The Museum's CBY-3, built by the Canadian Car and Foundry, was the last of Vincent Burnelli's "lifting fuselage" aircraft. Two Wright engines were mounted side-by-side on the forward edge of the fuselage and instead of a conventional tail the CBY-3 had twin tail mounted booms that extended rearward from the main fuselage. While most aircraft designs have circular cross-section fuselages, the Burnelli has a 20 foot wide rectangular cross-section. The fuselage is in the shape of an airfoil which allows it to assist the wings in providing lift. This results not only in a wide-body cabin, but also gave the plane impressive performance. It could carry a ton more payload than a DC-3 and needed only 650 feet to takeoff.

A prolific designer, Burnelli believed that his design was stronger, safer and more efficient than conventional designs. Although eight prototypes were built between 1923 and 1945, none gained acceptance from the aircraft industry nor achieved production. This is the sole remaining Burnelli example and the only CBY-3.

Prior to the Air Museum acquiring the CBY-3 “Loadmaster” from Friendship Airport in Baltimore in 1972. It had been abandoned for ten years and during that time the engines, engine mounts and cowls had been stripped from the aircraft, as well as the cockpit instrumentation. The CBY-3 had also been vandalized and had incurred structural damage to the rear landing gear. While awaiting restoration at the Air Museum's previous location on Rte 75, the CBY-3 had a close call with the tornado that devastated our museum in 1979. The aircraft was peppered with debris causing damage to its skin.

December 2020

The CBY-3 has been moved to its new home and is on display in our Civilian Aircraft Hangar!

December 2020

The CBY-3 in transit from our restoration hangar to our Civilian Aviation Hangar.

December 2020

Our moving crew, along with NEAM's Chairman of the Board and President, Bob Stangarone, second from the left).

September 2020

After six years of restoration of the wings and mounts the CBY-3's right wing was temporarily installed onto the fuselage to test our newly fabricated mounting parts in preparation to move the aircraft to its indoor display position.

December 2019 Highlight

During our 7th year of restoration we have seen the large-scale reassembly of the CBY-3 with the installation of both engines and the twin boom tail assembly for the first time since the Museum acquired the aircraft in the early 1970s.
Image: The 2600 pound starboard engine being hoisted into the proper attitude for mounting.

June 2019 Highlight

The process for painting the exterior of the aircraft involves a number of sequential preparation steps for each of the three main colors employed - silver, red, and blue. These steps include completing all repairs to the aircraft's skin, applying the primer coat, wet sanding with a fine sandpaper, masking off the specific area to be painted, wiping the skin section with a cleaning/degreasing fluid and only then can the finish topcoat of paint be applied. This process is also very dependent on the weather conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Image: After the final blue finish has been applied to the upper cowlings. Once the paint has cured it will be masked off and the silver finish will be applied to the lower cowling section, seen here in white primer.

September 2018 Highlight

A major milestone in the CBY-3 restoration was reached in August with the start of the exterior painting of the fuselage. After several years of painstaking restoration of the aircraft's skin and structures and countless hours of sanding and preparation, the first coat of primer has been applied to the lower surfaces.

Image: Our all-volunteer painting crew. Left to right: crew chief Harry Newman, painter Steve Seiser, heavy equipment operator Dick Phillips, painter Pete McConnell, and painter Jim McGuire.

March 2017 Highlight

The structural reconstruction of the damaged right wing has been largely completed.

Once the damaged structure was removed volunteers Doug Davis and John Bednarz fabricated and installed the replacement sections.

February 2016 Highlight

The right wing has been brought into the restoration hangar and will require extensive restoration to reverse years of exposure to the weather and to repair preexisting damage to the skin.

Image: The 33-foot-long right wing about to undergo a major restoration effort.

February 2015

As components and subassemblies are removed from the aircraft interior every effort is made to authentically restore them before being put into storage for future reassembly and installation. Many of our volunteers contribute to this process and many of these components require intensive and detailed craftsmanship.

Examples of some of the structural parts that were fabricated (on the left and right) to replace those damaged beyond repair, such as the one in the center.

June 2015

On June 2nd we were honored to host Vincent Burnelli's daughter, Barbara Adams, and other family members at the museum. Accompanying Barbara were her son Glenn, and daughters Robin Laimo and Donna Profeta, and Donna's husband John. It was my pleasure to introduce Barbara and her family to members of the restoration team and to show them the progress we've made on the CBY-3 over the last three years. Barbara is a delight to talk to about the early aircraft industry and the historic significance of Vincent's pioneering days as he experimented with, and developed his blended fuselage/lifting body concepts. Barbara and her family brought with them several boxes of documents and photos relating to Vincent Burnelli's work which they have generously donated to the museum.

June 2015

The reconstruction of the corrosion damage to the right wing has progressed rapidly. As a result, the wing will soon be moved to our storage hangar to await the final exterior preparation and to make room for the left wing, which will also require extensive work. The left wing has been lifted into a newly constructed moveable cradle which was designed and built by volunteer John Gavitt.

The cradle allows us to mount the wing upright on its leading edge which gives our restoration crew access to work on both top and bottom surfaces of the wing simultaneously. With up to ten volunteers working on the wing at once we have been able to significantly accelerate this work.

August 2014 - Restoration has begun!

A major milestone was reached with the move of the CBY-3 fuselage out of the weather into our restoration facility and mounted on jack stands. This represents the first time the aircraft has had a roof over it in some fifty years! The restoration crew can now begin the painstaking work of completely refurbishing the interior and exterior. Disassembly of the cockpit and the structural damage to the rear landing gear area has begun and the restoration will now proceed uninterrupted by weather.

2012 - Before Restoration

Photo of the CBY-3 from 2012, prior to beginning restoration.

This aircraft is on display in our Civilian Aviation Hangar.