Sunday, October 6, 2013
One of the items we found in my dad's footlocker was a photographic analysis of the assembly of the windshield for the Bell P-39 Aircobra. Dad put a lot of credence in keeping and understanding manuals for the installation and maintenance of parts on any vehicle that he had. He always stressed that a manual would save you a lot of grief when you had to repair something.
<---- This is the title page for a photo analysis of the installation of windshields on the P-39. It is illustrative of the skill and hand labor involved in the assembly of aircraft and how complex it was to put them together. The stereotype that the assembly line manufacture of aircraft was robotic in nature couldn't be further from the truth.
The installation of the windshield was done at assembly line station 12. The assembly line was a series of stops or stations where either the plane was assembled progressively from parts or where equipment was installed. You will also notice that it is operation 9 which implies that several parts were installed at the station before it moved on to the next step in the assembly line. We will be looking at how the windshield was installed as a way to show how an airplane was assembled. Dad probably kept it as a reference in case he had to repair a windshield tat was damaged on a P-39 if he was assigned the task.