"THE GREAT GAZOO"
- Apr 9, 2005
I helped an owner/ operator maintain a PBY for a few years and it was a corrosion nightmare even though the last operator seemed have maintained well (it was operated in Spain as a fire bomber). Although manufactured way later, some of the east block aircraft I worked on (MiG-15s, L29s, L39s) had little or no corrosion issues on the airframes, the hardware seemed to be more susceptible to corrosion.Corrosion is the big problem with most WWII aircraft, often triggered by galvanic action of dissimilar metals, i.e. steel bolt in aluminum fittings. Cables will corrode internally although they look good visually, usually failing around pulleys where stresses build up. Some places are near impossible to inspect or lubricate.
Rubber has a limited life, especially when exposed to liquids of all types which may interact. Gas tank self sealing bladders and de-icing boots are a special issue.
Remember a lot of wood was used and weathers badly ... and glues vary in longevity. I know of two accidents caused when a good looking wooden instrument panel suddenly fell apart due to engine vibration alone, and a BT-13 crashed when the wooden pilot seat collapsed in a moderate G manuver.
Don't trust any fabric more than 5 years old.
Remember, these craft were planned for a service life of max 5 years, and were expected to be obsolete by then.
Agree with your assessment on fabric and wood. I saw a Pitts basically shrink itself apart when it was brought to SoCal from Washington state.