DC-3 Restoration Activity

DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 4th quarter of 2016 by crew member Carl Cruff.


General

The November completion of the Sikorsky CH-54B Tarhe helicopter restoration and relocation to the Military Hangar for display was also a significant event for the DC-3 restoration team. The DC-3 fuselage was moved into the main restoration building space previously occupied by the CH-54B and all future polishing, component repairs and refurbishment, and reassembly activities will occur within this building. Additionally, the restoration specialists previously working on the CH-54B have agreed to focus on the DC-3 project, increasing the restoration team size by over 400%! Mr. Tom Palshaw has been assigned as Technical Lead while Mr. Rick Centore has been assigned the Project Coordinator Lead. An aggressive exterior restoration completion and return to museum display date of April 2017 has been established to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the inaugural commercial airline service at Bradley Field by an Eastern Airlines DC-3 in 1947.

Mr. Bill Hirsch recently visited the New England Air Museum and the DC-3 restoration team to discuss the Eastern Airlines livery color schemes and interior cabin arrangements in use in the 1946-1950 time periods. Bill is a retired Eastern Airlines employee, lives in Long Island, NY, and is the current President of the Eastern Airlines Historical Association. Bill provided a notebook with photographs for several "The Great Silver Fleet" livery schemes in use during the post WW2 period. The Eastern Airlines livery scheme for the NEAM DC-3 will be finalized early this year.


Exterior

The previously restored nine cylinder Wright R-1820-71 radial engines were reinstalled onto the aircraft and the engine/aircraft attachments reconnected. The engine cowl flaps have been polished to match the luster of the aircraft fuselage. The multi-piece engine cowlings are being inspected, repaired as needed, and polished prior to reinstallation. The propeller forward and aft surfaces have completed initial coarse polishing and have been wrapped awaiting reinstallation and final polish.

DC-3 fuselage inside the restoration building with the installed right engine
Wright R-1820-71 right engine close-up
Polished engine cowling section
Polished and protected propellers waiting installation

Restoration of the fabric covered rudder assembly is underway; the existing epoxy paint Taino Air color scheme has been removed by air gun blasting and all fabric surfaces and rib reinforcements inspected for cracking and tears. Several fabric skin sections and rib reinforcements were replaced and all surfaces covered with a butyrate dope coating. Follow-on dope layers with a silver tint will be applied resulting in a smooth, durable, surface coating. The DC-3 wing flaps are of the split trailing edge type extending between the outboard wing attachment flanges. The four wing flaps previously removed from the aircraft have been inspected for corrosion and, when needed, sheet metal replacement pieces have been fabricated and installed. The final aluminum skin fuselage section beneath the cockpit needing the Step 1 polishing process is underway; by mid-January 2017 all aluminum skin fuselage section polishing will be complete (finally!).

Rudder fabric refurbishment
Wing flap panel corrosion repair
Fuselage skin polishing beneath the cockpit section

We would like to offer a big "Thank You" to the numerous Museum volunteers and patrons who have been following and supporting this project since 2010!

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