September, 2019 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 “Loadmaster” from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.
A great deal of progress has been made after a slow start to the painting season due to a cold and wet spring in the northeast. Fortunately, the weather eventually cooperated and we had a good run of perfect weather to catch up on the many areas to be painted.
The final coat of red paint was applied to the twin boom tail assembly, and the lower sections of the booms received their silver topcoat.
With the completion of the fabric replacement on the elevator, all of the fabric covered flight control surfaces have now been fully restored and all have been painted in their final finishes. This includes 2 ailerons, 2 rudders and 3 elevator sections. At the outset of the CBY-3 project these components were in very poor condition and thousands of hours went into their restoration. We will now begin their installation on the aircraft.
The Museum has acquired six vintage propeller blades and the associated hardware to build up two sets of propellers of the type once installed on the CBY-3. We are in the process of restoring these blades with the goal of assembling and installing them over the winter months.
Work continues in the cockpit with the final painting of the interior. Additional work items include the installation of the autopilot console in the instrument panel. The panel is nearly complete and will be installed over the fall and winter.
We have acquired two vintage pilot seats which are a close match to the type originally used in the CBY-3. The seats are currently being restored and reupholstered.
For the last five years the aft end of the fuselage had been elevated on a pair of "stilts" to facilitate the reconstruction and painting of the heavily damaged underbelly. In preparation to mate the twin boom tail assembly to the fuselage we have installed the rear landing gear tires and lowered the aft end. The CBY-3 now sits on its three landing gear - referred to as "weight on wheels" or WOW - for the first time since August of 2014.
Detail work continues in the two main gear wheel wells with the refitting of the many hydraulic lines and related components that ran through these areas.
A major milestone was reached on September 26th with the mating of the empennage to the fuselage. The last time the empennage was attached was prior to the CBY-3 move from Baltimore to the museum in 1972. For nearly 50 years the CBY-3 was in outdoor storage with the tail booms stored inside the fuselage.
The empennage was hoisted off its assembly jig and suspended in the air while the fuselage was backed up to it. After the four lower mount connections were secured a forklift then pivoted the rear of the empennage upward to engage the four upper mounts which were then secured.
With the empennage now mated to the fuselage and the aircraft on its landing gear we are almost ready to install the second engine, which had already been restored and put into storage. To accomplish the installation we have backed the CBY-3 into our restoration hangar and have brought the number 2 engine out of storage. Prior to installation we will conduct a second weight and balance analysis of the aircraft to determine where the new center of gravity is along the longitudinal (lengthwise) axis of the combined fuselage and empennage. The analysis will determine if the additional weight of the empennage on the aft end is enough to safely offset the weight of the additional 2600 pound engine on the front end. More detail on the importance of weight and balance as it pertains to "tail dragger" aircraft can be found in the December 2018 update.
We wish to thank The William and Alice Mortensen Foundation for its continuing support in the restoration of the historic Burnelli CBY-3, and for the financial grant that made the purchase of the propellers, painting equipment, paint and supplies possible.