DC-3 Restoration Activity

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

The John G. Martin Foundation

We wish to thank the John G. Martin Foundation for their continuing support of the DC-3 restoration project. In September, an additional financial grant was awarded which now allows the upholstering of the passenger, flight attendant, and pilot seats as well as the procurement of the necessary passenger compartment headliner and carpeting materials. Since 2014, support provided by this Foundation has funded the paint removal and subsequent aluminum skin polishing of all exterior aircraft surfaces as well as the custom hand painted lettering for the Eastern Airlines livery color scheme.

The John G. Martin Foundation understands the important role the DC-3 played in 20th century commercial aviation history here in Connecticut. The Foundation's support will allow us to create a fully restored-inside and out-teaching tool to share this history with future generations of New England Air Museum visitors.


With the completion of the throttle quadrant restoration, activity is now focused on the upper instrument panel and system control switches. The indicator identification lettering on the black panel sections has been removed and individual panel refurbishment started. Wherever possible, the disassembly of gages, switches and wiring is being minimized to facilitate the eventual reassembly process.

Upper instrument panel and control switch console - initial condition
Upper instrument panel and control switch console restoration underway

Radio/Navigation Compartment

Restoration work has started in the radio/navigation equipment compartment located behind the cockpit on the left side of the aircraft. This compartment has been modified many times over the 50 years of service by the prior aircraft owners and limited attempts will be made to return this bay to a 1940's configuration at this time. The existing devices will be removed, cleaned, cosmetically restored, and reinstalled into their current positions. Several disconnected and dangling wire bundles and cables from older installations may be removed to reduce compartment clutter. Interesting artifacts such as the 8-track tape cassette player from the last aircraft owner (Florida AirMotive) will be retained.

Radio/Navigation equipment compartment - initial condition
Upper shelf radio/navigation equipment - initial condition
Upper shelf equipment trays - restoration underway
All radio/navigation equipment removed for restoration
Radio/navigation equipment removed and restored

Passenger compartment

The completed single, double, and flight attendant seat frames now have the needed sheet metal arm rest supports and are ready for upholstery. A provider has been selected and will begin upholstering on a single example of each seat type in mid-November. The DC-3 restoration team will review the results of the initial seat covering effort and, if acceptable, authorize the completion of all passenger and cockpit seats. This major step in the interior DC-3 restoration is made possible by the aforementioned grant from the John G. Martin Foundation.

Completed single seats ready for upholstery
Completed double seats ready for upholstery
Completed flight attendant seat ready for upholstery

The relocation of the right side seat frame rail to accommodate the new single seats is complete. The replacement of all the passenger compartment floor boards will be completed during the 4th Quarter, allowing the start of the heat duct and floor carpeting. The refurbishment of the overhead bin ductwork housing the fresh air vent system and the overhead lights has started. The ductworks have been stripped of their original fabric covering and are being repaired and prepared for re-covering. New electrical wiring will be installed inside the ductwork enabling the illumination of all overhead light units.

Seat frame rail relocation for the right side single seats is complete
The refurbishment of the overhead bin ductwork is underway

The restoration building will be open to the public during the museum's "behind the scenes tour" on November 29 in conjunction with the arrival of Santa Claus. Please visit and stop by the DC-3 for a closer look at the progress of the interior renovation.

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