The norseman aircraft as most people know uses a welded steel tubing fuselage, elevator, flaps and ailerons covered with fabric and wooden wings and stabilizer also covered with fabric. Some time ago, probably in the 60's (don't worry about details, Bob Noorduyn will email me with all the details when he reads this and I will rewrite it)
a fellow in Texas decided to cover the fuselage with aluminum strips about 6-8 inches wide and to build from scratch aluminum wings and horizontal stabilizer. The fabric covered control surfaces would remain. At the same time it was decided to install one huge door in the left side. Jigs were built for the wings and the project completed. Just a few details for the metal benders. The skins were butt joined and the wings were wet wings with 70 imperial gallon capacity each. The main spar was a 24 foot long C section made in by splicing 2 12 foot sections. The steel parts from the wooden wings were used in the new aluminum wings. The aircraft ended up in Canada registered as UUD and operated by Bud Mallory and later Barney Lamb (OCA). OCA removed the metal wings from UUD and installed wooden wings. It operated in Red Lake for years in this configuration with OCA and later Wings Aviation. (See UUD stories to follow).
OCA then built OBE into an all metal Norseman, using the metal wings, with a huge door on each side. The Transport Canada engineering people took one look and said forget it, so it was returned to a regular size door Norseman and operated by OCA in Red Lake. When Green Airways bought out the old OCA operation a few years and owners later they inherited OBE the only all metal Norseman. At this time OBE is being repainted by the Green Airways crew. (pictures follow) There are still several Norseman flying with metalized fuselages but OBE is the only all metal Norseman
The left door on UUD was so big that I once loaded a 300 gallon fuel tank inside to take to Boois Wilderness Lodge on Trout Lake, The tank wouldn't quite fit but a handy piece of 2 inch iron pipe was all that was necessary to install a strategically placed dent in the tank to enable it to slip in.
Not to be out done Jeff Kitely loaded up 4 people and a 12 foot aluminum punt inside.
The best UUD story of all has to be the phantom tank. When UUD had the metal wings with their huge fuel capacity it was assumed that the belly tank was removed and when the fabric wings were reinstalled it was again assumed that the belly tank had not been reinstalled. UUD was operated under these conditions for many years with pilots carefully planning their fuel especially on long trips since they only had 100 gallons to draw from. When Dave Harvey redid the interior of UUD, you guessed it, he found there was a fully functional belly tank and to top it off, it still had 10 gallons of gas in it.
The stripping and painting of OBE gives a great opportunity to see how the metal conversion was done.
fuselage being stripped Robby and Jason stripping wing refinished panel doors repainted Ingrid doing some detail work The cowls ready for trim Upper fuselage being stripped see 6-8 inch wide strips of aluminum A view of the strips from the interior looking into aft tunnel The aluminum stabilizer all stripped and ready for paint. The finished wing. Note the double row of rivets for the butt joined skins.
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