Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

June 2018 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.


Fuselage Exterior Preparation

The repairs and sanding of the exterior underbelly and fuselage sides has been completed and are now ready to receive a coat of primer. This was a huge task due to preexisting damage to the lower surfaces of the aircraft as well as extensive corrosion. Exterior painting will begin in late July when the aircraft is moved to another section of the restoration hangar. This move will also provide additional space for the use of elevated staging and platforms to facilitate the preparation of the aircraft's top surfaces for priming and painting.

The access panels under the nose of the CBY-3 have all been restored and the underlying mounting hardware has been replaced. Several of the access panels were missing and had to be fabricated. All of the panels have now been reinstalled in preparation for painting.

The underside of the cockpit prior to access panel installation. The tags indicate where repairs to the mounting hardware have been completed.
The same area after the newly fabricated and repaired panels were installed.

Interior Painting

The interior of the cargo bays had been painted in two colors - the ceiling and upper two thirds of the walls and bulkheads in a semi-gloss white and the lower third of the walls and bulkheads a a deep blue. The finish white painting has been completed and we are now in the process of masking the interior in preparation for applying the finish coat of the blue on the lower walls and bulkheads.

Having finished the final painting of the ceiling and upper walls, volunteer Jerry Abbatello masks off the walls in preparation for final painting of the lower walls, which will be a deep blue.


Ceiling mounted interior lighting

Now that the finish painting of the ceilings has been completed we have begun wiring the 16 interior dome lights for power. While the interior lighting originally operated on 28 volts DC we have elected to refit the original light fixtures with a 12 volt LED system which will operate at a cooler temperature and allow for better reliability and efficiency when the aircraft is on display. The wiring installation for this system has been nearly completed and the reinstallation of the fixtures has begun.

Our resident electrician - volunteer Rick Centore, shown here with the first of 16 interior dome lights to be illuminated with a refitted 12 volt LED system. This represents the first time the CBY-3's internal lighting has been activated in over 50 years!


Cockpit windows

As mentioned in earlier updates, none of the cockpit windows survived the CBY-3's abandonment in Baltimore and all had to be fabricated from scratch. Additionally, much of the mounting and operational hardware was missing. Great progress has been made in redesigning and fabricating these components. The two windshields and two corner windows have been fabricated and put aside for future installation. We are currently fabricating the left and right side sliding windows and operating hardware

The image shows a template used to fabricate a missing side window frame. A new frame will be hand formed over the template to be a mirror image of the frame shown at the top of the photo.


Antennae installation

The CBY-3 navigation and communication systems were updated a number of times during its years of operation. From pictures we have been able to determine the types and locations of the various antennas. In some cases remnants of the antenna mounts were still visible. Fortunately we had all of these antenna types in the museum's parts inventory. After fabricating new mounts we have now installed 4 of the antenna components in their original positions, including 3 masts on the top and bottom of the aircraft, and a loop antenna on top of the cockpit. An ADF “football” antenna will be installed on the underbelly of the aircraft once painting has been completed.

This is a view of the top surface of the cockpit where a navigational loop antenna has been installed. To the rear of the hatch opening is one of three masts which anchored communications cables which ran from the cockpit to the tail fins. Two similar masts were installed on the CBY-3s underbelly.
This is the ADF “football” antenna which will be mounted on the CBY-3s underbelly once that area has been painted.

Rear landing gear

The rear landing gear had been removed early in the restoration in order to address an area of severe structural damage. The strut and related parts were restored and put into storage to await future reinstallation. With the structural repairs completed we have now reinstalled the gear.

The rear landing gear prior to removal from the aircraft.
The rear landing gear after restoration and reinstallation. The tires will be installed at a later date

Aft end hoisting assembly

Since the CBY-3 was a "tail dragger" there is very little clearance between the fuselage and the ground at the aft end when resting on its rear landing gear. Early in the restoration we mounted the aft end on stilts to provide adequate clearance for the many repairs required in this area and we have found it advantageous to keep the aft end elevated while we begin the painting process. In order to move the aircraft while keeping the stilts installed we have designed and fabricated a hoisting system for the aft end. While the aircraft will roll on its main gear tires the aft end will remain elevated which will allow us the flexibility to move the aircraft while maintaining an adequate working clearance.


Engines, cowlings and mounts

Over several years various components of the engine assemblies have been acquired and restored in our engine shop and put in storage for future installation. These include the two engines, engine mounts, engine cowlings, cowl flaps, carburetors and exhausts. These components have been brought back into our restoration hangar where they will be mated together to form the entire engine package. In preparation for this the second of our B-25 era engine mounts was modified to fit the CBY-3 firewall. This involved removing two of the mount struts and welding them back together in a new configuration.


We appreciate the support of Advanced Welding Co. of Springfield, MA, and its President, Christopher Kielb for their contribution and expertise in welding both reconfigured engine mounts.


© New England Air Museum 2016-2018
36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT,
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