The restoration of OH-XEA Ressu has been started

Tiistai 21.11.2023 - Tuesday Club member


Suomeksi

As told in the previous blog, the parts of the OH-XEA, designed and built in the 1960s by the Hietanen brothers from Turku, will be restored by the Tuesday Club. The aircraft was nicknamed Ressu. Its wings, horizontal stabilizer, elevator, rudder, tail wheel assembly, wing struts and fuel tank have been brought to the Finnish Aviation Museum. We will concentrate on the restoration of its fuselage frame later. When the condition assessment and the restoration plan of the Ressu’s parts brought to the Museum had been completed, it was time to set to work.

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The restoration of the wings was started by cleaning the plywood surfaces, painted blue. Both wings were brought to the restoration workshop of the Finnish Aviation Museum. We started the cleaning of the painted wing surfaces with a well-tried method: a magic sponge. Naturally the worst dust was first vacuumed off. The aileron was unfastened to be washed separately. The dust in the joint of the aileron and the wing was brushed off with a paint brush and vacuumed clean.

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When using a magic sponge no cleaning agent is used. The tools you need are the magic sponge, a soft cloth, and half a bucket of water. The painted surface of the wing is cleaned by rubbing the surface of the wing, a small area at a time, with the magic sponge dipped in water and squeezed damp. With the soft cloth in the other hand the rubbed area is wiped at short intervals. The magic sponge removes the dirt from the wing surface, and it is wiped off with the cloth, which is rinsed in the bucket. There were also splashes of red paint on Ressu’s wings. Even they could be removed with the magic sponge. The rubbing with the magic sponge does not damage the painted surface unless excessive force is used.

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The plywood covered horizontal stabilizer and elevator were treated in a similar manner. We managed to get their surfaces very clean too. We were satisfied to see that after the wash the greyish blue surfaces of the wings, horizontal stabilizer and elevator were as if newly painted. We wonder whether they have been painted in the 1960s using durable Miranol enamel paint as the painted surface has been so well preserved.

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For the rudder surfaces no washing was needed, but the covering fabric was removed from the metal frame of the rudder. The covering fabric needs to be completely replaced. A carpet knife was used when removing the fabric. We could see that a strip of fabric had been spun around the outer edges of the frame. This strip protects the fabric which covers the metal rudder frame. On the other hand the covering fabric can be sewn on the fabric strip, but we could not tell whether this had been the case here. The fabric strip covering the edges of the metal frame was removed with a carpet knife. The rudder’s metal frame, stripped of the covering fabric, is now ready for rust removal and the surface treatment after it.

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Photos by Reino Aatsalo.

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Photo by Antti Hietala.

Three of the Ressu’s four wing struts have been preserved. The struts are surprisingly heavy, so they are probably made of ordinary steel tube. The surfaces of the struts have been painted yellow but are now covered in rust. The surfaces were sandblasted clean. Then the struts were treated with Isotrol varnish which prevents rust. Now the wing struts are waiting for their final surface treatment, and they will be painted yellow as in the original paint scheme.

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Photo by Lassi Karivalo.

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Photos by Osmo Väisänen.

The restoration of Ressu’s sprung tail wheel assembly was started by disassembling it. Even the tail wheel had to be disassembled so that we will have access to the wheel bearings, which are totally jammed. When the four bolts on the wheel rim had been unfastened, the rusty wheel halves could be wrenched apart by force. When the bearings were visible, we sprayed a lot of rust removing chemical in them and on the rusted surfaces of the wheel rim and left them “to mature” for a week. When a week had passed, we were able to clean the wheel rim halves quite well from rust and the bearings were preliminarily working. The following task will be to repair the sprung tail assembly.

Photos by Lassi Karivalo except if otherwise mentioned.

Translation by Erja Reinikainen.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Tuesday Club, Hietanen HEA-23b, OH-XEA, "Ressu"


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