts which would NOT break free. Using a large breaker bar with 6 point socket and still no-go. The problem is the depth of where they are seated as well as the thinness of the head. Left with few alternatives I ended up drilling out the heads:

This will allow me another shot at getting out the balance of the stud since these were hardened shouldered bolts:

That got the Main fins done so I started on the Guidance Antennas. These started off OK:

 Until I got to the one that snapped the Impact screwdriver bit:

All told it is a slow go but still moving forward.  The current state for the twins looks like this:



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 3 Mid-Week Review

Last weekend, disassembly took a backseat to the tours, but was by no means a washout. I learned more about the properties of the Aircraft Stripper. We got a nice air compressor, and I had the foresight to keep taking pictures. Pictures in general and specifically digital photography offers a view of a point in time and space.I wanted to document the corrosion and deterioration of the missile rocket nozzle. My pictures, particularly the ones I choose to share here, offer me an opportunity to review the tasks at hand and discuss the possible solutions to the problems that age and weather have wreaked. Case in point:

When I took this picture I was concerned with (and still am) the best way to rebuild the badly damaged and missing material. So in the process of exploration I tried sticking the camera into the missile body to "see" the inside. What I got did not further the nozzle solution but threw a whole new light on the possibility of opening up the missile!

I looked at this one and saw the side panel screws. Hmmm. I stuck my arm further in and found more:

This is where I truly began having a new respect for the little digital camera. I set it for Macro closeups and started taking pictures of the inside of the fasteners. Most of this is "by guess and by gosh" since I had my arm stuck up inside and just made my best guess as to what I needed to shoot.

The good news is that it *MAY* be possible to get penetrating oil to assist in breaking these free. Boy I hope so, the thought of drilling them all is ugly <shiver>. So I ordered a gallon of Kroil. We shall see if it lives up to its reputation.

Meantime, I started cataloging the areas like the nozzle. This was what I found under the first main fin I removed. It's gonna be a challenge.

Oh well, 'til next time......... Blazing Skies!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day Two; 10-8-2011

Well the day dawned with sunshine and great promise but did not turn out quite the way it was planned. I was down at the Hook at 9:30 (it's always easier when Sandy's leaving for work at the Home Depot early too). Picking up where I left off  from the prior week I was curious what the state of the stripper I left on two fin bolts would be - it seemed to be somewhat pliable but it was dry to the point of knowing not to leave it for that long again. Anyway, it was time to start on the smaller leading fins - these are held in with allen head cap screws which had been painted in pretty bad.  Back to the stripper:

Digging out the cap screws is going to be interesting; the stripper and paint form a thick paste and it is difficult to get a majority of it out of the screw head. I ended up with the allen wrench not pushing far enough in to the head because of the paste to get a good grip.

While wishing I had a good air line to blow it clear, I heard a truck pull up and it turned out to be Ken Braswell and his Father-in-Law, Bob. Bob is a WWII vet and graciously offered to loan us his air compressor. Well, they had the unit in the truck! I spent some time unloading it with them  and talking. By this time it was almost noon. Saturday was one of the scheduled tour dates for our IFC (The Integrated Fire Control i.e. the radar & vans) area. I got a call from Tony Tannucilli, our MP (volunteer) that we we only had Bill Jackson available for the tours and he was faced with a Boy Scout Troop as well as civilians - could I get up there and assist. I closed up the shop and went up to lend a hand.

I must say it was one of the busiest tour days I have ever encountered. We counted 110 folks through the gates and just Bill & I were giving the tours. Funny thing though, these folks were all truly interested. They asked lots of intelligent questions (young & old alike) and they actively participated in the tour. One gentleman was with the FAA and added a lot of great stories about the HIPAR radar; another fellow had been in the Navy and work worked with cryptography and helped explain how that worked in a system like ours. There was also a Nike vet who explained the failsafes on a nuclear weapon to the group. The groups took on a dynamic all their own and before we knew it we had run past closing time.

In the end, I did not make much headway on the missiles but I certainly reinforced the reason that I am doing them. "Til the next time....... Blazing Skies!"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oozlefinch is the unofficial historic mascot of the Air Defense Artillery – and formerly of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps. Oozlefinch is portrayed as a featherless bird that flies backwards (at supersonic speeds[3]) and carries weapons of the Air Defense and Coastal Artillery, most often a Nike-Hercules Missile. Oozlefinch has been portrayed in many different forms and artistic interpretations through its history.[4] Oozle's motto is "If it flies, it dies. Blazing skies." reinforcing the purpose of the Air Defense Artillery.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 1 - The Work Begins

October 1, 2011.... It seems like took forever but we are finally underway with this project. As with any undertaking the beginning was underwhelming. Before the work could begin the new facility had to straightened up, cleaned and swept.

We went from this:

To this:

After getting everything arranged so I could work around each of the missile sections I began in earnest. The chief issue with any refinishing project is surface preparation. In this case these missiles have been painted many, many times and in addition the underlying structure is deteriorating. Here are a couple of examples:

Using the nastiest paint stripper I could get (designed for Aircraft) I began to delve into the  problem of getting at the fasteners to dis-assemble the various components.

It soon became apparant that this was going to be a genuine challenge. I was uncovering years of paint coatings of various types:

I was finally able to remove the Main Fin bolts:

And with them out was able to pry off one fin:

In the refinishing trade this is known as "visual progress". In point of fact having only one fin removed does not constitute much of a milestone in the project but it finally appears that something has happened. More important is the fact that the process of dis-assembly is beginning to take shape - the "How the hell do I get THAT off" procedure is unfolding.

The day completed with two distinct challenges. The first was the missile's rocket nozzle. It is attached with two rows of flat head phillips machine screws. Using the stripper to get down to the original zinc oxide primer, I thought that I would be able to use an impact screwdriver to loosen/remove them. They do NOT move <sigh>.

After fighting to get the fin off (the problem is the mechanism for moving the aileron is seized) I found that I had uncovered significant concealed deterioration. This will need to be addressed. Just how will depend on how much more I find after removing the other fins.

Until next time....