DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 3rd quarter of 2020 by crew member Carl Cruff.
Interior compartment refurbishment continues of the NEAM's DC-3 and the restoration team is enthused to begin build-up and reinstallation activities after many months of teardown and repair actions. A significant milestone was achieved with the return of the initial upholstered passenger seats completed by the Redan Upholstery Co. in Newington, CT. It is appropriate to again acknowledge the John G. Martin Foundation of West Hartford, CT. for their continued financial support for the seat upholstery work and the procurement of the ceiling headliner and floor carpeting materials.
The cockpit and adjacent radio/heater bay fuselage walls were covered with a quilted fabric insulation material which helped to reduce engine noise and retain cabin heat. This covering is missing, severely deteriorated, or mismatched with several patterns and must be replaced. Sound Seal, located in Agawam, MA, is a leading manufacturer of commercial and architectural noise control products and has generously donated several rolls of diamond quilted insulation material for use on the DC-3 and other NEAM restoration projects. Thank you to Marc Sawyer, Project Manager, and the entire Sound Seal team for their support in providing this needed material. The fuselage walls in the radio/heater bays are being prepared and painted prior to the installation of the quilted insulation material into the wall and ceiling pockets while the cockpit walls can be fitted with larger sections. The previously primer painted left and right cargo compartments have been top coat painted and the cargo restraint netting installed which completes these forward bays. The narrow, overhead instrument panel controlling engine start and propeller feathering restoration is now complete and finishes the cockpit upper control and instrument panels.
All seven of the single passenger seats are upholstered and returned for fit check installation. Readers are reminded that the single seat frames were fabricated from existing double seat frames of varying designs to accomplish the desired 21 seat passenger compartment layout of 7 single and 7 double seat units. The seats are individualized based upon aircraft location and fabrication tolerances requiring a detailed alignment fitting with the seat floor attachment brackets. When this process is completed, the seats will be removed prior to floor and wall carpet installation. Several double seats have also been completed and the team anticipates the return of all double seats by the end of the 4th Quarter.
The passenger compartment headliner configuration is a forward to aft arrangement of multiple narrow and long material strips, the longest central piece just over 30 feet in length. To facilitate the attachment of this very long piece to the overhead wooden supports, a temporary scaffold was suspended just beneath the desired location. Four restoration team members were then able to support, align, tighten, and staple the headliner piece into position while maintaining a flat and taut surface. Light fixture housing locations will be re-established and the fabric cut to accommodate these openings. This installation process is tedious but the team is satisfied with the resulting headliner appearance.
Following the completion of the lavatory topcoat painting, the reassembly and reinstallation of various lavatory items has started. The lavatory door with interior mirror, the wash sink stand and basin, the fuselage window surround, and the passenger occupant utility panel are being fit check and prepared prior to headliner and wall covering installation.
The rear passenger cargo bay has completed top coat painting and awaits the installation of various smaller detail items to complete the restoration.