Operation "Kurki returns to Vesivehmaa" - Part 2
Sunnuntai 19.5.2019 - Member of Tuesday Club
The I.V.L.K.1 Kurki, designed and built by the Air force Airplane Factory in 1927, returned to the Päijänne-Tavastia Aviation museum in Vesivehmaa after a 3-year restoration project. The Tuesday Club of the Aviation Museum Society and the Finnish Aviation museum staff were responsible for the restoration work. It took about 5,000 man-hours to restore the badly damaged Kurki.
Returning Kurki to Vesivehmaa from the Finnish Aviation Museum was a 3-day project. First the plane was dismantled at the Museum for transport. Then it was transported by the Defence Forces’ truck to Vesivehmaa. And finally, the Kurki was re-assembled and placed on display in the museum hall in Vesivehmaa. The dismantling has been described in the previous blog.
On Tuesday, May 14th before noon the Defence Forces’ truck with a trailer arrived from Tikkakoski to transport Kurki from Vantaa to Vesivehmaa. The transport assignment was also a training session for two draftees, so everybody benefitted. Kurki’s wings were loaded on the truck bed, and the fuselage on the trailer bed. It turned out that the sides of the beds were not tall enough for the wings and fuselage. Luckily the truck bed and the trailer bed both had canvas roofs on a metal frame that could be removed. It happened to be a nice and sunny day, because in rainy weather the Kurki couldn’t have been transported on an open truck bed.
The canvas roof had to be removed before loading the wings. The fuselage, however, could be placed on the trailer bed. Only the back end of the canvas roof was opened so that the Kurki’s nose could be maneuvered on the trailer bed. The vertical stabilizer had to be dismantled to make the fuselage shorter and to fit it on the trailer. In addition to the wings and fuselage the wing struts, horizontal stabilizer, elevators and vertical stabilizer were loaded on the truck. When the cargo had been secured with cargo straps, the trip towards Vesivehmaa could begin.
A couple of cars, carrying Tuesday Club members, drove ahead of the truck to Vesivehmaa to be there to meet the transport vehicle and to move Kurki’s wings and fuselage into the hall of Päijänne-Tavastia Aviation Museum. One of the cars towed the Tuesday Club’s trailer carrying one of the stackers that will be needed in the re-assembling or Kurki’s wings.
When the truck arrived in Vesivehmaa, the wings were moved first into the hall and the fuselage followed. The assembly would take place on the following day. The Tuesday Club team returned to Vantaa and the Defence Forces’ truck continued towards Tikkakoski. The team thanked the Defence Forces, once again, for helping in the transportation.
Early on Wednesday morning, May 15th the team gathered again at the Finnish Aviation Museum. All the equipment needed in the re-assembling of the Kurki was packed on a trailer, including another stacker. The six metal shelves, also assembled by the Tuesday Club, were taken on board. The Kurki assembly team consisted of about ten Tuesday Club members and of the Aviation Museum staff members.
The assembly team arrived in Vesivehmaa at about ten AM and hurried to work. First the port wing was lifted into assembly height, using a stacker, and locked into place on the fuselage by the upper fasteners. Special attention was paid to the vertical position of the wing tip. The Kurki will be placed on display in the hall so that the tip of its port wing will be only a few centimeters under the lower starboard wing of the Aero Jupiter, which is placed on a stand. The sufficient distance between Kurki’s and Aero’s wings was ensured by supporting Kurki to stand slightly leaning on its port wing, with a block of wood under its starboard ski.
Then the wing struts of the port wing could be fastened, first the front strut, then the rear strut and finally the diagonal strut between them. Now the port wing had been assembled and it was supported by the struts, but the stacker couldn’t be moved yet. With the starboard wing still missing, the Kurki would have keeled over on its left side.
The other stacker was used to lift the starboard wing to assembly height. The wing was locked in place by the upper fastener and then the struts were fastened. Now the Kurki had its both wings in place and the stackers could be removed. Before assembling the tail part, the plane was maneuvered into its final display position. When the plane was in its place, the boards with wheels under the skis and tailskid could be removed.
The tail was assembled by fastening first the vertical stabilizer. Then the horizontal stabilizer was fastened and onto that the elevators. The horizontal stabilizer was secured into place with a cable between the fuselage and the stabilizer. When the Kurki was dismantled at the Finnish Aviation Museum, all the control cables in the tail part were carefully labelled so that the assembly would be easy. However, some cable-shuffling was needed before all the cables had found their right places and the rudder and the elevators worked as they should.
After about five hours’ work the Tuesday Club team had re-assembled the I.V.L.K.1 Kurki and placed it on display in the Vesivehmaa hall. It was time to document the moment and take a picture of the pleased Tuesday Club members.
Kuva: Janne Salonen.
Also Hannu Iivarinen (chairman of Lahti Ilmasilta), Janne Salonen (chairman of the Finnish Aviation Museum Society) and Antti Laukkanen (museum mechanic of the Finnish Aviation Museum) were pleased: the I.V.L.K.1 Kurki restoration project had been completed and the plane had returned to Vesivehmaa.
Photos: Lassi Karivalo except otherwise separately mentioned.
Translation from Finnish to English: Erja Reinikainen.