The restoration of the Caravelle III towbar is progressing
Keskiviikko 1.3.2023 - Tuesday Club member
During Tuesday Club’s autumn season the Caravelle III towbar restoration work reached the point where the majority of the towbar parts had been painted with Isotrol primer, which prevents rusting. Half of them were painted with dark grey Isotrol and the other half with pale grey. We could see that the paint made the corrosion marks on the towbar surface clearly visible.
Photos by Juha Veijalainen.
We made a test where a small area of the towbar was painted with Teknos adhesive primer to see whether it would cover the corrosion. It did, indeed, but the corrosion marks were still visible. The next step would have been to spackle the whole towbar to make the corrosion marks disappear. However, we decided not to. We shall let the corrosion spots show and prove that the Caravelle III towbar has been rusting under the open sky for fifty years at Arlanda airport.
The towbar will be painted to the same paint scheme we used for the Finnair Super Caravelle towbar when it was restored last year. Just to refresh your memory, the towbar now under restoration was brought from Sweden together with the Sud Aviation Caravelle III (SE-DAF), which was acquired by Aviation Museum Society Finland. This towbar has been used by SAS, but we will restore it to Finnair colours. After restoration the towbar will be placed on display at Turku airport together with the Caravelle III, which will be restored to the Finnair 1963 paint scheme as OH-LEA “Sinilintu” (Bluebird).
The main colour on the towbar is the Finnair blue, with 50 cm of the towbar’s pull loop end and 73 cm of the aircraft towhead end painted yellow. The blue paint is Unica outdoor furniture paint NSC S 6030-B and the blue paint Unica outdoor furniture paint RAL 1023.
Photos by Juha Veijalainen.
The top coat painting was started from the smaller parts of the towbar. The towbar wheel rack with its fastening flange was the first part to be painted blue. The paint was applied with brushes. After the first layer we noticed that the covering wasn’t sufficient yet. The surfaces were sanded manually with sandpaper and painted with another layer of blue paint. The result was fairly good. We don’t think the wheel rack needs to be painted a third time.
The bar section of the towbar had been dismantled into two parts. The painting with finishing paint was started with the yellow paint. It was soon noticed that already the first layer of yellow paint covered well the bar which had been painted with pale grey Isotrol primer. However, the yellow paint didn’t cover so well the other half of the bar which had been painted with dark grey Isotrol. It would have been better if both halves of the bar had been painted with the pale grey primer. Well, this means only that we will have to apply several yellow layers on the half which was painted with the dark grey. At this point two layers of yellow paint have been applied.
In addition to painting, also other restoration work has been done. Both ends of the towbar lack the rectangular handlebars made of round metal rods. The Super Caravelle towbar we restored earlier has similar handlebars. We unfastened one of them to use it as a model when building the missing handlebars for the Caravelle III towbar. This Caravelle III towbar is the first version of the towbars manufactured by Sud Aviation, its model number is S.09.107 and the Super Caravelle towbar we restored last year is the factory’s last and third towbar version with model number S.09.107 2.
First we started making the fastening plates for the handlebars, using the Super Caravelle towbar handle as a model. There is a fastener plate welded to both ends of the handlebar. There is a 10 mm hole in the plate for a bolt, which fastens the handle on the towbar.
We found a suitable piece of 4 mm thick and 10 cm wide flat bar iron in the metal storage of the Finnish Aviation Museum’s hot work container. Rust was sanded off the flat bar iron and then four 8 cm pieces were cut from it with an angle grinder. The shape of the Super Caravelle towbar handle fastener was drawn on all of them. The extra material was cut off and their corners and edges were shaped round using an emery and an abrasive band. The fastener plates are now ready to be welded on the handlebar, but the holes for the bolts are missing. The following phase will be to make the actual handles for the handlebars.
On the surface of the Caravelle III towbar there are the remains of the broken handlebar fastening bolts. The bolts were drilled out, first using an 8 mm drill bit. Then a hole was made for a M10 bolt using a larger drill bit. A thread was made into the hole for a 10 mm hexagon head bolt, using a threading tap. The bolt holes are now ready for fastening the handlebars on the towbar.
Translation by Erja Reinikainen.
Photos by Lassi Karivalo except if othewise separately mentioned.