Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring into Action

I worked out of phase with the NY56 Nike Volunteers this weekend; they gave the tours today but I went down to work on the twins yesterday.... and what a day it was!! We have accomplished some serious dis-assembly on Pollux:

The front of the missile has been broken down and can be photo-archived, stripped and repaired and made ready for refinishing.

I also had a request for help passed on by Tom Hoffman of National Park Service from gentleman down in Texas  who is also in the midst of an Ajax restoration. The unit he's working on is lacking a good nose cone. I did a lot of photographing and measuring for him and wish him all the best.

I also had a great surprise. These missiles have arming windows, yet I have not seen a display model that has not been paited over. On Castor one had been taken off and the arming circuitry that would normally be visible had been removed. On Pollux, the circuit boards (for lack of a better term) are still in place.

That's one of the details I am looking forward to having on these birds. Instead of the windows having been painted over a number of times, I am working at making them transparent again.

Well that wrapped up the day at the Hook. I left the A&S building looking forward to the next round. Currently we have one long and one short and a pile of parts that will be ready to spend some individualized work on.

Til next time.... Blazing Skies!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Spring start - redux

It was good to get back to work. With the Spring Schedule we started the Nike Site Tours on April 14th. The weather was summer-like and the people were enjoying all the sights at Sandy Hook. I met Bill Jackson early at the Lighthouse Keepers House and found that we were going to be really light on tour guides. Bill was just getting back into fighting shape after a bout of upper respiratory troubles so I chose to forgo the restoration to assist with tour guide duty. It was great; and seeing Tony and Bill after a long winter break made it all the better. We had a good crowd (including a large Boy Scout Troop) and picked up a couple of new tour guide candidates. It served as a great reminder as to why I am doing this restoration. There's something about standing in the IFC (Integrated Fire Control - i.e. Radar Area) talking about missiles but not having good displays for the folks to see.

Then following that first weekend I went to a presentation at the Wyckoff, NJ Historical Society on NY/93-94, the Nike Site in Franklin Lakes. This was a great presentation given by Jack Gouldsward and Richard Levine.  What made this even more special to me is that Franklin Lakes is my old Nike Site - Delta Battery, 7th Battalion, 112th Artillery.

By the time I went back to the Hook this past Saturday I was really looking forward to spending time with the "Twins". I was running a little late because I had to get my car ready. Onyx has 202,000 miles on her and over the winter I put a new front end on her but this was her Shakedown Cruise. She purred the whole way. Bill Jackson was already manning the gate with one of the new guides, Paul. While talking to them, Rose Ann and Jacob came up and Tony T. pulled in behind me.  I asked if they wanted me to stay and they told me to "get to work" so I went to the Launching Area and started.

I know that I haven't finished dis-assembly yet but this was one of those days that I needed some "visual progress". Castor probably has the worst deterioration so I chose to test a repair material.

The first pass looks promising, though the curing time was longer than I expected. It prevented me from getting a second pass on to have a bit more of my hoped for visual progress. Oh well, some days you take what you can get.

The fuel cylinders present an odd amalgam of problems. They range from extreme rust to extreme corrosion. I suspect that I will revisit my refinishing choices after removing all the coating materials.
Due to the condition of this group, I believe that they are as broken down as they are going to get for this project. As long as I can get a uniform surface preparation, this section will be refinished in its present assembled form.

I finished the day on Pollux. after grinding the joints clean I removed the nose cone first and then the forward warhead pod (there were 3 HE warheads on this bird) and the forward steering mechanism.

I left with a good feeling. I had begun the repairs (admittedly in a very small way) and made some very good headway into the balance of the disassembly. This last part was made happier by the fact that I did not have to break or drill anything to get this apart.