Final structural work
In just a few days time, the team in Auburn will be assembled the final structural component of the L-1649A, thus achieving another very important milestone on the path toward the Super Star becoming airborne.
"The structure will be concluded by the end of March," says Project Manager Andreas Pakszies as he outlines one of the current goals of his team in Auburn and goes on to say: "Some 60 employees are currently working on the Super Star project with great energy and enthusiasm. We are making excellent progress thanks to this experienced team."
There is a changing of the guard in terms of the management of Super Star Engineering. Dr. Rainer Sebus has been replaced by Tom Blakely – former Vice President Engineering at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Pakszies: "It was a stroke of luck that we were able to win such a high-profile successor as Tom Blakely for Rainer Sebus, who is now devoting himself to new challenges within the Lufthansa Technik Group. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rainer Sebus sincerely for his work on the Super Star project from 2011 to date."
The progress is immediately obvious at a glance inside the hangar at Auburn-Lewiston Airport. The nose landing gear on the Super Star is mounted, installation of the mainframes is complete and the most striking change compared with the previous appearance, the tailplane is back in its original position in the tail section of the Lockheed. The structural assembly of the tail units took place at floor level in the hangar for the sake of accessibility. Once the last fuselage panel has also been finally mounted in a few weeks time, the team can reflect proudly on a great moment in the Super Star project.
Other components, such as the main landing gear, are likewise ready for installation, though assembling them would make future work on connecting the nacelles more difficult; the nacelles also act as the landing gear shafts on the L-1649A. Pakszies: "It makes no sense to duplicate work here simply to document project progress to the outside world." The final upgrading and fitting of the nacelles, which are currently in Florida for overhaul, is planned from May.
Work on the aircraft fuselage is progressing well in parallel with the completion of the structure. The first components, which will subsequently house the flight instruments, are installed in the flight deck. Further components, such as the newly supplied "septum" for shielding the passenger cabin from any fuel vapors in case of an extremely unlikely leakage from the center tank, are likewise ready for installation and will be installed in the aircraft in accordance with the detailed project schedule.