Sunday, June 29, 2014

MI-2, Bord 214 update 6/27/14

With the transmission back in place, the turbine engines have been reinstalled.  As with the transmission, the bright colors on the engine components help give the bird a "like new" appearance as it goes back together. But the colors are only a small expression of the work and attention to detail given to the process.

It seems like all aircraft (especially helicopters) are required to have one or more tight spaces where something has to be checked or connected.  Even with access panels removed long and skinny arms and fingers are often desirable and sometimes required. With the intake preheat not yet installed on the right engine, a moment of such "tight squeeze concentration" was captured above.

This front view shows one of the specialized pieces of standard field equipment, a ladder-bridge, used to access the front of the engine compartment over the nose of the aircraft.

The four forward facing air intakes are prominent in this view.  The center square opening (where a head is inserted above) is covered by a grilled panel after work is completed. Left and right of the square opening are the turbine intakes and the large round opening on top feeds the radiator assemblies in the transmission compartment.

As the exterior was restored, so were the markings and insignia. The red alignment indicators for the dzus fasteners allow visual confirmation during preflight that the compartments are closed and locked.

This Red Star-Roundel combination (appropriate for the period prior the breakup), was run through a computer program in order to match it to the curved surfaces underneath.

Monday, June 23, 2014

MI-2, #214 Status Update

After the start of a dark  and dreary rainy day (somewhat of a rarity here in sunny Texas),  the rain stopped and the sun came out so we were able to open the hanger doors and remount the transmission on #214 (shown here with #213 in the background).

The fuselage of 214 has been completely stripped and repainted. After years and years of service this transmission compartment has not been this clean and shiny since it was at the factory (and maybe not even then).

After an emergency call to get the venerable forklift into operation (a vertical lift beast of its own kind),  the transmission was rigged for placement under the watchful eye of museum directors and volunteers.


Of course like all good things helicopter, the transmission could not simply be "dropped" into place. After achieving near perfect vertical and angular alignment, the twin turbine drive shafts must be guided through tight bulkheads into the turbine compartments while at the same time the control rods, cables and connections are guarded or guided into position. With a generous application of attention and a few words of persuasion, the transmission was soon in place.

As the sun sets over the Texas prairie a transmission once again sits atop #214. The persnickety drive shaft for the left turbine is visible through the bulkhead in this photo illustrating the place, mate and "slide" 3D puzzle referenced in the photos above.

As #214 progresses back into service, we hope to provide a new series of restoration posts as before.