Vultures Row Aviation in Cameron Park, California specializes in the restoration and reproduction of World War II Warbirds. Many have been shot down or recovered from oceans and jungles. All being rebuilt or repaired with surgical precision, newly fabricated parts or hand shaped panels.
President, metal shaper and visionary Chuck Wahl is a rare breed. With his gritty, matter-of-fact disposition, he doesn’t sugarcoat anything and tells it like it is. He doesn’t care, he’s busy and doesn’t have time for nonsense, he has a job to do. He doesn’t want to hear “it can’t be done” because Chuck will find a way.
Although this may sound super stressful to the average Joe, Chuck is living the dream, his passion. Each plane, each part, each panel has a little piece of him and his talented crew in it. What a rewarding job!
Vultures Row is like a walking Baileigh commercial. Everywhere you turn, there is a guy running a panel through one of our metal shaping machines with a big ol’ smile on his face. These guys are passionate about metal shaping and they take this stuff seriously. No joke, I think we might have even spotted a few #baileigharmy tattoos during our tour last week.
The MH-19 Multi Hammer is used for “impossible to make pieces” like the nose bowl of a 1943 “Birdcage” Corsair, with it’s crazy 140-degree double compound curve. Pre-stretching is required to message the aluminum into shape.
The EW-37HD English Wheel is used to stretch and form the aluminum panels, like Mom using a rolling pin on that apple pie crust on Sunday morning…. technical shaping at its finest (wink wink) It can also be outfitted with a rubber coated upper die to create “form” without disrupting the “shape” of the panel.
The MSS-14H Hydraulic Shrinker / Stretcher is by far Chuck’s most popular tool. He had an old Lancaster style shrinker / stretcher that took forever to use. He purchased the MSS-14H to double the capacity in his shop by having two machines…well….the plan backfired as none of his guys will use the old one anymore, they would rather wait in line to use the Baileigh. Its extremely unique jaws are reversible and can shrink or stretch metal with the push of a pedal. No more kicking!
The BR-16E-36 Bead Roller is a beast that will roll 16-gauge steel in its sleep and sports a massive 36” throat allowing room for large parts or panels to fit through the machine.
The R-M40 Roll Bender (sometimes called a pyramid roll or section bender) is used daily to create slight bends or an arching radius in material. A simple pinch roll created pressure as the material rolls through the machine.
Follow Chuck and the Vultures Row crew on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/vulturesrowaviation/