Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

March 2017 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.


The structural reconstruction of the damaged right wing has been largely completed. This comprised several areas that had preexisting damage to the leading and trailing edges. All of the flap and aileron bearings were removed and either repaired or replaced. As the bearings and mounts were reinstalled the flap and aileron were temporarily installed to test their fit and motion. Once this was completed they were again removed to prepare the wing for initial priming. Once it is primed we will turn the wing over on the workbenches in order to make additional repairs and to prepare the top surface for priming. The original lifting hard points for both wings have been compromised due to rust and corrosion which necessitates lifting the wing by both ends. Our machinists have fabricated replacement lifting blocks to replace the originals and they will be installed when the top surface is accessible. This will make the future installation of the wings much easier since we will then be able to use a crane to hoist them into position.

The inner leading edge of the right wing prior to removal from the aircraft. In addition to the skin damage the leading edge former and supporting structures were also severed and required replacement.
Once the damaged structure was removed volunteers Doug Davis and John Bednarz fabricated and installed the replacement sections.
Preexisting damage to the trailing edge of the right wing.
Crewmembers "exercise" the right flap during test fitting
Test fitting of the aileron

While our primary focus for the last several months has been on the structural repairs to the wings, work proceeds steadily on many areas of the restoration.

Volunteer Wayne Dow has taken on the task of replacing all of the windows in the fuselage and cockpit. None of the original windows had survived while the CBY-3 sat abandoned in Baltimore before being acquired by the museum. Wayne has fabricated new windows for the fuselage and doors and is in the process of designing cockpit windscreens and side windows. This has also required extensive repairs to all of the latching mechanisms and mounting hardware.

Wayne Dow repairs the window mounting hardware on one of the entry doors.

Several of the large plywood floor panels have been fabricated to replace the badly deteriorated original panels. The old panels were removed early in the restoration and stored to be used as patterns for the replacements. As new panels are fabricated they will be put into storage for future installation.

The restoration of the cockpit has proceeded to the point where the rudder pedal assembly can be installed. This assembly came to us in pieces and needed extensive work, but we are grateful that most of the parts were with the aircraft. Since the parts did not come with instructions, volunteers Jim Bennett and John Smith managed to determine how they all went together.

One of two boxes of rudder pedal parts prior to restoration.
The completed rudder pedal assembly about to be installed in the aircraft.

Work continues on the reconstruction of the right accessory bay, which is located between the cockpit and the right landing gear wheel well. As mentioned in earlier updates, this area is one of the major challenges on the restoration due to the extensive corrosion damage to its structure. While new structures have been fabricated they cannot be installed until the bay has been stripped of old paint, primed and painted. This requires the removal of numerous equipment racks, electrical junction boxes, cabling and hydraulic lines, all of which are located in a difficult and confined area. Extensive documentation has been made in order to keep track of the cabling routing and connections and we have nearly completed the removal of these components. As they are removed they are turned over to a team of volunteers who restore each component and put them aside for later reinstallation.

The interior of the right accessory bay prior to the removal of 12 electrical junction boxes and numerous cables and hydraulic lines. Note that many of the cables had been cut, most likely when the aircraft was stripped of its navigation and communications gear after it was abandoned in Baltimore (c.1962).
Steve Seiser repairs some of the numerous minor dents and punctures on the CBY-3's nose.

Initial work has begun to address some of the superficial damage to the fuselage skin. The aircraft received numerous dents and punctures as a result of being peppered with debris from a tornado that struck the museum in 1979.

Work also continues on the left landing gear wheel well and engine firewall. This has proceeded to the point where a test fit of the custom modified left engine mount could be undertaken. We were pleased that the mount fit properly after the supports had been removed and welded back together in a configuration that fit the firewall. Since the original engine mounts were missing from the aircraft we modified a B-25 engine mount to serve our purpose.

The successful test fitting of the modified left engine mount and ring assembly.

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