Thursday, August 4, 2011

FlyPast 2010-08

Engineers led by crew chief Craig Ouattlebaum are making excellent progress on Grumman FM-2 Wildcat 47030's refurbishment at the Fighter Factory in Suffolk, Virginia. The fighter, civil registration N315E, was flown to the restoration centre in September 2009 for the scheduled overhaul. Since then, all the paintwork has been removed and the airframe and wings have been extensively checked. All was found to be in very good condition, with only a few small areas that needed re-skinning. The original Wright R-1820 radial had been looked at relatively recently and didn't need any further attention, apart from routine maintenance. The team did, however, take the opportunity to remove all the ancillary 'plumbing' behind it and checked, overhauled and repainted each component. The undercarriage is currently off site being serviced by a contractor and once it is returned, the project is expected to be airworthy again in a matter of days. The plan is to repaint the Wildcat into a three-tone US Navy livery, which is based on traces of paint that were found during the restoration. After all the work is signed off, 47030 will be flown to the nearby Military Aircraft Museum, a sister organisation to the Fighter Factory. It will be based at the Virginia Beach airfield, which is a couple of miles from where this Wildcat was stationed in 1945.