Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

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


This update marks the completion of the 4th year of the CBY-3 restoration and we estimate that the project is approximately 60 to 65% completed. Based on this estimate we feel we have about 30 months remaining before completion. The most difficult structural issues have been resolved and great progress has been made by our all-volunteer crew along with the support of our corporate sponsors over the previous 12 months. Some of the year's highlights include:

  • Completion of the interior preparation and priming
  • Completion of the right main landing gear and wheel well restoration. Work is underway on the left gear and wheel well
  • Completion of the reconstruction of the left accessory bay and fuselage structure; Work is underway on the reconstruction of the right accessory bay and fuselage
  • Mounting of all main and tail gear tubes and tires on their rims
  • A second moveable wing cradle was built to accommodate the left wing which had been stored outside awaiting restoration. The left wing was then hoisted into the cradle and moved into the restoration hangar
  • Completion of structural repairs to the left wing including the refurbishment of the flap and aileron bearings and mounts. The left wing has also received its initial coat of primer
  • Refurbishment of the left and right wingtips
  • Removal and restoration of the large cabin combustion heater
  • Removal of all cockpit assemblies, stripping of old paint and priming of the interior. Work continues on the cockpit instruments and panels
  • Work has begun on fabricating the permanent floor panels for the cargo bays
  • Work has also begun on fabricating all new windows for the fuselage

Ongoing work through December 2016

Due to the size of the CBY-3's wings and space limitations in our hangar it has been necessary to approach the restoration of the wings in stages. Earlier this year the right wing was brought into the hangar in an upright position in its moveable cradle. This allowed initial work to be completed on portions of the top and bottom surfaces. When this stage was completed the right wing was moved into storage and the left wing was brought in - also in the upright position - for similar work. As space became available in the restoration hangar the left wing was placed flat on workbenches where the remainder of its reconstruction was completed. The left wing was then primed, hoisted back into its cradle and returned to storage. The partially restored right wing was then brought back into restoration where the remainder of its reconstruction has begun.

The left wing positioned upside down on work benches allowing access to the flap and aileron mounts and bearings as well as the significant structural damage to the trailing edge.
A close-up of some of the preexisting structural damage to the left wing's trailing edge. This area is at the junction of the flap and aileron mounts.
The same area after the damaged sheet metal and underlying structures were removed.
The same area after fabrication and installation of the underlying structure and sheet metal. Also shown here are two of the five reconstructed aileron mount and bearing assemblies.
Once the structural repairs were completed to the wing and bearing assemblies it was time to test fit the left flap and aileron. Members of the restoration team manually operate the left flap during test fitting. The flap was then removed, primed and put into storage for future painting and installation.
With the structural restoration of the left wing completed, its surfaces were prepped and primed. The wing was again hoisted into its moveable cradle and put into storage to make room for the return of the right wing to our restoration area.
Volunteer Steve Seiser prepares the left wing for priming.
The completed left wing after initial priming.
The partially restored right wing - mounted upright in its cradle on the leading edge- makes its return to our restoration hangar.
The right wing after being hoisted from its cradle and placed topside down on work benches. This will allow access to a heavily damaged section of the trailing edge as well as all of the flap and aileron mounting hardware.
A close-up view of some of the preexisting damage along the trailing edge of the right wing. Much of the underlying structure in this area will need to be removed and new sections fabricated. The CBY-3 fuselage - bedecked with some Holiday decorations - can be seen in the background.
As seen from behind, the CBY-3 wide-body blended fuselage bedecked with some Holiday cheer after a very successful year undergoing restoration. Around the April 2017 timeframe we plan to begin preparing the exterior for priming and painting. We wish to thank all of our restoration volunteers, museum staff, our corporate sponsors, private researchers and contributors, and The William and Alice Mortensen Foundation which has helped fund the restoration of this unique and historic aircraft.

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