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XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Update

Project Slowed Due To Complications, Wheels To Be Replaced

The years-long restoration of a rare XP-82 Twin Mustang is inching closer to completion, with a goal of having an airworthy airplane at the end of the process.

Warbird news reports that owner and restorer Tom Reilly had hoped to have the airplane ready to fly for AirVenture this year, but was unable to do so. But with that deadline no longer a factor, Reilly says he plans to replace the original magnesium alloy wheels with modern aluminum rims that are currently being fabricated.

Reilly explained his reasoning in a letter to Warbird News:

"After much thought I have chosen a warbird restoration facility and specialty machine shop in Cameron Park, CA. Chuck Wahl, the owner, has been specializing in making replacement wheels for warbirds for a number of years. I ran my decision past John Eiler, our main machinist for your XP-82, and he agreed with my decision. Chuck has been making 32″ x 8.8″ wheels for F4U Corsairs and SBDs for a number of years," Reilly wrote.

"Yesterday I sent him the lower spindle leg off of the crashed Alaska F-82 for fitting purposes, along with one of the original magnesium brake calipers. I had previously sent a non-airworthy wheel to John Eiler to copy and he is forwarding that wheel out to Chuck Wahl.

"Chuck manufactures his wheels out of 7075-T6 aluminum and they have been tested to failure at over ten times the strength of the original magnesium wheel. He will be able to identically duplicate our wheel for authenticity.

"The total price for these two wheels will be approximately $19K with a 3-4 week delivery period.

"What were the chances of our wheels failing, probably less than zero percent. But, after two known failures of this style wheel, one on an F7F Tigercat at Oshkosh and more recently, one on a TBM Avenger, I had no choice but to make this decision.

"We have had countless comments (now over 300) on our website and Facebook page, every one agreeing with my safety decision. If I were to have a wheel failure on our XP-82 the public backlash would be catastrophic; if we didn’t totally lose the airplane due to an uncontrollable magnesium fire."

(Image from file)

FMI: Source report

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