P-51D Cockpit Project

Arguably the finest fighter aircraft of World War II.
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geedee
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P-51D Cockpit Project

Post geedee »

Hi guys, hope this is in the right place ?

I've spent quite a few hours looking over the posts in the sections since I joined up here a few days ago, and one thing that strikes me, is the passion you all have for the '51. I too am passionate about the '51...she is the 'coolest' fighter ever built... and finally decided to do something about it back in 2005. Unfortunately, I was about £1.7 Million short (was ?...still am !!) of ever owning one so thought I'd have a go at building just the cockpit area.

I've had a look around here and haven't seen any-one else building one so thought I share my babe with you in the hope off persuading a few of you to build one. And I can help a lot with drawings and tips etc

I decided to build her out of aluminum as I wanted to be able to use her as a 'procedures trainer' when finished so that meant I had to let people climb in and out of her. Its a different matter when its only going to be you as you know where all the fragile bits are etc, so she had to be strong !. Things have progressed on the 'trainer front' but more of that later.

You are probably wondering what the costs are in making her out of ali ?.The actual build of the cockpit tub...not the internal bits 'n' bobs has consited of....
4 sheets of 8 X 4 '20' gauge ali at around £50.00 per sheet. This has made the fuselage sides, firewall, pannelled the rear bulkhead, made two sets of ribs (binned the first lot as they where cra....not very good !). Also, as its common Ali and not airworthy stuff you arent paying a small mortgage to get it and just about any car repair shop, probably even Wallmart ?) can supply it.
2 Sheets of 8 X 4 X 3/4 Ply. 1 (external grade) at about £25.00 and 1X internal grade quality for the cockpit floor at about £40.00
4 X fully castoring wheels at about £20.00
2.5 litres of 'cockpit green' cellulose mixed at about £100.00 plus a 5 litre can of thinners at £15.00 ...quite expensive !
Assorted nuts 'n' bolts of various sizes (all in metric for ease of getting them and considerably cheaper than 'pukka' airworthy grade stuff...about £30.00

So thats about...errrr, just under £350.00. ($540 at todays prices)

Thats the cheap part. The expensive part is getting the stuff to bolt on the inside. I've probably spent around £2.5K on internal stuff. Having said that, its not been in the past month, this has been spread over a period since 2005 and most of that has been on ebay, aerojumbles ansd such like so its not really that bad. And I'm always on the look out for better versions of what I got 'in stock' so its a continual process. To give you an idea, my stick which consists of the stick, grip and 'goose neck' casting plus torque tube, has come from 4 different places...the stick from the Flymarket at Oshkosh in 2005, the grip from Ebay mid last year, the casting from somewhere in Texas two years ago and the torque tube....errrr, actually thats a bit builders 'scaffolding pole' I got from a local scrap yard...all in cost of just over £350.00 for the lot.

Can you build one ?. Too righty you can !. I am not an engineer or a woodworker (I'm work in Project Management...yawn!) or blacksmith or whatever, I'm just an average guy who likes to have a go at things. Remember, ali is a very easy medium to work with and you dont need special tools !. I've built my babe using the following...a small electric jigsaw, a rubber mallet, a metal folder I got from Machine Mart for £50.00 and a small electric air compressor and rivet gun / spraygun at about £200 all in !.

Anyway enough of the chat, heres a just a few shots to get started with. If you are interested, I'll run through the whole build to date, starting from the cockpit floor so you can see how easy it is. And no lame excuses about not having enough room to build one...she's just over 6 feet in length, a bit over 3 foot wide, and height is not an issue :-). I'm building her in a 12 x 6 wooden shed thats got a 4 X 2 foot workbench installed !

Image
Image

And this last one was taken by a friend at the 361st Fighter Group Museum 'open day' (I am a memebr of the group) at Bottisham last year. This was the first time I was able to let people get in her and fire up a Merlin and play with the throttle....nothing but 'silly grin' mode from everyone who tried her out. Just wait till I've got the A2A side of things installed !! :-)

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Cheers

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Gary

Jake797
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Joined: 16 Jan 2013

Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post Jake797 »

That looks great! :shock:

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matt_smith
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post matt_smith »

OK thats awesome Gary. Next you need to hook it all up to FSX and the A2A WOP3 P-51D 8)
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DHenriquesA2A
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post DHenriquesA2A »

geedee wrote:Hi guys, hope this is in the right place ?

I've spent quite a few hours looking over the posts in the sections since I joined up here a few days ago, and one thing that strikes me, is the passion you all have for the '51. I too am passionate about the '51...she is the 'coolest' fighter ever built... and finally decided to do something about it back in 2005. Unfortunately, I was about £1.7 Million short (was ?...still am !!) of ever owning one so thought I'd have a go at building just the cockpit area.

I've had a look around here and haven't seen any-one else building one so thought I share my babe with you in the hope off persuading a few of you to build one. And I can help a lot with drawings and tips etc

I decided to build her out of aluminum as I wanted to be able to use her as a 'procedures trainer' when finished so that meant I had to let people climb in and out of her. Its a different matter when its only going to be you as you know where all the fragile bits are etc, so she had to be strong !. Things have progressed on the 'trainer front' but more of that later.

You are probably wondering what the costs are in making her out of ali ?.The actual build of the cockpit tub...not the internal bits 'n' bobs has consited of....
4 sheets of 8 X 4 '20' gauge ali at around £50.00 per sheet. This has made the fuselage sides, firewall, pannelled the rear bulkhead, made two sets of ribs (binned the first lot as they where cra....not very good !). Also, as its common Ali and not airworthy stuff you arent paying a small mortgage to get it and just about any car repair shop, probably even Wallmart ?) can supply it.
2 Sheets of 8 X 4 X 3/4 Ply. 1 (external grade) at about £25.00 and 1X internal grade quality for the cockpit floor at about £40.00
4 X fully castoring wheels at about £20.00
2.5 litres of 'cockpit green' cellulose mixed at about £100.00 plus a 5 litre can of thinners at £15.00 ...quite expensive !
Assorted nuts 'n' bolts of various sizes (all in metric for ease of getting them and considerably cheaper than 'pukka' airworthy grade stuff...about £30.00

So thats about...errrr, just under £350.00. ($540 at todays prices)

Thats the cheap part. The expensive part is getting the stuff to bolt on the inside. I've probably spent around £2.5K on internal stuff. Having said that, its not been in the past month, this has been spread over a period since 2005 and most of that has been on ebay, aerojumbles ansd such like so its not really that bad. And I'm always on the look out for better versions of what I got 'in stock' so its a continual process. To give you an idea, my stick which consists of the stick, grip and 'goose neck' casting plus torque tube, has come from 4 different places...the stick from the Flymarket at Oshkosh in 2005, the grip from Ebay mid last year, the casting from somewhere in Texas two years ago and the torque tube....errrr, actually thats a bit builders 'scaffolding pole' I got from a local scrap yard...all in cost of just over £350.00 for the lot.

Can you build one ?. Too righty you can !. I am not an engineer or a woodworker (I'm work in Project Management...yawn!) or blacksmith or whatever, I'm just an average guy who likes to have a go at things. Remember, ali is a very easy medium to work with and you dont need special tools !. I've built my babe using the following...a small electric jigsaw, a rubber mallet, a metal folder I got from Machine Mart for £50.00 and a small electric air compressor and rivet gun / spraygun at about £200 all in !.

Anyway enough of the chat, heres a just a few shots to get started with. If you are interested, I'll run through the whole build to date, starting from the cockpit floor so you can see how easy it is. And no lame excuses about not having enough room to build one...she's just over 6 feet in length, a bit over 3 foot wide, and height is not an issue :-). I'm building her in a 12 x 6 wooden shed thats got a 4 X 2 foot workbench installed !

Image
Image

And this last one was taken by a friend at the 361st Fighter Group Museum 'open day' (I am a memebr of the group) at Bottisham last year. This was the first time I was able to let people get in her and fire up a Merlin and play with the throttle....nothing but 'silly grin' mode from everyone who tried her out. Just wait till I've got the A2A side of things installed !! :-)

Image
Looking very good. Right up there with Darryl's home Spit pit.
The hard part for me would be convincing my wife that it would "really look good" in the living room!! :-)))
Dudley Henriques

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Lewis - A2A
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post Lewis - A2A »

Awesome, I love these simpit threads. You should check out Darryl's spitfire pit and theres a whole bunch of guys in the B-17 forums building various B-17 cockpits or parts of cockpits etc. 8)
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JoeS475
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post JoeS475 »

Agreed with all of the above- Amazing! Now you just need a canopy you can slide shut, it can be your personal WWII cone of silence! :mrgreen:

Cheers,

Joe
Joe

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Skycat
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post Skycat »

If it doesn't work out as a simpit, it would make for an awesome motorcycle sidecar. Imagine that ride!
I like Thunderbolts! (Click on "Photos")

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Killratio
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post Killratio »

G'day Gary

Nice to see you here mate. She is looking good and you will be in a whole new world when the switches et al are hooked up!

Darryl
<Sent from my 1988 Sony Walkman with Dolby Noise Reduction and 24" earphone cord extension>


Image

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Dark_P
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post Dark_P »

Always amazes me how creative people can be, just awesome work!
Image

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Trumper
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post Trumper »

:) I thought i recognised it from Bottisham.Have you put this on their f/b page as well.Brilliant ,well done :)

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geedee
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post geedee »

That looks great!
Thanks Jake
OK thats awesome Gary. Next you need to hook it all up to FSX and the A2A WOP3 P-51D

Matt, that WILL be happening this year, inbetween taking her numerous Museums / open days !
The hard part for me would be convincing my wife that it would "really look good" in the living room!!
LOL Dudley. The trick is to introduce a bit at a time. I started off with the instrument panel laying around the living room....and after a few weeks SWMBO picked it up and dusted it. RESULT !. After that I just kept adding bits and for two years, the panel, rudder pedals and gunsight lived unerneath the TV :-). You just have to be sneaky.... abit !

Image
Awesome, I love these simpit threads. You should check out Darryl's spitfire pit and theres a whole bunch of guys in the B-17 forums building various B-17 cockpits or parts of cockpits
Cheers Lewis. I've been following Darryl's 'Spittie for quite a while. Its a work of art and something I'm hoping to get my babe to operate like....i just have a whole heap of things to learn so there will be questions !!!
Agreed with all of the above- Amazing! Now you just need a canopy you can slide shut, it can be your personal WWII cone of silence!
Joe..brilliant...whole cone of silence...my neighburs didn't think she was quite the first time I fired her up with the speakers installed. They were impressed...NOT !. I will be adding a 'half' canopy at a later date but more to follow on that one :-)
If it doesn't work out as a simpit, it would make for an awesome motorcycle sidecar. Imagine that ride!
Now there's a thought :-)
Nice to see you here mate. She is looking good and you will be in a whole new world when the switches et al are hooked up!
Cheers Darryl.... sorry but you'll have to endure the build pics again but it will get interesting when it comnes to wiring side of things (Thanks for e-mail, I'll reply over the next few days)

Always amazes me how creative people can be, just awesome work!
Cheers dude, hopefully I can get you started on one as well ?
thought i recognised it from Bottisham.Have you put this on their f/b page as well.Brilliant ,well done
Thanks mate, I havent but Jason and Tarkey have.
Cheers

Image

Gary

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geedee
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post geedee »

Okeydokey, so how do you go about building a '51 cockpit ?

Unfortunately, you can't go down to the local bookstore and pick up a copy 'Mustang's for Dummies' cos they don't do one :evil: . So I started off by getting a '51D Parts Catalogue. This cat not only has drawings of the major assemblies, it also lists the actual NAA drawings you need to look at.

This is the main drawing I used and you see all the Station Numbers etc.
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Next on the shopping list was the drawings. A word of warning here....If you get them from e-bay, make sure you get the full set !. When I started looking for a set, I would see some apparently complete sets, on one CD. This is not the full set !. The ones I brought came on 2 DVD's and consist of around 16400 !! drawings. Admitidly, there is probably around 2 % that are too feint to read, but none of these are around the cockpit area. Next question is why do I want all the drawings when I'm not building the full beastie ?...simple really, it great being able to identify parts that you come across from various scources (i'm currently recovering parts from a '51 crash site from late WW2 with a mate and its all fully licensed and its a fantastic feeling to unearth a part and to be able to clearly identify what it is and where it came from on the A/C.....more on this later :-))

Right...down to business. Let's start with the cockpit floor. NAA in their infinite wisdom, decided to put a wooden floor in their creation, so a quick trip to a Wood stockist and I came home with a sheet of 8 X 4 X 3/4" interior grade marine ply. You will know that the '51 fuselage is based around 4 longerons, well, as I wasn't intending building below the cockpit floor, I could start with a single sheet and build up on it. Simples :-). You will also know that the cockpit floor is built in four seperate sections, so as I didn't want to lose structural integrity, I simply marked out the sections as if they were in place and then 'scribed / cut' through the first layer of ply to make it look as though they were individual pieces but I still had a single sheet to play with. This gave me the cockpit 'footprint'


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Because I didn't have lower longerons, I laid some ali angle along the sides to which I would later be riveting / screwing the fuselage skins to. Your mates will probably think you are building a shed of some sort at this point, but you will have the last laugh !
Cheers

Image

Gary

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geedee
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post geedee »

With the floorpan sorted out, it was time to start on the firewall. The firewall makes a '51 instantly recognisable as it slopes backwards.

As I don't have a Merlin to hang on the front :cry: I decided to make a plain firewall, without the the stainless steel insert for the ancilliaries, as this was beyond my ability to make. A quick trip to the parts catalogue to find the drawings for the fire wall and the armor and then it was time to mark it, cut it and build it.

Now spookily enough, I'm right out of armor plate and again, you can't normally go 'down town' and pick some up, so to keep things simple...read easy !... I cut the armor plate out of good old MDF.

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Next on the list was to come with some way of fixing the firewall to the fuselage sides when they are installed. The easeist way was to use some more ali angle and put a heap of hacksaw cuts to make it bend around the profile. This bar would then be bolted in place on the back with the 'armor plate' on the front...

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Cheers

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Gary

N602AC
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post N602AC »

Bravo to you for making this. Just amazing..I think there is a company that makes tilt platforms if that was a consideration of yours, too.
Image

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geedee
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Re: P-51D Cockpit Project

Post geedee »

N602AC wrote:Bravo to you for making this. Just amazing..I think there is a company that makes tilt platforms if that was a consideration of yours, too.
Cheers dude, thanks for the comments. Much as I'd love to go to a tilt platform, it'd probably be too bulky and then I'd also have the potential problem of providing power when she goes to various Museums / open-days. One day maybe :-)

Right, with the floor marked out and the firewall cut out, it was time to start 'building the box'. Now this is what I love about building the bit I'm building...NAA designed the panels knowing full-well, that in 70+ years some guy might like have a go at making just the cockpit section only....and they obliged by making the skin panels to a certain size that lends themsleves to a home build. You only need one sheet of 8 X 4 to mark out the two fuselage skins as they are 6 X 2 !. Once marked and cut out, I then couldn't wait to see some color, so with my trusty little home compressor, she got sprayed !. And yes....that is a lot of nuts 'n' bolts to hold the armor plate in place and yes, it took quite a while to tighten them all up especially when I didn't to scratch the fresh paint !

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Image

The '51 has a wooden floor and sits a few inches above the top of the wing assembly. To recreate this and to provide more structural strength...as well as somewhere to put the wheels on !!... I made a simple box section underneath the cockpit floor (the blue stuff on the fuselage sides is a protective plastic that I took off later. Then I just had to clamp it all together, put the rudder pedals on some makeshift wooden supports, screw the stick in place and put the instrument panel on top to see how she looked.

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I should point out that the instrument panel and gunsight had been sat on my desk for quite a while whilst I was collecting instruments...strange ?...not really as I work on an active airfield and besides which, it was more fun to look at and daydream than have holiday pics pinned up !
Cheers

Image

Gary

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