Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

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

In July 2020 we marked the 75th anniversary of the Burnelli CBY-3 "Loadmaster" rollout from the factory! The seven candles denote the seventh year in which the aircraft has been undergoing restoration.

September Highlight!
The CBY-3's right wing has been test fit!

After six years of restoration of the wings and mounts the CBY-3's right wing was temporarily installed onto the fuselage to test our newly fabricated mounting parts in preparation to move the aircraft to its indoor display position. This marks a major milestone in the restoration. The wing was then removed as we continue with the final stages of the CBY-3 restoration. More detail on the installation process is covered later in this update.

Fuselage Insignia Painting

As discussed in the previous restoration update, with the completion of the painting of the fuselage we could then proceed with adding the exterior insignia and detailing to replicate the paint scheme of the aircraft from the early 1960s. This is a multi-step process of laying out the design based on a few color pictures from that era, followed by plotting the designs onto the sides of the fuselage. Five different colors will be used and each must be applied in the designated sequence, each step involving surface preparation and masking.

This is an early 1960s photo depicting the stylized star insignia and decorative striping along the sides of the CBY-3.
Using a series of vinyl masks we were able to precisely paint the geometric forms of the stylized star and rings. In this "in process" photo we are painting the red circle outlines.
With the star insignia in place it was time to replicate the decorative red and blue striping along the sides.
Artist June Seiser is shown here painting the wings on the left and right star points.
The completed stylized star insignia.
Another "in process" photo, of the "Ballard - Burnelli" logo on the fuselage left side where a mask has been applied followed by several coats of paint over the mask…
…and again after the masking has been removed.
CBY-3 crew chief Harry Newman with some of the newly painted CBY-3 insignia.
Having completed the striping on the left side, our detailing crew plots the stripes on the right side. Left to right: Wayne Dow, Jerry Abbetello and Doug Davis.

We appreciate the ongoing support from Chris and Sue Sinsigalli of Sinsigalli Signs in Windsor Locks, CT for their assistance in preparing the various vinyl masks and other indicia during the detailing of the aircraft exterior.

Right Wing Painting

With the right wing on its cradle, bottom side up, we did one last fine sanding and applied the finish coat of silver paint. Once that had cured we flipped the wing and repeated the procedure for the top side.

With the bottom of the wing painted it was time to flip the wing and do the same for the top side.
Getting a lift from our telescopic forklift, our painting crew applies the finish coat of silver paint to the top of the right wing.

We appreciate the continued financial support from the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation which greatly assisted us in the purchase of the high quality paints, painting equipment and supplies during the CBY-3 restoration.

Twin Boom Tail - Aerodynamic Detail

Rapid progress has been made in the fabrication and fitting of the aerodynamic details where the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces join. (See the June update for additional details.) Volunteer Tom Palshaw has designed, fabricated and installed these components on the twin boom tail.

The newly fabricated aerodynamic fairings which have now been installed where the vertical and horizontal tail surfaces join.

Right Wing Installation (Test Fit)

Another major milestone was reached on September 6th with the test fitting of the right wing onto the fuselage. So much work had been completed on the wings and fuselage, including the fabrication of key components of the wing mounts, that we wanted to be confident all the parts would properly mesh. Since the wing will be permanently installed only after the fuselage has been moved to its position inside our display hangar, we also wanted to practice the handling and installation prior to attempting it in a more confined space. (Due to space constraints in our display hangars, only the right wing will be installed while on display until additional space becomes available. The completed left wing will remain in storage.)

The successful test fitting of the 33 foot long, 1600 pound right wing assured us that it could be accomplished inside our display hangar. The wing was then removed as we continue with the final stages of the CBY-3 restoration.

Prior to mounting the wing the fuselage was stabilized with jacks to prevent any sway during the process. (The horizontal bar is for towing purposes and is not part of the aircraft.)
With the fuselage and wing in position our crew prepares for the hoist. Several additional crew members are inside the aircraft to align and insert the four mounting pins once the wing is in place.
Hoisting the wing into the proper attitude so the attachment points can be inserted into the four sockets in the fuselage.
Our "wingmen!" With the lifting equipment cleared away our wing crew pauses before reversing the operation and removing the wing again.

We appreciate the continued support from Embraer Executive Jets and their assistance with the wing fit test.

Move to Display and Final Assembly

Our current plans are to have the CBY-3 - minus the left wing - on display this November. The fuselage will be positioned in the display hangar, followed by the installation of the right wing and propellers.

© New England Air Museum 2016-2021
36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT, 06096