Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

March 2020 update on the restoration of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" from restoration Crew Chief, Harry Newman.

Starboard Engine Accessory Cowlings

With the starboard engine installed we were able to design and fabricate a complete set of accessory cowlings which span the gap between the engine and aircraft firewall. The cowlings have been permanently installed along with the carburetor air scoop which mounts on top of the engine. Oil coolers and shrouds have been restored and installed on the underside of the port and starboard engines. All of the cowlings and shrouds have been prepared for primer painting.


In preparation for final painting of the wings we have brought the two custom built cradles that were used to remove the wings from the aircraft in June, 2014 out of storage. The wings will be removed from their upright storage racks and laid flat on the cradles while we do one last fine sanding and apply the finish coat of silver paint. Heavy duty castors have been installed on the cradles to facilitate moving the wings in and out of the hangar during this process. Each wing is 33 feet long and weighs approximately 1600 pounds.

A photo from June, 2014 during wing removal. The custom built cradle under the wing has been outfitted with castors to facilitate moving the wing in a flat position during final painting.


Major progress has been achieved in the CBY-3 cockpit with the permanent installation of the flooring and pilot seat mounts and rails. Two control yoke wheels have been acquired and are being adapted to fit the yokes. Final painting of the instrument panels has been completed and some of the instruments have been installed in the main control panel and one of the overhead panels. The next step will be to install the remainder of the main instrument panel and instrumentation.

A view of the CBY-3 cockpit prior to the start of the restoration…
… and currently as the restoration is nearing completion. The next steps will be to install the previously restored main instrument panel and the control yoke wheels.
The restored main instrument panel which is now ready to be installed in the cockpit.
The recently acquired control yoke wheels which have been modified to fit the CBY-3 yokes.

Cargo Bay Flooring

As mentioned in the previous update all of the cargo bay plywood floor panels -17 in all - required replacement. They have all been fabricated, primed, painted and permanently installed, replacing the temporary flooring that had been in place during the restoration of the interior.


The restoration of the dual 3 bladed propellers has been completed and they have been prepared for painting. Consistent with photographs of the CBY-3, the blades will be painted black with yellow tips. Stencils depicting the technical data and serial numbers of the blades have been prepared and will be applied in yellow paint.

Exterior Painting, Insignia and Detailing

Several areas of the CBY-3 fuselage are still to be painted including the sides and the starboard engine cowlings. These areas have been masked off and are ready. In addition, much of the detailed insignia has been designed and stencils have been prepared for application.


Due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic all work in our restoration shop has been suspended. As such there will be no additional updates on the CBY-3 until restoration activity resumes.

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