The Heritage Team has started one of its biggest winter projects.  The rotor blades of the two helicopters in the park  have been stressed by winter snow falls over the past few years.  One of the H-21  Piasecki blades actually broke, as the wood interior had rotted over many years of being subjected to weather.

 

H 21 rotor blade interior.

 

This past summer the Labrador blades were cut down to approximately 6 feet and capped to alleviate some of that stress (thank-you 19 Wing workshops).  This is a common practice for many museums that display aircraft outdoors.

 

Lab with shortened rotor blades.

 

Lab rotor blade cap.

 

Under the guidance of our resident metal expert, new volunteer John, the team has begun the long process to manufacture prototype rotor blades for the Piasecki.  With so much interior damage, the only alternative was to strip all the wood structure, leaving just the metal rod (torque tube).  The team will create new aluminum ribs and then cover them with an aluminum skin.  The goal is to get as close as possible to the “look” of the original blades.

 

Completing the cardboard templates for the ribs.

 

H 21 rotor blade – first aluminum rib template.

 

Lots of work ahead.  We will post updates as the project progresses.