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The PT-19: The Roll Bar

April 7, 2019

I’d like to have this model be an accurate representation of the actual plane. I noticed that in all of the pictures of the actual plane, there is a structure between the two cockpits. My initial interpretation was that it served as a brace for the wings; a typical setup in the early days of monoplanes. Typically, there would be rigging supporting the wingtips but none of the PT-19s had the rigging.

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At a swap meet, I met a guy who had a very nice PT-19 model and I asked him, “What is that?”. I had one of those “slap my forehead” moments when he told me it was a device to prevent the pilots from being crushed should the plane flip onto it’s back; a roll bar of sorts. I have also seen it referred to as a pylon or a roll cage, but have not seen an “official” name for it.

At any rate, I felt like I needed one and it seemed simple enough. Rather than just stick on something that looked right, I decided to make it functional — although if this plane lands inverted, I’ll have more problems than crushed pilots and windscreens. I cut out the parts from plywood stock and glued them together with CA glue.

I then placed a piece of sandpaper in the location between the cockpits and shaped the ends to conform to the curved surface. I placed a dab of Elmer’s glue on the ends of the pylon, located it in place, and removed it which left marks where I needed to cut out mounting tabs.

April 8, 2019

I carefully cut out the mounting holes, ensuring that they were equal depth.

I mixed up some JB Weld epoxy, glued it in place, and clamped it while it dried.

I painted it to match the top surface. It appears to be a little out of scale, but is a functional addition to the model. One can actually pick up the plane using the roll bar.