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Old 01-31-2017, 02:10 AM   #1
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The Albatross Chronicles; bird meets Blue Bird, silliness ensues

THE ALBATROSS CHRONICLES

“Look what followed me home", I've been telling friends the last few days.

Actually, with neither wings nor legs, Miss Albatross hitched a ride on my trusty all-purpose trailer behind the trusty Miss Millicent.
(For the long and sordid tale of Millicent, please see The Millicent Chronicles.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...gate-1564.html )




She is a Grumman HU-16 Albatross, which is an amphibious plane used primarily for search and rescue. I can still make out “CUE” on her starboard side. 466 of these were built from 1949 to 1961.

She appeared for sale in the most bucolic of local sales channels, among gently-used ladies fashions, children's items, and well-worn furniture. Perhaps I will name her Miss Incongruous.
And what on Earth possessed me to scroll thru such flea market (jumble sale) junk in the first place -- something I rarely do? And a mere hour after the ad appeared! Miss Serendipity? Miss Extra-Sensory Perception?

A dozen years ago, I came within a sneeze of scoring the complete fuselage of a British Aerospace Jetstream 31, located 400 US miles away.
Now, I simply could not pass up Miss Albatross, and only 50 US miles from home. My partner in Millicent and other shenanigans, Peter, was easily enlisted.

The seller, whose family is in the scrap metal line, related that they had cut up three Albatrosses a handful years ago, and all but these 15 feet had become beer cans and mobile home siding. He also said that at least two of them had been used in Mexico, and been fetched back north at some point before scrapping, on a purpose-built trailer.

My research found the planes for sale at Lampson Field in Lakeport, Northern California, in 2008. (Only 20 miles from my home!) They were then sold at auction on 30 May 2009 to the scrap people.


I’m researching her pedigree. We seem to have it down to two serial numbers. Both were built in 1955 for the US Navy, then passed on to Armada de Mexico in 1981, and finally returned to California where they were sold for scrap in May of 2009 – and here is a photo of her at that time:





You might enjoy seeing what a complete Albatross looks like, so…




For good measure, this one is using booster rockets (JATO) for takeoff.



Back to this particular bird….



That is how she appeared for sale last week.
And she is now settled into my back yard.

And what does this have to do with school buses?

You had to ask, didn’tcha.





It gets worse.



Not sure about the teeth, but….


I’m still considering whether to graft her to a conventional bus (dog nose), or a forward control (flat front with front engine, like Millicent). In either, we would perhaps move the engine rearward. In a forward control, we would definitely move the front axle forward. Stay tuned to this station.

How well would they fit together? Like Trump’s small hand in Simpson’s small glove.
At the bottom, Miss Albatross measures 94” across. Millicent measures around 95”. Once the bulkhead (wall) is gone, I bet she’ll flex right into place.

Six feet up, Albatross is down to 90”. More flexing, but we can also pull the bus walls in – by cutting out a long V in the middle of the roof.

The roof arch may be a challenge, but I have no doubt we can do a decent job of it. Or just hide it with a deck or other accessory.

She will need an automotive windshield.

There will be a roof-raise involved. There will be a roof-raise involved.

And of course, all the controls of the bus will be installed in the cockpit.

This thing will comply with the California Vehicle Code, down to the last mud-flap.

I’m not kidding about the back porch in that cobbled-together illustration. There will be a Social Gathering Venue back there.

The job will take several years.

And I will try to chronicle it here.
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Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...gate-1564.html
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:51 AM   #2
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You're a nut. But fun to watch.
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my bus build http://www.skoolie.net/gallery/Skoolies/Sped
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:48 AM   #3
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Hey Elliot --- I think we should go ahead and reserve you a place in the annual Houston Art Car Parade! That's the kind of stuff we LOVE here. It is the biggest and oldest celebration of vehicular weirdness on the planet. You guys would fit right in. I share my shop space with the director of the Art Car Museum.

30th Annual Houston Art Car Parade | April 8, 2017 | Powered by The Orange Show Houston Art Car Parade
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:57 PM   #4
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Q

That looks like a lot of fun!

The only thing I would be concerned about would be weight on the front axle. FE buses are already weighted heavily towards the front. Sticking even more weight forward could cause you some problems. I think perhaps your limiting factor is going to be tires.

But I am sure you will get it figured out!
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:36 PM   #5
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COOL
I wonder if when they were being built maybe they fuselage was trucked down a highway to some other plant for final assembly?
Thus the 94" width?
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:46 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Tango... Yeah, I know a couple Art Car people. Good fun. But Houston is rather far.

Cowlitz... I expect the weight on the front axle will be less than original.

Millicent's front axle scaled at 9,500 pounds when we drove her home in 2006.
Then we move the axle 43 inches (I just measured on Millicent) forward. Then we move the engine a similar amount rearward. The engine alone weighs 1,100 pounds dry.
And the bird is aluminum, and built for lightness.

Good thinking about the tires. 295/75R/22.5 is rated 6,175 pounds. So that's 12,350. No worries.
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Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:49 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
007... I cannot imagine that would have been a factor in the design of the plane. They would simply pick up the phone and get an oversize permit.
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Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...gate-1564.html
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:58 PM   #8
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Ya know, aerodynamics helps save fuel but your going to an awful lot of trouble to do so, LOL.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:12 PM   #9
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I gotta say this will be fun to follow. In your 1st post here you brought up OJ and his gloves not fitting. When you mentioned small hands I thought you might be getting political on us, (ie Trumps hands) and Coke shot out my nose. Get er done!
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:57 PM   #10
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,116
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
You are most welcome, ye Old Flatulent One.

And yes, life is supposed to be fun, daggnabbit!

And after today's measuring and brainstorming, I'm pretty sure I'm in the market for an early-to-mid-1990s Blue Bird Forward Control (flat front with engine up front next to the driver).
40 feet long = 84 pax.
Cummins B = 5.9, or C = 8.3 engine, or International DTA 466. May consider the International DTA 444 = 7.3, which is a V-8.
Must be mechanical.

No Cat.

Allison MT643 transmission. Or stick, of course. No electronic Allison.
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