Sorry I Took So Long

HFF is operational Wednesday through Sunday, 10-6, and participates in air shows or other demonstrations about once a week. Please forgive my absence.

Today we changed springs in the master brake cylinders of the Tigercat to provide enough pressure for proper run-ups and taxi steering on one engine. The brake and wheel systems were replaced earlier this year due to a dearth of original magnesium Tigercat wheels. The remaining world supply is worn out or cracked. So we replaced our wheels with ones used on the S2 Tracker as these are one-piece wheels (Tigercat wheels have two pieces with one becoming a ballistic frisbee when the metal fatigues.) of aluminum. The brakes and all the parts worked well and the engineering justification passed muster. Flight test was uneventful except for one problem. I couldn’t stop. This may sound dramatic but really isn’t since what slows down a twelve-ton aircraft is “dynamic braking” or the flow of air against the fuselage when cocked in the landing position. That said, it is nice to have brakes at the end of the roll-out to steer the free-castering nose wheel into the parking area. Without brakes, differential engine power is the only way to steer and as some of you already have imagined, can add to speed and excitement. So after years of restoration and months of wheel and brake work, we replaced two springs, one in each master cylinder, and voila, saw 800 psi in the lines putting the brakes back in business. Tomorrow I will flight test the Tigercat to make sure that upon reaching rotation speed (about 100), I can apply the brakes and bring the aircraft to a safe stop before the runway transitions into grass on its way to trees.

Also tomorrow we’ll try to find someone to fly the Bearcat as it needs to be exercised. The large Pratt & Whitney radials do very well over the long term if run at least every two weeks. Last weekend we featured our Mustang and Mitchell at the Olympia Air Show, so it’s time to give the Pratts some love.

On Sunday, we will host two different film crews, one planning to shoot a commercial in front of the Waco, and the other planning a WWII documentary including shots of the Mustang and Mitchell. With mischief in our hearts, we’ve arranged to have the models do their makeup in the mechanics’ rest room.

Hope to see you soon. JTS