Burnelli CBY-3 Restoration Diary

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

The CBY-3 has been moved to its new home and is on display in our Civilian Aircraft Hangar!

After 8 years our Burnelli CBY-3 Loadmaster emerges from our restoration hangar for the short journey to our Civilian Aircraft Hangar where final assembly will be completed.
The CBY-3 with the right wing and both propellers installed now on public display!
By comparison, a photo of the CBY-3 from 2012, just prior to the start of the restoration.

More detail on the aircraft's move and wing and propeller installation is covered later in this update.


Work has been completed on the propellers with the painting of the prop tips and application of the technical data and manufacturer's decals. The left propeller was then installed on the aircraft, however the completed right propeller was installed later, after the right wing was installed.

Jim Bennett (left) and Harry Newman apply the Hamilton-Standard decal to a propeller blade.
A closer view of the technical detail and manufacturer's decal.
The left propeller after the application of the detailing and installation on the CBY-3.


After thousands of hours of restoration the cockpit is nearing completion. All of the major components have been installed including the instrument panels, control pedestal, control yoke wheels and windows. The overhead instrument panel was missing from the aircraft and had to be fabricated from scratch based on a few photographs. Volunteer Wayne Dow took on this task and is now applying the final details to the panel. The two pilot seats have been restored but remain in storage while we finish the cockpit detailing.

A current view of the nearly completed CBY-3 cockpit. (The seats will be installed in the near future.

And its condition prior to restoration.

CBY-3 Move to Civil Aviation Hangar

After 8 years of restoration by over 40 of our dedicated and talented volunteers the Burnelli CBY-3 has taken the short but momentous trip from our restoration facility to the Civilian Aviation Hangar where it will now be on public display.

The CBY-3 in transit from our restoration hangar to our Civilian Aviation Hangar.

While the CBY-3 restoration began in 2012, space was not available to move the fuselage into our restoration hangar until July of 2014. Here's how the aircraft looked then as we rolled it inside…

… and again, as it slips into the display hangar with inches to spare at the tailplane.

After a masterful job of parallel parking the aircraft inside the display hangar by Dick Phillips, our tug operator, the fuselage was now in position to allow the installation of the right wing. Due to space constraints on the display floor the completed left wing will remain in storage until additional space becomes available.

Our moving crew, along with NEAM's Chairman of the Board and President, Bob Stangarone, (second from the left).

Right Wing Installation

With the fuselage in its display position the right wing was moved to the display hangar for installation. The fuselage was placed on jacks to eliminate any movement during the installation process. The wing was then aligned and lifted into the proper attitude to align the four attachment points. Meanwhile, a crew inside the aircraft guided the fine alignment via radio to the lifting crew. When all of the hardware lined up in the proper position the four large mounting pins were driven into place securing the wing.

The right wing in transit from storage to the display hangar in preparation for installation.

Prior to the handling of any major component our crew gets a safety briefing. Here Bob Vozzola, NEAM's restoration coordinator, and Burnelli crew chief Harry Newman brief our "wingmen" prior to lifting the 33 foot, 1600 pound wing into position.

The wing is then rolled into position for the lift.

Our heavy equipment operator, Dick Phillips, carefully lifts and aligns the wing mounting lugs with the sockets on the fuselage.

The four mounting lugs are eased into position for insertion. Additional crew members are inside the fuselage and are in radio contact with the outside crew. The inside crew will call out adjustments until all of the mounting hardware is in exact alignment. They will then drive the four large mounting pins into position securing the wing to the fuselage.
With the wing installation completed the wingtip was added - along with some Holiday decorations on the trailing edge! The aileron and flap will be installed once some wing fairings are fabricated around the wing root.

Right Propeller Installation

We decided to delay the installation of the completed right propeller to avoid interference when mounting the right wing. Once that was accomplished the propeller was brought out of storage and mounted immediately after the wing installation.

The right propeller is hoisted into position.

Crew chief Harry Newman aligns the master spline with the engine shaft in preparation to secure the propeller.

Doug Davis (left) and John Smith complete the installation by adding the propeller dome…
… which makes a perfect place for a Holiday wreath!

Additional photos of the CBY-3 move and installation of the right wing and propeller can be found in a related article on our "NEWS" section and on NEAM's Facebook site

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