Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

April 2015 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.

A major step in our restoration was achieved with the purchase of two complete sets of engine mounts and cowlings to replace those missing from the aircraft when acquired by the museum in 1972. While the CBY-3 had various types of engines installed over its operational life (1945 to c1962) we have elected to install Wright R-2600 engines with short exhaust stack configuration, which is consistent with photographs of the aircraft. Included in our purchase were the engine mounts, 2 cowl nose rings, 14 cowling segments, 2 complete sets of cowl flaps, 2 carburetor air scoops, 28 exhaust pipes, and all of the assorted hardware for assembly. These parts were consolidated from a number of unmatched sets of cowlings and will require paint stripping and some repairs prior to reassembly and installation on our engines.

We are indebted to the Mortensen Foundation which, through a generous financial grant covered the full cost of the parts and materials including crating and shipping.

Volunteer Walt Esker strips paint from one of the carburetor scoops.
John Bednarz prepares one of the cowl nose rings for painting.
Volunteer Fern Albert works on a set of engine cowl flaps.
Volunteer Dick Phillips with some of the 28 exhaust stacks he is the process of restoring.

All of the landing gear wheel wells were in very poor condition after some 50 years of unattended exposure to the elements. As a result we knew that restoring these areas would prove to be a significant challenge in our overall plan. In addition to the replacement of corroded structures described in the previous update, a great many pipes and cables ran through the wheel wells and all had to be removed and catalogued. After removing the compromised structures all of the interior surfaces were grit blasted of paint to address any underlying issues. All surfaces were then treated and primed. To date over 400 hours of work has been put into the restoration of the starboard main gear wheel well and the results have been dramatic. The vast majority of this work was accomplished by Don Durner and the wheel well is now ready for the reinstallation of the previously removed components.

Looking up into the starboard main gear wheel well prior to restoration. The tags catalog the parts prior to their removal.
The same area of the interior of the starboard wheel well after some 400 hours of work.

Likewise, the tail landing gear wheel well required a similar restoration effort in addition to the structural repairs due to preexisting impact damage. The grit blasting and priming has been completed and the installation of new structural components is currently underway. The repaired rear gear strut and locking arm were reinstalled to test fit the new structure. The strut and arm were again removed in order to complete the reconstruction of this area.

Volunteer Silas Smith has the lead on restoring the rear landing gear. Here he is working on the strut locking arm.
A section of the rear gear wheel well prior to restoration.
The same section after restoration.

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