DC-3 Restoration Activity

DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 3rd quarter of 2015 by crew member Carl Cruff.


Exterior

A multi-step polishing process was developed and implementation is underway to further enhance the luster of the aluminum aircraft skin. In addition to the initial application of polishing compound using orbital polishers, all surfaces will now receive a second treatment of "Meguiar's All Metal Polish" using newly acquired random orbital (dual action) polishers. The second treatment step reduces visual waviness, surface swirl marks, and helps to remove residual polishing compound resulting in an overall surface finish brightness improvement. The improved surface finish result more than offsets the extra skin polishing time. Fuselage polishing work in the unheated storage building will be ending by mid-November afterwhich the right wing will be returned to the heated restoration building to complete the first and second polishing steps.

Second step polishing application using random orbital polisher
Second step polishing process further improves aluminum skin luster
Aircraft fuselage polishing progress

Restoration work commenced on the propeller hub and blade assemblies. The propeller hub covers were removed and detailed, multi-step polishing activity is complete. The Florida Airmotive Services propeller blades had painted gray forward with black anti-glare aft surfaces which are being stripped to the base aluminum metal condition. A decision on the final propeller blade and hub assembly livery scheme will be made during the 4th Quarter of 2015.

Polished propeller hub covers
Propeller blade polishing process underway

Interior

The pilot and co-pilot seats, seat frames, and adjustment mechanisms have been removed from the aircraft and disassembled. The disassembled pieces were cleaned, appropriate old paint removed, and re-painted in a gloss gray finish. The adjustment mechanism reassembly is underway and new seat cushions will be fabricated. Typical of most aircraft cockpits, the DC-3 flight deck is cramped with limited access to attachment hardware resulting in slow but steady progress.

Completed Pilot and Co-pilot seats
Restored seat brackets and sliding adjustment mechanism
Completed pilot seat adjustment assembly

General

The DC-3 airline livery selection has been finalized and an Eastern Airlines scheme has been chosen. This selection is historically relevant as Eastern Airlines leased and then purchased the NEAM DC-3 after WW2, and Eastern Airlines inaugurated airline service into Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, CT in 1947. Preliminary research has started to select the period correct livery color scheme.


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