DC-3 Restoration Activity

DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 4th quarter of 2015 by crew member Carl Cruff.


Mild fall weather allowed fuselage polishing work to proceed until mid-December. The two step polishing process developed during the summertime continues to yield an improved surface luster and will ultimately be applied to all fuselage and wing surfaces. At year end, the aircraft skin polishing results are summarized:

Aircraft Surface Step 1 Polishing Step 2 Polishing
Horizontal Stabilizer Complete Not started
Tail Fairing Complete Not started
Engine Cowlings Not started Not started
Fuselage 80% complete 60% complete
Right Wing 20% complete Not started
Left Wing Complete Not started

The initial cleaning of the right engine firewall was completed with good results and more detailed firewall cleaning is planned for 2016. Space was provided for the right wing in the heated restoration building by the Sikorsky CH-54 Skycrane team and skin polishing will recommence in mid-January 2016.

Aircraft fuselage polishing progress - left side
Left side fuselage polishing - close-up of cockpit window area
Aircraft fuselage polishing progress - right side
Right engine firewall cleaning
Right wing relocated to restoration building for polishing


The pilot and co-pilot seat adjustment mechanism cleaning, painting, and reassembly are complete. Additional cockpit floor panels have been removed along with the sound insulation wall coverings. A seventy-five year old sewing machine obtained from a Museum volunteer is being utilized to fabricate new flight control yoke floor boots by restoration team member Carol Shuteran. The flight deck cockpit door has been removed to improve accessibility and maneuverability in the cockpit area; miscellaneous cockpit hardware inspection, removal, and restoration work is underway

Completed Pilot and Co-pilot seats
Restored seat brackets and sliding adjustment mechanism
Completed pilot seat adjustment assembly


The development of the graphic patterns for the post WW2 Eastern Air Lines livery scheme is underway. Decisions are now being made on which graphic artwork will be hand painted or vinyl appliques produced; the proposed livery scheme is subsequently displayed in this article. Note: it would be greatly appreciated if anyone with an actual photo of an Eastern Air Lines DC-3 at Bradley Field in the 1947-1950 time period contacted the DC-3 restoration team (clcruff@cox.net).

Eastern Air Lines aircraft livery scheme - 1947-1950 time frame

A 2016 task list is being developed to prioritize interior and exterior work needing completion prior to returning the milestone DC-3 to the NEAM display hanger. It is anticipated that all aircraft skin polishing will be complete by the 2nd Quarter with the Eastern Airline livery colors in place during the 3rd Quarter. Depending upon the final aircraft display location, decisions will be made on when to reattach the wings, horizontal stabilizer, and engines.

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