DC-3 Restoration activity update for the 3rd quarter of 2021 by crew member Carl Cruff.
Excellent progress continues on the passenger cabin renovation with the installation of many auxiliary pieces and fabric inserts coming together to embody the elegant interior of the Eastern Airlines' "Great Silver Fleet." While many installation details remain to be resolved, visitors viewing the current work in process have been surprised and complimentary on the level of fit and finish.
Most of the cockpit bulkhead and fuselage diamond quilt pattern insulation panels featured in previous reports have now been installed. The DC-3 has a small, second door behind the pilot's seat used to load and unload revenue cargo (mail bags) and can provide the flight crew entry and egress if the passenger/middle cabin is loaded with cargo. In certain instances when the left engine is not running, this door can also provide a third, emergency escape route for the flight deck personnel. This door needed comprehensive, internal and external restoration work which is now complete.
The radio bay restoration continues with the cleaning, refurbishment, and reinstallation of the radio and navigation instrumentation, and surrounding bulkhead/fuselage walls. The second (middle) shelf is now finished.
The previously installed headliner strip edges were fitted and secured to the forward and aft bulkhead walls, and the left and right side window openings. Each window molding strip was removed, restored, and straightened prior to customized reattachment. These window moldings also retain the lower carpet panels which complete the cabin sidewall covering. The floor level heater duct has been surface prepared, covered with carpet, and the exhaust ducts reattached. The overhead cabin light receptacles previously covered during headliner installation were carefully re-exposed, and the glass lenses reinstalled.
Paper templates were developed to fit each lower cabin sidewall section and blue carpet panels were cut from the master roll. After several adhesive material and technique trials, a methodology was developed to apply the adhesive, wait for a setup time, apply the carpet panel, and secure with temporary holding fixtures. The cabin heater ducts proved to be the most difficult carpet attachment task requiring the most holding fixtures. After the carpeting sections were firmly attached, the heater duct vents and the passenger window frames were attached. A similar process for attaching the upper cabin beige bulkhead carpet panels was developed. With the completion of each upper and lower carpet wall panel, miscellaneous holders, signs, etc. were reattached to finish that section. The completion of each carpet panel section is very satisfying as the interior appearance improvements are dramatic.
The Wright-Aeronautical R-1820 Cyclone 9 radial engine restoration is 80% complete. When finished, this engine will return to the DC-3 display area underneath the left wing to be enjoyed by NEAM visitors.