Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

February 2016 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.


The right wing has been brought into the restoration hangar and will require extensive restoration to reverse years of exposure to the weather and to repair preexisting damage to the skin. Upon removal from the aircraft the wing was mounted in a moveable cradle on its leading edge which allowed access to the bottom wing panels. One large lower panel was badly corroded in an area directly below the wing fuel tanks. Removing the lower panel was a chore since the 125 steel mounting screws were rusted to the internal mounting nut plates. This necessitated drilling out the screws and then removing 250 rivets in order to replace the nut plates. Once the main panel was removed we were pleasantly surprised to find that the aluminum fuel tanks were in excellent shape and will not need to be removed as we had anticipated. Areas of corrosion to the underlying structures will be removed and new structural pieces will be fabricated.

The 33 foot long right wing about to undergo a major restoration effort
The badly corroded 6 foot long wing panel after removal from the right wing
The new replacement panel which was fabricated using a computer operated abrasive water jet machining tool

We are grateful for the ongoing support of Peerless Tool & Machine Company in Enfield, CT, who fabricated a replacement panel using their OMAX Water Jet Machining Center with integrated CAD/CAM system. Peerless has been a long-time supporter of the Museum and has assisted us on this and other restoration projects.

Volunteers Fern Albert (left) and Flavio Cappelletti Detach the right wing tip
Al Pereira begins the process of repairing or replacing many of the wing access panels
Removal of the bottom wing panel permitted inspection of the three right wing fuel tanks, which were in surprisingly good shape
Volunteers Doug Clancy (left) and Connie Lachendro begin the repairs to the corroded understructure

To the left and right of the cockpit are small accessory bays which housed communication and navigation equipment and aircraft batteries. The floor structures, which are integral to the overall rigidity of the fuselage, were very badly corroded requiring removal of a number of beams and supports. All of this work was done in a very confined and difficult workspace. Volunteers John Bednarz and Doug Davis stripped out the equipment racks and components in order to gain access to the damaged areas. They then managed to remove the many rivets holding what was left of the structure and used the remnants as a pattern to fabricate new sections. They have installed the structural replacements and are now in the process of completing the restoration of the left accessory bay. This will involve priming and painting the area and reinstallation of the equipment racks. We are in the process of acquiring vintage radio and navigation equipment which will be installed in these accessory bays at a later time.

This is the badly corroded structural floor of the left accessory bay which contributes to the integrity of the forward fuselage
The same section reassembled after removal from the aircraft. The small silver section in the center is a test sample to determine the proper bends for fabrication of replacements
The replacement floor structure after installation in the left accessory bay

As mentioned in previous updates we appreciate the support of individual researchers and contributors, and Larry Pope has provided us with many photos and support materials regarding Vincent Burnelli's blended fuselage designs. There are very few color photographs of the CBY-3 however. Larry has used these rare photos to create a computerized image of the aircraft in the color scheme we intend for our display. Larry's contributions continue to be much appreciated

A computer generated image of the basic color scheme (without exterior markings) planned for the CBY-3. Image courtesy of Larry Pope

© New England Air Museum 2016
36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT,
860-623-3305