SZ-25 unveiled in Kauhava

Lauantai 1.10.2016 - Member of Tuesday Club

The on June 2015 started Focke-Wulf Fw 44 Stieglitz (SZ-25) renovation project at Tuesday Club got a worthy ending on 29th of September. On that day happened the ceremonial inauguration of the newest showcase at Kauhava Aircraft Park. SZ-25 was placed in this showcase together with VL Pyry (PY-1). The third trainer in the same showcase will eventually be Valmet Vinka when Finnish Air Force renounces the use of this type.

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SZ-25’s wings had been transported to Tikkakoski for interim storage already during spring, while its fuselage stayed at Finnish Aviation Museum to be finalised by Tuesday Club.

The last phase of renovation was making of missing locking parts for propeller by turning. Also exhaust tubs for cylinders had to be made. This was outsourced. Matching exhaust tubs, exhaust manifold and exhaust tube under the fuselage turned out to be difficult. However, finally all parts fell together and the fuselage was ready to be transported to Kauhava.

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Transportation was done on 13th of September by Finnish Army. Their truck arrived at Aviation Museum and SZ-25’s fuselage was hoisted into truck and secured with cargo straps. The propeller was moved separately and attached into a transport pallet. Also SZ- 25’s wings were transported to Kauhava from Tikkakoski. A dozen strong group of Tuesday Club members traveled two days later to Kauhava to assemble SZ-25 inside the gorgeous, newly built showcase.

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Even while we started working immediately after arriving, there were things to do also on the next day. It took seven hours for us to assemble SZ-25 plus wash both Stieglitz and Pyry.

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Renovating SZ-25 was an acceptable work for Tuesday Club. It was even more meaningful because while working we knew that this aircraft will be placed in an appropriate exhibition place. This new showcase includes even dehumidification equipment. It is sad that most of aircraft we renovate end up in storage areas or somewhere else than in actual aviation museums. This is because Finnish aviation museums are too crowded already now.

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It was heart warming to experience how serious was the attitude of the Air Force Academy Guild towards the preservation and presentation of Air Force aviation heritage. This new showcase built by Guild and our good co-operation between Guild and Tuesday Club is an example of this. And now the showcase glows with its bright lights like a jewel in Kauhava’s night.

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This photo: Timo Telen. Others: Lassi Karivalo.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoring, old aircraft, Focke-Wulf Fw 44J Stieglitz, SZ-25

SZ-25 has got its engine installed

Sunnuntai 10.4.2016 - Member of Tuesday Club

Members of Finnish Aviation Museum Wednesday Club installed Siemens-Halske SH 14A (No. 28223) engine onto Focke-Wulf Stieglitz, serialled SZ-25. However, the engine is still without a propeller.

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Before we had reached this far, the engine was stripped down almost entirely off exterior equipment and then it was cleaned, renovated and equipped again. Equipping was done mainly by Wednesday Club.

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The work was slowed down by searching missing parts. Sadly, some equipment is still missing. For example, there are no carburetors. However, this lack is hidden under the engine cowl and without looking under the covers, the engine seems to be intact.

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Missing parts were found as well from museum stocks as from private collectors plus some had to be re-made. Our catch was two magnetos, intake manifold, head covers for valve push rods, exhaust manifold and exhaust pipe which runs from manifold to under the nose and fuselage.

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At the last moment it was realized that our own museum had the cable conduit with cables for spark plugs. Also we got airscrew hub which was missing. As and when the parts were obtained, they were renovated and attached to the engine.

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Some of these ”new” old parts were damaged and they were repaired, e.g. cable conduit for spark plug cables. Some of missing parts had to be made. The other magneto was missing a cap and it was prepared by casting. The cap of the other magneto was immersed in silicone to obtain a mold. Then we drained resin into mold and after hardening we had a genuine looking cap blank. The blank was machined, painted brown and installed onto magneto.

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Exhaust pipe had no flange and it was made, too.

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As we could not find an original exhaust manifold and as making such from scratch by our club was deemed to be too tedious for us, we outsourced it. New manifold was naturally too shiny and its surface was ”aged” with a blow torch. Still missing is propeller’s locking hex bolt with its cap which have to be turned. When everything is finally installed, the engine is perfectly good enough for this aircraft in its role as a gate guardian. It was not thought to be running again, anyway.

So, it will not take long before SZ-25’s fuselage is sent to Kauhava airport to wait for autumn when the whole plane is assembled inside a showcase as a memorial.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoring, old aircraft, Focke-Wulf Fw 44J Stieglitz, SZ-25

SZ-25 fuselage is nearing completion.

Maanantai 4.4.2016 - Member of Tuesday Club

Tuesday Club has almost finished restoration of a Focke-Wulf Fw 44J Stieglitz fuselage. This elementary trainer was originally used by Finnish Air Force with registration SZ-25 and it will be installed as a gate guardian at Kauhava Airport, where it used to serve. The last items to build were pieces of aluminum cowlings around engine mount. This shiny cowl is now waiting to be painted with the original green tone of ”Stigu” (the nick-name of Stieglizes in Finland). Wings have been ready since before Christmas and they have been delivered to the Finnish Airforce Museum at Tikkakoski to wait for final transportation to Kauhava next autumn.

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Building the cowl was a complex and challenging task. Parts at both sides of engine mount are made of two pieces and hinged together. They are attached to engine mount with locking pins. They also have cooling louvres which help in keeping engine temperature down.

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The original cowl of SZ-25 was lost at some point of its history, so the new one had to be built from scratch. As a model we had the same parts of Stieglitz SZ-4 obtained from Finnish Airforce  Museum. Finnish Air Force Stieglizes were individual enough to prevent SZ-4 cowlings from fitting perfectly on SZ-25. So, we couldn’t just copy but had to shape new cowlings to the individual dimensions of SZ-25. Even so, a model made our work faster.

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New cowlings were cut from one millimeter thick aluminum sheet, shaped and edges strengthened according to engine mount dimensions. The top side cowling was easy to do because it is just a curved aluminum sheet.

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Sides were more challenging with their louvres and latches. Making louvres started with cutting in an elongated slit. Subsequently, the leading or outer edge of the louvre was formed by forcing this side of slit to protrude out along a correctly shaped block of wood. The inside of louvre was shaped with a fitting piece of aluminum which was riveted onto the trailing edge of slit.

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Latches, which secure cowlings to engine mount, were made at the same time. We needed to make eight of them as both parts of one side need two latches. Pieces of aluminum were bended to form bodies with lugs. Lugs were drilled to have holes. Matching locking pins were cut from a metal rod. Small levers were attached to each locking pin for moving it.

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Locking pins needed also springs for which there was no suitable commercial ones to be found. Springs were made by twisting 1 mm piano wire tightly around pins. This gave suitable force and length to each spring. With springs on, locking pins were now ready to be attached to cowlings.

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Side parts were attached to each other by piano wire hinges. Further, side cowlings were attached to the edges of top side cowling by locking pins. The final adjustment was to see that locking pins held on and opened perfectly.

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Meanwhile, Wednesday Club at Finnish Aviation Museum has been refurbishing a Siemens-Halske engine for SZ-25. After engine is finished, it will be installed onto SZ-25:n engine mount, which makes the fuselage ready to be sent to Kauhava.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoring, old aircraft, Focke-Wulf Fw 44J Stieglitz, SZ-25