Luggage compartment of Valmet Vihuri VH-25 completed
Sunnuntai 12.2.2017 - Member of Tuesday Club
The tandem two-seat cockpit section (front and mid-section of the fuselage) of the Valmet Vihuri II (VH-25) has been undergoing restoration by the Tuesday Club, with a number of breaks in the work, since the 1980ies.
Now the work has come to a point where the cockpit area including its equipment has been all but completed and the luggage-compartment has been installed behind the rear part of the cockpit. Still on the “to do”-list are installing the through-the-floor tube for the light-pistol flares and the sight fixture. Finally the sides of the fuselage section are to be covered with plexiglass and then the section is ready to be admired by the museum-visitors.
Of course we could still continue and build the missing NACA cowling and if someone would give us free or for change sell us a Bristol Mercury VIII engine, wouldn´t it be nice to fit it in place. But of course, we have to stop at some point, we are not aiming at creating a complete aeroplane.
The luggage-compartment is made up of a canvas bag with an aluminium bottom-plate. The blank for the bottom-plate was cut according to the original drawings. The edges of the blank were bent and the outside bottom stiffeners were cut and fastened to it using pop-rivets. The outside of the bottom-plate was painted grey. This also nicely covered everything that had earlier been painted on the plate.
The bottom-plate is fastened to the fuselage-frame tubes with metal lugs. The lugs cut from sheet-metal and bent to shape. They were then worked to final shape and measure, attached to the vertical frame tubes and painted grey.
At the same time work on the canvas-bag was going on. First we were going through draper´s looking for a thick brown cloth that would be as like the original one as possible. Finally a suitable cloth was found and purchased. It was cut to measure and sawn to shape with doubled cloth to achieve the necessary stiffness. The bags opening was covered by a lid sawn from the same cloth. The top of the lid was sawn to the bag and the rest of the lid fastened to the edges of the bag using original like latches.
The flexible canvas-bag is fastened to the fuselages tube-structure using leather straps with buckles. Suitable straps were readily available in a shop. The straps were run through leather fasteners riveted to the corners of the bag.
Now the luggage-compartment canvas bag could be fastened to the aluminium bottom-plate. This was done by riveting the bottom edges of the canvas bag to the bended sides of the bottom-plate.
The finished luggage-compartment was installed into the fuselage-frame behind the cock-pit. First the bottom-plate was to the vertical frame tubes using the fabricated lugs and then the canvas-bag was tied to the frame using the leather belts. Now the brand new luggage-compartment was ready to be used by the pilots – made by the Tuesday Club. But I think it want be flying anywhere!
When needed for our restoration projects, we have received aluminium plate, both new and used from Finnair technical department. They have also given us written off tools– that have proven themselves most useful for our purposes. We bow deeply and thank Finnair for its valuable support of our efforts to preserve the Finnish Aviation Heritage.