September 2016 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.
As mentioned in the previous update, the right wing has been moved to storage after extensive repairs. The left wing has been brought into our restoration facility in the upright position in its cradle which allowed up to ten volunteers to work on both the top and bottom surfaces simultaneously. As with the right wing, the large aluminum panel directly under the left wing fuel tanks was badly corroded and required replacement. Once again one of our corporate donors - Peerless Tool and Machine Co. - stepped in to fabricate a new panel using their computer operated abrasive waterjet center to precisely trace and plot the old panel in order to cut the new one. We greatly appreciate the support by Peerless Vice President Casimir Kruzel, Jr. and machine operator Chris Wozniak. The new panel fit perfectly.
Both the left and right wingtips had extensive preexisting damage from the tornado that struck the museum in 1979. This along with water and corrosion damage necessitated extensive repairs. Volunteers Steve Seiser and Walt Esker saw to the restoration of both wingtips which have been primed and put in storage.
Once the work that could be done with the left wing in the upright position was completed it was time to lay it down on workbenches so we could begin to fit the flap and aileron to the wing. This will be a significant task since many of the bearings and mounts that join these components are badly rusted, damaged or missing altogether. Replacement bearings have been donated by RBC Bearings and Kaman Industrial Technologies and the mounts are to be fabricated by our own machinists.
A major challenge to the CBY-3 restoration is in the cockpit, which had been stripped of its instrumentation and seats before being acquired by NEAM. Volunteer John Smith, who had previously restored the cockpit of the museum's Douglas A-26 bomber, meticulously documented the disassembly of what was left of the CBY-3 cockpit. He then stripped out the old peeling paint from the interior and repainted with custom blended paint to match the original. John has now begun to repopulate the cockpit piping and instrumentation along with Ralph Redman who is in the process of researching and fabricating the missing overhead control panels.
After 18 months of steady progress the interior of the cargo bays has been stripped of old paint and the application of the primer coat has been completed. When this effort began the interior was badly soiled, having been the home to various wildlife for many years. The cleanup, stripping of old paint and making repairs was a major undertaking. We plan to begin the final interior painting next spring.
Photographs of the CBY-3 reveal that at times the main landing gear had small hubs over the wheel bearing seals. These hubs were missing from the aircraft and replacements could not be found. After determining the accurate size and contour of the original hubs we decided to recreate them using a 3D printer. Shown below is our machinist Sandy Brown who fabricated the new hubs.