Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winter disassembly blues

It was a very windy day at the Hook Saturday. I was down early and got to the task of getting back into the project. This consists of unlocking the tool cages turning on the lights (the ones that work) polishing off the last of the Dunkin Donuts coffee and picking a place to resume. This week's goal was to remove the last of the small forward fins and antenna pods. These were the ones on both missiles with stripped out heads which also outlasted the drill bits I had started this project with.

Armed with 20 more drill bits and an attitude I went at it.

Part of what keeps me going is being able to visualize what my goal is for the twins. All the Ajax missiles I have been up close and personal with were inert display models - and most painted so many times that they begin to look fake. I have challenged myself to strip these units of the "working" parts, paint them all individually and then assemble them so the access hatches appear accessible, the fuel ports appear ready to accept fuel... you know? I don't want the fins to be painted in place, I want them to look like they *could* work. Maybe these birds will never fly again but they should give the visitors a glimpse of what these machines truly were.

Where was I, ah yes, after the fins and antennae were removed I moved on to the booster fins that I removed last time. Long story short, the pins do not budge. My next try will be to get the assembly to a machine shop with a heavy duty press and see if we can press the fin pin out of the aluminum support assembly.

By the way if any of you out there have been down this road (or just have a better idea), feel free to comment.

I finished the day removing pieces of fairing. These are soft aluminum and my initial attempts to use and impact screwdriver to remove the screws only deformed the panels so I am drilling out the screws and will need to create a whole new set of stand-offs to re-attach them. That brings with it a different can of worms since I currently do not have 220 volt power to heliarc with. That is tied into the need to get a real compressor to media blast..... but I digress.

Here's what it was looking like when I finished this trip:

'til next time, Blazing Skies!

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