RESTORATION DIARY
DOUGLAS DC-3

HISTORY

The Air Museum's DC-3 was one of thirteen DC-3-454 transports ordered by American Airlines but taken over by the Army Air Force as a C-49J while the plane was still on the Douglas production line in Santa Monica, CA. The completed C-49J, Serial Number 6314, was delivered on November 14, 1942 and remained within the United States during WW2 transporting troops. This aircraft was released from military service on April 3, 1945, converted back to a DC-3 and recertified by the FAA on October 12, 1945, and was subsequently operated by Eastern Airlines, Purdue University, Basler Flight Services, and Florida Airmotive Services. After accumulating 53,434 flight hours, the Museum purchased this aircraft on November 1, 1992 afterwhich it was flown to Bradley Airport and put on public display.

2022 Highlight #4

The original seats have been re-installed on the right-hand side of the aircraft following restoration. The first double seat on the left-hand side has also been installed.

2022 Highlight #3


Our talented restoration crew is at it again! The Douglas DC-3 is perhaps the most famous commercial airplane in the Museum's collection. Shown here is an updated look of the main cabin area. Last Tuesday our restoration team was able to secure the newly refinished luggage rack! They have also added the first window shade in the original Eastern Airlines orange color!

2022 Highlight #2


DC-3 Restoration Update: You can now enter our DC-3 in style! Shown here is the updated staircase, which has been carpeted by our talented restoration team.

2022 Highlight #1


The Douglas DC-3 is perhaps the most famous commercial airplane in the Museum's collection. Shown here is an updated look at the aircraft's cockpit. Since our last update the plywood flooring has been removed and replaced, with the pilot and co-pilots seats almost ready for installation. The team has also made great progress restoring the yoke, boot, and control stick. The radio rack, which is out of view, has been reconstructed piece by piece.

2021 Highlight #3

The Wright-Aeronautical R-1820 Cyclone 9 radial engine restoration is 80% complete. When finished, this engine will return to the DC-3 display area underneath the left wing to be enjoyed by NEAM visitors.

2021 Highlight #2

All of the five-person team have returned to the Wednesday DC-3 restoration schedule and continue to focus on the interior cockpit and passenger cabin areas.

2020 Highlight #3

o Restoration activity continues to be focused on the interior cockpit and passenger cabin areas. Although this work is slow and meticulous, the restoration team is looking forward to sharing the interior of the DC-3 with future museum visitors.

2020 Highlight #2

All seven of the single passenger seats are upholstered and returned for fit check installation. The passenger compartment headliner configuration is a forward to aft arrangement of multiple narrow and long material strips, the longest central piece just over 30 feet in length.

2020 Highlight #1

Work on the DC-3 paused in mid-March and resumed in late June consistent with the State of Connecticut Phase 2 reopening guidelines. Work focused on interior painting and control panel restoration.

2019 Highlight #2

The upper instrument panel and control switch console restoration is complete. Two overhead lights have been installed and energized in the forward compartment/cockpit aisle way to provide illumination for this dimly lit area.

2019 Highlight #1

The Museum's DC-3 arrived in 1992 with an interior layout containing 28 passenger seats, a decision was made to return the interior compartment to a 1940's configuration with a 21 passenger seat arrangement. Significant alteration and reinforcement of the existing seat frames was completed in early 2019.

2018 Highlight #4

The time consuming restoration of six interior sections continued during the 4th Quarter. The expanding scope of the interior renovations requires the expertise of additional restoration volunteers and special thanks to those new associates helping to bring our DC-3 back into prominence.

2017 Highlight #2

The Eastern Airlines livery scheme painting is now finished thanks to the continued financial support for the DC-3 restoration project by the John G. Martin Foundation in West Hartford, CT. With the Foundation's assistance, Creative Dimensions, Inc. in Cheshire, CT was contracted to hand paint the intricate Eastern Airlines 1940's lettering and logo motifs on the aircraft fuselage.

2017 Highlight #1

The Eastern Airlines livery color painting is underway with the detailed masking of the engine cowlings, rudder, and fuselage surfaces. EAL livery designs have been researched from period photographs and meticulously transferred to the NEAM DC-3 with masking tape.

2016 Highlight #2

The Florida Airmotive Services propeller blades had painted gray forward and black anti-glare aft surfaces which were stripped to the base aluminum metal condition in 2015. These surfaces are now being polished to a high luster condition using a multi-step dry and wet abrasive sanding process which also removes the majority of surface imperfections.

2016 Highlight #1

The right wing was relocated into the heated restoration building allowing aluminum skin polishing work to continue throughout the winter. The two-step polishing process developed in 2015 continues to yield good results with improved surface finish luster. At the end of the Quarter, all wing surfaces had received the Step 1 initial polish and 75% of the surfaces had also completed the Step 2 final process.

2016 Highlight #4

Restoration of the fabric covered rudder assembly is underway; the existing epoxy paint Taino Air color scheme has been removed by air gun blasting. Several fabric skin sections and rib reinforcements were replaced and all surfaces covered with a butyrate dope coating.

2016 Highlight #3

The previously restored nine cylinder Wright R-1820-71 radial engines were reinstalled onto the aircraft. The engine cowl flaps have been polished to match the luster of the aircraft fuselage. The propeller forward and aft surfaces have completed initial coarse polishing and have been wrapped awaiting reinstallation and final polish.

2015 Highlight #1

The first chunk of 2015 was spent polishing the aircraft. All underside wing surfaces were been polished and in mid-April, the left wing was returned to the storage building to begin the topside skin polishing and to recommence fuselage polishing forward of the wing box connection point.

2014 Highlight #2

Three Straube employees arrived in early June and efficiently completed two applications of the paint removal agent revealing the original aluminum aircraft surfaces. After the exposed skin surface was evaluated for surface corrosion, the polishing process began. Representatives from the Detailer Supply Co. in East Windsor, CT assisted in the selection of a polishing compound and weekly team polishing sessions proceeded from July thru December.

2014 Highlight #1

When acquired, the DC-3 was painted in the two-tone beige livery colors of Florida Airmotive/Taino Airlines. The renovation plan was to reconfigure the aircraft livery into a classic polished aluminum skin appearance popular with the major domestic airlines of the 1940s/1950s. Funding for the paint removal was obtained from a generous donation by the John G. Martin Foundation in West Hartford, CT.

2010 - 2013 Highlight

The initial project was an interior only renovation and all passenger cabin seating, windows, carpeting, ceiling headliner, side walls, and attendant station materials were removed. The project was then expanded to include all exterior aircraft surfaces at which time the interior renovation activity was halted. Propellers, engines, wings, horizontal stabilizer, and rudder components were removed and relocated.

Please check back in for more restoration updates.