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Next find how much fabric will be required for the planes by
measuring the chord of the planes (from the leading to the
trailing edge) and doubling it not forgetting to allow extra for
Where a plane has ailerons, the distance across the planes
will not be so much. Measure how many widths will be
required according to the length of the plane. Then you join
all the lengths together with a double balloon seam and affix
to the plane by passing round the leading edge.
The fabric should be tacked with brass or copper tacks
along the solid compression rib where the plane bolts on to
the centre cellule, and fixed to the ribs by stabbing or cane
Then give the plane the first coat of dope, after the stabbing
and the sewn, and the tacked parts should be covered with
strips of fabric and all the flanges that project through the
fabric must have a parch neatly fitted around them.
The remaining coats of dope, 4 or 5 in number, should now
be put on and when quite dry and drum tight, should be
finished off with varnish as per previous instructions.
Method of Applying Dope
(1) The fabric must be dry.
(2) Apply in a warm place, the temperature of the air in the
room being about 70°F. If possible in summer it may be
applied in the open if fine.
The presence of moist air will make the dope dry white.
(3) The first coat should be liberally applied with a large firm
flat brush, and should be well worked into the fabric.
(4) After the first coat is dry four or five more coats should be
applied thinly and evenly with a soft brush.
Each coat should be applied quickly and lightly without
working (which produces bubbles) and should be allowed to
dry thoroughly before the application of the next coat.
(5) The drying should be preferably done in a drying room at
a temperature of about 70°F,
But satisfactory results are obtained at a normal temperature
in a dry place.
(6) Dope is usually supplied suitable for application, and no
thinning is necessary, unless evaporation has taken place
due to exposure of open containers. In this case use only
proper thinning solution for the dope, which is being used.
(7) After 5 or 6 coats of dope the surface should be
Upper surfaces 2 coats of pigmented oil varnish. Lower
surfaces 2 coats of transparent varnish.
For Land Machines—
Upper surfaces of pigmented oil varnish. NB no varnish on
lower surfaces of land machines.
8 Keep the can closed when not in use, and pour out only
what is required for immediate use.
In the December issue of Aerogram Cecil’s notebook will
cover the rigging and assembly of aircraft. Sincere thanks to
Nick Caudwell for arranging for the inclusion of the article.
Bruce Thomas writes:
Cecil Valentine Cuss was born in England, February 14th
1900 and raised in Cirencester in Surrey. He joined Rolls
Royce as an apprentice coachbuilder in 1915 and joined
the RFC #132944 on 4 March 1918. The RFC became
the RAF on 1 April 1918.
A few notes from the front of the notebook cover some of
Monday March 4th Whitehall 2/9p (I assume this is pay)
Hounslow and Charlton Park Tuesday 5th March
1st trade test Thursday 7th South Farnborourgh 4/6p
Friday 8th 2nd test passed 2/6p
Sunday 10th Blandford Camp
Monday 11th Fort Stamford Plymouth
We believe he went back to Rolls Royce to complete his
apprenticeship after the war ended. He then went to New
Zealand at about age 25 to work as a coach builder,
enjoying many sports including deer shooting, and motor
bike racing. His machine of choice was a Harley-Davidson.
In his early thirties he returned to England where he met
and married Annie Pilgrim in 1933. In 1935 they travelled
to India as Cec was employed by the Nizam of Hyderabad
to run the body building division of the Hyderabad railway
and bus company. This company imported Leyland bus
chassis, building replicas of the double-decker London
buses. In India two daughters were born, Dianna Francis
in 1940 and Patricia Mary (“Tricia” my wife) in 1942. Due
to the outbreak of the Indian civil war, Anne and the girls
left India in 1947 for Melbourne, leaving Cecil to assist
with the evacuation of British citizens from jungle areas
near Hyderabad. He came to Australia in 1948.
The family settled in Bentleigh, Melbourne, where Anne
ran a ladies’ hairdressing business from home; my mother
was a client of Anne’s, thereby hangs a tale!
Cec suffered an angina heart condition in 1954 which left
him largely incapacitated; he died in November 1976.
While Tricia has many photos of her Dad, she has only
one small shot of Cec in his RAF uniform taken during
1918 (below). He was a fascinating chap with whom I
was always pleased to discuss life’s experiences.
Aerogram September 2009
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