DO-5's door from the cabin to the cockpit is under restoration
Sunnuntai 6.11.2022 - Tuesday Club member
The restoration work of the DO-5 (DC-3/C-47) fuselage, owned by Aviation Museum Society Finland, is now concentrating on the wooden door which separates the cockpit from the cabin. Structurally it is a so-called panel door. The painted surface on the cockpit side is badly worn and flaked, and it will be restored to its original condition.
On the cabin side the original surface of the door has been hidden under a modern and pale hard-surfaced board. The same board has been used for covering the cabin side of the wall separating the cockpit and the cabin, and the cabin walls up to the upper level of the cabin windows. We are wondering whether the door and walls have been re-covered during the aircraft’s Lufthansa period or when it came to the use of the Finnish Air Force. We decided to leave the cabin side of the door as it is, with its new covering, to match the cabin walls.
Judging from the cockpit side of the door, the door seems to be an original C-47 type door. An indication of this is a large stamp found on the plywood surface of the door. The word ASSEMBLY and serial number 24 145018 can still be read on it. There are also other numbers on the stamp, but they are not clearly distinguishable.
For restoring the door, it was disassembled from its frame and brought to the restoration workshop at the Finnish Aviation Museum. The painted surface on the cockpit side will be sanded and the plywood veneers, which have delaminated, will be glued back together. Finally the door will be repainted.
Before painting, the loose flaked paint was scraped off and the greenish grey paint surface was sanded smooth. Our aim is to paint the door and the aluminium wall surfaces in the cockpit using the original shade of green. Before that we will try to find out what the original paint and its shade might have been.
At least two different shades of green can be seen on the door. It looks as if there is a paler shade of green underneath, and it has been covered with a darker green paint. On the aluminium wall surfaces in the cockpit at least three different shades of green can be distinguished. We can only guess which of these could have been the original one – if any. After the invasion of Normandy, the DO-5 has been in civilian use in the Netherlands, French Indochina, and Germany before coming to the service of the Finnish Air Force in 1960.
I asked for advice about the DC-3 colours from the Finnish Air Force Museum. I learned that the cockpit colour, and also the colour of the door, was most likely the American “Bronze Green” or “Dull Dark Green”. In the American aircraft of that era the colour of the inner surfaces was usually dark green. Zink chromate anti-corrosion primer was used on aluminium surfaces and its shade was modified with black pigment, adding some UV-protection on the paint. However, there are still some issues to resolve before we can go and buy the paint.
The surfaces still need some preparatory work before the door is ready to be painted. We haven’t yet decided whether the door will be painted now or in the spring, together with the aluminium wall surfaces in the cockpit.
When the door surfaces had been sanded, the delaminated plywood veneers were glued into place. The veneers were pressed tightly against the surface using blocks of wood and clamps. The glue we used was EriKeeper Plus wood glue, meant for outdoor use.
Photos by Lassi Karivalo
Translation by Erja Reinikainen.