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"Project Re-Buc"

1937 Berkeley "Super Buccaneer"
Rebuild Project Session #2

By Tommy Gray
AMA 17063

After I removed all the old covering and started inspecting the airframe, I discovered a lot of weak parts, and stuff that needs replacing due to age.  When I checked out the side sheeting on the fuselage, I found that it was very brittle and easily cracked, so I removed it.  During the process several outside formers basically disintegrated and had to be replaced.  There were also a few diagonals and other parts that needed to be replaced.  In the pictures below you can see that I found a pretty ragged structure, but nothing that will be too hard to rectify.  A lot of the problems were from the multiple rebuilds the plane has undergone through the years, and some were problems with the original build.

The darker wood you see in the picture above is from the original 1937 Berkeley kit.  The lighter wood is from subsequent rebuilds.  The lightest is what I just put on it.  I am going to have to make new landing gear as the old wire is rusted, and pitted, and looks like it could break if subjected to much strain.  I went to the local hardware store and got some new wire, so I have what I need to replace it with.  I finally finished up my first of December SAM secretary chores (December is my busiest month of the year) and now I have time to get seriously into the rebuild.  I am especially wanting to finish it soon, as I have another large project waiting in the wings that I really want to get to. I will share what it is a little later but not right now.  Now that the hardest part of my SAM duties is behind me for a few days, I will start working on the "Buc" with a vengeance next week, in hopes that I can finish it by Mid January.

As you can see in the picture below, there is a ton of room for radio gear in the Super Buccaneer.  The pushrods from the previous installation are still in place as are the servo mounting rails, and the box i put the radio and battery pack in which can not be seen too clearly in this picture. Previously it has had 72 MHz radio gear but this time, since I have converted totally to 2.4, there will be a nice JR dual receiver radio in it.  Nothing is too good for my old "Buc".

As shown below, there is a lot of room in the nose for the new Anderson Spitfire engine I am putting in the plane this time. I will build an old "Ladder" type mount for the engine, and ignition gear much like the plane had in in back in the day.

The new engine is a lot more powerful than the old Super Cyclone .60 I had in it years ago. You can see that the Anderson Spitfire .65 is a beautiful engine.

Compared to the old Super Cyclone, it is larger and in my opinion better looking as you can see below. The Super Cyclone has the orange fuel tank. There are a lot of similarities but the Anderson is much sturdier, and heavier built.  The Super Cyclone is a great engine and has given me a lot of airtime, but I look forward to having the extra power in the Super Buccaneer that the Spitfire will provide.

Here is a look at the tail feathers before I had a chance to clean them up.  Note the airfoil shaped stab.  A couple of the reproduction Super Buccaneer kits I have seen do not have the airfoil stab and are not in my opinion a legal SAM airplane, as the rules state that you cannot change the airfoil.

This picture from the bottom of the fuselage gives you an idea of just how big this bird really is.

The old Luan based plywood that is in the original Berkeley kit for the landing gear is going to be replaced with some 1/4" good aircraft grade plywood when I rebuild the gear.  The landing gear replacement will be the first thing on the agenda as I continue the rebuild next week.  I need it done,  as I want to get all the planking replaced and install the engine mount next week.  At least that is the plan at this point.  The Christmas holidays are upon us so I don't know how much of a problem I will have fending off the family as I try to get in some work on the project.  Wish me luck!!

More to come.....Tommy!

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