DC-3 Restoration Activity

DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 1st quarter of 2019 by crew member Carl Cruff.

Activity continues to focus on the aircraft's interior restoration with team members working on the refurbishment of components for eventual reinstallation or on DC-3 interior compartments. Much of this Quarter's progress was in the development of a detailed plan for the interior passenger seats and the initial modification of the seat support frames. Modified seat frames have been provided to several seat upholsters for their review and, if interested, a cost and time estimate. These cost quotations will be the basis for an external grant application to procure funding for the completion of the interior fuselage work to compliment the very generous prior years' donations for the exterior renovations.


The center throttle quadrant frame painting is complete and the reinstallation of the indicator identification plates is underway. Over twenty indicator plates have been cleaned, painted, and the indented message letters re-filled with highlight paint. Only small sections can be worked at any given time due to the restricted space for this in-place restoration.

Cockpit throttle quadrant control restoration

Hydraulic compartment

The reassembly and reinstallation of previously cleaned/painted hydraulic tubes is complete. The hydraulic panel lower cover containing the access ports for the control flap valve, landing gear valve, and the hand-powered emergency pump has been installed. The control flap and land gear valves have been installed; however, the handles for each unit will not be installed until the completion of the cockpit area restoration. All hydraulic compartment work will be complete by the end of the 2nd Quarter.

Hydraulic compartment tube installation complete
Hydraulic compartment lower panel with flap and landing gear control valves

Passenger compartment

The Museum's DC-3 arrived in 1992 with an interior layout containing 28 passenger seats (14 double seats) of varying styles and vintages, not surprising for an aircraft with 5 owners over a 50 year period. A decision was made to return the interior compartment to an earlier 21 passenger seat arrangement consisting of 7 double and 7 single seats and to modify our existing seats accordingly. A display at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, MI has seats closer to the desired 1940's arrangement and is the general design pattern for our restoration. This design involves significant alteration and reinforcement of the existing seat frames and the assistance of several additional welding and machine shop restoration team members-thanks for your help! Presently, 6 double and 6 single seats of the desired configuration can be recovered from our existing seat inventory-space will be reserved within the passenger compartment if additional seats are acquired.

Seat configuration model as displayed at the Henry Ford Museum
Double seat modification and reinforcement underway
Double seat configuration mock-up
Seat side wall reveal feature mock-up
Single seat modification and reinforcement underway
Single seat mock-up passenger compartment fit check

The previously installed and wired passenger compartment overhead lights are now operational by an electrical power supply located inside the flight attendant buffet station. This power supply will eventually power additional lights within the aft luggage and forward cargo bays, the lavatory, overhead passenger reading lights, and the flight attendant call button chime. Activating these electrical devices will be very beneficial during future, select open cockpit events hosted by the NEAM.

Passenger compartment overhead lights
Aircraft power supply inside the flight attendant buffet station
Flight attendant call station chime

Many items are being refurbished away from the main aircraft fuselage area and are being stored awaiting later installation. The work on these pieces is time consuming and much appreciated by the many "behind the scenes" restoration associates. The first aid box attached to the flight attendant buffet station is finished and the fabrication of the lavatory sink system is 80% complete.

Lavatory sink nearing completion
Flight attendant buffet station first aid box

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36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT, 06096