When this project began, the Orlando AIM campus was our newest, and smallest school. They enthusiastically joined with the other locations in selecting an aircraft and beginning construction. They settled on a Fokker D-VIII. As soon as the fuselage pieces were starting to take shape, it became apparent that the rapidly expanding school had no space left to dedicate to building an airplane. The project was quite literally put on the shelf with the hopes of more space becoming available. That didn’t happen until October of 2011 when the school moved into a wonderful new location that is several times the square footage of their original site. Space can finally be allocated to the airplane project and it can get moving again.
With the passage of time and change of location, came the normal changes in personnel, and of course the students who were first involved are long gone and making their own history in the aviation industry. When the current staff and students took a fresh look at the project, it was decided to change designs and build a deHavilland D.H.2.
The deHavilland D.H.2 ready to go to war.
The D.H.2 biplane was Geoffrey de Havilland’s second design for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company. This highly successful pusher had good maneuverability with an excellent rate of climb. Mounting the engine to the rear of the fuselage permitted the use of a fixed, forward-firing machine gun before the advent of the synchronous machine gun. Superior to the Fokker E.III, the D.H.2 helped end the “Fokker Scourge.”
Following in the footsteps of the late Walt Redfern of Seattle, WA who, in 1970 built a full scale reproduction of the D.H.2. (and whose plans we will be using) we will apply some of the same modifications to design that he found successful. We will be using 4130 chrome-moly steel tubing in the fuselage pod which was constructed of wood in the original. Additionally, like Mr. Redfern we will opt for a modern engine, and install the Rotec that we had purchased for the D-VIII.
Keep coming back here as we post the step by step launch of this new chapter at our Orlando campus.
This week we had the students cut wood for jigs on the fuselage build table. After completing that task we started cutting metal for the fuselage jigs!!!! We have also been in contact with our wood supplier and they are working on our order. All in all a productive week.
Our metal vendor has finally gotten thier act together and shipped the remainder of our order!! The fuselage work should speed up now that we have the various sizes of tubing that we require. We did figure out, based on the paperwork that came with the steel, why it took so long to recieve it. It came all the way from China!!!! We are also checking on the status of our wing wood.
The fuselage sides have been drawn out on the workbench so metal should be cut later this week. We’ll update everyone the end of this week.
It was a slow week due to the holiday and the efforts we had to put forth to prepare the school for our first Powerplant classes that will start in August. With the departure of Mike Harris, Pete Ihrisky has picked up the football and run with it. Pete has not only worked on the Powerplant projects but also has us positioned to build the fuselage which will commence next week.
Jasta 6 encountered a vendor problem this week when we discovered that our metal supplier had not ordered all of the materials we requested due to a paperwork “snaffu” on thier part. They insured us that it would be resolved this coming week (They brought us “Dunkin Donuts” to make up for the mix-up).
All in all we are pressing forward in the tradition of AMO. Have a great weekend!!!
K.C. & Jasta 6
We have received our first shipment of metal and should receive the remainder this week. Whether we receive the remainder or not we will start cutting metal this week! We also have leveled all of our work tables in preparation for the fuselage build. Our wing wood is still on back order and hopefully we should have it in about three weeks. Things look like they will all come together this week and we should be rolling on.
K.C. and Jasta 6
I’m sorry to report that Mike Harris, our chief airplane builder and A&P extrodinare, is leaving us for a “Change in Latitude and a Change in Attitude”! Mike is our hanger deck lead and the person without whom the success of AMO would not have been insured. Mike does it all, from instructing in the classroom at a moments notice to building training aids from a picture or right off the top of his head…..he doesn’t need drawings or sketches, he just “Gets ‘er Done! (Mike was also the AIM coach for our PAMA team that did so well!) Mike’s off to Ana Maria Island for a life at the beach watching sunsets, boating and fishing. But Mike will leave insuring that the DVIII will be a success. He has collaberated and tied in with Pete Ihrisky who will assume Mikes’ duties.
We are still dealing with the negative camber issues on the wing and believe we have them solved. We also encountered an issue concerning the spar for the wing. The spar requires a single piece of wood approximately 30′ in length. Guess what?……no one sells wood that length! So back on the phone we went to Paul Musso and his friend Karl. They ran into the same issue and explained to us, in detail, the type of splices we are going to have to make using 20′ pieces of wood which are readily available.
Almost all of our tubing and metal have been ordered by Mike and Pete with the wood being the long pole so we will carry on with the fuselage. Next week we will assign a student to verify the research I have done, to date, and to expand on it. It is very interesting work if you’re into aviation history.
So we bid farewell to Mike Harris next week…..”SEA YA” off of Key Royale sandbar wetting a line, off Jewfish Key looking for sand dollars or maybe on Beer Can Island having a barbeque!!!!!!
K.C. and Jasta 6…..May the ebb tide always be with ya’ll!