The Corsair82: 82% F4U-1A Corsair

This series depicts building the first product from the molds. This fuselage is made of fiberglass mat and a core mat, not at all structurally correct. It is also much heavier than the actual fuselage will be. It will never fly. This fuselage will serve as an engineering mock up used to fit all the other components. It will also serve as a new plug should the need for new molds arise, as in the case of changes that might dictate the need for new molds.

Even though I planned on three molds, I decided to try two. I kept the two top parts bolted together and put tape down the seam. This was done circa 1 July 2000.
I added a "joggle" to the mold halves to facilitate joining the parts once they come out of the molds.
After having been waxed, the molds are sprayed with mold release.
The molds are then sprayed with primer.
Fiberglass mat is placed in the mold.
Oops! Again, I learn a lot as I work. The primer and the vinylester resin were not compatible. I found out early enough to not have lost much in the way of materials and time. The primer bubbled up under the mat. I was really worried that damage may have been done to the mold and I was also wondering how I would remove all of the primer.
Not to worry!!! The primer peeled off like a sheet of paper. Once again, proper preparation saves the day!
The molds needed to be waxed and sprayed with mold release again.
The first layer of fiberglass is layed up in the mold. I had a bunch of Civil Air Patrol Cadets for helpers.
The first layer of glass is complete. This fuselage will be made of two layers of 3/4 oz. fiberglass mat, then a layer of 2 mm core mat and a final layer of 3/4 oz. fiberglass mat. This is same method I used to build the molds.
Some time you have to take a break for fun.
Both fuselage halves are done.
The top half of the fuselage after being removed from the mold.
The top half is put on top of the bottom half. The mold makes the perfect craddle.
The top and bottom fuselage halves are joined with rivets.
The joint is strengthened with bi-directional fiberglass and filled.
With the mold halves bolted together, the fuselage assembled and the plug out side, it looks like I have three Corsairs.
The plug is moved outside the shop to make room. It will also be used to test surface temperatures on hot sunny days. I found that on the hottest and sunniest days, the surface temp, with dark blue paint, never exceeded 188 deg, F. This means I can paint it dark blue since the vinylester resin is good to 235 deg, F. Epoxy is good to 180 deg, F. These numbers are for room temp, hand lay-ups with out an elevated temp post cure.
I have added the vertical stab and the frame of a rudder. At this time, I think I will use fabric control surfaces. This picture also shows the addition of a foam tail cone. It will be used to produce molds for the real thing.
Here, my trusty helper and NASA Rocket Scientist, Big Al, is applying the flange for the mold.
The mold is curing after the lay up process.
The mold halves after separation from the plug. Notice one of them is marked with the letter "L". This is to make it easier to identify the parts. They look alike, but are not truly symmetrical.
One of the tail cone parts has been laid up and is curing with the help of a halogen lamp.
The assembled tail cone. When I first started the project, it would have taken weeks to produce this tail cone. Now that I have learned and developed techniques for this process, it takes much less time. From start to finish, the tail cone took about six hours. That includes mounting it on the fuselage.
The fuselage with a fake canopy, mounted on a trailer for transport to Sun N Fun, 2001. Note the tail cone. I am very happy with the way it looks. I may make new molds for the fuselage in order to incorporate the tail cone and any other mods necessary to mount the appendages (wings, etc.)
At the show. The Corsair82 generated a lot of attention at Sun N Fun, 2001.
Dirty business. Time to destroy an old friend. Yes, that's a chain saw in my hands. I just don't have the room for all this stuff in my shop, and my wife and neighbors don't want to look at the plug.
This is all that is left of five years of work. It weighed in at just less than 1000 lbs. when it was weighed at the land fill.
In preparation for "Airventure '02" I mounted a Pratt and Whittney R-985 engine core. Here, Al Muscella is getting ready to lift the engine off the hoist to place it on the Corsair82. He's a very strong dude!
The engine is mounted with the cowl nose bowl in place.
The rest of the cowling is being constructed.
The cowling is painted, and the Corsair82 is ready to head for Oshkosh for "Airventure '02".
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