DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2020 by crew member Carl Cruff.
Note: Work on the DC-3 located inside the Civilian Hanger was curtailed in mid-March and resumed in late June consistent with the State of Connecticut Phase 2 reopening guidelines. New restoration associate protocols have been developed which include working in small groups, increased ventilation, the use of face coverings, and social distancing.
Work has resumed on the interior restoration of the NEAM's DC-3 albeit at a reduced pace as access to the interior fuselage space is restricted to no more than 2 associates at the same time. Worksite re-familiarization is complete and all major interior projects are again active.
Audio control boxes located at the pilot and co-pilot's station were removed, refurbished, and reinstalled. Restoration work has started on a narrow control panel typically visible to only the pilot and copilot controlling engine start and propeller feathering. Disassembly and removal was impractical and the cumbersome task of in-place refurbishment has started. The cockpit and adjacent radio/heater bay fuselage walls were covered with a quilted fabric insulation material which helped in engine noise reduction and cabin heat retention. This covering in the reference sections is missing, severely deteriorated, or mismatched in design and is in the process of being removed. A company which has provided similar material for prior aircraft restorations is being contacted to determine the availability of the desired gray 2 inch diamond quilt pattern material. The forward left and right cargo bay metal bulkhead walls and sheet metal fuselage coverings need painting. Just prior to the mid-March work cessation, these walls were prepared, masked, and primer coat painted; a standardized beige top coat will be applied during the third Quarter.
Redan Upholstery Co. has started the customized upholstery work on an example of a single, double, and flight attendant seat frame. Preliminary in-process visits have been encouraging with only minor seat covering alterations suggested. It is anticipated that a finished example of each seat will be available for team and museum staff review within the next two weeks. The passenger window frame surrounds had been previously refurbished and are now being reinstalled. Over sixty feet of headliner to carpet interface molding have been cleaned, straightened, and temporarily reinstalled awaiting the start of the headliner installation.
Two of the four lavatory walls and all rear passenger cargo bay wall panels need refurbishment and repainting. After the time consuming removal of the previously painted surfaces in 2019, these prepared surfaces require primer and top coat painting. Since the DC-3 is located on the Civilian Hanger display floor, these tasks require careful coordination with the NEAM staff as significant painting is not allowed during normal museum guest hours. Given these precautions, the primer and topcoat painting of the lavatory walls are complete as is the primer coat painting of the rear passenger cargo bay. The ventilation setup in preparation for the topcoat painting of the rear cargo bay is underway and painting completion is anticipated within two weeks.
In mid-2018, all surfaces of the aircraft entry/exit airstair were stripped of paint and well-worn plastic stair treads and carpet coverings. Follow-on restoration work will entail the removal of the airstair and has been delayed until the majority of the passenger compartment restoration is complete. In anticipation of the airstair restoration, a wood carrier has been fabricated to allow airstair transport and follow-on restoration work while securely cradling the airstair from damaging the finished exterior surface. Airstair restoration work will be started in 2021.