20230303 081226 Copy
Trial fitting the restored engine accessory bay cowlings to the diaphragm. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Assembling Accessory Bay Cowlings:

After restoring the engine accessory bay cowlings and the diaphragm, Pioneer Aero had to ensure that they fitted together properly as an entire assembly. This is where the Banshee-based MGM wind machine came in handy, since the A-24B is virtually identical to an SBD-5 Dauntless. Pioneer technicians had already bolted the SBD's engine mount to the cut-down A-24 fuselage, so it was then simply a matter of attaching the diaphragm and assembling the associated accessory bay cowling sections to determine how well they went together. Such flexible components often take a little 'persuading' to connect correctly, but the images below reveal an excellent result.

Trial Fitting the Engine:

Once Pioneer had proven that the accessory bay cowlings assembled correctly, it was time to verify whether the engine and various ancillary components meshed properly with the diaphragm. To achieve this task, the technicians had to remove the engine mount from the Wind Machine again. Strange as it may seem, it is easier to first bolt the mount to the engine before attaching the entire assembly to the firewall. While the Wright R-1820 Cyclone engine used in this process appears both complete and in immaculate condition, it is a presently non-functioning example, serving simply as a mockup for component alignment purposes.

Assembling Accessories:

With the engine and its mount attached to the wind machine's firewall, Pioneer's technicians then began the process of bolting on various ancillary components, such as the diaphragm, exhaust manifold and induction ductwork, to check their fit. Everything went together exactly as it was supposed to.