40 Years and 40,000 Hours - Part 4
Of four retract cylinders recovered none was repairable, so new cylinders, pistons and piston rods were manufactured. Original end caps and chevron seals were used. S-39s used three different main gear tire sizes including the 8.50x10 tires used here. New tires were recapped smooth to match the style of 1930.
The Cleveland wheels and brakes are a safety improvement for todays airport environment. Though the S-39s originally had hydraulic brakes, it was not possible to apply brake and rudder simultaneously. Based on a precedent set by NC-809W, we installed toe brakes.
The tail wheel forks are original; the spring, oleo and other parts have been replaced. The tail wheel and tire size are original.
The struts are all new, with new blocks that are joined with tubular steel rivets as original. Considerable research and experimentation were required to duplicate this unusual system. Like the originals, the rivet cores are filled with beeswax for corrosion protection.
The fabric is Ceconite with dope finish. We mixed all the silver dope. To give the metal parts a similar appearance to original we also mixed our own silver poly.
The original airplanes did not have much finish, or hand-rubbed finish, and an effort was made to duplicate original fabric samples.
No seaplane grommets were used in 1930, and 50V has none. The few inspection covers we have installed in the wing are as original.
The yellow inlay on top of the wing is as documented in the original Sikorsky paint specification, and evidenced in the fabric from 54V. The balance of fabric was always silver, regardless of hull color.
The damaged float from NC-14326 was used as a pattern to construct wing floats from scratch. Despite their relative small size, there are 1,274 rivets in each float. The float covers and wing nuts were duplicated from the original.