On April 26, 2013 Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Dallas hosted an Aviation Maintenance Education Day. The event brought over 125 high schools students, aviation maintenance hiring employers, and prospective students to campus to learn about aviation maintenance. Guests were treated with tours of the school facilities and training equipment. Additionally our instructors fired up our PT6, Allison 250 engines and our Robins R22 Helicopter. To cap off the tour, our inquisitive guests were given an opportunity to view our plans and progress on our WWI Sopwith Pup. They learned about our chosen pilot Captain Pratt and the profound impact the WWI era had on modern aviation.
Sounds like an appetizer order at a restaurant but hardly the case…
The team mechanics at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Dallas have routed 65 cap strips for the production of main wing ribs A, B, C, D, E and mini “riblets” for the WWI Sopwith Pup aircraft. They also have made fabricated the jigs for cutting and assembling, as well as a drying rack.
The next big item to do will be getting the tooling made from the local machine shop. We are currently looking at two different shops for a bid. After that, the jib and materials needed to fabricate the main landing gear and the rear tail fixture for the WWI Sopwith Pup aircraft are next.
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The Sopwith Pup is in parts production mode at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Dallas. The jigs have been fine tuned and drying rack constructed. The students, faculty and staff of this aviation career school are all pitching in various ways to help our project move forward.
A number of students/faculty/staff have earned a Sopwith Pup T- Shirt by logging 23 hours (half of the Captain Pratt’s RAF No. 46 Squadron) of activity with the WWI Sopwith Pup aircraft project. The logged activities include, but are not limited to, actual hands on work, promotion verbally or written and or preparation/cleaning, of the Sopwith Pup project and the work space in the aviation career school hangar and even cooking for the team, as we like to eat! Once students/faculty/staff have logged 46 hours they will receive a service strip to be ironed on their left sleeve. Every 46 hours logged thereafter will be rewarded with another service strip. This is a community effort and everyone is welcome!
GO AIM DALLAS!!!
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The dust has been knocked off the parts, the work tables have been arranged, tools have been staged, and the AIM Dallas WWI Building Team has revived the process of constructing a Sopwith Pup. The excitement and participation has been outstanding. The whole campus is eager to see considerble progress in the months to come. Here are some photos of what’s happening in Dallas.
- The tools and equipment dedicated to the Pup’s construction have been unpacked and are being setup.
The equipment is being checked for safety, and setup to begin production of the parts for the Pup.
A stack of ribs have been sawn and await the installation of capstrips.
The project is not all work and no play. Airplanes are supposed to be fun too! The team took time out for a potluck lunch. Great food and lots of fun!
L to R - Matthew Neal, Mr. Manuel (instructor/team leader), Charles Spears, and Robert Smith enjoy a lunch break after working on the Pup.
Team members (L to R) Eric Arnett, Charles Spears, Matthew Neal, Jermaine Smith and Jim Williams square off in the break area debating over whether it is ping-pong or back to work on the Pup.
Stay tuned for more progress on the Sopwith Pup as Team Dallas gets back in gear!
From the beginning of this project, each team was asked not only to select an aircraft, but to identify a specific aircraft that they would build a replica of, and to identify its pilot. Team Dallas selected the Sopwith Pup A7327 from the Number 46 Squadron, flown by Captain S.H. Pratt. Their research has turned up the following information about Captain Pratt.
Stuart Harvey Pratt was born in June 1893 and lived in Streatham Park, London, where his father ran a large furnishing store. Serving with the Royal Fusilers in France as a second lieutenant, Pratt was wounded in action. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in June 1916 and was posted to 46 Squadron in August 1916. Flying a Nieuport two-seater, Pratt scored his first victory in February 1917.
In April 1917 the No 46 Squadron received their first Sopwith Pup. On 25 May, Captain Pratt made No 46 Squadron’s first Pup claim, taking his personal tally to three. Captain Pratt would claim 4 more victories to take his overall score to seven. Captain Pratt’s Pup had distinctive markings of a Skull and Crossbones on his wheel covers.
Returning to England in June 1917 serving with No 112 Home Defense Squadron, Pratt lost his right eye and left foot in a crash on 31 August 1917 during gunnery practice at Herne Bay. He was invalided out of service due to ill health in December 1918 and put onto the retired list the following June. He lived in Sutton, Surrey, after the war, and in 1941 he volunteered for duty with the RAF Volunteer Reserve as a flight lieutenant with the Air Training Corps.
We are looking forward to bringing back Captain Pratt’s story for new generations to explore.
Still trying to get a few loose ends together to publish some new pics. Until next time….