June 2015 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.
Steady progress continues in a number of areas including the reconstruction of the damaged area around the rear landing gear, interior painting, the wheel wells and main gear, the cockpit, and many of the components of the recently purchased engine cowls, mounts and exhaust stacks. Much of this critical work is incremental over time but is not readily visible at the current stage of restoration. This update will cover a few of the highlights, but this is a good opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of organizations and individuals who have provided both financial and material support, as well as those who have researched files and photos which will greatly assist us in accurately reproducing the details for our aircraft.
First and foremost, our restoration volunteers not only dedicate their time and talent to the project, but also pay annual membership dues which helps fund much of our ongoing work. In addition, they often supply their own tools and supplies. To date about 30 restoration volunteers have participated in one way or another on the CBY-3 project.
When large expenditures are incurred The William and Alice Mortensen Foundation has provided generous grants to defray these costs, which allowed us to purchase high quality materials and vintage parts consistent with the CBY-3's period of operation. To date the Foundation has funded the purchase of the engine cowls, mounts, exhausts, cowl flaps, sheet metal for repairs, and fabric materials and paint for restoring the rudders, ailerons and elevators. It has also funded a number of outside services that we could not perform in-house.
Ed Das of Kitchener, Ontario managed to find four serviceable main gear tires through the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources, which uses the same size tires on their Canadair firefighting aircraft. Ed not only worked to arrange acquiring the tires but also worked with trucking companies to handle the customs paperwork and shipping of the tires to our museum at no cost. The tires satisfied a major item on our restoration "wish list."
Very early in our restoration we were in contact with The Friends of Beacon Field Airport, an organization dedicated to preserving the history of Beacon Field - an airport that once existed in Fairfax County, VA. In 1957 the Burnelli CBY-3 was overhauled there by Mr. "Junie" Marshall and Mr. Paul Zimmer before returning to service. Harry Lehman and Anna Marie Hicks had a number of photographs of the aircraft which they shared with us including a very rare photo of the cockpit interior. You can visit The Friends of Beacon Field Airport website at http://www.beaconfieldairport.com .
Larry Pope of Austin, Texas has had a long interest in Burnelli's blended wing designs and contacted us shortly after our restoration began. Larry has compiled an impressive collection of print material and photographs pertaining to the CBY-3 and has provided us with several rare high quality color photographs and supporting material. We are using these color photos to guide us in reproducing the color scheme for our finished display. He has worked on static and RC models, given lectures as well as presentations at air shows and has been encouraged by professionals at Northrop Grumman, NASA and universities. You can see Burnelli's planes and designs along with some of what Larry is doing at www.burnelliaircraft.com. He has also been in contact with the University of Texas, to review their files on Vincent Burnelli (who was born in Temple, Texas) and has discovered a comprehensive flight evaluation dating from 1953 which he has forwarded to us.
The last replacement structural parts for the rear landing gear area have been made and are being installed by Tom Palshaw , Al Pereira and Doug Davis. Due to the extent of the pre-existing impact damage this was an intensive effort which involved removing the aluminum skin from the area and cutting out all of the damaged sections. Few of the removed parts could be salvaged so molds were constructed to form new parts that are now being riveted in place. Replacement aluminum sheet metal has been purchased and once the underlying structure has been completed we can begin to reskin the area and install the rear gear, which has already been restored and is in storage.
John Bednarz (left) and Doug Davis assemble our "new" engine cowls. The originals were missing from the CBY-3 when it was acquired. The cowls still need to be stripped of paint and require quite a few repairs before they are repainted and mounted on our Wright R-2600 engines.
Some of the components we are looking to acquire include: