The Morane war aircraft project at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Kansas City has gotten down to where the remaining work is related to the finer points of construction. The engine installation needs to be finished and that meant a little rework on the firewall. We will require a larger fuel tank to give the range on the Morane that we wanted. This means lots of replumbing of the fuel and oil lines. And we will still need to construct the exhaust system.
Some of you may remember, way back when, we tried to adapt the Russian built exhaust system that came with the engine. We found problem after problem with the design and welding the alloys used on the original. We solved the problem by finding a company that could roll the exhaust collector to our specifications for the Morane and we would take it from there. The first sections are now being fitted up, and things are going much smoother now.
Our student aviation maintenance technicians had constructed and then modified the original fuel tank to fit the space. But after they had fitted it up, they discovered that the capacity was not adequate to provide enough flying time in the Morane to accomplish even the flights needed to move the airplane between airshows. A new, larger capacity tank was designed and built. When the welding was done, all of the tanks we had built needed to be leak tested before we begin installing them.
With enough struts to hold up a bridge, the Morane needed a little help in streamlining all of that tubing. The modern streamlined tubing we see used for struts today was not available, so round tube was used for the struts, and wood was shaped for streamling. The aviation career school students have completed building all of the wood pieces and are now installing them. They will be secured with linen thread wrapped around the wood, and then the whole assembly varnished to protect it from the elements.
While the detail work on the Morane is progressing slowly, it is necessary and a very important part of having a safe and historically accurate final product.