The DC-3 (DO-5) fuselage refurbished for display

Lauantai 8.4.2023 - Tuesday Club member


Aviation Museum Society Finland will bring to its stand at the Turku Airshow on Jun.17th – 18th the fuselage of the DC-3 aircraft it owns. To be precise, it’s the fuselage of a Douglas C-47 A- 80-DL aircraft. It was completed at Long Beach in 1944.


Photo via Jarmo Kaipainen.

This “Dakota” designated DO-5 last served in the Finnish Air Force as a flying trainer for paratroopers and finally its fuselage was used as a ground training platform for paratroopers. After rotting away for decades in the Utti forest it was donated to Aviation Museum Society Finland. With the fuselage came the tail assembly and the outer wing panels. The fuselage is without the centre wing section. Unfortunately it has disappeared somewhere during the passing years.


Photo by Juha Ritari


Aviation Museum Society restores the fuselage for display purposes. This work is presently undergoing at the Tuesday Club. Lots of work is still ahead, before the fuselage is back at its DO-5 era operational appearance. As may easily be guessed, tens of years outdoors with leaking cockpit windows has played havoc, but we aren’t downhearted as the saying goes. Yes, and the fuselage has already been used as a stage prop for the recent Finnish films “Pertsa ja Kilu” and “ Sisu”.


The fuselage of the DO-5 will be brought on display to the Turku Airshow into the Aviation Museum Society’s stand, even though it won’t be in the display condition we aim it to be. It will still be interesting to see the configuration the DO-5 was used in training the paratroopers, because the cabin is still in the condition it was used in para training with the canvas benches along the walls and the parachute opening straps hanging on the running wire.



At this moment the fuselage is at the Aviation Museum’s yard to be restored by the Tuesday Club. Restoration work has been going on both in the cockpit and in the cabin. In the cockpit both the pilots’ seats have been detached and dismantled into parts. They are at a sorry state and partly rusted. We aim to get them restored by the summer. A real challenge are the back plates and the seat buckets which are both made of pressed cardboard. They have all gone mushy because of the rainwater leaking into the cockpit. A probable alternative is to make the back plates and the seat buckets from aluminium sheets.




The door between the cockpit and the cabin has been restored. Presently we have started to renew the cabin windowpanes, which have become opaque. The opaque panes will be replaced with clear polycarbonate ones. One of the panes has already been detached. We hope to get at least the seven panes by the cabin exit door changed into transparent ones by the Turku Airshow.



The cockpit is lacking the instrument panel and instruments. As a first aid measure we aim to install a real and full sized “Dakota” instrument panel into the cockpit copied on an aluminium sheet. The instrument panel was photographed from the Karhumäki Airways OH-VKB DC-3A-aircraft.

And that’s not nearly all. There’s no nose cone on the DO-5 front end. We do have the upper half of the nose cone, but the lower half is missing. There isn’t one in Finland for us to get our hands on. The meaning is to make the missing lower part from glass fibre. To make the glass fibre mould we can borrow an original lower half of a CD-3 nose cone. If the work proceeds as planned, the DO-5 nose doesn’t have the cut off look at the Turku Airshow but has the original “Dakota” nose form.

Sooner or later the DO-5 fuselage, which has now become covered with dirty grey patina, will be polished to pristine condition.

As the good reader will notice, nearly all that I wrote about isn’t ready yet. Let this blog be more of an inducement to go to the Turku Airshow on June 17th -18th and to visit the Aviation Museum Society’s stand and the DO-5 fuselage, the Hawk experience centre, the OH-XEA “Snoopy” light aircraft and also the Aviation Museum Society’s  OH-LEA “sinilintu-bluebird”  Caravelle – jet airliner resplendent in Finnair colours, which will be assembled by the airport passenger terminal.

Photos by Lassi Karivalo except if otherwise mentioned.

Translation by Matti Liuskallio.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Tuesday Club, C-47, DC-3, DO-5