Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Start to Fin - ish

Woke up to a snow squall Saturday and Sandy was opening at the Depot so I drove down to the Hook to get in some quality time with the twins. Two weeks ago I removed the last of the main fins from the missiles that left the small front fins (which had stripped hex-head cap screws) and the booster main fins - which just wouldn't let go. I opened up the sheet-metal last trip so this time I was going to remove the fins with their attaching hardware. 

Opening up the skin (the missile's and mine in a moment of brain-fade) allowed me moderate access to the rocket nozzle and the attachment points. Wedging a prybar in after removing the bolts and studs I was able to move the fin.

That's the point in time that I realized that since the fins each went through a hole in the sheet-metal, I would need to remove the fins with their corresponding metal fairing. The panel cutter makes that easy enough - the trick will be the welding all those pieces back into a full, round fairing again <sigh>. Hey, at least it comes apart, right? I found another three bolts too! Large locator pegs at the leading edge of the fin.

In the end, I had the three fins from the one booster removed and stood up against the rear overhead door soaking in Kroil. Hopefully the main pins will pull out of the brackets without too much grief. We'll see.

I finished the day by drilling out the last pair of front fins from that missile and calling it a day. As you can see, the project is moving along. Once all the dis-assembly is done I can begin to work on the repairs and bodywork. There was a level of concern among the guys that these were really in rough shape and, make no mistake, they were. I am to a point now that I can say that I believe that I am through the ugliest of it. I am learning the mechanics of the assembly and now actually know what I am in for. The rest is like a bad wreck that is not totaled. There's a *lot* more to be done, but it is repair work and assembly. It's still gonna be quite a ride <grin>.

'til next time... Blazing Skies!!

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