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Fairchild FC-2W-2

Fairchild FC-2W-2

It was hoped to start the restoration of the FC–2W–2 immediately after completing the Curtiss JN-4 (Can.), but the Uplands workshop could not accommodate the machine. Shortly, space was rented in a warehouse on Terminal Avenue in Ottawa and about half of the restoration was done there before moving to Hangar 68 at Rockcliffe the following year.

The aircraft had suffered an engine failure on a delivery flight in 1943 near Philadelphia. In the ensuing forced landing, it impacted heavily on the right undercarriage, destroying an undercarriage casting, ripping an undercarriage fitting from the fuselage, pullingsome fuselage welds and causing some slight fuselage distortion. A tree penetrated the leading edge and front spar of the right wing just outboard of the wing strut attachment fitting. In addition, something hit the tailplane leading edge, causing a clean break through it. Restoration involved a considerable repair job, but this time, fortunately, most drawings were available.

In order to straighten and reweld the fuselage, all the secondary wood structure which was mostly in the cabin area, had to be removed. The necessary breaking of the glued joints required replacing almost all of this structure with new material except for the structure on the cabin roof, which was removed as a unit. The tubular structure was straightened, a new undercarriage fitting made and the fuselage tubeswere filled with hot linseed oil and then drained as a preservative measure. In rebuilding the secondary wood structure, it was necessary to recreate the original baggage compartment aft of the cabin, which at some time had been made into a camera compartment.

Fairchild FC–2W2
In this view the fuselage structure has been completely restored, wood fairings have been added and the cabin lined and ready to receive its fabric covering.

Fairchild FC–2W2
In applying the G-CART identification to the Fairchild, these markings were faithfully followed down to the missing hyphen between the G anc C, apparently inadvertently omitted on the original.

In the pilot’s compartment a new instrument panel was required and new instruments had to be found and fitted. A new pilot’s seat and elevator trim wheel had to be made, along with moulding a new rubber grip for the control stick. By good fortune it was possible to obtaincabin lining material identical with that used originally.

A wood pattern had to be made for the fitting at the junction of the undercarriage legs. It was cast by Deloro Stellite and machined by the Museum. The sheet metal fairings covering the undercarriage legs were missing so new ones were made to drawings. The tail surfaces, made ofsteel tubing, were in good condition and required only cleaning and refinishing, except, of course, for the break in the leading edge, which had to be spliced.

A new section of the right front spar had to be spliced in, extending from just outboard of the strut fitting to the tip. The plywood leading edges had to be replaced completely on the wings owing to glue deterioration, and as usual there were minor rib repairs. Fortunately the ailerons and flaps for the folding wings were in good condition and required little attention. One or two of the wing struts were badly pitted from lying on damp ground. As streamlined tubing of that size was not available, it was decided, with regret, to clean them and restore them to display condition only.

Fairchild FC–2W2
Instrument panel of the Fairchild FC–2W2. On the left are the throttle and spark advance levers; the lever on the right controls the cooling air vents in the nose cowl.

Fairchild FC–2W2
The interesting Fairchild wing folding arrangement can be clearly seen in this photo. To fold the wing, a catch releases the hinged trailing edge flap which is then folded onto the top of the wing as shown. While one man secures the wing by holding the wing struts, another pulls the lever visible at the wing leading edge. This releases the locking pin and the wing folds back of its own weight while restrained by the other man.

Since both the propeller and engine had been removed from the airframe after its forced landing, it was necessary to locate these items. The USAF Museum had a Pratt & Whitney Wasp C surplus to their needs, which they loaned to the Museum and later, generously, donated. It was restored to display condition, and this involved casting five new rocker box covers, which were made by Deloro Stellite. Obtaining a ground-adjustable propeller proved difficult but one was finally purchased from an American propeller shop in good display, but not airworthy, condition.

A hazardous condition was found in the course of restoration that would have caused trouble, quite possibly serious, if the machine had continued in service. The baffle in the centre fuel tank had cracked along its lower flange where it joined the tank bottom. Its sharp edge had gouged a slot several inches long in the tank bottom to the point where it was almost completely through the bottom. When the inevitable failure occurred, the contents of the tank would have been very quickly released into the cabin, which at best would have been troublesome and at worst catastrophic. As there was no intention of flying the restored aircraft, the tank was not disassembled and repaired, but a record of its condition was placed in the aircraft file.

It was decided to finish the aircraft as a Canadian-registered FC–2W–2 and to select the serial number nearest to the specimen. This proved to be G-CART, registered in July 1928 to Canadian Transcontin-ental Airways Ltd., whose construction number was only two away from that of the specimen. The restoration was completed in May 1966.

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