TCA Super Constellation CF-TGEFinal Reassembly
arrival in Seattle after her 3800 mile odyssey, CF-TGE was brought into
Boeing's Plant II in preparation for her eighth, and final, reassembly.
It began on Saturday, September 5th, 2009.
Inside Plant II
First, the inboard wing panels were removed from their trucks.
Next, they were positioned into the center wing box join fittings.
Finally, they were permanently attached with structural bolts.
Next - the Main Landing Gear were positioned in front of the Inboard Nacelles
- if you will - and have been following this saga - that these tires
are the tires we salvaged and saved off our 727 Prototype airplane at
Paine Field in Everett. First we swapped them onto our FedEx 727
donor airplane, then we salvaged them off that airplane when it was
scrapped, and sent them to Rome, NY for installation on the Connie.
Now - they're back in Seattle.
Remember my Motto: Never throw away ANYTHING!
Two large cranes arrive and are attached to lifting fittings on each wing
Now, with a smaller crane on the nose, the airplane is raised off the trailer in a three-point lift.
With the airplane "airborne" - the Main Landing Gears are rolled into position
Here, the Main Gear is installed, and is in a semi-retracted position.
Now for the Nose Gear
The airplane is raised further, and the MLG are moved into the down and locked position.
The nose is raised using a jack and a belly band (for insurance - a belt and suspenders approach.)
Here comes the Nose Gear
That's a long one!
How long is that gear? Answer: 9 feet 6 inches
Why? To allow the 16 ft plus diameter props to turn without striking the ground!!!
Actually, the gear is shorter
than it could have been. One element of the Connie's sinuous
looks is the fuselage that bends down in the front to keep the nose
gear from being even longer than it is.
Now we've got the radome on, and my good friend Steve Taylor shows how long that nose gear really is.
Time for the engine nacelles
Nacelles on! Where are the props?
Moved them up to the Restoration Center at Paine Field where the volunteers will refinish them.
What are those fittings in the nacelles?
They're where we attach the rubber bands that turn the props. Just kidding!
This airplane came with no engines, but fear not - four good looking R-3350s are sitting in cans at the Air Park.
We hope to install those over the next few months while the airplane resides in the Plant II hangar.
Definitely starting to look like an airplane now.Question - What's with the barrels?
No engines and this airplane, (like most tricycle gear airplanes) definitely wants to sit down on its tail.
Those two barrels are filled with 1000 lbs of concrete each. They keep the nose wheel tires firmly on the tarmac.
Another Question: Where are the Outboard Wings and the Tip Tanks?
We only have 80 ft between the building in the background and the trees across the way to squeeze through.
So, those pieces will be left off until final display.
Next for the Tail - she's BIG !
So's the truck that hauled her for 3800 miles.
A Super Connie's distinctive TripleTail is 600 inches wide (50 ft), and 175 inches tall (14.5 ft).
It was bigger than most airplanes back in 1939.
The Reassembly is Finished
The Super G Constellation
She's such a great looker - and if you asked me why - well a few of my reasons:
and the unique Triple Tail
Here's a third element - the Tip Tanks
all those pieces together - along with a gorgeous, sinuous fuselage,
and you get this - what many people and aviation fans describe as the
most beautiful airplane ever designed and built
...and we've saved one -- gives me goose bumps just thinking about it !
Copyright 2009 Robert Bogash. All Rights Reserved
Photos copyright: Bob Bogash, Ralph Pettersen
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17 Sep 2009