This blog is republished with the permission of Jim Savage. His website, VintageSpartanAircraft.com which features his 1939 Spartan Executive, is a must visit.
What do you do to make your Spartan so shiny? That’s a question I am
often asked and the answer may be easier than you expect. Obviously, it
takes quite a bit of polishing, using quality polishing supplies and
good polishing techniques. Most experienced metal polishers with bare
metal airplanes already know that. The missing piece has to do with how
light behaves when it reaches the airplane. Specifically, it is either
reflected or it is absorbed. The more light that is reflected, the
shinier the airplane appears to be. The trick is to eliminate anything
that absorbs the light. In the case of Spartan NC17634, it has minimal
paint trim, so there is more surface available to reflect light. Of
course, that holds true for many bare metal airplanes. The other source
of light absorption is the tiny black rings around each of the rivet
heads. Although often unnoticed unless you are specifically looking for
them, almost every bare metal has these light absorbing rings,
including ones that have been judged as Grand Champions. They originate
during the normal polishing process and over time and many polishings,
they slowly accumulate. With the passage of time, these rings become
extraordinarily difficult to eliminate.
While a tiny black ring around a single rivet doesn’t seem like much,
consider what the cumulative amount is if you have 9000+ polished
rivets, as is the case with NC17634. To the best of my knowledge, there
is no magic potion that easily removes the black residue. It is simply a
matter of finding a process that works best for you and then
proceeding, one rivet at a time. While the removal of all traces of
black from every rivet of an entire airplane is a daunting task, the
results are clearly noticeable.
Here are some close-up pictures rivets on a 1939 Spartan Executive. The first nine pictures show examples of what domed rivets with black rings look like on a highly polished airplane.
The next nine pictures show similar views of the same Spartan, after removal of the black rings.
For those of you who are really, really curious about how long it took to remove all traces of black from the 9000 rivets on the Spartan, it is probably far more than you can imagine and likely far more than you will believe. It took approximately 800 hours of effort but as the following picture shows, the final results can be stunning.
Though the 1928 Ford Tri-Motor aircraft, also called the “Tin Goose,” is no time machine, the pilot and passengers agreed the 30-minute ride on the first commercial aircraft and mass-produced airliner gets close enough.
The Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior is a series of nine-cylinder, air-cooled, radialaircraft engines built by the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company from the 1930s to the 1950s. These engines have a displacement of 985 in; initial versions produced 300 hp (220 kW), while the most widely used versions produce 450 hp (340 kW).
The Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp was a 9 cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial engine with horsepower ranging from 410 hp to 600 hp, depending on the model and configuration. It was used in a range of aircraft that included the North American AT-6, Boeing P-26, and Boeing 247. Jimmy Doolittle used the Wasp to set records in his Gee Bee Racer and Amelia Earhart made history using the Wasp in her Electra L-10.
GEICO Skytypers Airshow makes first appearance at popular World War II event.
The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum is pleased to announce that the GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team — a six-ship aerobatic team flying the North American SNJ-2 — will perform at the Museums 27th Annual World War II Weekend set for June 2-3-4, 2017.
The GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team will perform an 18-minute low-level flying demonstration each day of the show.
“This is an exciting first for World War II Weekend“, said Museum President Russ Strine, “as this is our first ever six-ship formation team”.
The GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team will also “skytype” around the local area all three days of the event.
The North American SNJ-2 is a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft. Powered by a 550hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-56 engine, the Depression-era SNJ-2 was designed to United States Navy specifications.
The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum is located at the Reading Regional Airport in Reading, Pennsylvania. For more information about this year’s event, visit the MAAM WWII Weekend.