DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 1st quarter of 2021 by crew member Carl Cruff.
All of the five-person team have returned to the Wednesday DC-3 restoration schedule and continue to focus on the interior cockpit and passenger cabin areas. While this work is slow and deliberate, the completion of the interior will allow future NEAM visitors to experience the spaciousness and elegance of this "Golden Age of Aviation" aircraft during select open-cockpit events.
Leisure Time Canvas, Inc. in West Springfield, MA has been selected to fabricate the interior cockpit wall covering panels using the gray large diamond quilt pattern material previously donated by Sound Seal, located in Agawam, MA. The old panels were temporarily reattached and fit checked to confirm panel accuracy after which they were provided to Leisure Time Canvas as cutting guide templates. The new panel perimeter edges and pass thru cutouts have been edge stitched to retain their shape and integrity. All of the new panels are complete and will be glued or snap fastened into position onto restored aircraft bulkhead and fuselage cockpit walls. These panels were installed on most DC-3 cockpit interiors for sound absorption and thermal insulation.
The upper fuselage wall of the left-side radio bay has been covered with painted sheet metal panels to accommodate a cluttered wiring harness area. The re-installation of the previously restored electronic gear onto the top shelf of the radio bay will begin during the 2nd Quarter.
The ongoing installation of the vinyl fabric headliner strips on the left side of the aircraft is making good progress. Strips 3 thru 5 continue the counter clockwise installation progression and are complete with each strip having its unique angular challenges. Strip 6 is significantly wider than the prior strips as this covering must accommodate the window and Airstair door openings, and the lower sidewall carpet treatment. Numerous metal edging strips hold this headliner strip into position against the aircraft fuselage, each with customized attachment schemes. Many thanks go to our restoration crew chief, Pete McConnell, for his unwavering perseverance in making the headliner installation a reality.
The passenger cabin entry/exit Airstair door restoration will be completed away from the aircraft in the NEAM's restoration hanger. The door has been removed from the aircraft and placed onto a purpose built, carpeted transport/work stand. After additional surface preparation and cleaning, a silver paint will be applied to all metal surfaces. The stair treads will be carpeted and select surfaces will be personalized with Eastern Airlines markings. An existing, moveable stairway has been modified and attached to the aircraft for use by the restoration team.