Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

August 2014 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.


A major milestone was reached with the move of the CBY-3 fuselage out of the weather into our restoration facility and mounted on jack stands. This represents the first time the aircraft has had a roof over it in some fifty years! The restoration crew can now begin the painstaking work of completely refurbishing the interior and exterior. Disassembly of the cockpit and the structural damage to the rear landing gear area has begun and the restoration will now proceed uninterrupted by weather.

With the wings off, the CBY-3 is moved into our retoration hangar.
Volunteer Doug Davis begins the disassembly of the cockpit compoments.
Volunteer Ed Grening restores the cockpit roof escape hatch.
Crew Chief Harry Newman with the four replacement main landing gear tires.

The CBY-3 was designed for soft field operations such as landing on gravel and turf. As such it had four main landing gear tires and two tail gear tires. Two of the main gear tires were missing and the remaining two were in poor condition. We discovered that the same size tire was still in production and is currently used on the Canadair 415L firefighting aircraft in Canada. One of our online CBY-3 fans, Ed Das, of Kitchener, Ontario volunteered to try to find four used but serviceable tires through contacts in The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in Canada. Ed was successful in finding four main gear tires that were removed from MNR aircraft during normal scheduled replacement. He then went on to arrange transportation and customs clearance through Manitoulin Transport in Canada and New England Motor Freight in the US. The four tires arrived at our facility in August and are perfect for our purposes.

Work has begun on refurbishing the wheel wells and landing gear in preparation for mounting the tires. We greatly appreciate Ed’s contribution to our project as well as that of the MNR, Manitoulin Transport and New England Motor Freight.

Volunteer Don Durner begins the restoration of the landing gear and wheel wells.
German exchange student George Weissbrot with the CBY-3 tail booms and flight control structures.

The aileron, elevators and rudders, which were all stripped of old paint and structurally repaired over the winter months have been primed in preparation for receiving a new fabric covering. The twin tail booms – previously restored and in storage – also received a coat of primer. George Weissbrot, an exchange student from the Military University of Hamburg, Germany, assisted with the preparation and priming of these components.


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36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT,
860-623-3305