DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 2nd quarter of 2021 by crew member Carl Cruff.
The interior passenger cabin and cockpit area restoration work continues to make good progress. NEAM restoration personnel have returned to the pre-pandemic Tuesday and Thursday restoration schedule and it has been exciting to rejoin and share renovation accomplishments with our team mates. Thanks also to the returning NEAM visitors and your continuing enthusiastic support for our efforts to restore this "Great Silver Fleet" icon.
The previously prepared bulkhead and fuselage diamond pattern quilt insulation panels are now being attached to their designated cockpit surfaces. When the surface configuration allows, the panels are being adhesively attached, otherwise snap fasteners are being utilized. Care is being taken to accommodate the reattachment/overlayment of various wire bundles, piping, clamps, caution signs, etc. during panel installation. The refurbishment of the forward access door and the installation of the floor panels and seats will begin after the attachment of the bulkhead and fuselage panels.
The re-installation of the previously restored radio and navigation equipment in the cockpit instrument bay is underway. At this time, the devices which were installed on the plane when it arrived at the NEAM in 1992 are being reinstalled rather than attempting to acquire more time period correct devices.
The ninth and final headliner strip has been installed. The headliner strip edges at the forward and aft bulkheads and the left and right window openings will be finished during the installation of the carpet wall coverings. The restoration team is pleased with the appearance of the headliner, especially the straightness of the forward to aft liner seams. The flight attendant's control box and microphone have been reattached to the passenger cabin fuselage near the Airstair door opening. Wall panel patterns have been developed for the upper bulkhead carpet pieces and the first section of the forward beige carpeting has been installed. The adhesive gluing technique to attach the carpeting to the various interior surfaces required several material and technique test iterations involving multiple test panel samples before an acceptable methodology was developed.
The first phase of the passenger cabin entry/exit Airstair door restoration is complete. After surface preparation and cleaning at an off-site location, a silver paint coating was applied to all metallic surfaces. The temporary work stairs to the aircraft interior have been removed, the Airstair has been reattached, and final restoration completion is scheduled for early 2022.
Those visiting the DC-3 display area may have noted that the Wright Aeronautical R-1820 Cyclone 9 engine on display underneath the left wing has been removed. To compliment the extensive restoration of the DC-3 "Silverliner," the NEAM engine restoration team wanted to clean and restore this engine to an equivalent luster. Note: The two R-1820 engines installed onto the DC-3 were previously restored by this engine team in 2012-2013.