Posted by: potomacpacemaker | February 28, 2011

Wheels, windows and stairs, oh my!

While N.C. Transportation Museum visitors were enjoying a preview of a new Piedmont Airlines documentary and learning about the Potomac Pacemaker restoration during “Piedmont Airlines Day” Feb. 19, eight volunteers were hard at work on the plane, contributing 42 man hours to the project. 

By now, volunteer Perry Miller has become an expert in DC-3 tail wheels. He has devoted time and effort to restoring the tail wheel assembly, which was now ready to be installed back into the aircraft.  He and volunteers John Sink, Joe Barvir (a welcome new addition to our group) and Andrew Wright managed to get the unit partially installed, but discovered that new attachment bolts were required.

Hopefully, installation will be completed at the next work session.  Perry had cleaned and painted the entire area aft of the rear cargo compartment bulkhead during the January work session, preparing it for installation of the tail wheel—a job well done! 

Perry has also taken the main landing gear wheels to his home work shop, hoping to break them down so they could be rebuilt. He did manage to get most of the parts separated; however, it appears the condition of the wheels will make them unsuitable for restoration. Replacement may be available from the supplier from whom the landing gear was purchased—more on this next month. 

Another job well done was accomplished by Carly Faulkner and John Sink. They worked in the cockpit area cleaning away insulation and removing parts. John finally removed the remaining cockpit sliding window. Andrew Wright also found time to begin taking apart the overhead racks that were previously removed. The ranks will be dismantled so they can be restored for reinstallation at a later time. 

Joe Barvir and John Sink also put in some time working on the center section removing pumps, cable and tubing that will not be used in the restoration. They discovered oil still in some of the tubing when it was removed.

 Charlie Hall continued work on the air stair with help from Tim Howard, Andrew Wright and Andy Ray. Basically, the air stair had to be completely dismantled and most of its parts will need to be replaced. A lot of corrosion was discovered; however, Charlie says this is a “can do” project. 

Charlie also brought back the forward cargo door, which was taken off site for work, to show us what he had done on that project. It was also in bad shape and he had to replace most of its parts, much like what will be done on the air stair. 

We’re making good progress and looking forward to milder weather with the possibility of pressure washing the entire aircraft again. Our next work session will be Saturday, March 19 beginning at 9 a.m.

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