Posted by: potomacpacemaker | December 28, 2011

Year ends with 500+ hours of work

Post contributed by Volunteer Project Manager Bob Reed.

Saturday, December 17, started out to be another cold day in the Back Shop; however, it soon warmed up enough to be comfortable for the nine dedicated volunteers to devote 39 man hours of work on N56V.  During 2011, there were 10 work sessions with 523 man hours devoted to the restoration of the Potomac Pacemaker.

Perry Miller and Walt Ryerson began with recovering the cross braces for the maintenance work stands, using the carpet that had been donated to the project, while Charlie Hall worked on the horizontal stabilizer. Brian Burkhart worked in the rear cargo compartment removing a sheet metal side panel. With a lot of rivets to be drilled out, it was slow going.

Paul Dieffenderfer and Bill Behrendt continued with the work in the cockpit and forward cargo area, removing wiring, tubing and fixtures. John Sink joined them and began vacuuming and cleaning out the debris that had accumulated under the floor area in the forward section of the fuselage.

Andy Ray was unable to do physical activities due to a problem with his shoulder, so he took pictures and helped where he could in other areas.  I helped where needed and, as usual, inspected the project in preparation for the next work day, set for January 21 beginning at 9 a.m.

In the coming year, we hope to reach the point where the fuselage and the center wing section can be joined together. This will, of course, require hoisting and moving both sections. Therefore, a great deal of planning and preparation will be necessary. The joined sections will be placed on maintenance stands so work can begin on the undersides. We will then be able to install the landing gear and the replacement wheel assemblies that have been ordered. Also, we plan to have the wings hoisted onto maintenance stands.  Obviously, a lot of work lies ahead.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | November 28, 2011

Back to Work

Post contributed by Volunteer Project Manager Bob Reed.

After a two month sabbatical, 10 aviation volunteers were back to work Saturday, Nov. 19 with a productive day, accomplishing 41 man hours of work on the Potomac Pacemaker.  The temperature in the Back Shop was in the low 50s when we started work at 9 a.m., and had risen to a balmy 58 degrees by the time we ended the day.

The activities got underway quickly with volunteers Andy Ray, Tim Howard, Martha Jackson and Matt Sprinkle working on the horizontal stabilizer.  After help from a few others, the horizontal stabilizer was turned over so work could begin on the bottom surface.  Tim and Andy removed the remaining deicer boot brackets while Matt and Martha worked on removing elevator control pulleys and brackets.  Bill Compton helped also in removing non-essential metals and hardware.

Bob Johnson began removing aileron hinge hardware on the wings while Paul Dieffenderfer and Bill Behrendt continued work in the forward cargo compartment.  Walt Ryerson was successful in removing the lavatory sink cabinet and then began work on the center wing section removing non-essential sheet metal.  Matt also started re-covering the maintenance stand support brackets with new carpet materials.  New fuselage supports had been constructed by Mike Stoker, the museum carpenter.  They are now ready to be mounted on the appropriate maintenance stands.  Mike’s excellent work on this project for the aviation group is sincerely appreciated.

While the other volunteers were busy with their work, I helped with advice where attention was needed and with inspecting the project in preparation for the next work day, set for Dec. 17 at 9 a.m.

From the Aviation Group to all, here’s wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | September 8, 2011

August Work Day Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | June 24, 2011

Busy hands and fresh faces

Post contributed by Volunteer Project Manager Bob Reed.

Another great work day was completed on Saturday, June 18 as twelve volunteers contributed 58.5 man hours of sweat equity into preparing the Potomac Pacemaker for restoration.  Two additional volunteers joined the group, bringing our roster to 28 active volunteers.

Matt Sprinkle arrived early and began working on the maintenance stands to free up the remaining jack screws that were rusted.  Thanks to Matt for bringing two quarts of motor oil to be used in lubricating all the jack screws.  We’re ready now to begin replacing the carpet covered wood beams and supports on all the stands.

John Sink continued with the work removing tubing and wiring in the forward cargo compartment and cockpit area.  Martha Jackson, with some assistance from Matt, removed the forward bulkhead covering while Bill Wilkerson continued with work in the cabin and lavatory area, including vacuuming the areas under the flooring.

Perry Miller and Francis Horton accomplished a task that has been needed for quite some time.  A temporary support has been used under the floor beams where the center wing section mates with the fuselage, and this presented a safety problem.  They used the electric miter saw that had been donated to the project to fabricate a much better support for walking across that section of the fuselage floor.

Kevin Lee, a new volunteer and a retired airline mechanic, worked on the left engine nacelle and inside the wheel well removing unnecessary hardware and tubing.  Kevin indicated that there’s a little more work to be done in the wheel well.  It appears the work is now about 75% complete on the left engine area.  The right engine area is about 25% complete.

Walt Ryerson, another new volunteer, was successful in removing the rear cargo compartment flooring.  The screws securing the flooring were rusted and frozen but Walt managed to remove them either by use of the pneumatic “screw knocker” or by cutting them loose with the pneumatic grinder.

While Walt was busy in that area, Bill Compton successfully removed the access door between the cabin and rear cargo area.  As was the case with other doors, the piano hinge pin was frozen and could not be removed as it was designed to do, so Bill had to drill out all the rivets that held the hinge to the door frame–a time consuming task.  Bill also removed the galley tray table, the waste disposal door and the galley storage area door.  The piano hinge pin on that small door has been the only one that was removed the way it was designed.  The hinge pin was easily removed.

Bill Behrendt removed the passenger air stair safety light on the outside of the fuselage and then worked on removing wiring from the conduits inside the fuselage.  Charlie Hall assisted in several areas and then searched through the parts manuals and maintenance manuals for vital restoration information.  As usual, I spent most of my time with administrative matters.  Also, a few new tools and supplies had been purchased which needed to be prepared for use so I handled those activities.

 We look forward to our next work day which will be Saturday, July 16, 2011.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | May 20, 2011

Benefit Golf Tournament

The Friends of Piedmont Airlines group is sponsoring a golf tournament to benefit the Potomac Pacemaker restoration project on June 20 at River Hills Country Club. Get your foursome together now, or get paired with Piedmont acquaintances at the tournament!

The entry fee is $95 a person, with $35 from each entry fee going directly to the restoration. The $35 portion of  your fee is tax deductible. Download the entry form here, or email John McKenna for more information.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | April 27, 2011

More Press for the Pacemaker

The Potomac Pacemaker restoration was featured yesterday in The Salisbury Post.

Volunteers restoring DC-3

By Karissa Minn

SPENCER — The Potomac Pacemaker, a passenger plane built in the mid-1900s, lies on its belly like a beached whale in the Back Shop of the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Now stranded in the expansive warehouse, the Douglas DC-3 passenger plane awaits a spot on display beside the museum’s other vehicles.

One day each month, volunteers work diligently to restore the airplane to prime condition for the benefit of future museum visitors.

Read More.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | April 12, 2011

Pacemaker in the News

A World War II-era DC-3 passenger plane sags in the dust of the cavernous back shop of the N.C. Transportation Museum.

The battered fuselage bears the once-familiar colors of Piedmont Airlines.

The aircraft’s major parts — wings, stabilizer, the central wing assembly and engine mounts — lie scattered in the dust.

“Potomac Pacemaker” remains stenciled in blue letters along the cabin doors.

Read More.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | March 23, 2011

Sunny skies are here again

Post contributed by Volunteer Project Manager Bob Reed.

WOW! What a great day to be working on the Potomac Pacemaker. This past Saturday was an ideal time to be working in the Back Shop, with perfect weather and very comfortable temperatures. Twelve hard working volunteers devoted more than 57 man hours toward the restoration of N56V.

I was glad to be back after being absent for three work sessions. Although I can’t do much physical labor, I can at least show the volunteers that do the work what needs to be done based on the restoration project objectives.

A journalist/photographer spent most of the day with us gathering knowledge about the project for a story and pictures that will appear in an upcoming issue of the Winston-Salem Journal. A slide show will also be included in the Journal’s online edition. We’ll let everyone know when this will be published.

Volunteer Andy Ray is recovering from surgery on his right shoulder, and with his arm in a sling, his physical activities were limited as well. He was able to assist others by bringing tools when needed and doing what he was able to with his left hand.

Bill Behrendt, a new volunteer, worked with Carly Faulkner in removing the engine mounts from the right engine firewall. Carly had the unpleasant task of crawling up into the wheel well to help with removing the bolts holding the engine mounts. As with most of the hardware on the airplane, the bolts and nuts were well rusted and not easily removed.

After that job was finished, Bill began working on the center section, cutting away twisted sheet metal from around the fuselage mounting brackets, while Carly continued working in the wheel well.

Bob Johnson and Paul Diffenderfer also worked on the center section removing wiring, plumbing and brackets that will need to be repaired and eventually replaced. Joe Barvir cleaned out bird nesting materials from the right wing attachment area of the center section.  Joe and Martha Jackson then did the same thing on the horizontal stabilizer, after removing the protection covers that had been placed over the openings when the airplane was displayed at the Durham Museum.

Martha also worked in the fuselage forward cargo compartment, removing wiring from where the radio racks were installed. As mention before, we’re removing all wiring, tubing, duct work and whatever will not be necessary for the cosmetic restoration of the airplane since it will not be made airworthy.

Charlie Hall and Tim Howard continued with dismantling the passenger air stair.  The rusted frame was removed during the last work session, so Charlie took it with him and brought it back this time after having it blast cleaned and painted.  It looks like new!

Perry Miller continued work installing the tail wheel assembly with assistance from Arthur Morrison.  That’s not an easy job since the airplane is supposed to be raised at least four feet off the floor when installing the unit and it’s only about three feet off the floor where it’s presently located.

Since the museum received several large donations during and after the Piedmont Day event on February 19, we’re now in a position to purchase the maintenance stands from the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum in Atlanta. As soon as arrangement can be made, the stands will be transported to the museum in Spencer. We’re looking forward to lifting the Potomac Pacemaker off the floor and to more suitable working positions.

If you’re interested in making a donation to help restore the Potomac Pacemaker, you can download this flyer for more information, or donate online.  Your donation is tax deductible.

Our next work day is scheduled for Saturday, April 15.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | March 8, 2011

We’re Social!

Just a quick post to let you all know that we’ve added sharing links at the end of our blog posts, so now you can easily share any post you find interesting on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

And make sure you “Like” the N.C. Transportation Museum on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter as @nctrans to keep up with all the Museum happenings, including the Pacemaker restoration.

Posted by: potomacpacemaker | March 1, 2011

February Workday Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: