Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

November 2015 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.


The structural repairs to the lower aft fuselage have been completed. This represents the successful reconstruction of a major challenge in the CBY-3 restoration effort and involved a great deal of design and fabrication of replacement components. We were very fortunate to have Tom Palshaw take the lead on this. Tom spent his career with Bombardier Aerospace working on their line of business jets and his experience and expertise has been invaluable in solving many of the knotty issues associated with this project.

Work has resumed on the fabric resurfacing of the flight control surfaces. Due to space limitations in our restoration hangar the work was suspended on these components during the summer months. Anti-chafing tapes have been applied and sealed in preparation for the fabric covering.

Another major challenge for this project was the acquisition of engine mounts and cowls which were missing from the aircraft. Two complete vintage sets were purchased through a grant from the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation. These components required significant restoration which was completed by Doug Davis, John Bednarz and Barry Cowles. The cowlings have now been primed and mounted on our Wright R-2600 engines. They will receive final painting after mounting on the aircraft. We have determined that the engine mounts require modification to mate with the CBY-3 firewalls. This necessitates the removal and precise repositioning of two of the four supports on each of the mounts. Doug and John redesigned the mounts to fit the firewalls and are in the process of having them welded in the new configuration. We will then test fit the mounts to the firewalls before installing them on our engines.

All interior surfaces of the forward cargo bay of the wide-body CBY-3 has been prepped and primed and work is now proceeding to do the same for the rear cargo/passenger bay. Jerry Abbatello has painstakingly removed many layers of old peeling paint and primed all of the surfaces. The result has been dramatic.

The restoration of the right main landing gear, led by Don Durner, is nearing completion. This also was an intensive effort to address years of rust and corrosion while working in a very confined and difficult area of the aircraft. The wheel well is now being repopulated with the many parts and assemblies that were removed over a year ago when this effort began. We have now effectively completed two of the three landing gear systems and wheel wells (right main and rear) and work will soon begin on the left main gear and wheel well.

As mentioned in earlier updates, one of the features of the CBY-3 was the in-flight accessibility to the landing gear retraction mechanisms in the case of a gear failure. This resulted in the installation of many access hatches and doors. Including cargo and passenger doors there were 18 doors and access hatches, all of which were in advanced stages of decomposition requiring extensive craftsmanship to restore them. Two of these access hatches were missing and had to be designed and built from scratch. Bill Pack has been instrumental in this effort along with a number of other volunteers. Bill has completed the fabrication of the last two access hatches and we finally have all 18 doors and hatches completed and stored for future installation.

As we wrap up the third year of the project the all-volunteer CBY-3 crew would like to extend our thanks and best wishes to the many corporate and private contributors, researchers, and foundations for their ongoing support of the restoration of this unique and historic lifting body/blended-fuselage aircraft.


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