DC-3 Restoration Activity

DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 2nd quarter of 2019 by crew member Carl Cruff.

All of this quarter's activity involved the refurbishment of various interior sections of the Museum's DC-3. Thank you to the Museum visitors who have stopped by on Tuesdays to share their DC-3 stories while providing encouraging words after looking in at the in-process interior restoration. Great progress is being made on the reconfiguration of the passenger seat frames to achieve a 1940's appearance while awaiting financial approval to begin the seat upholstery work. Interestingly, the DC-3 has already provided exterior background settings for several afterhours private events including a recent wedding!


The center throttle quadrant control is now finished and represents the throttle control configuration for the Wright Aeronautical R-1820 engines (which is different than the arrangement for the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines). The overhead escape hatch has been reinstalled and the adjacent control switch panels are being evaluated for refurbishment.

Completed cockpit throttle quadrant control
Completed and reinstalled cockpit emergency hatch

Hydraulic compartment

The reassembly and reinstallation of the hydraulic system is complete. The emergency hand pump has been installed and the landing gear interlock linkage reattached. The handles for the landing gear and split flap valves, and the emergency hand pump will be installed after the completion of the cockpit renovation.

Hydraulic compartment lower panel reassembly complete
Hydraulic compartment access panel reinstalled

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 A decision was made to return the interior compartment to a 1940's configuration with a 21 passenger seat arrangement consisting of 7 double and 7 single seats and to modify our existing seats accordingly. Significant alteration and reinforcement of the existing seat frames was completed during the 2nd Quarter and all major seat frame work is complete for the single and double seats. Work is now underway to repair or remanufacture the sheet metal arm rest covers over which the seat fabric covering is attached. The seats are an important aspect of the interior restoration for guest enjoyment during Open Cockpit and private event functions.

Completed single seat frame without sheet metal arm rest covers
Completed double seat frame without sheet metal arm rest covers

All remaining overhead storage bins and side panel wall covering sections have been removed from the left side of the aircraft exposing the entire original fuselage framework. The right side floor rail used to attach the seat legs is being relocated to prepare for the installation of the newly fabricated narrower single seats.

Bare passenger compartment interior
Seat frame rail relocation underway

The DC-3 led to a revolution in air travel in the U.S and was a significant improvement over competing aircraft designs. An eastbound trip from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast took just 15 hours with three refueling stops while westbound trips took 17½ hours because of the headwinds. In 1936, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines put their first DC-3 into service on the route between Amsterdam and Sydney via Jakarta-the Amsterdam-Sydney trip was the longest scheduled airline route in the world at the time. You needed an on-board toilet for those long flight segments and the DC-3 lavatory was spacious, even having a ceiling window for additional light. A newly fabricated sink with fixtures is complete, the lavatory door restoration and reinstallation has been finished, and a sink base is 90% finished and fit checked into the lavatory space. The lavatory bulkhead and sheet metal walls need to be painted before additional restoration activity can be started-painting is scheduled for completion in October.

Completed lavatory door renovation and installation
Lavatory sink fabrication complete
Lavatory sink base fabrication underway
Lavatory sink and toilet fit check

During the 3rd Quarter, the cockpit restoration will continue and the adjacent radio bay and heater compartment cleaning and restoration will begin. Activity on the sheet metal arm rest covers is ongoing and the relocation of the passenger compartment chair frame support will be completed. As financial support is finalized, work will begin on upholstering the seats and installing the cabin headliner.

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36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT, 06096