SZ-18 moved from Tuuri to Tuulonen
Perjantai 15.4.2016 - Member of Tuesday Club
Former Finnish Air Force Focke-Wulf Fw 44J Stieglitz (serialled SZ-18), which is owned by Aviation Museum Association, has been exhibited in Alavus, Central-Finland, at Tuuri VillageShop (actually a shopping center) since 2010. SZ-18 was restored by Tuesday Club in 1999-2009, after which the plane was installed at Tuuri because there was no place for the plane in Finnish aviation museums. Later, the same thing happened with the replica of the Finnish 1930’s light aircraft Viri, which Tuesday Club built between 2000-2011. Viri is hanged from the ceiling of a department store at Jyväskylä, K-citymarket Seppälä.
There will be extensive renovations at Tuuri VillageShop. We had to find a completely new exhibition place for SZ-18 because after renovation there will be no more a suitable space for it at Tuuri. The best option turned out to be Tuulonen shopping center near Hämeenlinna, which is some 100 km north of Helsinki. Tuulonen relates very favorably to aviation history and its promotion. An example is Douglas DC-2, former Finnish Air Force transport with serial DO-1, nick-named ”Hanssin Jukka”. It was restored by the Guild of Air Force Academy and is now exhibited in its own hangar at Tuulonen. The Aviation Museum Society owned SZ-18 will not, however, be seen together with Hanssin-Jukka, but it ends up being exhibited inside the shopping center.
On Monday, April 11, seven Tuesday Club members traveled to Tuuri to dismantle SZ-18 for transfer to Tuulonen. After the plane was lowered from the ceiling by shopping center’s friendly and helpful staff, we started dismantling the plane.
Tuesday Club members labored like ants around the biplane. The first thing to remove was ”Stigu's" (nick-name for Stieglizes in Finland) propeller. It was followed by working with upper wings. After removing bracing wires and supporting upper wings with forklifts, we took off interplane struts. Then upper wings were lowered into wing cradles.
Next were lower wings which were also set into wing cradles to wait for loading on truck to Tuulonen. Lower wings were moved with manpower.
Some of us detached elevators at the same time. Horizontal stabilizator was left un-detached because we thought that fuselage with stabilizator will fit inside the truck. Finally we bundled and packed wires and struts ready for transfer. Now it was time to call it a day and relax a bit before tomorrow.
After a hearty breakfast at the hotel we began loading the plane for transportation to Tuulonen. A truck with trailer was reserved for the transfer. We loaded SZ-18 fuselage into truck. As thought it really fit in with stabilizer - but only just. There was only a few centimeters left between stabilizator and truck walls. We secured the fuselage carefully with lashing so that it would not move during transportation. Wings we attached into wing cradles with polyurethane foam padding and they were loaded into the trailer. After lashing wings and cradles, the trip to Tuulonen was ready to start. Also we started our way to Tuulonen with propeller stuffed inside our van.
We arrived there already early in the afternoon and started unloading SZ-18 and moving it inside the shopping center. The fuselage was pushed in on its wheels. There only was some problem with getting the angles right before it slipped through the shopping center door. Wings were carried in.
The whole plane was stowed in an empty shop. SZ-18 will wait there until May when Tuesday Club comes to re-build the plane.
SZ-18 will be raised to hang from the ceiling of shopping center corridor for visitors to admire. Thus Stieglitz SZ-18 will be already the second aviation historic attraction at Tuulonen shopping center along DC-2 DO-1.